News of Great Joy album cover

News of great joy recording session photo 1

News of great joy recording session photo 2

News of great joy recording session photo 3

News of great joy recording session photo 4

News of great joy recording session photo 5


Canadian Staff Band

Bandmaster John Lam

1. Fanfare - CHRIST THE LORD (Jonathan Rowsell)

A festive fanfare opener featuring the cornets, trombones and percussion sections based on O Come, All Ye Faithful.


2. NEWS OF GREAT JOY (Marcus Venables)

Primarily based on the Sussex Carol, this Christmas work focuses on the celebration of Christ’s birth. The energy and excitement are prevalent in sections 1 and 3, with imagination and imagery of all the Christmas enchantment from both young and old. Away in a Manger is used in the middle section to create this simple yet introspective moment to contemplate the true meaning of Christmas. The finale builds to a glorious proclamation of the words, “Glory to God and peace to all, now and forevermore. Amen.”


3. Festive March - GLORIA! (Kevin Larsson)

Kevin Larsson brings his unique brass writing sound to this Christmas march. Hidden within the piece are several quick references to familiar carols. Angels We Have Heard on High becomes the main carol played in full alongside motif development taken from the text “Gloria” which is the source of inspiration for the title.


4. Flugel and Piano - GOD REST YE (arr. Bill Way)

          Flugel Horn Soloist: Doug Chaulk, Piano: Bill Way

A jazzy rendition of God Rest Ye played by Bill Way on piano and Doug Chaulk on flugel.


5. CHRISTMAS PUDDING (Brian Strachan/trs. Nicholas Samuel)

Originally scored for concert band, this Christmas medley is jammed full of seasonal favourites.


6. PERSONENT HODIE (Joel Collier)

This piece briefly explores the fourteenth century medieval song that celebrates the birth of Christ. The common twentieth century translation, On This Day Earth Shall Ring, highlights the songs of the children and angels in the first and last verses, yet tells of the lowly nature of the manger scene in the second verse. These three verses are the framework for this arrangement.


7. Cornet Solo - AWAY IN A MANGER (James Allen)

          Cornet Soloist: Marcus Venables

James Allen has crafted a beautiful and simplistic cornet solo that blends the two familiar tunes associated with this much-loved Christmas carol.


8. A CHRISTMAS FANTASIA (Andrew Wainwright)

A Christmas Fantasia was premiered in 2010 by the GUS Band (UK). Commencing with the French carol Noël Nouvelet, the music seeks to portray several musical pictures. The early part of the work represents the frosty winter weather and chilly wind, synonymous with the festive period. A statement of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen emerges which represents carollers trudging through the snow on Christmas Eve. As the sun rises on Christmas morning, a brighter, daintier theme ensues and the sound of excitable children skipping through the snow is heard. There is the majestic proclamation of A Great and Mighty Wonder, before the music moves serenely into The Infant King. The final movement commences with the jaunty Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day. As the music reaches its conclusion, the carol Of the Father’s Heart Begotten is introduced, juxtaposed against a declamatory statement of A Great and Mighty Wonder. The final statement, “Sing, ye heights of Heaven, his praises;” rings out, leaves the listener with no doubt as to the message of Christ’s birth.


9. CHRISTMAS DAY (Gustav Holst/trs. Philip Rayment)

 Originally written for choir and orchestra in 1910, this elegant fantasy featuring old English Christmas carols has been effectively transcribed for brass band. Good Christian Men, Rejoice; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Come, Ye Lofty, Come and The First Noel are the carols used in this Christmas classic.


10. Tuba Solo - THE SINGING ANGEL (Nicholas Samuel)

          Tuba Soloist: Noel Samuels

Based on the carol Ding Dong! Merrily on High, this jovial tuba solo is a treat and brings a smile to performers and listeners alike.


11. NOEL, NOEL (Marcus Venables)

Developed from the descending and ascending melodic motif of the well-known carol, this piece is an exciting proclamation of that motivic text, “Born is the King of Israel.”


12. ADVENT HYMN (Philip Rayment)

O Come, Immanuel is an ancient hymn whose Latin text can be traced back to the thirteenth century, while the associated tune is rooted in fifteenth century France. John Mason Neale’s 1861 translation provides us with an Advent message of equal parts longing and fulfillment. This arrangement focuses on the first, third, and fourth verses, which attempt to convey the feelings of despair for a captive, sinful world under “Satan’s tyranny.” However, this is answered by the assurance that Immanuel (God with us) has come to “put death’s dark shadows to flight.” We are assured that God the Son has indeed come to us, and yet we continue to pray for the second Advent when our Saviour will return.


13. BENEDICAMUS DOMINO (Andrew Wainwright)

Live Performance from Christmas with The Salvation Army 2019 at Roy Thomson Hall

A spectacular major Christmas work for brass band that is based on the well-known carols Unto Us Is Born a Son and Infant Holy. Set in three through-composed movements, the outer two sections are full of joy and vibrance, with a magical and ethereal middle movement that features the carol Infant Holy. The work ends with a grandiose finish and a final rendition of Unto Us Is Born a Son in full glory.

Recorded at Guelph Citadel, May and October 2022

Produced by John Lam

Audio engineering and editing by William Chinnery

Cover graphic by Trevor Coutts