On the weekend of 17 – 19 October 2014, the New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris) was privileged to visit the Western Pennsylvania Division. The ministry trip consisted of concerts in Oil City and Sewickley, a music clinic and Sunday worship.
On Friday, 17 October 2014, the band arrived in Oil City, where the members were graciously received by the local Corps. After a meal, the Staff Band prepared for the concert, which was put on in front of an energetic and nearly full audience. The music ws varied, with performances of items by both contemporary and classic composers. Featured soloists included Gordon Ward (cornet), who played Maid of the Mist (Wilkinson), and Dorothy Gates (trombone), who played her own arrangement of His Provision.
After the concert, the Staff Band traveled to Camp Allegheny, where they stayed the night and had their first events on Saturday morning. This was a chance for the Staff Band to interact with youth musicians as well as members of the B.A.D. (Beginner Adult Dynamic) Band from around the Western Pennsylvania Division. After the Staff Band put on a brief show, it split to join in the B.A.D. Band and Youth Band sectionals. Just before lunch, the three bands combined to have an “in-house” performance of the items rehearsed that morning. After lunch, the Staff Band headed to Christ Church at Grove Farm in Sewickley, the venue for the remainder of the events for the weekend.
On Saturday evening, a large crowd gathered to hear the Staff Band at Christ Church, many, perhaps, hearing a brass band for the first time and not entirely sure what to expect. The band opened the night with Phoenix from “War of the Worlds” (Peter Graham), which set the tone for the whole evening. After the presentation of Leidzén Montage (William Himes), the stage opened up for a guest artist, a brass quintet known as C Street Brass. This ensemble, resident at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, was a welcome addition providing a major contrast in style and sound. Other highlights from the evening were Philip Harper’s arrangement of a Chick Corea tune, La Fiesta, and Quest from the pen of Paul Sharman.
The Staff Band was honored to return to Christ Church on Sunday morning and participate in leading worship. The band combined with the church’s praise band to lead congregational singing, providing a uniquely Salvation Army flavor to the service. After two services and a delicious lunch provided by the church’s café, the Staff Band departed the Pittsburgh area and headed back to New York.
New York Staff Band web site