Christmas in Brass in New York

The New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris) had a busy weekend of Christmas performances on the weekend of 5 – 6 December 2009, including the Greater New York Annual Luncheon, a joint concert with musicians from the Manhattan School of Music, worship at the Manhattan Adult Rehabilitation Center and an afternoon festival at Times Square Corps.

The Greater New York Annual Luncheon is a fixture on the Staff Band calendar, with the band supporting the event which recognizes members of the community who have helped with the work of the Salvation Army in the region during the past year. One of the highlights this year was the appearance of Andy Pettitte, star pitcher for the New York Yankees.

Following the luncheon, the Staff Band joined with the Brass Orchestra and Trombone Choir from the Manhattan School of Music for a joint concert. Staff Bandsman Andrew Garcia, a recent graduate of the school, performed double duty, playing with both groups throughout the concert. The Brass Orchestra was led by Mark Gould, an accomplished musician who was principal trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for many years and who has also been on the faculty of the Julliard School. Present in the enthusiastic audience were Dr. Harold Burgmayer and Joseph Turrin, both of whom had compositions featured during the event. Of special interest was the performance of the young people from Manhattan Citadel. These young players shone brightly due to the hard work and guidance of Staff Bandsmen Andrew Garcia and Jon Quatela, showing what can be done with young people who have a passion for music.

Sunday morning worship was shared with friends at the Manhattan Adult Rehabilitation center in what has become an annual event. The Staff Band contributed Christmas music as well as the singing of the Band Chorus. The message was brought by Executive Officer Major Kenneth W. Maynor. A popular time of testimony-sharing was led by Staff Bandsman Steve Ditmer.

Times Square Corps was the venue for a Sunday afternoon Christmas festival featuring young musicians from Times Square. Christmas in Brass is the title of a new piece by Gavin Whitehouse which was premiered by the young people and the Staff Band. A near-capacity audience sang Christmas carols and many suggested that this also become an annual event.

New York Staff Band web site, original report by Captain Brian Clark, NYSB Public Relations Secretary