The Melbourne Staff Band (Bandmaster Ken Waterworth) made its first Sunday visit to a local Melbourne corps for 2012 on 29 April, visiting Greensborough Salvation Army in the North East suburbs. A full day was scheduled, including an evening commitment, which was unusual for most of the current members of the band.
Some adjustments had to be made in the band because of absent members. Caroline Holman moved from solo cornet to flügelhorn because Scott Downes was not present. There was also a shuffle in the trombone section, as bass trombonist Clinton Fisk was overseas to attend a family wedding. Graeme Faragher was on bass trombone and Stuart Lees moved from the percussion section to second trombone. First trombone was covered by an “amateur” from Sydney, virtuoso Ron Prussing.
The morning service was well-attended in the small but cozy citadel. The Staff Band provided a prelude with The Sweetest Name I Know (James Anderson), The Joy of Loving Hearts (Kenneth Downie) and Soli Deo Gloria (William Himes).
After a welcome from the Corps Officer, Major Stephen Wallis, the Staff Band’s executive officer, Lt.-Colonel Ian Hamilton, led a responsive reading which led into the opening congregational song, “Eternal God, Unchanging”. The time of worship continued with Craig Downes leading the songs “Open My Eyes, Lord”, “Shout to the Lord” and “Give Thanks”, followed by a prayer time.
Band Secretary Darren Waterworth presented an exuberant children’s story, getting the kids to measure different things around the hall, some of which were the tallest bandsman (Dean Rusling), Ron Prussing’s trombone, the piano and a B-flat tuba. The message was that we can measure material things but we cannot measure the love of God because it is so infinitely big.
The Staff Band’s newest member, Ryan van Gaalen, gave his inaugural testimony, sharing the setbacks in his life and how they were overcome through faith in God’s leading.
Following the offering the Staff Band presented a new soprano cornet solo from the pen of Howard Davies entitled From the Heart of Jesus Flowing, played very expressively by Dean Rusling.
Major Janette Shepherd read from Scripture, which led beautifully into Rebecca Raymond’s vocal rendition of Blessings (Laura Story). “Solid Rock” was the next congregational song, which flowed into Lt.-Colonel Hamilton’s message. He spoke about not neglecting the old, using the Old Testament story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
The meeting concluded with a time of reflection using the chorus “I Worship You, Almighty God” and a final congregational song, “God Is With Us”.
After the members had a lunch and fellowship time at the citadel, they moved into a busy afternoon. The first stop was at Greensborough Plaza Shopping Centre, where the Staff Band presented a 45-minute indoor recital. More reinforcement arrived for the cornet section in the person of John Collison, who joined the band for this recital and then remained with them for the rest of the day. Music performed at the Plaza included:
- Light-walk (Barrie Gott)
- Heavenbound (Paul Sharman), trombone feature
- El es Señor (Dean Jones)
- New York Profile (Richard Phillips)
After quickly packing up, the band went to their next destination, the Aged Care Facility at Vasey House in Bundoora. The members of the band were given a quick tour of the complex before settling in to one of the lounge rooms for their performance. The room was decked out magnificently in ANZAC day paraphernalia. Despite having a very confined space to work with, the Staff Band managed to present a 30-minute musical treat for the residents. Favorite hymns “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” were well-received. Rebecca Raymond sang Your Grace Still Amazes Me (arr. Hogg) and The Prayer (arr. Jones). Other music included Abide with Me (Sam Creamer) and the trombone feature Heavenbound (Paul Sharman).
The band then returned to the citadel where they had some time to relax before heading into the sports hall for a light tea with the people of the corps before the evening concert.
The hall was again full to hear what the band could produce after a long day of performances. First on the agenda was Kevin Larsson’s feel-good number Fill the World with Glory. Features on the night included Garry Todd (cornet) with Flourish (Sharman), Jamie Smith and Craig Downes with the euphonium duet Brillante (Peter Graham) and the trombone feature Heavenbound (Paul Sharman). Rebecca Raymond delighted the listeners with Brian Hogg’s arrangements of At a Time Like This and Hosanna.
After a short devotional time led by Lt.-Col. Hamilton, the band presented the Australian premiere of Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s Fire in the Blood, which received a great response from those in attendance. The final number from the band was They Shall Come from the East (Larsson) and the night ended with the congregation singing In Christ Alone.
After Major Wallis and Corps Bandmaster Kevin Drinkwell conveyed their thanks to the Staff Band and pronounced the benediction, the band played the well-known march Emblem of the Army (Arthur Gullidge).
Melbourne Staff Band web site