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Daily Blog: Rob O’Connor (Assistant Band Sergeant) writes....


After being awake for 22.5 hours on Friday bed was a very welcome sight and I woke up ready for our first full day, only to see if was raining very heavily. It looks like we brought the rain with us!!!


We arrived at Mountain Citadel to hear Brass Impact, the Divisional Youth Band, rehearsing for their 27th anniversary concert next week. Andrew Blyth was invited to rehearse his composition, “This is my Father’s World”, in readiness for the afternoon Brass Infusion event.

Following the Youth Band, we had a few minutes to set up and have a sound check. During this short rehearsal time the Junior Brass Impact group joined with BCB to play Be Still as a massed item. We hope and pray that we will have encouraged those junior musicians. Each of the juniors gave their name to a BCB bandsman who promised to pray for them.


A quick lunch (loads of pizza) was consumed before we prepared to kick off Brass Infusion. This idea was the brainchild of the Band Locals at Mountain Citadel. 


They invited Impact Brass (Ontario Divisional Youth Band), Listowel Citadel Band, Agincourt Temple Band, Guelph Youth Band, and Guelph Citadel Band to join both BCB and Mountain Citadel band for an afternoon of celebration of Army banding with each band playing for 30 minutes. There was a wide demographic across the bands, from the Youth Bands to corps bands made up of more experienced and long serving bandsmen. We all have much to learn from each other in our banding, with different styles of presentation and innovation in programmes being displayed. It was not a formal programme so we were able to wander about and mix with other members of the bands as well as enjoy refreshments during the programme.  


Following this the band enjoyed some time in prayer and bible study with Anthony and members of the other bands were invited to join with us.

Following the Brass Infusion event, we enjoyed a good old “English Sunday Roast” which was, quite simply, awesome!   Our evening Festival started at 7pm and a large and appreciative audience gathered, as a buzz of excitement was felt around the hall.  All four of our soloists were featured during the day and they all played impeccably.  There was certainly added pressure for them as the trombone solo “This I Know” was written for the host corps Bandmaster, Canadian Staff Bandsman Craig Lewis, and the legendary Cornet Soloist, Deryck Diffey was also at our festival, but this did not seem to faze our lads.


BCB featured most of the tour repertoire throughout the day but this evening’s festival was more than a concert.  One couple had travelled for TWO DAYS in order to be at the festival!  Other people attending the Festival commented that they had heard hundreds of these types of concert and the band played as well as any other band they’ve heard.  But they also commented that whilst the playing was of the highest calibre, so was the Spritual content, with the Easter message incorporating “Power of the Cross”, “Easter Glory” (with insightful thoughts from Lt. Col. Anthony Cotterill in between the movements) and the singing of “In Christ Alone”, being a particular highlight.  They said that they had found the concert to be a Spiritual experience without compromising the musicianship: job done!


We returned to our billets to get some much needed rest ahead of what promises to be a wonderful Palm Sunday at Mountain Citadel.



Fanfare & Flourishes

The Lord is Gracious

The Ambassadors

Cornet Solo: Song of Exaltation

El es el Senor

Power of the Cross

Easter Glory

Cong Song - In Christ Alone


Just a Closer Walk

Spirit of Joy

Euphonium Solo: Brillante

Horn Solo: Demelza

The Crimson Tide

A Psalm of Thanks

Irish Blessing

Bible Study
Lazarus Saturday
Dead man walking
John 11 verses 1-45

This is a story we all know pretty well – but when read in the context of the historical narrative it has deeper and enriched significance. The events of John 11 probably took place a month before Palm Sunday – but as we will see the raising of Lazarus has a profound influence upon the events of Palm Sunday

Some background

Lazarus, with his sisters Mary and Martha lived in Bethany which is only a couple of miles from Jerusalem. They were friends of Jesus. (Verse 3 and verse 6). It is Mary who is recorded in John 12 who anoints Jesus with oil when Jesus returns to Bethany just before the Passover. Reading Luke 10 vv 38-42 we are reminded of an earlier(?) encounter where Martha is annoyed that she has been left to prepare food and serve, whilst Mary is sat at Jesus’ feet listening to what Jesus is saying. Jesus makes it clear that Mary has chosen the better way – i.e. sitting and listening to Jesus rather than the busyness of Martha.


To consider 

We are human beings – not human doings! Sometimes our busyness at work and indeed at The Army could cause us to be out of balance. We probably all need to learn something from Mary and hopefully the tour will allow us opportunity to hear what God is saying to us.


Notice that God’s timing is always perfect, even though it seems Jesus is not concerned that Lazarus is sick (verse 6) and has died (verse 14). Jesus has to take some flack firstly from Martha and then Mary ‘if you had been here’ (v21 and v32). Does God mind us questioning him and us expressing our grief and even anger in such circumstances? It is interesting to read an account of the heart of Jesus (vv33-35). In God there is not only comfort (strength) but also compassion (suffering with)


In the midst of this emotional reunion with Mary and Martha, Jesus gives us some astounding words of self revelation. Read again verses 25-27. The ‘I am’ statements are scattered across the Gospels, especially John. How many can you remember and find?

On the threshold of Holy Week we are shown understanding that Jesus is resurrection and life and we are thus reminded that he who believes in Him (not simply believes there is a God, but puts trust and faith in him) is assured eternal life. That could be heard as theory – what happens afterwards nails it – read again 11vv38-44. Especially verse 43. 


Jesus still speaks the same words to those who are spiritually dead – indeed to all of us ‘Lazarus come forth’. His commands as well as his invitations stand for us today. Faith is sometimes defined as ‘my response to God’s initiatives’ and it is by faith that we are saved (become Christians) and by faith we continue in discipleship.


The miracle of the raising of Lazaraus triggers a series of events recorded in John 11vv45-53. Have a quick preview of what happens on the day before Palm Sunday (12 vv1-10) and Palm Sunday itself (12 vv17-19) – you’ll appreciate why so many people were desperate to see and cheer Jesus as he rode into the city of Jerusalem. We’ll pick up the story of the anointing of Jesus later in the week.

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