The New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Derek Lance) arrived in Puerto Rico in the early hours of Friday, 17 February 2017, for a weekend of ministry. The weekend included an outdoor concert in Old San Juan shared with the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Youth Band, working with young musicians at the Guayama Kroc Center, and Sunday morning worship at San Juan Central Corps.
On Friday, 17 February 2017, the Staff Band went to the San Juan Central Corps for a brief rehearsal and dinner. They then went to Old San Juan for an outdoor concert. The evening was beautiful, the view of the harbor at sunset breathtaking, and the crowd enthusiastic. The Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Youth Band, led by Divisional Music Director Richard D. Lopez and Ricard Colon, Music Director at the Guayama Kroc Center, presented an exciting concert prior to the performance of the Staff Band.
Following the Youth Band’s presentation. Some of the highlights of the outdoor concert were Fanfare of Praise (Robert Redhead), Crossbearers (Martin Cordner), Hallelujah Parade (Kevin Norbury), and Hold That Fort! (Sam Creamer). A Spanish flavor of music was heard with Malaguena, Conga, and El Cumbanchero. Soloists for the evening included Christopher Ward (soprano cornet) playing La Califfa, Brindley Venables (cornet) playing This Is My Story, and Aaron VanderWeele (euphonium) playing In Christ Alone.
Saturday saw the members of the Staff Band doing one of the things they enjoy the most, teaching and working with young musicians from the Youth Band and the Fortissimo program. Workshops were held at the Guayama Kroc Center in both the morning and afternoon. Examples of the topics covered are “How to Properly Warm Up”, “How to Build a Practice Routine”, and “Fundamentals of Percussion”. A late afternoon concert featured Triumphant Prospect (Olaf Ritman), the trombone solo The Guardian (Peter Graham) played by Matthew Luhn, and I Surrender (Marcus Venables).
On Sunday, the Staff Band was at the San Juan Central Corps for worsjip. Lt.-Colonel James LaBossiere, Staff Band Executive Officer, led the band in a time of devotional preparation, stressing the understanding and need for “love” among each other, new friends in the host division, and, most importantly, the Lord. Major Eric Rodriguez, Divisional Commander, spoke from God’s word. The Staff Band demonstrated the contrast of music for worship with items ranging from the beautiful euphonium solo When He Cometh played by Ryan McCrudden to Robert Redhead’s Corpus Christi.
New York Staff Band web site, original report by Karen Shaffstall