News & Updates
Is this one for the record books? A 90-year-old Salvation Army bandsman who is still active, playing Solo Cornet in two Salvation Army Bands – Heritage Brass and Agincourt Temple Band!
Certainly, there seems to be no member in Heritage Brass that can remember playing alongside a 90-year-old member. At the band’s rehearsal on 31st January 2019, the rehearsal was cut short to celebrate the 90th birthday for Cliff Cummings. Present was the Divisional Commander, Lt.Colonel Sandra Rice, who gave words of tribute and presented Cliff with a birthday gift from the band members. Also present were Randy Hicks, Director Salvation Army Heritage Centre and our own Major Ron Millar (Band Executive Officer and Assistant Director Heritage Centre)… obviously there to make sure that such a significant event will forever be recorded in Salvation Army history. Alan Speed (Band Sergeant) led the proceedings, also representing the band with a tribute before Cliff blew out the candles on his birthday cake and everyone enjoyed a time of refreshment and fellowship.
Cliff was one of two sons born to Salvation Army Officer parents, Don being his younger brother and also a current member of Heritage Brass. Like all S.A. Officer children, they got to travel and Cliff lived in several parts of Canada until his parents moved to Toronto when Cliff was 15 years of age. Here is where he stayed and has lived ever since. Cliff married Jean Mills in 1953. They had 4 children – Timothy, Mark, Deborah, and Jonathan. Jean Cummings was promoted to glory in December 1987. Cliff met Shirley Frayn and they married in 1989. And today they make such a beautiful couple.
Cliff was a School teacher for many years after earning his Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts. Cliff was also very active in the corps as Deputy Bandmaster and giving a lot of his time teaching young people to play brass instruments. All told Cliff has been a band member of Danforth Citadel and Agincourt Temple bands for 73 years and has been a member of Metro Toronto Reservist/Heritage Brass Band for nearly 25 years.
Cliff will always be remembered as a model Christian Salvation Army gentleman. Always ready to greet with a smile and with a dry sense of humour. Cliff talks about how he came into Heritage Brass on the Solo Cornet bench and worked his way up to end chair. In these latter years, he talks about how he has worked his way back down again and now sits last chair. But this writer says that any band would want a 90-year-old Cliff sitting last chair solo cornet because he can still play the part.
Cliff also says… “My time with Heritage Brass has been eventful, it has given me an opportunity of service in my senior years. I have enjoyed good health and do enjoy the fellowship of this band. I’m the one who increases the average age just a little bit!”
Happy Birthday, Cliff. It has been an honour to have you as a member and friend of Heritage Brass. We wish you God’s continued blessing and many more years of good health.
27th October 2018. Heritage Brass, formerly the Metro Toronto Reservist Band, then later the Ontario Central Reservist Band celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a concert at Oshawa Temple, joined by the O’Neill Chamber Choir, Oshawa, leader Erin Collins with special guest, conductor and soloist (Euphonium)… Bill Himes, Chicago, USA.
Heritage Brass under the direction of Gary Dean opened the program with Steve Kellner’s “Fanfare & Allegro on the Doxology.” The next three items, featuring the band, Bill Himes and the O’Neill Chamber Choir really set the program up to convince the large congregation that they were in for a very enjoyable program with an extremely high standard of musicianship. The choir especially thrilled everyone with their wide spectrum of music and style of singing, from the contemporary to the traditional, always unaccompanied. One item entitled ‘Mosquitos’ was most unusual with just one word to memorize… Buzzzzzzzzzz
Bill Himes, so well known and respected around the world conducted and performed his music and also brought a brief devotional thought. What made his participation so interesting was his explaining the stories behind the music he had written which spanned his early years of composing and arranging to some of his later works. The one solo he arranged for Brass band which he performed with the band was a delightful melody he had heard in his travels called… “Song for Lotta” (Jan Sandstrom). Probably one of his newest works and a major work at that was played by Heritage Brass… “Pathway of Hope” which took the listener on a 3 part journey of a person caught in the trap of Satan’s hands with no sense of escape, finally finding faith and hope with Satan’s kingdom falling.
It was a truly special evening for Heritage Brass with some excellent playing. Dotted around the congregation were former members, which in itself added to what the evening was all about… the celebration of a group of longtime Salvationist musicians who in their long years are still making music to glorify God which in turn is blessing others.
8th Sept 2018. Heritage Brass once again accepted, what is turning out to be an annual event… an invitation to provide music at the annual Meighan Lodge Garden Party.
Besides cool temperatures, most of the seniors took to the garden where a BBQ presented much food to eat. Some brave souls even ate the ice cream which was obviously on hand in case of hot temperatures.
The Territorial Leader, Comm. Susan McMillan was present to open the Party and after welcoming everybody she said grace. The band was once again received well with a selection of music including hymns, hymn tune arrangements and well-known marches.
Heritage Brass finished up their season, taking a summer break before resuming rehearsals in September. The occasion was the band taking its turn at the Divisional Concerts at Jackson’s point, scheduled each Wednesday evening during the summer months. This particular venue was at Georgina Corps which everyone welcomed in an air-conditioned building when the temperature and humidity were almost unbearable outside. A good crowd enjoyed a well-balanced program of ‘Army’ and ‘Secular’ music including an Eb & Bb Cornet Duet. “THE CLEANSING STREAM” played by Major Alan Price & Deryck Diffey. The band sang and rendered some light contemporary music including an upbeat March “ON WE MARCH” (Kevin Larsson). Sylvia Thomson provided a very delightful pianoforte arrangement for the offertory. Following Major Ron Millar’s devotional the band played “TO THY CROSS I COME LORD” (Ivor Bosanko arr. Olaf Ritman). The band closed out the evening with the beautiful arrangement “A GAELIC BLESSING” by John Rutter
The concert followed the annual dinner, held at the Royal Canadian Legion where current & former members were recognised and honoured.
Brian Burditt was honored first. Susan (Brian’s wife) Matthew (Son) Rebecca (Daughter) were in attendance and received a plaque and the last 3 CD’s (Peace of Heart) which was recorded under the baton of Brian.
Gordon Hind received his retirement certificate after 13yrs service with the band.
Phil Christie also received his retirement certificate after 16yrs service with the band.
Lt. Col.Alf Richardson received a certificate as former Band Executive Officer.
Bob Skinner & Norm Robertson, as new members received the Heritage Brass pin.
Gary Dean was thanked for his role as Acting Bandmaster this past year.
Ron Millar (Executive Officer) was recognised as a ‘playing’ member of the band.
June 2nd & 3rd: Following the “Celebration of Life” service for Brian Burditt, Heritage Brass traveled to Hamilton where the band was special guests for the 18th Anniversary celebration for Winterberry Heights SA Church – Officers/Pastors: Majors Don & Karen Feltham.
A good crowd gathered for the Saturday evening Musical program. Gary Dean, (Acting B/M) put together a good cross-section of music… old and new, reflective and exciting, including… ‘Go Down Moses’ (Ray S. Allen) Fanfare & Allegro on the Doxology (Steve Kellner) Precious Fountain (Bill Himes) Marching Along (Nick Simmons Smith).
Sunday morning saw the band conducting the morning service, led by Major Ron Millar (Exec Officer). There was a good spirit within the people of the corps who received the band with much warmth.
Following the Sunday morning service, the corps provided a lunch for everyone. The band members returned to their homes, very tired from a very emotional and physical 2 days but with feelings of great satisfaction that the time spent had been spent in ‘Kingdom’ business. The band had been fully involved in what it came into being for… sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in music and fellowship.
The weekend of June 2nd & 3rd began early on the Saturday morning with the celebration of life for Brian Burditt. Heritage Brass formed what must have been a 90+ massed band joining with
- Oshawa Temple Band (the corps and band where Brian soldiered and served)
- The Canadain Staff Band (Brian was an inaugural member when the CSB reformed in 1969. He took leadership of the band in 1985 and served as B/M for 19 years)
- Heritage Brass. In the last 8 yrs of his life Brian was a member of Heritage Brass where on occasion he took up the baton for rehearsal, acting Bandmaster and on special events.
Oshawa Temple was full to overflowing with friends, many of course Salvation Army musicians, traveling from far and wide with memories of making music under Brian’s baton. Howard Evans, a personal friend from the UK began the tributes followed by Brian’s children, Matthew, Andrew & Rebecca bringing their own loving memories. Brian’s brother-in-law Mark Wilson completed the spoken tributes. Jude Gotrich sang the very moving song – “This world is not my home.”
Brian will long be remembered and missed, not only as an outstanding musician but a faithful servant of Jesus Christ who filled his life in serving others, bringing people to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Heritage Brass celebrated its annual anniversary with a weekend visit to St. Catherines Corps. The band was under the direction of Brian Burditt. Special guests for the Saturday evening programme were – ‘Signature Edition’ a barbershop quartett (Dan Wilson, Dunnville, ON; George Biggar, Fonthill, ON; Derek Stevens, St. Catherines, ON; Rick Steenkist, Brantford, ON). A good crowd gathered showing their appreciation for a well balanced musical program of brass and voice, the latter, close harmonies of barbershop singing which is seldom heard today. Soloists for the band included Deryck Diffey who played the cornet solo – “I Dreamed a dream.” Gary Dean played the Euphonium Solo – “My Christ is all in all.”
Sunday morning saw the band and St. Catherines Songster Brigade providing music for the morning service. Major Ron Millar (Band Executive Officer) conducted the service and brought the morning message. Following the morning service, the corps provided a meal for everyone (band and corps) which they call… “Lunch with the Bunch.” It was a very satisfying weekend where much blessing was received and where God was most truly worshipped and glorified.
Heritage Brass enjoyed a Sunday at Cambridge Citadel (April 30th, 2017) with Corps Officers – Captains Nick & Heather Samuel. Lt. Col. Alf Richardson (Band Executive Officer) conducted the Sunday morning service with the musical support of the band. There was a lovely spirit within the meeting where God was truly worshipped.
Following the morning service, the corps provided a hot roast beef dinner for the band and spouses of band members. As always with these weekends, there is an opportunity to meet new people and learn about the community and the Army’s work in that community. The Cambridge Corps is in the midst of raising funds for building renovations and in this regard, the band provided a musical programme in the afternoon where opportunity was given to make a financial donation towards the project. A copy of the programme including some video and photos is included below.
With our B/M Bob Gray taking a leave of absence, the band has been enjoying a number of months of leadership with Andrew Burditt. The band was delighted to have Andrew act as interim bandmaster for this visit and he is to be commended for his choice of music which was warmly received.
CAMBRIDGE CITADEL – April 30th 2017
HERITAGE BRASS – ANDREW BURDITT (*Interim B/M)
Festival March – Salvation’s Song William Gordon
Hymn Tune Arrangement As the Deer
Almighty Roger Trigg
Song Praise my Soul
Festival Arrangement – Simple Gifts Ray Steadman-Allen
Song Arrangement – How Great Thou Art James Curnow
Band Vocal – Simply Trusting arr. Major Norman Bearcroft
Festival Arrangement – Full Surrender arr. Howard Evans
With Heart and Hand Kenneth Smith
His Strength is Perfect arr. Noel Brooks
Hymn Setting – Nicaea William Himes
My Jesus I Love Thee Ron Heintzman
Song – Storm the forts of Darkness arr. Capt. Nick Samuel