For the second time in 2002, the New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris) traveled north to the state of Maine. This visit included performances in Old Orchard Beach. The band arrived in Old Orchard on the afternoon of 15 June 2002, after a six-hour bus trip from the Territorial Headquarters.
The Saturday evening concert was originally scheduled to be held in the Pavilion, but inclement weather forced the event indoors at the Tabernacle. The theme of the concert was "God and Country", echoing the title of the Staff Band’s latest recording. The recording was made available publicly for the first time at the concert. Following the playing of Erik Leidzén’s classic arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner, complete with fanfare, the concert proper began with the title piece of the new recording, God and Country (William Himes). The band then continued in the patriotic theme with Battle Cry of Freedom, composed by retired Commissioner Stanley Ditmer, who was present at the concert. This piece is also included on the new recording. Gordon Ward, principal cornet, contributed with the cornet solo Swedish Hymn (arr. Peter Graham), which is associated with the words “How Great Thou art”.
The major work of the first half of the concert was And They Were Heroes, a tribute to the many victims, volunteers and workers of the terrorist attacks last September, composed by James Cheyne. Leonard Ballantine’s arrangement of the American folk tune Shenandoah, entitled ’Mid All the Traffic, The Warrior Psalm (Ray Steadman-Allen), and Elijah Rock, a vocal arrangement by Major Thomas Mack, completed the first portion of the program.
Euphonium soloist Aaron Vanderweele began the second half of the program, continuing in the American patriotic theme with the solo Home on the Range (Erik Leidzén). This was followed by a Scripture reading and then a trombone feature composed by Brenton Broadstock, My Shepherd. Following a vocal solo, Be Strong and Take Courage, sung by Raymond Livingston, the band concluded its program with Ray Steadman-Allen’s challenging arrangement of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The classic John Philip Sousa march The Stars and Stripes Forever was played as an encore and the band sent the audience home with the sweet vocal sounds of Rock of Ages.
Before returning to the greater New York area on Sunday, June 16, the band supported the services at the Old Orchard Beach corps, with an ensemble playing for the Sunday School and the full band contributing during the morning Holiness Meeting. The Staff Band will again travel to Maine in August, as it participates in the annual summer camp meetings at Old Orchard.
New York Staff Band web site