The New York Staff Band had a busy but successful weekend in Northeast Ohio on 28–30 October 2005. Despite some potentially serious issues, including having three different fill-in players on solo horn and the illness of the bandmaster, it was described as “one of the most rewarding trips in this decade.”
The Staff Band arrived in Cleveland close to noon on Friday, 28 October, and immediately went to the University School for lunch and a demonstration festival for the students. The Divisional Music Director for the Northeast Ohio Division, Eric Dina, is a teacher at the school. A highlight of this performance was a group of brass students playing William Himes’ Classics in Brass accompanied by the Staff Band. On Friday evening, the band traveled to Wandsworth, Ohio, presenting a festival concert at a local church.
On Saturday morning, the Staff Band went to Canton, Ohio, where they were scheduled to play a “Benefit Brunch Concert” at a local country club. Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris became ill just before the performance began, and had to be taken to a local hospital, forcing the Deputy Bandmaster, Gordon Ward, to step in as conductor. Although Bandmaster Waiksnoris’ condition was stabilized and he was released from the hospital, he returned to New York the next morning, accompanied by the band’s Executive Officer, Major Richard Munn.
Lt.-Colonel Norman Voisey, then the Divisional Commander for Northeast Ohio, is a former member of the Staff Band. Eleven current members of the band who served in the group with Lt.-Col. Voisey were invited to a private luncheon in celebration of Voisey’s imminent retirement from active Salvation Army officership.
The Saturday evening festival was held in Wooster, Ohio, in the College of Wooster Auditorium. Colonels James and Carolyn Knaggs conducted a formal retirement ceremony for Lt.-Cols. Norman and Jeanne Voisey during the concert. In recognition of the Voisey’s service, the band chorus sang one of Lt.-Col. Norman Voisey’s vocal works, Amazing Love, taken from “The Salvation Meeting”, a musical inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s “The Mass”. This musical, premiered at the 1975 Good Friday service at the Centennial Memorial Temple in New York, was a collaboration between then-Captains Voisey and Thomas Mack.
The band remained in Wooster for Sunday, participating in two services at a local church. This was the first time that the church had hosted a brass band, a new experience for the congregation. In the afternoon, the band went to a small Presbyterian church in the Ohio countryside for their final concert of the weekend.
Featured items throughout the weekend included Music for a Joyful Occasion (Kenneth Downie), Glorifico Aeternum (Dean Jones), All Glorious (Dorothy Gates), The Great Revival (William Gordon), and Star Lake 70 (Stephen Bulla).
New York Staff Band web site