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NYSB Visits Portland, Maine

The New York Staff Band has just returned from a ministry weekend in Portland, Maine. We were there as part of the 130th Anniversary celebration weekend, of the Portland Corps. We were incredibly blessed by the preparation and the welcome with which we were received. Special thanks must go to Majors Ditmer and all those involved in making the weekend such a success.

As part of the Portland Corps 130th celebrations, the band were invited to a celebratory dinner and kettle kick off, before playing a joint concert with the USM Chorale (University of Southern Maine) at the First Baptist Church of Portland. The band opened the proceedings with Peter Graham’s ‘Phoenix’, and wowed the crown with a varied and dynamic program, which included Leidzen Montage (Himes), When I’m 64 (Gates) and Quest (Sharman). Notably, the two stand out performances of the evening were those performed in conjunction with the Chorale – Battle Hymn of the Republic (Wilhouski) & the rousing finale number, The Kingdom Triumphant (Ball). We were also blessed to have Brett Baker with us for the concert.  Brett was with us earlier in the week for a recording project featuring the music of Dorothy Gates and he played two items that will used on this recording, Come Into Our World and Dam Busters as well as one unaccompanied item, Annie Laurie.  Brett is a world class player and showed why with these wonderful performances.  Before the evening was complete, the performances commanded no less than 3 standing ovations, true testament to the excellence in Music Ministry always given wholeheartedly, by the members of the New York Staff Band.

On Sunday morning we were fortunate to take part in Worship at the Portland Corps. The full house listened intently to the Testimony of Staff Bandsman Harrison Lubin and The Word brought so powerfully by Lt Col. Kenneth W. Maynor. In moments like this, we realize that the presence of the New York Staff Band is as powerful here in a place of Worship as it is in a packed concert venue.

Our last appearance before the long ride home, was a Community Hymn Sing, in the magnificent 1900 seat Merrill Auditorium in Portland. The New York Staff Band shared the platform with the world famous Kotzschmar Organ, and led the 200 voice choir and audience in a majestic afternoon of praise. The massed Hymn Sing consisted of favorites such as ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns’, ‘In Christ Alone’ and ‘Eternal Father’, but perhaps the most memorable moment, was Dorothy Gates arrangement, Toccata – Amazing Grace. There was a stillness afterwards that gave you that moment of reflection, only found, when the power of the Holy Spirit and Music Ministry collide. It was beautiful.

It was a fabulous weekend of music ministry. Thank you to all those who came to listen and support us.

by Siran Farrar