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Nassau County and 130th Annual Festival Report

The second week of May was a busy one for the New York Staff Band. On Wednesday May 10th, the band was in Garden City New York for the 36th annual Nassau County Concert. Later in the week, on Saturday May 13th, the band held their 130th annual festival in Ridgewood New Jersey with special guests, the Canadian Brass.

The 36th annual Nassau County Concert was held in the beautiful Cathedral of the Incarnation. Highlights from the concert include featured soloists Mike Baker on Trumpet, Chris Ward on Soprano Cornet, and Matt Luhn on Trombone. The band was joined by two guests; the recently retired Principal Cornet and Deputy Bandmaster of the NYSB  Gordon Ward who led the band in the Festival March “Celebration” (Condon), and trombone soloist Albert Saintilus of the Westbury Corps who performed “Peace Like a River” (arr. Power).  The night culminated with the band’s exciting performance of Robert Redhead’s “Corpus Christi”.


Nassau County Concert Program

Living Power (Davoren)

Fanfare of Praise (Redhead)

Trumpet Solo – Virtuosity (Baker) Trumpet Soloist: Mike Baker

Cornet Solo – La Calliffa (Pullin) Cornet Soloist: Chris Ward

Praise (Heaton)

Trombone Solo – The Guardian (Graham) Trombone Soloist: Matt Luhn

The Present Age (Condon)

Hallelujah Parade (Norbury)

Celebration (Condon)

Trombone Solo – Peace Like a River (Power) Trombone Soloist: Albert Saintilus

Band Chorus – Peace (Gates)

Corpus Christi (Redhead)

Rock of Ages


The New York Staff Band and Canadian Brass played to a near capacity crowd at the Westside Presbyterian Church for the 130th Annual Festival of the New York Staff Band. The Festival began with Tom Davoren’s “Living Power” which was followed by Paul Lovatt Cooper’s “Fire in the Blood”. Both pieces showed off the sheer power of the group, and Fire in the Blood displayed the band’s ability to play with finesse during the delicate solo sections of the piece.

The Canadian Brass began their first segment of the program with an arrangement of “Just a Closer Walk”, followed by two works from the Baroque period “Muy Linda” (Holborne) and “Damigella Tutti” Bella (arr. Hudson). One of the most impressive selections from the Canadian Brass on their first segment of the concert was a Piccolo Trumpet Solo arrangement of “Penny Lane” featuring Caleb Hudson. Hudson displayed excellent control and technique with his performance. The Canadian Brass concluded their set with “El Relicario” (Padilla), a piece from their most recent recording “Perfect Landing”.

The first half of the festival closed with a devotional thought by Lt Colonel James LaBossiere, and a presentation of Leslie Condon’s timeless classic “The Present Age”, which takes the listener on a journey through the life of a young Christian whose trials and tribulations are illustrated by the music and centers around the songs “I’ll Follow Thee” and “It Is Well with My Soul”.

The audience was welcomed back to their seats by the New York Staff Band for the second half of the program by Kevin Norbury’s big band style arrangement “Hallelujah Parade”. The next item on the program was unique in that it was selected by those who were attending the concert. Following the popular model of the College Basketball tournament at the beginning of March a bracket of Salvation Army marches was created to determine which march would be played at the Annual Festival. Votes were cast on the band’s website with the final result being determined in real time at the concert. During the first half of the concert audience members were encouraged to vote on the two finalists “Praise” (Heaton) and Celebration (Condon). The winner “Celebration” (Condon) was announced and the band performed the march with great style and cleanliness.

The night was a special one not only because the New York Staff Band was joined for the first time in its history by the Canadian Brass, but also because the previous four Staff Bandmasters were in attendance. Ronald Waiksnoris, Brian Bowen, Derek Smith, and Vernon Post joined current Staff Bandmaster Derek Lance for a quick photo with the Band before they presented their final piece for the evening. The New York Staff Band concluded their portion of the evening with “I Surrender” a large scale work by the young Canadian composer Marcus Venables.

The Canadian Brass kicked off their second set with a toe-tapping Dixieland style arrangement of “Amazing Grace”, which was followed by the “Vals Peruano” (Crespo). The group then featured their French Hornist Bernhard Scully, and their Trombonist Achilles Liarmakopoulos with an arrangement of WC Handy’s “Beale St. Blues”.

The New York Staff Band and Canadian Brass joined forces to play the final piece of the evening, the Libertango section from Astor Piazzolla’s “Desde Argentina con Amore” (arr. Burgmayer). The concert concluded with the New York Staff Band’s traditional encore “Stars and Stripes” (Sousa) followed by the vocal benediction “Rock of Ages”.


130th Annual Festival Program

 New York Staff Band

Living Power (Davoren)

Fire in the Blood (Lovatt Cooper)

Fanfare of Praise  (Redhead)

Canadian Brass

Muy Linda (Holborne)

Little Fugue in G minor (Bach)

Penny Lane (Lennon/McCartney)

El Relicario (Padilla)

New York Staff Band

In Perfect Peace (Downie) GS 1904

The Present Age (Condon) FS 342

Hallelujah Parade (Norbury)

Celebration (Condon)

I Surrender (Venables)

Canadian Brass

Amazing Grace (Traditional)

Vals Peruano (Crespo)

Rondo Alla Turca (Mozart)

Beale St. Blues (Handy)

New York Staff Band and Canadian Brass

Desde Argentina Con Amore (Piazzolla arr. Burgmayer)

New York Staff Band

Stars and Stripes

Rock of Ages


Brandon Finnie (NYSB, Second Baritone)