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Lancaster Ministry Weekend Report

“I LOVE WATCHING YOU PLAY”

by Staff Bandsman Karen Shaffstall

October 19-21, 2018

The New York Staff Band just returned from a great weekend in the Pendel Division and more specifically, at the Lancaster Citadel Corps in Lancaster, Penna.  The first opportunity to share devotions together with the Pendel Youth Band and Pendel Brass and lead by Staff Bandsman Matt Hodgson brought me to the title of this article, “I Love Watching You Play” with reference to Zephaniah 3:17 where we come to understand that we rejoice in God because He rejoices in us when we sing and play for Him!

A beautiful fall day to board the bus and travel to Lancaster and meet up with the Pendel Brass and Pendel Youth Band.  Following a mini-concert by the NYSB featuring a brilliant piece by Roger Trigg, “Almighty” followed by a lovely new piece “Introit-O Love” by Andrew Blyth and the scintillating (FAST!) music “Russlan and Ludmilla” by Michael Kenyon the NYSB divided forces with half going to rehearse with the Pendel Brass and half with the Pendel Youth Band.  Both groups continue to demonstrate excellence in their playing and singing with the Divisional Music Director, Gavin Whitehouse and his staff of Regional Music Leaders taking leadership.

Following a good time of rehearsal and fellowship the NYSB made their way to the evening concert venue, the Calvin & Janet High Fine Arts Center in the Lancaster Mennonite High School.  A beautiful auditorium!  The concert opened with Tom Davoren’s exciting piece, “Proclamation” and quickly changed pace with Dorothy Gates lovely music, “Be Still”.  The Staff Band continued on with the first half featuring, “Southern Cross” (Bowen) and “Partita on ‘St Theodulph'” (Norbury).  It was a pleasure to share the stage with the Pendel Singers.  Under Gavin’s leadership they sang, “Prepare” (Ballantine), “Nearer My God To Thee” (Sorenson) and “He’s Been Faithful” (Kirkland).  The second half of the concert took off with, “Balkan Dance” (Crausaz), “Toccata Fire!” (Ponsford) and “Turris Fortissima” (Ponsord).  Special recognition was given to two of the longest playing and  recently retired members of the Pendel Brass & Singers, David and Donna Burgmayer.  Finally the NYSB and Pendel Brass came together to play the magnificent “Kingdom Triumphant” (Ball) and “God Be With You” (Gordon).

Sunday morning found the NYSB worshipping at the Lancaster Citadel Corps.  A lovely corps with several “glowing” and still hard-working retired Officers making this their home corps.  It was our privilege to share in worship through the playing of “Everlasting Hope”(Sharman), a brand new piece by Joel Collier “Great Are You Lord”.  Just prior to sharing the Word by the Executive Officer, Lt. Colonel James LaBossiere, the band played the very moving piece of music by Eric Ball, “The Eternal Presence”.   It was evident that the Holy Spirit was present as there were several moments of Holy silence at the conclusion of the music.

Our time together finished with the NYSB presenting an afternoon concert at a retirement residence in Lancaster, the Woodcrest Villa.  There was music for everyone’s taste…..”The Red Shield (Goffin), Manhattan (Leidzen) and South Shields Celebration (Cordner)” marches.  Popular songs, “Climb Every Mountain (Harper)”, “When the Saints Go Marching In (Richards)”, “Valero (Swearingen)”, Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel) (Harper)”, “New York, New York (Richards)” and “Amazing Grace (Himes)”.

Our wish for this weekend was certainly that the Lord would love watching us play as it was all done to bring Him glory and honor!