Chicago Staff Band in the Fox Cities

On the weekend of 24–25 October 2009, the Chicago Staff Band (Bandmaster William Himes) traveled to the Fox Cities region of Wisconsin for two days of music and ministry.

The first stop of the day was at Kaukauna High School, where the Staff Band conducted a clinic led by Bandmaster Himes. He spent a great deal of time explaining the instrumentation, scoring and technique of the brass band. The clinic was well-attended and the more than 100 young people and adults were very attentive.

Following the clinic, the Staff Band proceeded to Lawrence Memorial Chapel on the campus of Lawrence University in Appleton, where they rehearsed with their hosts for the evening, the White Heron Chorale. The chorale is conducted by Dr. Paul Nesheim. The assistant conductor is John Stangel and the accompanist is Susan Neebel.

An interesting twist to the evening was the inclusion of 13 high school vocalists in the White Heron Chorale. The Chorale includes these “Master Singers” as part of the tradition of their annual fall concert.

The program for the evening was as follows:

  • Now Thank We All Our God (Cruger/Rutter, arr. Himes) – Chorale and Band
  • Deo Dicamus Gratias (Homilius) – Chorale
  • Alles was Odem Hat (Bach) – Chorale
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (Silvey) – Chorale Ensemble
  • Clear Skies (Ball) – Band, Peggy Thomas, soloist
  • Song for Lotta (Sanderstrom) – Band, Brett Tolcher, soloist
  • Dakota Dawn (Fissinger) – Chorale, Toni Kuo Weijola, soloist
  • I Often Dance (Nesheim) – Chorale
  • A Lincoln Reflection (Himes) – Chorale and Band, David Been, soloist
  • Melodies of Dvorak (arr. Steadman-Allen) – Band
  • Concertante for Cornets (Bulla) – Band
  • Prelude to Peace (Stroope) – Chorale Master Singers
  • I Love You Truly (Jacobs-Bond) – Chorale Barbershop Quartet
  • Laughing Song (Dickau) – Chorale, Suzanne Bunker Jordheim, flutist
  • Lord, Lord, You Sure Been Good to Me (arr. Alexander) – Band
  • Come, You Who Are Filled (Hal) – Chorale, Jennifer Hodges Bryan, oboist
  • What a Wonderful World – Chorale, Mary Schmidt, soprano, Bob Williams, bass
  • The Promise of Living (Copland) – Chorale and Band
  • The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Steffe, arr. Wilhousky) – Chorale and Band

At the conclusion of the concert, the Staff Band went to Christ the Rock Church to set up for their participation in the Sunday morning services, then retired to their hotel.

Sunday morning started early for the Staff Band with the first of two services at Christ the Rock Church commencing at 8:45 a.m. The church has an interesting connection with the Salvation Army, having started in the basement of the old Salvation Army building in Appleton. Then, about five years ago, the Salvation Army bought their current building in Appleton from Christ the Rock Church. During the services, the Staff Band collaborated with the church’s praise team with meaningful worship.

At the conclusion of the second service the Staff Band packed their bus and proceeded to the newly remodeled Salvation Army corps in Menasha. The Salvation Army has owned this building for five years, and has just completed a $2,000,000 renovation that includes a fully licensed day care facility, gymnasium/all-purpose room and a beautiful new worship center. After a quick setup and box lunch the Staff Band served as the duty band for the dedication of the renovated building.

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