The New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ron Waiksnoris) traveled to the Boston area for their first ministry weekend of the season on Friday, 23 October 2009.
The weekend began on Friday evening with a festival celebrating 125 years of Salvation Army service in Fall River. The concert was followed by a social time and dinner with members of the local Advisory Board and other friends. During the concert, the Staff Band was in fine form. Soloists included Gordon and Chris Ward, Ryan McCrudden and Dorothy Gates. Percussionist Bob Jones brought the house down with the drum kit feature Ol’ Man River. The major work of the evening was the Brian Bowen composition Hope Variations.
An early start on Saturday morning took the Staff Band to Lowell to participate in the Youth Arts Ministry with 60 enthusiastic young people. A combined session was held where Bandmaster Waiksnoris shared several video clips, discussed the Future All-Stars program and offered encouragement as something to strive for. A member of the band from each section shared a personal experience and a demonstration of their instrument. Simon Morton gave a spirited rendition of the William Tell Overture on tuba which left many of the youngsters wide-eyed! This was followed by sectional rehearsals and an opportunity for the young musicians to play with the full Staff Band.
The Saturday activities culminated in an evening festival of music played to a capacity congregation. The program was similar to the one presented on Friday night, but the major item was Robert Redhead’s Pastoral Symphony. The Staff Band concluded in their familiar fashion by playing The Stars and Stripes Forever and singing Rock of Ages.
The Staff Band traveled from their overnight accommodations at Camp Wonderland on Sunday morning to the Park Street Church in Boston. There, they took part in two morning worship services as a part of the church’s bicentennial celebrations. Dr. Gordon Hugenberger, the Senior Minister, testified that it was the Salvation Army that brought him into a relationship with the Lord when, as a teenager, he worked at camp.
Following each service, the Staff Band played to an appreciative gathering that had stayed in the sanctuary to hear more. Before leaving the church, packing the truck and boarding the bus to return to New York, the band sang Rock of Ages as a benediction to an incredible weekend. This was not only music-making at its best, but also glorifying God and fulfilling the Staff Band’s mission of bringing people into a knowledge of Jesus Christ.
New York Staff Band web site, original report by Major Brian Clark, NYSB Public Relations Secretary.