Happy 90th Birthday to HB’s Cliff Cummings
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.