After his retirement with the rank of major from the Canadian army, Gayfer taught music 1966-72 at Southwood Secondary School in Galt (Cambridge), Ont (where he also was founder, and conductor 1967-70, of the Galt Community Choir and Orchestra); at Champlain High School, Pembroke, Ont; and 1972-4 at Dalhousie University. He formed the Petawawa (Ont) Legion Community Band in 1978. He served as church organist and choir director at various times in Petawawa and Lindsay, Ont. He also served as an adjudicator throughout Canada. Gayfer's compositions (listed in part in Contemporary Canadian Composers) include two symphonies (1947, 1949); several other works for orchestra including Canadian Landscape (1963, band arrangement Boosey & Hawkes 1975) and Yukon Summer (1985, commissioned by the Yukon Lottery Corporation); a string quartet (winner of a CPRS award in 1944); Six Translations from the Chinese for tenor and small orchestra (winner of a CAPAC award in 1947); a Suite for woodwind quintet (1947, Boosey & Hawkes 1950); Saxophone Concertante for five saxophones (1972, commissioned by Paul Brodie); many works for band, some published by Waterloo or Boosey & Hawkes, and including The Wells of Marah commissioned by the Barrie Central Collegiate Band, Royal Visit (1957, Boosey & Hawkes 1959), The Canadian Infantryman (Waterloo 1960; the official march past of the Canadian School of Infantry), another commission, The St. John Ambulance Canadian Centennial March (1982); and many piano pieces (1936-75), songs, hymns, and choral works, all unpublished. Canadian Landscape was recorded in 1987 by the Edmonton Wind Ensemble (CBC SM-5079) and Royal Visit was recorded by Howard Cable (RCA PCS-1004/Citadel CT-6007) and also on A Royal Salute to Her Majesty The Queen (1984, Attic BLL-121). Three of his songs, 'Alas, So all Things Now Do Hold Their Piece,' 'Angel Spirits of Sleep,' and 'When Raging Love,' have been recorded by David Mills (Master MA-904). Gayfer was awarded the Order of St. John in 1983, and was also honoured by the Canadian Band Association. He was an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. His compositions continue to be performed by the Royal 22nd Regiment Band and other bands.
Author Betty Nygaard King
Concert in the park. - Gayfer Canadian landscape. Edmonton Wind Ensemble, Pinchin cond. 1988. CBC SMCD5079.
Canada remembers. - Gayfer Canada overseas. Canadian Armed Forces Central Band. 1994. BNA 5105.
Reflections. Gayfer Alas, so all things now do hold their peace; Angel spirits of sleep; When raging love. 1997. Gemstone Records.
Meredith, Joan. 'James Gayfer: bandmaster in the classroom,' CanComp, 58, Mar 1971
Goar, Carol. 'For the dedicated teacher retirement is a rude word,' Ottawa Citizen, 9 Apr 1977
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Centre
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Regimental & Branch Marches
A varied collection of audio clips of authorized Canadian military marches. Also describes policies governing the authorization of band marches.