NYSB Under the Weather in Philly

The New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris) journeyed to Philadelphia on 15 February 2003, just in time for the largest snow storm of the year. The weather caused the cancellation of the scheduled events on Sunday afternoon, but the band persevered through the Saturday night and Sunday morning performances. The weekend was hosted by the Music Department of the Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division (Pendel), headed by Divisional Music Director Dr. Harold Burgmayer.

The events of the weekend were centered around the Roxborough Citadel Corps, located in the northwestern section of Philadelphia. The weekend’s events began on Saturday afternoon, when the members of the Staff Band were divided amongst several groups representing different levels of the Pendel music program. These groups included the Pendel Brass, with Staff Bandmaster Waiksnoris guest-conducting; the Youth Band, led by Ray Kull, and the Prep Band, led by Major Andrew Murray with assistance from guest conductor Major Philip Ferreira.

Each of the groups participated in the afternoon program. The Prep Band presented Power in the Blood and featured three of its members in the trio Do Lord. The Youth Band contributed three selections, including The Phoenician (Ralph Pearce). Jason Collier played the horn solo Nothing But Thy Blood (conducted by the soloist’s father) and Staff Band baritone specialist Ary St. Fleur conducted the march Valiant Heart. Next up was the Pendel Brass, with Staff Band members sitting in. Selections included Come and Get Saved and Raymond Livingston, accompanied by the Pendel Brass, performing a piece written for him by Bandmaster Burgmayer, Favorite Song of All. The Staff Band contributed Saints on Parade and accompanied the Pendel Drama Team in Chariots of Fire.

On Saturday evening, the Staff Band gave a concert at the Roxborough Presbyterian Church, located near Roxborough Citadel. The Pendel Drama Team, Timbrelists, and Singers also participated in the concert. Featured items in the concert included Journey into Freedom (Eric Ball) and Gaelforce (Peter Graham). The concert concluded with John Philip Sousa’s classic patriotic march "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and the Staff Band’s traditional vocal benediction, Rock of Ages.

On Sunday morning, the Staff Band shared breakfast and morning worship with the Roxborough Citadel Corps, providing preliminary music including Shine On Us (William Gordon), The Call of Christ (Norman Bearcroft) and the band chorus singing In Me. The band contributed to the worship atmosphere during the Holiness Meeting with Erik Leidzén’s exquisite meditiation, The Call. The message of the morning was given by the band’s executive officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Gil Reynders. The Staff Band closed the morning’s worship with Leonard Ballantine’s I Know Thou Art Mine.

A Sunday afternoon concert had been scheduled to conclude the weekend, but the increasing snowfall (which would eventually reach record levels up and down the East Coast of the United States) caused the band to depart immediately following lunch at Roxborough Citadel.

New York Staff Band official site