ISB Visit to Doncaster

The first weekend engagement of 2010 for the International Staff Band (Bandmaster Dr. Stephen Cobb) was a visit to Doncaster on 30 – 31 January. Proceeds from the weekend, totalling nearly £900, were donated to the Salvation Army’s relief effort in Haiti. The ISB last visited Doncaster in 1998, and since that time the corps has been through a major relocation that has seen the establishment of Doncaster Salvation Army’s Lakeside Community Church in a spectacular new set of buildings.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Upon arrival at Doncaster the band was welcomed by members of the corps who provided a roast dinner. The platform was arranged for a series of photographs of the band, partly in preparation for the upcoming tour of the USA Western Territory in March. After the photographs, the stage was reset for the concert. Such was the anticipation from the local area that the hall began to fill well over an hour before the start time of the festival.

The band’s opening item, Let Everything Praise (Martin Cordner) was enthusiastically received. It was followed by Andrew Wainwright’s arrangement of Benedictus from Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man”, which led into the invocation, which in turn was followed by Turris Fortissima (Steven Ponsford). Divisional Commander Lt.-Col. Bill Heely gave an official welcome to the band from the “Yorkshire Territory” and invited the congregation of over 450 to stand and greet the band before turning the program over to Bandmaster Cobb.

The next segment of the program featured two of the band’s long-serving soloists. Kevin Ashman (cornet) and Derick Kane (euphonium) performed contrasting solos – Ashman presenting Jubilate (Arthur Gullidge) and Kane offering Canaan’s Land (Peter Graham). The solos were separated by another Graham work, the chorus arrangement Ask.

The first half of the festival concluded with the premiere of a new work by Kenneth Downie. Variations on a Celestial Theme came to the band very recently and has real appeal, with a slightly quirky treatment of the old tune “Bright Crowns”. The congregation clearly enjoyed the piece, which was enthusiastically received.

Enthusiatic singing of “O When the Saints” by the assembled crowd opened the second half of the program, which took the form of a scripted sequence of themed items that together express praise to God for His love and care, assurances of His continued love and anticipation of eternity in Heaven. Introduced by the ISB’s Executive Officer, Colonel David Hinton, the sequence included Psalm of Thanks (Paul Sharman), Heavenward (William Gordon), So Glad (William Himes), trombone ensemble There Is a Redeemer (Ralph Pearce), Ein Feste Burg (Andrew Mackereth), vocal setting Lead the Way, In Christ Alone (Martin Cordner) and Seize the Day (Peter Graham). Colonel Hinton provided a challenging Scripture message before the band played Seize the Day. At the end of of the program, the band gave a spirited performance of Wilfred Heaton’s classic march Praise which concluded with the entire band standing for the last few bars.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

A crisp and cold Sunday morning saw members of the International Staff Band and the Doncaster Corps gather in the hall for prayer before the morning service, which was preceded by a devotional item from the band, God Has Healed (Lorne Barry). The congregation responded to the meeting led by Colonel Hinton with warmth and engagement as they participated in worship and listed to a personal testimony from Gary Terrar and then to Colonel Hinton’s Scripture message. All were delighted to see two people kneeling at the Mercy Seat at the conclusion of the meeting.

On Sunday afternoon, the program included items such as South Shields Celebration (Martin Cordner), Purpose (Paul Sharman) and Blazon (Peter Graham). Solo items included Crossroad (Stephen Bulla) played by Carl Nielsen (cornet) and Home on the Range (Erik Leidzén) played by Jonathan Evans (euphonium). Listeners were treated to moments of nostalgia with the inclusion of Minneapolis IV (Emil Söderström) and the suite Portraits from St. Paul’s Epistles (Bramwell Coles).

International Staff Band web site