Newfoundlanders Invade Toronto

On 13 – 15 November 2009, the St. John’s Citadel Band (Bandmaster Derrick Moore) from Newfoundland visited Toronto and nearby Whitby, Ontario, taking part in the Canadian Staff Band’s Fall Festival and the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.

The members of the visiting band were kept busy from the moment they arrived, presenting a concert to a packed house at Whitby Community Church on Friday evening. The audience appreciated the warmth and humor of the musicians, who presented a wide variety of music to suit all tastes.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

After a busy round of rehearsals on Saturday, the St. John’s band joined the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) and the Ontario Central-East Divisional Youth Chorus (Leader Cathie Koehnen) to present an enjoyable Fall Festival concert at Scarborough Citadel. Participating in the program were Commissioner William Francis, commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory, and Lt.-Colonel Alf Richardson, commander of the Newfoundland and Labrador Division.

Items presented by the Staff Band included William Himes’ festival march Milestone and the bright and energetic Hallelujah! (James Curnow), as well as two larger works, Corpus Christi (Robert Redhead) and Festive Overture (Dmitri Shostakovich, arr. William Gordon).

The Youth Chorus added significantly to the program with their enthusiastic presentations of Praise the Lord, All You Servants of the Lord, an arrangement of Psalm 134 by Canadian composer Jason Locke, and the dynamic Alive Forever Amen. More meditative selections from the chorus included Come to the Water and Nothing But Thy Blood with soloist Melanie Pond.

St John’s Citadel Band showed the diversity of their repertoire by playing items from the contemporary song arrangement Make His Praise Glorious to Eric Ball’s classic The Kingdom Triumphant. In between, the audience was treated to Swingtime Religion (Barrie Gott), Wade in the Water (Leonard Ballantine), The Southern Cross (Brian Bowen), and cornet soloist Aaron Tansley, who offered To Worship, a meditative setting of the familiar worship chorus I Love You, Lord. A particular highlight was the band’s moving presentation of John William’s Hymn to the Fallen from the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan. This was offered as a tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers from the current conflict in Afghanistan, and during the music pictures of all 133 Canadians who had lost their lives since 2002 were shown. Afterwards, the audience stood for a moment of silence in their honor.

The evening concluded with the massed bands playing Norman Bearcroft’s scintillating selection Songs of Newfoundland, with the audience, many of them Newfoundlanders, standing for the majestic “Ode to Newfoundland” which ends the selection.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

On Sunday morning, the two bands participated in worship at Bloor Central Corps in Toronto. The St. John’s Band presented The Light of the World (Dean Goffin) and the Staff Band sang O My Jesus. Following the services, the musicians departed to march in the 105th annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade. With the two bands and players from many Salvation Army corps bands around Toronto and southern Ontario, this year’s group of 165 people – including territorial and divisional leaders, the color guard and timbrelists – was the largest since the Salvation Army re-commenced its participation in this event in 2005. It was a tremendous witness to the 500,000 who lined the parade route as well as the millions who watched the event on television throughout Canada.

Canadian Staff Band web site