USA Tour Diary – October/November 2007

Garry AmbroseReports

Washington, DC – Tuesday 30 October

Alexandria Citadel, Washington DC - Click for larger picture

The band woke to a massive American breakfast with everyone feeling fresh as it felt like 12.00! We travelled into Washington in the morning and had some
time for sight seeing and managed to get to Capitol Hill and a quick trip around the Smithsonion Air and Space Museum.

Shortly after a big lunch at an Italian restaurant we gave a short performance outside the Lincoln memorial with the Washington monument as our backdrop. After having a few minutes to take pictures on the steps to
the Lincoln memorial we boarded the coach again and headed to Alexandria Citadel where we would be giving our evening concert.

After walking out to a packed
hall we started with the march Crusaders and the first half saw our first
two soloists of the night with both Maurice Patterson and Andrew Justice turning in solid performances of Wondrous Day and Rhapsody for trombone respectively. The
first half came to a close with Stephen Bulla’s Images for brass which was given a great response.

Stephen Bulla led the band at the beginning of the second half conducting his own march New
York 90
before the band played a rather shorter second half including the
cornet duet Quicksilver with military bandsmen Ralph Brill and Tim Hynd taking centre stage. The evening came to an exciting end with a performance of Turris Fortissima before the obigatory encore of Red Shield.

By the end of the march, not only was the band on its feet but the entire hall, showing that the first concert had been well received. Next stop, York.

Tim Hynd

York, Pennsylvania – Wednesday 31 October

York, Pennsylvania - Click for larger picture

Following a rather short night’s sleep at Camp Happyland, it was time to eat breakfast, board the bus and leave for York, PA. On arrival at York Corps, we were greeted by the CO, former NYSB bass trombonist Major Darren Mudge, and Divisional Music Director Bandmaster Dr Harold Burgmayer. After consuming another generous meal, it was time to go to the Christian School of York to present a short concert with a workshop on the instruments of a band.

The band played The Pioneers (James Anderson) and Colne (Tom Rive) to show the kind of music we use on a regular basis, before presenting various excerpts from the repertoire to explain what each section of the band does. Students were invited to have a go at various instruments, being shown how to play by each member of the band who had given a short demo. Inviting the music teacher to don a moustache and sombrero to dance and play maracas to ‘El es el Senor’ (Dean Jones) seemed to be a popular move
with the audience of around 250 students.

From the school, it was on to the Yorktowne Hotel to book in and take a half hour break to stroll the local area or fresen up, before walking back to the SA hall on the next block for yet another generous meal.

The evening concert was held in the Pulio Centre for the Performing Arts at the Penn State University. This was a fantastic, very recently built auditorium to seat 1000 people, a great concert hall and a real priviledge
to play there. The stage was set, the bandsmen changed into uniforms, pre-festival prayers said and shoes squeaked and all was ready to go for the downbeat with Crusaders (Dean Goffin), followed by Maurice Patterson’s cornet solo, Don’t doubt him now (Len Ballantine, arr. Craig Woodland).

The concert was hosted by the York Corps and billed as a ‘Thank you to the community’, allowing it to be free admission with invitations having gone to all Advisory Board members and donors in the area, as well as friends in
the community. Following the opening prayer and introductions from the local CO, Lieut-Col Lincoln Parkhouse’s ability to communicate with the audience was particularly evident as he guided the audience through the concert.

Tim Hynd & Ralph Brill play Quicksilver, York, PA  - Click for larger picture

Andrew Justice wowed the crowd with Rhapsody for Trombone and band (Ralph Pearce), before the band played Valero (James Swearingenn, arr. Sandy Smith) with a fine flugel solo from Paul Williams, followed by
Symphony of Thanksgiving (Dean Goffin).

Announcing the end of the interval, the younger members of the band, under YPBL Nick Samuel played Ray Steadman-Allen’s Jubilee Day. The second half of the programme continued with Tylney Hall, (Dean Goffin), Joyful, joyful (Len Ballantine), an astounding rendition of Quicksilver (Peter Graham) from cornet duetists Welsh Guards Musician Ralph Brill and RAF
Musician Tim Hynd, and Dean Goffin’s meditation Wonderful Healer, to lead into the Colonel’s devotional thought. Turris Fortissima (Steven Ponsford), written for the band’s tour, was received with yet another standing ovation and rapturous applause before the traditional encore of The Red Shield (Henry Goffin) to bring the crowd back to their feet yet again.

A quick pack down and trip back to the hotel led to a very welcome night’s sleep.

May all who heard the band have heard the Message of Christ, and may it remain with them for a long time to come.

Nick Samuel

Schenectady, New York State – Thursday 1 November

The band met for breakfast at the SA hall in York where we were again well catered for. The local CO sent us on our way with some words of appreciation and a thought for the day. Our journey north took us 150 miles to the Army’s Eastern Territorial Headquarters in New Jersey where we had lunch and an opportunity to visit the NY Staff Bandroom and browse in the trade shop. Our ultimate destination for the day was Schenectady, another 150 miles north of New York City. The venue for the evening’s concert was East Glenville Community Church, an impressive modern church with a high ceiliing and a large number of ancillary rooms.

Schenectady, New York State - Click for larger picture

The evening programme commenced with the Festival March Crusaders which had featured on all of the evening programmes so far. This was contrasted with Maurice Patterson’s presentation of Don’t doubt him now. William Himes’ Cause for Celebration excited the large crowd gathered, who then enjoyed Andrew Justice’s trombone solo Rhapsody on an American Theme.

Among the audience of 350 plus were a number of people who had travelled hundreds of miles to be with us including a number of staff bandsmen and at least 2 people from Canada. El es el Senor and Pastime with Good Company were enthusiastically received and were a highlight for a female officer in the congregation who originated from Cuba. The first half finished with Symphony of Thanksgiving with the exciting finale drawing prolonged applause from the crowd.

The younger members of the band played Righteouness, Peace and Joy to bring people back to their seats after the interval. Tylney Hall, Valero and Quicksilver followed. Wonderful Healer preceded Lincoln Parkhouse’s scripture presentation which linked in well with Images of Brass. The performance of this work led to a standing ovation with the crowd wanting to hear more. Joyful, joyful was the first encore, before the audience were sent on their way with the sound of the Red Shield ringing in their ears.

Richard Hill

New York – Friday 2 November

A day of exciting contrasts. The band left their hotel at 7.30 am to take part in the Schenectady corps breakfast plan for the homeless. The six youngest bandsmen gave
a short programme of music which included an excellent trombone solo by Ben Horton. The whole band then took breakfast with transients. It was a very
humbling and moving experience.

The band then headed for New York City and were allowed a few hours of free time. Seeing Ground Zero was particularly poignant. At 4 pm the band was
at Greater New York division with the New York Staff Band in readiness for the evening’s concert – Profile Night XXIX with the music of Commisioner Sir Dean Goffin. In the hall where General Evangeline Booth first spoke to the
American public, the band shared the platform with the NYSB, Philip Smith, cornet soloist, and the Greater New York Youth Chorus. The audience thrilled to the rendition of the cornet solo, Victorious; Rhapsody in Brass (NYSB) and an awesome interpretation of Symphony of Thanksgiving (ECB). But the most moving piece of the evening was Enfield’s performance of Wonderful Healer – which somehow took us back to the beginning of the day when we had witnessed practical Christianity in action.

Delia Patterson

Montclair, New Jersey – Saturday 3 November

After a 7am jog around the beautiful setting of the Star Lake Camp and light breakfast, the band set out for Montclair Citadel at 8.45am, arriving at 9.30am (it should be pointed out that not all the band members attended the ‘jog’, but those that did were in their thoughts!).

At present the Montclair Citadel corps is being housed by the local Presbyterian Church and a stunning suite of buildings it is. As we pulled up it was obvious there was a keenness about the day as we were by no means the first to arrive. The bands taking part for the day were Harlem Temple (B/M Ken Burton), Hartford Citadel (Captain Celestin Nkounkou), Hempstead Citadel (B/M Chris Ward), Kearny Corps (B/M Jeff Barrington), Montclair Citadel (B/M Charles Baker), Manchester Citadel (B/M Michael Orfitelli), Philidelphia Citadel (B/M Charmaine Cavenaugh), Redbank Corps (Bandsman Frank Bennett), The School for Officer Training ( Major Philip Ferreira) and the Spring Valley Corps (B/M Derek Lance).

Massed bands at Montclair - Click for larger picture

Today was a slight ‘breather’ for the band and it started with a massed bands session (pictured right) at 10am during which each participating bandmaster had the opportunity to conduct a tune of their choice. The sound was ‘full’ to say the least, with approximately 200 musicians giving it their all along with very different and characteristic styles with the baton.

At 11am we moved on to a ‘Session with Enfield Band’. This was lead by Bandmaster Blyth who took the audience through different techniques and thoughts used whilst rehearsing the band on a particular piece of music. At this point huge thanks must to go to Ron Waiksnoris, Bandmaster of the New York Staff Band, who very ably stood in on soprano at the last minute after Tim Buckle suffered a swollen lip!

There was a slight pause in proceedings as we all stopped for lunch. This gave us a great opportunity to mix and chat with fellow bandsman and then at 1.15pm the Master Classes began. I personally joined the class for euphoniuims and baritones, led by Aaron VanderWeele who spoke about different rehearsal techniques and also opened discussion by dealing with different questions and problems from the group. Not only did he talk about playing the euphonium he also demonstrated the art very ably indeed. I was also very impressed with Aaron VanderWeele the person who, not only showed us his ability on the euphonium, but who also came across as a very devoted Christian man.

At 2.30pm we had the Cavalcade of Bands. This gave us a chance to sit back and enjoy the music as each band played two pieces. Each band was very different in setup but every band gave 100% and it was a thoroughly enjoyable festival. This took us through to approximately 4.30pm when we packed down and had dinner. When we’d finished the meal we departed for Glenfield Middle School in Montclair which was to be our venue for the evening festival. The festival was well attended and enthusiastically enjoyed which lifted the band.

Once again Maurice Patterson turned in an emotional performance of Don’t doubt him now whilst our other soloist of the evening, Andrew Justice, won over the audience with Rhapsody for trombone and band before the first half came to a conclusion with Images for Brass. The second half began in its usual fashion with the younger members of the band, helped tonight by Andrew Justice on trombone. With last night’s accommodation in mind, they gave a rousing rendition of the march Star Lake, including the drum beats by all stomping their feet at the appropriate moments. The last piece of the night was Turris Fortissima which once again brought the audience to their feet. As usual the evening ended with the Red Shield which again roused the audience to a standing ovation that capped an altogether great day.

After a quick pack down and lengthy chats with those who had come to listen, it was back on the coach and off to our overnight accommodation in Eatontown, New Jersey. We were due to arrive at 10pm but after a navigational malfunction (or perhaps the map was upside down!!) we finally arrived at 11.30pm. Thanks must go at this point to Perry, our driver, who remained unflappable and showed us some great and daring moves whilst trying to get us back on the ‘right’ road.

Andy Scott

Red Bank, New Jersey – Sunday 4 November

Another bright blue sky saw the band depart from our overnight hotel in leafy Eatontown NJ and travel the short distance to the impressive new corps facility at Red Bank. Coffee and pastries welcomed us, and the morning Holiness meeting was shared with the local corps folk. Led by our executive officer Lt Col Lincoln Parkhouse, the meeting featured a positive testimony by Andy Scott and a cornet solo by Carl Neilson.

Lunch in the basement hall preceded an afternoon festival to over 100 locals and visitors including
Lt Col and Mrs Bearcroft. The programme included the march Sovereignty, solos by Maurice Patterson and Andrew Justice, the by now ubiquitous cornet
duet Quicksilver, by Ralph Brill and Tim Hynd, complete with a spookily synchronised bow, and El Es El Senor with additional percussion from a Mexican bandit looking suspiciously like Lt Col Bearcroft.

The short bus journey to Newark International airport signalled the end of another milestone tour by the band, particular mention being made of the contribution of our youngest members in the thanks.

Andrew Justice