On the weekend of 16 – 17 November 2013, the New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris) had the privilege of ministering in the city of Schenectady, New York. The trip began with an early morning bus ride that ended at Clifton Park Center Mall. There, the members of the Staff Band had lunch and then played a brief concert. Some of the items featured during the concert were Glorious Ventures (Peter Graham), Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén), Valero and William Himes’ arrangement of God Bless America, which the audience joined to sing the final stanza.
From the mall, the Staff Band moved to the Schenectady Citadel Corps for a dinner that was wonderfully prepared by the soldiers. Everyone enjoyed the meal together, along with the opportunity to fellowship with one another, and that feeling was eloquently communicated by Major Donald Spencer as he thanked those who prepared the meal.
The members of the Staff Band then walked a short distance to the First United Methodist Church on State Street in Schenectady, the venue for the evening festival. A full house and responsive audience ensured a good night of praising the Lord. Some highlights included The Schenectadian (Stanley Ditmer), a march specifically written for this corps. Vernon Post’s vocal arrangement of My Treasure set a spiritual tone for the evening and Ol’ Man River (arr. Mark Freeh), featuring Bob Jones on drum kit, threw the crowd into a frenzy just before the intermission.
The second half of the concert featured some young musicians from the local area, performing Young Crusaders (Andrew Mackereth) with the Staff Band. Deputy Bandmaster Gordon Ward gave his testimony and Doug Berry sang what has beend described as his testimony, Dorothy Gates’ arrangement of Feeling Good. The evening ended with a rousing rendition of The Stars and Stripes Forever and the Staff Band’s traditional vocal benediction, Rock of Ages.
The next morning, the Staff Band was blessed to share morning worship with not only the soldiers of the Schenectady Citadel Corps, but also with the congregants of the First Presbyterian Church of Schenectady. Richard Phillips’ arrangement of Amazing Grace was especially well-received. The band was joined by the organ for a tremendous sound for the congregational songs “All hail the power”, “To God be the Glory” and “Crown Him with many crowns”. The Staff Band had a truly wonderful time in Schenectady, and the name of the Lord was praised.
New York Staff Band Facebook page, original report by Elisha Moretz