The International Staff Band (Bandmaster Stephen Cobb) was invited to take part in this year’s Royal Northern College of Music Festival of Brass in Manchester. Since this required the band to travel, the Central North Division was asked if the band could provide some service in that Division preceding the Festival. A weekend visit to Stockport Citadel Corps, 22 – 23 January 2005, developed from this request.
The schedule for the weekend involved the Staff Band’s participation in a Saturday-afternoon children’s meeting featuring evangelist Jim Bailey, a Saturday evening Festival of Music, and then leading the Sunday morning worship services at Stockport Citadel before departing for Manchester in the afternoon.
The Staff Band, wearing polo shirts instead of festival tunics for the children’s meeting, opened the festive event with Ask and Hallelujah Parade, following which Jim Bailey took the stage. Imaginative props including a flaming Bible, various puppets, and a ventriloquist’s dummy kept the children entertained. Members of the band were also pulled out for various of Jim’s illustrations. The band also provided some music such as Tomado de la Mano and Praise Party.
Following the children’s meeting, the hall and the band were prepared for the evening festival. The band, back in their festival tunics, opened with Trinity (Lorne Barry). Soloists included Martyn Bryant (cornet), playing Kenneth Downie’s new solo Crugybar; Derick Kane (euphonium), who presented Glorious Ventures (Peter Graham); and vocal soloist Gary Rose, who sang a song he co-wrote with his wife, Suzanne. Another solo item was the ISB premiere of a major new work by principal trombone Andrew Justice, Rhapsody for Trombone on an American Folk Hymn, composed by Ralph Pearce, who was present in the audience.
The two major works presented during the festival were a new piece by Kevin Norbury, Rhapsody on a Theme of Purcell and Ray Steadman-Allen’s epic, visionary tone poem Victorian Snapshots – On Ratcliff Highway. Following closing remarks and prayer by Major Ivor Telfer, the band concluded the evening with Ray Farr’s electrifying arrangement of Bach’s Toccata in D minor.
On Sunday morning, the Staff Band provided support for the morning worship with a testimony from Nick Samuel and a vocal solo from Gary Rose. The band, led by Deputy Bandmaster Derick Kane, presented Come, Beautiful Christ (Richard Phillips) as a preparation for the message by the band’s Executive Officer, Major John Wainwright.
International Staff Band web site