Brisbane Weekend for Melbourne Staff Band

The Melbourne Staff Band (Bandmaster Ken Waterworth) traveled north to Brisbane on the weekend of 19 – 21 October 2018, for a weekend which included concerts, work with young musicians, Sunday morning worship, and a joint appearance with the Brisbane City Temple Band (Bandmaster Tim Green).

On 19 October 2018, the members of the Melbourne Staff Band battled the Friday afternoon airport traffic and gathered at Melbourne Airport to check in for their flight to Brisbane. It was the start of a busy weekend. On arrival in Brisbane, the band was greeted by Bandmaster Tim Green and Bandsman Russell Luhrs, the coordinator of the trip. After collecting their instruments and equipment the members of the Staff Band headed off to their hosts for the evening.

Saturday 20 October 2018

Saturday morning found the Staff Band setting up at the New Farm Park Band Rotunda. It was a busy environment, with other events in the area including a family celebrating 100 days since the birth of a son and a meeting of the Brisbane Laughter Club. Also setting up was the Salvation Army’s Streetlevel, who would be cooking a barbecue lunch for the band. The Streetlevel coffee van was doing a roaring trade providing for those who needed an early morning caffeine fix.

Melbourne Staff Band, New Farm Park Band Rotunda, Brisbane, October 2018

Melbourne Staff Band, New Farm Park Band Rotunda, Brisbane, October 2018

The Staff Band’s recital started with a brisk performance of Wonderful Day. They performed a number of arrangements of music from movies and musical theater, including Clim Ev’ry Mountain, This Is Me, and Singin’ in the Rain. Craig Downes performed the euphonium solo You Raise Me Up, which received a great ovation. The exciting Glory, Hallelujah! and Fill the World with Glory (both written by Kevin Larsson) were enjoyed by the large crowd, and the concert concluded with Whiter (Barrie Gott). Afterward the band enjoyed the barbecue lunch cooked up by the Streetlevel team and was even offered some cake by the family celebrating 100 days!

The scene then shifted to Brisbane City Temple, where the band joined with the Fassifern and Brisbane City Temple Learners Bands and Just Brass Nambour. Bandmaster Waterworth worked with the young musicians, using is skill and experience to bring out their best. The Staff Band also joined Bandmaster Green and the Brisbane City Temple Band to prepare massed band items for the Sunday afternoon performance.

Melbourne Staff Band, Brisbane City Temple, October 2018

Melbourne Staff Band, Brisbane City Temple, October 2018

The start of the Saturday evening concert was slightly delayed as the band awaited the arrival of Bailey Lake, who had to sit for his final trumpet performance examination in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon. An enthusiastic capacity crowd greeted the Staff Band as they entered the hall and launched into Faith Is the Victory (James Curnow), followed in contrast by Salvation Is Created (arr. Olaf Ritman). Soloists featured in the first half included the euphonium section, Jamie Smith and Craig Downes, who played another Olaf Ritman composition, My All to God. Scott Downes (flügelhorn) played The Impulse of Love (Brian Hogg). The major work to conclude the first half was Eric Ball’s Resurgam, thought by many to be one of the finest brass band compositions of all time. The Staff Band gave an emotional performance of this classic work.

The toe-tapping Every Time I Feel the Spirit (Dean Jones) signaled the end of the interval. Trombone soloist and Deputy Bandmaster Paul Smith presented Blessed Assurance (William Himes). With the composer “in the building”, it was appropriate to feature a bracket of compositions by Sam Creamer, the lively The Kingdom Is Theirs and the meditative Enough for Me. The evening concluded with two pieces especially written for the Staff Band, Rise (Martin Cordner) and Win the World (Paul Sharman).

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Sunday commenced with a Musician’s Spiritual, with the Staff Band joining with the band and songsters from Brisbane City Temple. This devotional time was led by Darren Waterworth, who interviwed the Staff Band’s very own marathon man, Ken Marsh and long-distance cyclist Ryan Van Gaalen. He encouraged those present to rely on God’s leading our lives in all situations.

The music presented in the morning service included The Break of Day (Steven Ponsford), What a Beautiful Name (Sam Creamer), Scott Downes with a flügelhorn solo entitled How Deep the Father’s Love (Andrew Mackereth), and That I May Love (Ralph Hultgren). Bandsman Andrew Short gave the message, which presented a challenge to take hold of what God has placed in our hands. Major Dean Clarke led a time of prayer at the conclusion of the service.

Brisbane City Temple Band and Melbourne Staff Band, combined ensemble, October 2018

Brisbane City Temple Band and Melbourne Staff Band, combined ensemble, October 2018

The Staff Band’s final engagement for the weekend was a PSA (“pleasant Sunday afternoon”) which commenced with Brisbane City Temple Band performing two numbers by Sam Creamer, Praise Machine and The Cry of Victory. They also presented the cornet duet Synergy (Martin Cordner), featuring Rodney Everitt and Greg Wilson. Contributions from the Melbourne Staff Band included March Spiritoso (Steven Ponsford), Strong to Deliver (Olaf Ritman), and euphonium soloist Jamie Smith performing El Olam (Roger Trigg). For many, the highlight of the weekend was the Staff Band’s performance of My Strength, My Tower (Dean Goffin), with special mention for the “end chair” players, Dean Rusling and Jamie Smith, for handling the demanding solo passages.

The Fassifern and Brisbane Citry Temple Learners and Just Brass Nambour brought down the house when they joined with the Staff Band to present Classics in Brass (William Himes). To conclude the weekend, the Brisbane City Temple Band and the Melbourne Staff Band joined together, performing The Ambassadors (Peter Graham) and They Shall Come from the East (Kevin Larsson).

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