Hamilton I Band in 1890Hamilton I Band – 1890

Hamilton Citadel Band in 1948Hamilton Citadel Band – 1948

Meadowlands Corps Band in 2016Meadowlands Corps Band – 2016

The Meadowlands Corps Band was formed in 1883 when Captain Joe Ludgate was Corps Officer.  The Band under the leadership of the first Bandmaster Jacob Smith was known as Hamilton 1.  It was one of only two Salvation Army Bands in Canada at that time, and comprised of six men willing “to play for the honour and glory of God”.  It was in 1884 that the Band, augmented by British Bandsmen, was part of the first Salvation Army Canadian Congress and led a procession of 2000 uniformed Salvationists.  These are the humble beginnings of what has become an established fixture in Salvation Army banding.  Through the years the name has changed as the location and the direction of the church changed.  From Hamilton 1, to Hamilton Citadel, to Hamilton Temple, to the name the Band is now known by, Meadowlands Corps Band.  The Band is based on the British style of brass bands comprising brass and percussion only and therefore having a unique sound from that of a concert band.

Many notable events have been recorded in the history of the band since those early days, and among those are:

  • The outbreak of World War I saw 8 band members leave band practice and go directly to the armoury to enlist in the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.  They were all to serve their country overseas.
  • A former Bandmaster, Edward (Ted) Hannigan and current Bandmaster Walter Woodward, were both lost in the sinking of the Empress of Ireland in 1914.
  • The band were privileged to play for their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their royal visit to Hamilton in 1939.
  • At the beginning of World War II the band marched down James Street as a unit and enrolled in the RHLI as reservists.
  • An appearance as the guest band at the Niagara music congress held in Buffalo, New York in 1948.
  • The centenary of the Salvation Army in 1982, held in Winnipeg, saw the band taking a leading role in those celebrations.
  • In the 1970’s and 80’s the band was well known for its Hamilton Place concert series which attracted thousands to the concert hall venue each year.  Bandmasters David Buckley, Brian Nutty and David Argent were very innovative, at that time featuring some of the most prominent names in the brass band world from within and outside of the Salvation Army world from both North America and the United Kingdom.
  • A recent introduction to the Band’s schedule has been the annual concert series presented by the Band and the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band, and featuring trumpeter extraordinaire Paul Stevenson.

The Band has toured extensively through the United States and Canada, visiting both the west and east coast of each nation, including a tour of the North of England and Scotland in 1994, then Bermuda in 1996 both under the leadership of Bandmaster Ken Spink.  In 2004 a very successful return tour of England, Wales and Northern Ireland was taken by the Band under the leadership of current Bandmaster Ron Heintzman.  This tour featured prominent soloists from England who had previously performed in Canada at Hamilton Place with the Band, those included were Don Lusher, Steven Sykes, Brett Baker, Richard Marshall and Nick Hudson.

In addition to the Band’s busy schedule of church services, concerts and visits, it has managed to produce recordings with a variety of much loved and well known pieces of music which have brought help and blessing as well as joy to the listener.  Through all this, the ministry within our city and our church has remained paramount.  God has continued to bless the Meadowlands Corps through the years.  The Band is known in the community for presenting music that connects to the listener with the ultimate purpose of bringing them closer to the Lord.  It has been the privilege of the band to be featured as a solo band at the Hamilton International Tattoo since 2000 providing Religious, Classical, Jazz and Contemporary music.  Through this ministry people have been attracted to the church and been brought closer to the realization of God in their lives.  We praise God for the opportunity given for this valuable service.  Each band member has a personal commitment to the Lord and the ministry of the Salvation Army through our music making.