Canadian Staff Band in Guelph

The first engagement of 2010 for the Canadian Staff Band (Bandmaster John Lam) was a visit to Guelph Citadel on 6 – 7 February. Located an hour’s drive west of Toronto, Guelph is a thriving community with a population of about 130,000. The Salvation Army began work there in 1884 and has become well-respected for its spiritual and practical ministry.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Arriving on Saturday afternoon, members of the Staff Band spent time working with the corps youth band and beginner band before preparing for the evening concert. Time with the young people consisted mostly of one-on-one tutoring sessions, pairing Staff Band members with individual players. This afforded the band some great opportunities to get to know the young people and to encourage them to keep using their musical gifts for the Lord. Following the tutoring sessions, the Staff Band rehearsed with the corps youth band for a massed item during the evening festival. Members of the Staff Band were encouraged by the standard of music and the dedication of the leaders who work with these young people week after week.

A packed hall greeted the Staff Band for the evening concert. Salvationists and friends from many surrounding communities had come to hear the band. The concert began with Living Flame (Jeff Christmas) and proceeded into a varied program that was well-received by the appreciative audience. Soloists included Major Kevin Metcalf with This Is My Story (Lundkvist) and Steve Pavey with A Joy Untold (Terry Camsey). As always, Leigh Rowney brought the house down with his xylophone dexterity in Joyous Rhythm.

In a world premiere, Craig Lewis presented a new trombone solo, Incarnation, composed for him by Ralph Pearce. The solo is based on the hymn tune “Armadale”, which was written by he wife’s grandmother, the late Mrs. Colonel Lily Skinner.

Other highlights of the evening included the perennial favorite Canadian Folk Song Suite (Morley Calvert), James Curnow’s Variations on “Terra Beata”, and Songs of the Pioneers, written for Guelph Citadel’s 125th anniversary in 2009 and conducted by the composer, Deputy Staff Bandmaster Major Ken Smith. In a special presentation, the Staff Band combined with teh Guelph Citadel Youth Band to present a new “rock ’n’ roll” setting of Days of Elijah by Dean Jones, led by Youth Bandmaster Dean Westover.

By special request, the Staff Band presented Dean Goffin’s classic The Light of the World, which was followed by a Scripture reading leading into Cameron Rawlin’s vocal presentation of It Is Well with My Soul (arr. William Himes). The concert concluded with Corpus Christi (Robert Redhead), a large-scale festival work depicting the unity of believers in the body of Christ.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Sunday morning worship included two services, at 9:30 and 11:00 respectively, as well as a small group who ministered during Sunday school. The Staff Band presented a variety of musical selections including Let Everything Praise! (Martin Cordner) and a new work, Healing Grace (Marcus Venables). Steve Brown, originally from Guelph Citdel, presented a cornet-euphonium duet, Time and Eternity (Ivor Bosanko) with Steve Pavey. The Staff Band worship team led a time of praise and celebration and Major Kevin Metcalf brought the Bible message, encouraging all listeners to give thanks in all circumstances.

With a last-minute injury to Quartermaster Ron Pearson and a vacancy in the baritone section, the Staff Band expressed gratitude to Brendan Rawlins of North York Temple and Kristen Moore of Oshawa Temple for assisting on first and second baritone, respectively.

Canadian Staff Band web site