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HISTORY OF ST. JOHN'S CITADEL BAND

 (excerpts from ‘His Promises Are Sure’ the Salvation Army St. John’s Citadel [Number Two Corps] 1988-1988 - link at bottom of page)  

At the turn of the twentieth century Stephen Hewitt, a soldier of the Livingstone Street Corps, a sailor by profession, brought with him on one of his return voyages from Greenwich, England, a cornet of unusual type. It had four valves and a double bell. With it, however, he undertook to organize the first Salvation Army Number 2 Corps Band. (circa 1902), Stephen Hewitt.

Early band members were William Pike, Benjamin Garland, William Cofield, Jonathan Reid, Whitemarsh, Forward, and one lady Julia Lidstone, with Stephen Hewitt as Bandmaster.

In its early years the band continued to improve and develop under such leaders as Bandmaster Charles Horwood and Bandmaster Fred Moore.

During the 3rd decade of this century the band leadership changed several times.  Bandmaster Stanley Richards after a short term was succeeded by Bandmaster Frank  Moulton who led the band until 1925 when he resigned his position to enter the training college for Salvation Army Officership.

Bandmaster Charles Pike continued to direct band activities until circa 1929 when on his resignation the Commission was given and accepted by Bandsman Bert Osmond.

Bandmaster Osmond worked faithfully and well and led the band in its ministry for eight years after which he was succeeded by Bandsman Roy Saunders who continued in this position for 20 years except for the period from 1952 to 1954 when Dr. Eric Abbott was Bandmaster.

Immediately on accepting the Bandmaster's Commission Bandmaster Saunders began a campaign to replace the old worn out brass instruments with a complete set of silver plated instruments.

This effort took 10 years to complete as money was not too readily available in these years but the length of time was due mainly by the interruption of production at St. Alban's by the Second World War. Brother Sandy Benson of the Number I Corps gave the band its first Silver plated tenor horn 1938.

Band activities were many and varied and quite demanding on the time of the bandsmen such as visits to institutions, participation in civil functions, music festivals, week-end visits to neighbouring Corps "around the Bay".

Sundays of yesteryears carried a full timetable:

10:15 am Sunday Morning Open Air at some street corner, later in front of or in the residence of some shut in.

11:00 am Holiness Meeting.

2:30 pm Open Air Meeting, Water Street at Bishop's Cove.

3:00 pm Praise Meeting

6:15 Open Air Meeting at Bowring's Cove, also on Water Street.

7:00 pm Evangelistic Meeting which usually ran 3 to 4 hours.

On occasion the band would use the Sunday afternoon to minister at some of the hospitals: Sanatorium, General, Grace and Waterford.

From 1944 to 1954 the Adelaide Street Citadel Band aired a weekly broadcast each Sunday at 4:30 pm over Radio Station VOCM. This half hour programme was known as "Music with a Message" and was heard in thousands of homes throughout the Island.

Under the late Bandmaster Jet Crocker the band increased numerically and expanded to the full range of brass instrumentation. After the death of Bandmaster Crocker the Band continued under the faithful leadership of Bandsman Nathan Osmond.

In 1972 during the ministry of Major Allan Hicks as Corps Officer, Mr. Ron Knight, former bandmaster of Grand Falls Citadel Band was appointed to the leadership of the St. John's Citadel Band. During his term as Bandmaster he set in motion a young people's band training programme. This youth programme starts with boys and girls who have no knowledge of brass band requirements, but met each week with Bandmaster Knight who endeavoured to establish a firm foundation in the rudiments and techniques of brass bands. Subsequently, when sufficiently trained and developed they move into the Young People's or Youth Band. After having served in this unit they, if they so desire graduate into the Senior Band. Special sessions of retreat for religious exercises form an important part of Bandmaster Knight's programme for his band. Those retreats into privacy have done much to advance the spiritual and musical avenues of the lives of the bandsman.Visiting lecturers or guest speakers such as Majors Holtz, Redhead and Burditt have done much to widen the horizons of the band members in the music world.

The outreach ministry of the Citadel Band under Bandmaster Ron Knight has covered most of the Province - west to Corner Brook Temple and Corner Brook Citadel - north to Twillingate - south to the town of Grand Bank and to the Central areas of Lewisporte, Botwood and Windsor.