Unlimited Brass, Unlimited Praise in Melbourne

On 22 April 2006, the Melbourne Staff Band (Bandmaster Ken Waterworth ) joined with the Melbourne Red Shield Band and Future Brass 06 for “Unlimited Brass, Unlimited Praise”. Held at the Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School, this special event featured Salvationist musicians literally of all ages.

Following a welcome and invocation by Major Robert Patterson, the festival began with the Veterans Band. Conducted by well-known composer Noel Jones, the 60-piece group played a classic Arthur Gullidge march, Southern Australia, as members of the group, wearing “throwback” pith helmets, entered with Salvation Army flags. The next item was another classic, This Is My Story (Erik Leidzén). Don Sketcher conducted Morning Star (Ian Robinson), which featured retired Staff Bandsman Robin Waterworth on flügelhorn. The Veterans Band’s final item was another vintage selection, Great and Glorious (George Marshall).

Future Brass 06 then took the stage. Conducted this year by Bandmaster Garry Todd, the group of young performers had four rehearsal sessions during April. They began with The Right Life (Kevin Norbury), followed by Fanfare, Hymn and Thanksgiving (Dudley Bright). An item by an Australian composer, Barrie Gott, concluded their performance. The piece, O Happy Day, featured solos by Ian Farragher (trombone) and Ben Anderson (cornet).

The Staff Band was on the platform following a brief intermission, starting with Temple Visions (Martin Cordner). Neil Roper was featured in the cornet solo Flourish for the New Born Babe (Kevin Norbury), a particularly fitting choice of subject as Roper and his wife are currently expecting their first child. A vocal solo, His Eye Is on the Sparrow (arr. Brian Hogg), featuring the newest Staff Band member, Rachel Peterson, was next, followed by Richard Squibb on piano with the band playing his own new composition, Touching the Wave, based on “O Boundless Salvation”.

A highlight of the second half was Staff Bandmaster Ken Waterworth calling his father, Robin, to the stage to receive his official Staff Band Reservist certificate. The elder Waterworth has been associated with the Melbourne Staff Band for 42 years, the last ten serving as the salesman for recordings. The audience offered a great ovation in celebration of his long and faithful service to the Staff Band.

The Staff Band continued with another work by Martin Cordner, Lord of Sea and Sky, and the final movement from Kaleidoscope (Brian Bowen), entitled “Dance of the Tumblers”.

The Veterans Band and youngsters then returned to join the Staff Band in a large massed ensemble. Staff Bandmaster Waterworth conducted the trombone feature Wonders Begin When the Lord Comes In, with all the trombonists from all three groups participating – 16 in all (audience members in the front rows were provided with ear plugs for this item!). Noel Jones led his own cornet feature Keep In Step, originally written as a trio, but this time tripled with three players from each of the bands. The final item of the evening, God Be With You, was conducted by retired Staff Bandmaster Colin Woods, principal euphonium of the Veterans Band.

As usual, the standard of playing by all of the Melbourne groups was exemplary, and showed that neither youth nor age puts a limit on praise and worship through the brass band.

Melbourne Staff Band web site