The New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris) joined many again this year in the annual pilgrimage to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, for the Camp Meetings. The Staff Band participated with musical support in the meetings for the first weekend, a march of witness and concert at the pier, as well as presenting a festival on Monday night.
The Saturday night program featured a 100-strong massed chorus that joined with the Staff Band to present Shout Aloud Salvation, with words by George Scott Railton and music arranged by Lt.-Colonel Norman Bearcroft, who was present to conduct. For many, the highlight of the evening was the cornet solo Joyous Song, played by Derek Lance. This technically demanding piece was written by Richard Phillips in 1996 for the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Staff Band, and Lance gave a remarkable performance.
A highlight of the Old Orchard Beach calendar is always the Sunday afternoon march by the Staff Band down the main street to the pier, and this year was no exception. Many holidaymakers enjoyed seeing the band and gathered round with Salvationists from across the territory for the short concert which followed the march.
The Monday night festival by the Staff Band was again received by an almost capacity audience. One visitor from Canada, who makes the trip every year to hear the Staff Band, expressed amazement at the high standard of playing despite the lack of regular weekly rehearsals during the summer “off season.” From the first item of the concert, Roger Trigg’s Festival Prelude, to the last chords of Finale from Symphony No. 4 (Tchaikovsky, arr. William Gordon), the audience was not disappointed.
Soloists featured during the concert included Christopher and Gordon Ward playing the cornet duet Arabesque (Joseph Turrin), Art Henry (tenor horn) playing The Higher Plane (Stephen Bulla) and euphonium soloist Ryan McCrudden who played Reels and Jigs (Darrol Barry).
No recent Staff Band program seems to be complete without some contribution from the talented composer and principal trombone, Dorothy Gates. The festival included two of her arrangements for the Band Chorus, which she conducted.
Brass band enthusiasts in the audience were delighted by the exceptional performance of the major work for the evening, Robert Redhead’s A Pastoral Symphony. This piece is one of many that the Staff Band recorded earlier this year and is scheduled to be included on a new CD to be released soon.
The evening, which seemed to come to a close all too quickly, concluded with the Staff Band’s signature piece, The Stars and Stripes Forever, followed by the vocal benediction Rock of Ages.
New York Staff Band web site, original report by Captain Brian Clark, NYSB Public Relations Secretary