Trip to Canada

Glyn & Helen Williams have recently returned from a busy but very enjoyable visit to Canada at the invitation of Simcoe Corps SA Band and The Prairie Brass Band Festival.

Glyn & Helen (both well known soloists with the Foden’s Band) arrived in Toronto late in the evening on Thursday 11th April after freezing rain delayed flights from New York into Canada, but after a good nights sleep they were ready for rehearsals from 6pm on Friday evening with Simcoe Corps SA Band and then an hours drive to Hamilton where they rehearsed with Meadowlands Corps SA Band.

14 members of the two SA bands took the opportunity to book in for private tuition from Glyn & Helen and these lessons took up much of the day on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Saturday evening saw Simcoe’s “Spring Musical Extravaganza” concert take place, with Meadowlands Corps SA Band accompanying Glyn for Euphony, Holy Well, Myfanwy and Remington’s Carnival of Venice. Helen was accompanied in The Children of Sanchez, Eyes of a Child, Domen and Movement 3 of Himes Flugel Concertino. Glyn was joined by solo euphonium Ken Spink (who originally hails from West Yorkshire) for the duet Deep Inside the Sacred Temple, and then took the baton as Meadowlands Band Master Ron Heintzman took up his Soprano Cornet to join Helen in Pie Jesu.

On Sunday morning Glyn & Helen joined Simcoe Corps SA band under the direction of Band Master Ian Cooper for their weekly service performing Victory Sure (Glyn) and Share My Yoke (Helen) to an appreciative congregation.

Ian Cooper and his family were super hosts whilst the Williams’ were in the Toronto area, making sure they spent what little free time was available seeing the sights and even ensuring the couple were booked in for a two night stay at Niagara Falls.


Tuesday 16th April saw Glyn & Helen fly further West to Saskatoon, where the weather was considerably colder than Toronto and snow was still lying thick on the ground.

The couple were in Saskatoon as part of the 11th Prairie Brass band Festival and were hosted by Will & Karen Martin who hail originally from the UK. Both Studied at Salford University, Will is a former Grimethorpe Band percussionist and Karen was a student of Glyn’s at Chapel en le Frith High School.

Glyn and Helen spent their week providing private tuition, masterclasses in local high schools and rehearsals with the four brass bands taking part in the Festival.

Friday evening was a particular highlight for Glyn and Helen as they were treated to front row seats for the Mnozil Brass Show. It was the first time the Saddleworth couple had seen Mnozil, as whenever they’ve appeared in Uppermill or Oldham (ten minutes from their home address) they have had prior commitments with either Foden’s or Marsden Bands! Needless to say they were literally blown away by the performance.

Saturday 20th April was a busy day, starting with a massed band rehearsal (Saskatoon Brass Band, Mission Hill Brass Band, Queen City Brass Band and Bridge City Brass band) lead by Glyn and featuring Helen in Valero and Riverdance. Each of the bands were then given the opportunity to rehearse for their individual slots in the evening concert and to rehearse solos with Glyn and Helen.

After a buffet meal for all the delegates the Festival was concluded with the Gala Concert. Helen treated the audience to Apex (with Mission Hill) and Children of Sanchez (with Saskatoon), whilst Glyn played The Holy Well (with Queen City) and Remington’s Carnival of Venice (with Bridge City) which had the audience on its feet and earned an encore of the final variation!

Directed by Glyn the massed bands joined forces concluding with Reunion & Finale complete with the Marion Graham Collegiate Drumline.

All in all, it was a trip that Mr & Mrs Williams will never forget, hosted by some wonderful people and having been given the opportunity to pass on some of their knowledge and experience to a thriving and enthusiastic brass band community. Long may it continue.