A Brief History of Jubilee Brass
The earliest beginnings of Jubilee Brass can be traced back to 1994 when Major Stan Burditt was asked to spear-head a group to form a divisonal seniors band. Under his direction, a small ensemble performed at the Seniors Rally held in London in 1994 and 1995.
On June 16, 1996, a bulletin from the Ontario West Divisional Headquarters was sent to all Corps Officiers in the Division. They were to make the following announcement from the platform and also in their Corps bulletins:
Wanted: Men and women - 55 and over who can play a brass instrument.
Purpose: To organize a divisional seniors band or ensemble.
Place: The Salvation Army Village, 1340 Dundas St., London, Ontario.
Date: July 9, 1996 at 10:00 am.
There must have been a positive response from this request. On October 4, 1996 there was a band meeting attended by Major Stan Burditt, Major Ron Bowles, Jim Gordon and Joe Sears. Discussion followed regarding the availability of tune books, music and instruments, and the possibility of a government grant to offset expenses. Major Stan Burditt presented a list of 22 interested personnal.
The first performance by the Seniors Band was at a Senior's Rally held on October 17, 1996 under the leadership of Bandmaster Joe Sears.
A letter from Lt. Col. E. Robinson, Divisional Commander, dated October 18, 1996 expressed thanks to Major Stan Burditt for "getting the band off on the right foot." Apparently everyone enjoyed the music and the Band played well. In a letter dated January 27, 1997 he informed Bandmaster Joe Sears that the Constitution of the Ontario West Divisional Seniors Band (OWSB) was approved. The following positions were also approved:
Executive Officer: Major Stan Burditt
Bandmaster: Joe Sears
Band Secretary: Ian Tilley
Band Librarian: Ernie Lee
Member at Large: Jim Gordon
Division Liaison Officer: Major Ron Bowles
The Executive Committee of this newly formed Seniors Band met again on May 12, 1997. Discussions involved finances, music, membership fees, performance fees and the recruitment of additional personnel.
Since then, the Band has grown in numbers as many retireed women and men throughout the division joined the original group. Lt. Col John Wilder became the Executive Officer in 2001. He was followed by Major Ron Bowles and then by our present Executive Officer, Major Wilson Noble.
Bandmaster Joe Sears retired as Bandmaster in 2006 after 10 years of dedicated service. Under his leadership the Band grew to approximately 40 members and was quite active throughout the division in church and community functions. About this time the name of the Band was changed to Jubilee Brass to reflect the joy of serving God through music.
Jim Gordon was appointed Bandmaster following the retirement of Joe Sears. Under Jim's leadership the Band continued to be quite active and grew to a membership of approximately 45 members.
As well as performing at Salvation Army functions and churches of different denominations, the Band has performed at many community events such as: the Western Fair Grounds Festival, Victoria Park Rib Fest, Armistice Day Memorial Service at Victoria Park in London, St. George Apple Festival, and the St. Thomas Festival. On several occasions the Band have crossed the border and performed in Port Huron, Michigan.
On May 25, 2014, the Band held a Service of Remembrance for the Canadian Salvationists, including members of the Canadian Staff Band, who were lost when the Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence River on May 29, 1914. This service was held at London Citadel.
Each spring for the last 14 years the Band have had a Concert and Pie event at the Hillcrest Corps in London. This occasion is always well attended but we are not sure if it is because of the music or the pie!
The Band meets every Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. at the Westminister Corps for rehearsal. Rain or shine members travel from all over the division to prepare for upcoming engagements and enjoy fellowship.
Bandmaster Jim Gordon retired as Bandmaster at the end of the 2017 season after 11 years as Bandmaster. Jim continues his service to God through the Band by becoming a playing member of the Solo Cornet section.
In February 2018 David Rowsell was appointed Bandmaster of Jubilee Brass. David hails from Corner Brook, NL and is a third generation Salvationist. He brings a wealth of training and experience to the band. David holds a B. Mus. and B. Mus. Ed. and taught music in the Newfoundland school system for 30 years. Also, during that time he was the Bandmaster at St. John's Temple for 28 years.
Of the founding members of the Band, 5 are still active in the Band. Over the years the Band has grown in numbers. Today we have 20 members who have retired from the Band and are still living and 21 have been Promoted to Glory.
With God's blessing the Band will continue to spread His word through music, song and sharing fellowship with those we meet.