On Thursday, March 23rd, the Metropolitan Division Music & Gospel Arts department in conjunction with the Territorial Music & Gospel Arts department hosted an open rehearsal with the Chicago Staff Band (CSB) led by Grammy award-winning conductor Bramwell Tovey. This once in a lifetime opportunity for a Salvation Army ensemble to collaborate with such a maestro was one which attracted many visitors from outside the SA to the CSB bandroom. Salvationists, wind band directors, brass band conductors and conducting professors all gathered at 7 pm to enjoy some light refreshments prior to watching an inspiring rehearsal led by Bramwell Tovey.

The evening was organized by The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division’s Director of Music & Gospel Arts, Dr. Jonathan Corry who had made contact with maestro Bramwell Tovey having heard he was in Chicago to perform and conduct a 'Gershwin Spectacular' with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on March 24 & 25. 

Bram was brought up in the Salvation Army and is now Principal Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, not only does he lead many of the world’s finest orchestras, he is also president of the Foden’s Band in England and directs the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. 

At the commencement of rehearsal, Bram spent time using hymn tunes before launching into detailed work on, 'Deo Gloria' (Tovey), 'The Triumph of Peace' (Ball) and 'Just as I am' (Heaton) interspersed with recalling his experiences working with these pieces or meeting the composers.

It was a thrill to have Bram work with the CSB and to see the wide interest away from the SA that this event generated. I am indebted to Bram and the support which was given to this event from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Chicago Staff Band and their conductor Dr Harold Burgmayer.

The evening attracted many attendees from the wider brass and wind community within the Mid-West with approximately 75 people in attendance to watch Bram lead.

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