The 5th annual Brass Band Weekend in Kingston, New York, was held on 17 – 18 November 2006. Featuring the New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris), the event was sponsored by the Kingston Citadel Corps, led by corps officers Captain James C. Kisser, Jr. and Auxiliary Captain Deborah L. Kisser.
An audience of more than 500 was in attendance at the Saturday evening festival, held in the auditorium J. Watson Bailey Middle School. The program was co-chaired by the Staff Bandmaster and the Staff Band’s Executive Officer, Major Richard Munn. The concert began with Erik Leidzén’s familiar arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner. Featured solo items included Whirlwind (Peter Graham) – Gordon Ward, cornet; The Old Rugged Cross (Erik Leidzén) – Burt Mason, trombone; and Better World (Norman Bearcroft) – Aaron VanderWeele, euphonium. Lt.-Colonel Norman Bearcroft and his wife, Major Kathleen Bearcroft, were in attendance at the festival, celebrating their fourth wedding anniversary.
Other items by the Staff Band included two items by Leonard Ballantine, Since Jesus and Covenant Worship, Call of the Cossacks (Peter Graham), Just a Closer Walk, and Sounds Like Christmas (Norman Bearcroft). A long-standing feature of Staff Band concerts is the singing of the Band Chorus, led by Major Thomas V. Mack. Their contributions included Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit (arr. John Humdberg), To Sing Your Grace (R. Robinson/T. Mack), and their signature benediction, Rock of Ages (arr. Erik Leidzén). The Staff Band also involved the audience with a sing-along of familiar Christmas carols and gave a rousing rendition of The Stars and Stripes Forever as a postlude.
During the festival, an observance of the 120th anniversary of the Salvation Army “opening fire” in Kingston was conducted, with Kingston City Clerk Kathy Janaczek (on behalf of the Mayor, James Sottile) presented Captain Kisser with a read-and-white street sign bearing the legend “The Salvation Army Way”, which will be installed on the block of the street where the Citadel is located. The festival also served as the official kick-off for the local Red Kettle Campaign, conducted by Captain Kisser and Advisory Board chairperson Karen Flynn. Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company, represented by William Flynn, and Kingston Kiwanis Club, represented by Reverend Richard Mueller, were recognized for exceptional service during the 2005 kettle season.
On Sunday morning, the Staff Band joined more than 450 persons for an interactive worship time at the Maple Ridge Bruderhof Community in Utica Park, New York. The congregation represented both the Bruderhof community and the Kingston Citadel Corps. The morning message was brought by Major Munn, with the text being 2 Timothy 1:1-14. At the end of the meeting, the audience prompted a mini-concert, leaving their seats and surrounding the band in encouragement.
Following lunch at the Bruderhof community, the Staff Band made its way to the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston. Staff from the mall moved chairs and tables from the Food Court, and the band set up, with diners being seated in an “in-the-round” formation. More than 2000 holiday shoppers were exposed to the ministry of the band during this performance, which included inspirational, patriotic and seasonal selections.
New York Staff Band web site, original report by Captain James C. Kisser, Jr.