ISB at Maidstone

The International Staff Band (Bandmaster Stephen Cobb) made its first visit to Maidstone since 2003 on the weekend of 24 – 25 October 2009, with a Saturday evening festival, Sunday worship and another program on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The congregation included current students from the International College for Officers, former members of the Staff Band and other Salvationists as well as people new to the Salvation Army. The concert commenced with Michael Kenyon’s transcription of Saint-Saëns’ Marche Militaire Française. Solo items included the usual charismatic performance by Derick Kane (euphonium) of The Song of the Brother and Kevin Ashman thrilling the crowd at his home corps with his rendition of Golden Slippers. Richard Woodrow played the flügelhorn solo So Glad – an item which was first performed at the Bandmasters Councils in 1982 by Woodrow’s predecessor, Robert Foster.

One of the main duties of the International Staff Band is to perform and present new music to the Music Council and this evening’s program saw the first performance of a jaunty short arrangement entitled Heavenward composed by William Gordon. This piece includes the songs “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” and “When We All Get to Heaven”.

The evening also saw a performance of a new composition from Peter Graham, Seize the Day, which was premiered a few weeks earlier at Regent Hall and will be featured on a new joint CD with the Black Dyke Band focusing on Graham’s music. Seize the Day is based on three spirituals, “The Gospel Train”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Amen”. This item was received with real enthusiasm by the audience.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sunday worship is a significant part of an ISB weekend where moments of personal testimony give an insight into the membership in respect to their individual commitment and relationship with Jesus Christ. At Maidstone, the morning service was followed by a march of witness accompanied by the corps folk promoting the corps community work, especially the activities for young people held during the half-term holidays.

The afternoon festival included solo performances by Jonathan Evans, Home on the Range and Carl Nielsen, Crossroads. Once again, the program included new compositions, this from from current ISB member Paul Sharman and former member Captain Martin Cordner. This new music was played alongside The Triumph of Peace, which was published in 1939 but with a message that is still very relevant for today’s age and was a rousing finale to the weekend.

During the afternoon festival the retirement, after 40 years of service, of Bandmaster Keith Thomas was marked. Bandmaster Thomas was invited to conduct the ISB in an item as he handed2 over the responsibility of corps bandmaster to Kevin Ashman.

International Staff Band, original report by Nigel Hills