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NYSB at OOB Camp Meetings 2019

Beautiful Maine weather greeted the New York Staff Band (Bandmaster Derek Lance) upon arrival at Old Orchard Beach for the 2019 Camp Meetings event at the end of July this summer. The NYSB was the “duty” band for the first weekend of this year’s camp meetings and supported the visit by the International Leader of The Salvation Army, General Brian Peddle, accompanied by his wife, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle. Continued good weather was the norm for this year’s event, which made this first-time visit by the General and his wife even more enjoyable.

The NYSB began its visit with a series of rehearsals on Thursday night and Friday morning and afternoon for its first ‘casual’ program of music along with the Eastern Territorial Songsters (S/L Gavin Whitehouse) on Friday night at the Old Orchard Beach corps. The songsters presented 2 sets of enjoyable vocal items during the program, while the band presented a program featuring some new music, including “Illuminate” (Andrew Wainwright), “He Watches” (Joel Collier) and “God is my Shelter” (Kenneth Downie). The program included some well-known slightly older band standard items, including “The Proclaimers” (Kevin Norbury). The capacity audience in the corps hall enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere that is always a highlight of this particular Friday night program.

Following a free Saturday morning and afternoon to enjoy the beach or other leisure activities, the band gathered again on Saturday night in the OOB Pavilion for the opening night of the 2019 camp meetings. General Peddle provided a powerful message and the band supported his ministry by presenting Steven Ponsford’s exciting work “Turris Fortissima” as its selection for the evening.

The band’s preliminary music made a strong impact at Sunday morning’s worship, as Joel Collier’s arrangement of “Great are you Lord” received prolonged applause, as been the case whenever this item has been used by the band. In the meeting, the band’s presentation of Eric Ball’s classic work “The Eternal Presence” was a highlight leading into another thought provoking message by the General.

Sunday afternoon’s March of Witness to the OOB Pier was again blessed with sunny and hot weather. The program at the end of the march was again shared with the Eastern Territorial Songsters and both groups presented items to a large crowd gathered at the Pier entrance for this event. Items presented by the band at the Pier included “New York, New York” (Goff Richards), “Toccata Fire” (Stephen Ponsford), “La Virgen de la Macarena” (arr. Mark Freeh): Trumpet Soloist – Michael Baker, and Amazing Grace (Richard Phillips). Following this event, the band and songsters were again on duty for the Sunday night meeting at the OOB Pavilion.

Monday night’s program at the Pavilion is typically a band or songster festival presented by the guest group. Programs by the International Staff Band, International Staff Songsters, Canadian Staff Band and the Household Troops Band have been featured in recent previous years. This year’s program by the New York Staff Band was in line with the high standards presented by these previous groups. Items presented by the NYSB in the first half of the program included “To Ask the Lord’s Blessing” (Simon Morton), “The Call of the Righteous” (Leslie Condon), “Balkan Dance” (Etienne Crausaz) and “King of the Seven Heavens” (Philip Harper).   The second half of the program was primarily dedicated to the presentation of Dorothy Gates’ monumental five movement work for brass band (and media) entitled “The Glory of Jehovah”. First presented in March 2019 at the Canadian Staff Band’s 50th Anniversary event, this 25 minute long work tells the story of the book of Exodus in descriptive fashion via music and media. The audience received this presentation with a standing ovation and sustained applause in appreciation of the work of the band and composer. To conclude the festival, NYSB alumni joined the current band on the platform to sing together the band’s signature vocal benediction “Rock of Ages” (William Bearchell).

Tom Scheibner, Assistant Territorial Music Secretary.