While personnel changes happen at the beginning of every season, for the New York Staff Band the 2016 – 2017 season starts with a change that has not happened for nearly a quarter-century – a new hand on the baton. After over 40 years of service in the Staff Band, the last 24 as Bandmaster, Ronald Waiksnoris retired in August 2016.
With the departure of Bandmaster Waiksnoris, Derek Lance has been appointed as Bandmaster. Lance is a Staff Band veteran, having played solo cornet for 14 years.
In addition to Bandmaster Waiksnoris, a number of other members have ended their tenure with the Staff Band, including Gordon Ward (principal cornet), Lindsay Evans (second trombone), Major A. Philip Ferreira (second baritone), Dean Farrar (first baritone), and Douglas Berry (solo cornet). This group of players, in total, has given over 100 years of service to the Staff Band.
A total of eight new players have joined the Staff Band this season. They include Brindley Venables (principal cornet), Daniel Wadja (solo cornet), Devonte Thompson (first baritone), Brandon Finnie (second baritone), and Michael DeVault (E♭bass). After playing with the band for a portion of last season, Matthew Hodgson (first horn) and Emmanuel Zabala (second horn) have now been made official members. Finally, Michael Baker has rejoined the band on solo cornet.
New York Staff Band web site