As usual, the International Staff Band (Bandmaster Stephen Cobb) had a number of meaningful engagements during the Christmas season.
Parliamentary Carol Service
This is an annual event, arranged in partnership with the Speaker's Office. The service was led by the Staff Band's Executive Officer, Major John Wainwright. This has become a significant event for both the Staff Band and the over 500 members of Parliament and staff who attend the lunch-hour service. This year, the service included participation by prayer from the Territorial Commander, Commissioner Shaw Clifton and the Speaker's Chaplain, Canon Robert Wright. The Speaker himself, Rt. Hon. Michael Martin MP, read Scripture. Major Bill Cochrane, who serves as Territorial Secretary for Communications, also participated. Following the service, the band and Territorial leadership were invited to the Speaker's Apartment for a buffet lunch.
Territorial Carol Service at Royal Albert Hall
One of the world's grand old concert halls, London's Royal Albert Hall has long been associated with major Salvation Army events, dating back to the time of the Founder. One of these events is the Annual Territorial Carol Concert. The 2005 event was produced by John Doyle and featured the ISB, the International Staff Songsters and a massed childrens' choir. Featured soloists included Michael Clack on the organ and Rebecca and John Hooper on harp and violin. The band provided backing for the congregational carols and contributed several items, including Infant Holy, I Wonder As I Wander, The New-Born Babe and Troika. The event also included appearances by several entertainment celebrities, including George Alagiah, Penelope Keith and Pam Rhodes.
“Listen to the Band” Broadcast
The International Staff Band was featured on a special Christmas edition of BBC Radio 2's “Listen to the Band” program on 23 December 2005. Among the items played on the broadcast were Christmas Joy, Joyous Carillon, Troika and The Little Lord Jesus.
End of Year Rehearsal
It has become a tradition for the last rehearsal in a calendar year to be a time hen former members of the Staff Band come in and share music and fellowship. For 2005, several former members attended, including Commissioner Geoffrey Dalziel, Roland Cobb, Maurice Cooper, Major George Whittingham and Gordon Hill. Also in attendance were two more recent principal players, David Daws and Simon Birkett.
In addition to the various visitors, the event also served as the five-year anniversary for current players David Winch, Nicola Redhead and Jonathan Evans. Bandmaster Cobb mentioned the Staff Band's current schedule of ministry and read some moving words from a letter by former member Ian Hankey.
Following a time of refreshment and fellowship, the Staff Band performed a short “concert”, including a new march by Kenneth Downie, Praise Tribute, The Message of Christmas (Leslie Condon), and None Other Name (Erik Leidzén). This was followed by a closing devotional thought from the Staff Band's current Executive Officer, Major Wainwright.
International Staff Band web site