Saturday, March 11th, the London Citadel Band from Ontario, Canada embarked on a 3 division, 5 state tour of the USA Southern Territory. This is a corps band with the unique historical distinction of being the first Salvation Army band in Canada. The Band played under the direction of Bandmaster John Lam and were accompanied by their corps officers, Majors Kevin and Loriann Metcalf. John Lam is also the Bandmaster of the Canadian Staff Band. Major Kevin Metcalf is the band's Soprano Cornet player and just one of the featured soloists.
Beginning in Georgia, the band played their first concert in Lawrenceville as a wind up to the annual Festival of Cultures. Sunday found the band at the Atlanta Temple Holiness meeting and then hosting master classes in the afternoon with the young people before going to an Atlantic Station open air. Monday the band did 2 concerts and ensemble lessons at Louise Radloff Middle School in Duluth. Tuesday they headed to Birmingham, Alabama for an open air followed by an evening concert at the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) to a standing room only crowd. Wednesday the band traveled to Jackson, Mississippi for an open air with the Mayor of Jackson in attendance, and then another concert at the corps community center to another receptive crowd which included the residents of the Center of Hope. On Thursday the band headed to “The Big Easy” of New Orleans, Louisiana for an open air at Lafayette Square where they were blessed by two of the locals. The first, a district manager of a local coffee shop, was impressed by the band openly proclaiming Jesus’ name and expressing the love of Christ to whomever was in attendance. He told the band he wanted to get involved with some organization and after witnessing their ministry that day he was convinced that it needed to be The Salvation Army. Our new friend then treated the each member of the band to fresh brewed coffee and espresso after the open air. The second local was a woman who said that she was a 4th generation native of New Orleans and that when Hurricane Katrina hit their city she was “wiped out.” Devastated by total loss, she was met by The Salvation Army who, in her own tearful words, “was there and never left. Long after the cameras were gone, The Salvation Army continued to help.” That night the band played at the New Orleans ARC to another crowd of enthusiastic listeners.
Friday they made their longest bus ride to the Lone Star state of Texas and did a concert at the ARC to a packed house of beneficiaries and locals. Saturday they did open airs at the Arboretum and the Stockyards. That evening they concluded the tour by playing the National Anthem at the Stockyards Championship Rodeo to an overwhelming response of the people in attendance.
Featured soloists included Major Kevin Metcalf on cornet playing “When I Remember”, Colin Williams on cornet playing “Jubilance”, Steve Chard on euphonium playing “Canaan’s Land”, Jonathan Rowsell on tuba playing “The Carnivore of Venice” or “Sweet Hour of Prayer”, and a version of the Beatles song “Blackbird”. The trombone section was featured on the song arrangement “In His Time” by Noel Brooks who is also a member of the band. Occasionally the crowd was treated to the tongue in cheek, 1 note alto horn solo,“Solo Secondo”, which was performed by Erica Brown.