New York Staff Band in Florida

The New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris) traveled to central Florida on the weekend of 25 – 28 January 2008.

It was sunny and 24 F° in New York City when the Staff Band boarded the plane and took off for Orlando, Florida. When they arrived, the sun was the same and the temperature was a pleasant 65 F°. The weekend trip took the Staff Band to The Villages, Winter Haven and Vero Beach; in each location the group was greeted by enthuiastic audiences, giving them a great opportunity to share the Gospel through music and to share the mission of the Salvation Army.

The Staff Band’s first stop was The Church on the Square in The Villages. The group was greeted by George Holmes, a former member of the Staff Band, who helped coordinate and make arrangements for the concert. The audience for the concert numbered about 700, many of them retired Salvationists from the USA Eastern Territory now residing in Florida. The Staff Band opened the concert with the Olympic Fanfare. Other items during the 90-minute performance included Breezin’ Down Broadway,Scirocco, Whirlwind (cornet soloist Gordon Ward), Bound for Jubilee (Band Chorus), The Old Rugged Cross (trombone soloist Burt Mason), Rhapsody in Brass, New York, New York, Bravura (euphonium soloist Aaron VanderWeele), Scarborough Fair, Ride the Chariot (Band Chorus), The Light of the World (conducted by George Holmes) and Call of the Cossacks.

On Saturday morning, the band boarded a bus at 7:00 a.m. and headed for Winter Haven to conduct a Music Councils and mini-concert for Salvationists from the Florida Division. The Divisional Music Director, Stephen Burn, and the corps officers from Winter Haven hosted the event, which provided many budding musicians an opportunity to learn from and play with the Staff Band. At the conclusion of the Music Councils, the Staff Band presented a mini-concert.

The next stop was in Vero Beach, where Cal Green and Pastor Robert Baggott of the Community Church of Vero Beach were responsible for the invitation and financial resources for the trip. Upon arrival, the Staff Band was taken to John’s Island where they met with the billets provided by the church. A dinner held at a private residence allowed those hosting members of the band to both enjoy a good meal together and to learn a little more about the Salvation Army. During the dinner, the Band Chorus sang Bound for Jubilee and Ride the Chariot. A jazz ensemble, playing arrangements by band member Dorothy Gates, also provided entertainment.

On Sunday morning, the Staff Band participated in two worship services at the Community Church of Vero Beach. The band joined with the church choir for two songs, His Provision and All That I Am, with church musical director Jose Daniel Flores conducting. In addition, the Staff Band played Intrada on “Duke Street”, The Light of the World and A Fanfare of Praise.

Following an enjoyable afternoon spent with their billets, the members of the Staff Band returned to the church for an evening concert, greeted once again by an enthusiastic crowd. The concert program consisted of Olympic Fanfare, Minneapolis IV, To Set the People Free (cornet duet played by Michael Baker and Derek Lance), Scirocco, Bound for Jubilee and Ride the Chariot (both sung by the Band Chorus), Motherless Child (cornet soloist Gordon Ward), Call of the Cossacks, When the Saints Go Marching In, The Old Rugged Cross (trombone soloist Burt Mason), Bravura (euphonium soloist Aaron VanderWeele) and Variations on “Maccabeus”.

Because the Staff Band’s return flight was not scheduled until Monday evening, members were able to spend some time on Monday at Disney’s Epcot Center.

New York Staff Band web site