The 28th installment of the long-running Profile Night series, hosted by the Greater New York Division, featured Major Leonard Ballantine. Well-known for both choral and brass compositions in the Salvation Army, Ballantine currently serves with his wife, Major Heather Ballantine, as corps officer of Yorkminster Citadel in Toronto. He recently served as the Territorial Music and Gospel Arts Secretary for the Canada and Bermuda Territory. His leadership of the International Staff Songsters from 1992 – 1998 brought a modern style to vocal music within the Army musical culture. The Profile Night festival was held on 10 November 2006, at the Centennial Memorial Temple in New York City.
Given the subtitle of “Call and Response: a worship experience”, the Profile festival was unlike any of the previous 27 concerts. Major Ballantine was engaged in the entire evening as a worship leader, focusing not on himself or his many achievements, but on the worship of the Lord. Musical groups participating in the event included the New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris), the Greater New York Youth Band (Bandmaster Gordon Ward), the Greater New York Youth Chorus (Chorus Leader Gavin Whitehouse), and the Greater New York Timbrels (Major Mary Moore).
The main items from the Staff Band were Covenant Worship and Since Jesus. Covenant Worship (which was the last piece published in the now-discontinued Festival Series) includes 3 contemporary gospel songs, tying them together with a repeated motif of “O worship”. Since Jesus, the final item presented for the evening, featured Andrew Garcia on flügelhorn and Burt Mason on trombone.
The Youth Band, a group which has shown consistent and continuing growth over the past few years, showed their versatility with contrasting selections, the uptempo and lively Heartbeat and the moving and inspirational song setting I Know Thou Art Mine, which has become recognized as one of the gems of Salvation Army meditational music. The Youth Band was joined by the Timbrels for Joyful, Joyful. The Youth Chorus presented three items, including Prepare.
An additional portion of the evening was devoted to a farewell for the outgoing leaders of the Greater New York Division, Lt.-Colonels Nestor and Rebecca Nuesch. The Youth Chorus and Youth Band joined with soloists Raymond Livingston and Amber Medin for a musical tribute, Be Strong and Take Courage.
Throughout the evening, Major Ballantine provided incisive commentary and piano interludes, making the festival move with seamless transitions between the various elements. Although Major Ballantine was presented with a commemorative plaque at the end of the concert, the real honor and recognition given on this evening went to the Lord Jesus Christ.
New York Staff Band web site (original report by Thomas Scheibner)