MSB Opens for MSO

On 24 February 2007, the Melbourne Staff Band (Bandmaster Ken Waterworth) took the stage at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl as the “opener” for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Free Concert Series.

ABC Radio host Derek Guille introduced the Staff Band and Bandmaster Waterworth, then turned the microphone over to Major Len Turner, the Staff Band's Executive Officer. With Major Turner acting as compère, the Christian message behind the band's performance was brought forward.

The program was a mixture of classical transcriptions and brass band compositions. Items from the classical repertoire included Allegro Deciso (George Frederick Handel, arr. Collins), Dance of the Tumblers (Rimsky-Korsakov, arr. Brian Bowen), Pavane (Gabriel Fauré, arr. Kevin Norbury), and Shepherds Hey (Percy Grainger, arr. Richard Squibb).

As usual, the Staff Band's soloists were featured. Jamie Smith and Mark Hamilton presented the euphonium duet Brillante (Peter Graham). Another Graham arrangement, the melodic Swedish Hymn, was played by cornet soloist Neil Roper. This Swedish folk tune is associated with Stuart K. Hine's hymn “How Great Thou Art”. The trombone section was featured in My Shepherd, arranged by Australian composer Brenton Broadstock.

Works for the full band included Stephen Bulla's Chorale and Toccata and two pieces by Kenneth Downie, Praise Tribute and the challenging King of Heaven.

By the time that the Staff Band's performance ended, more than 12,000 people had gathered. Comments from members of the audience and from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra management were extremely positive. Commissioner James Knaggs, who attended with his wife, Commissioner Carolyn Knaggs, referred to the performance in his online blog, “... the band performed with excellence and grace. Major Len Turner, the Executive Officer, led the program with words of encouragement, life and hope. We are all proud to be Salvationists.”

Melbourne Staff Band web site