It was good for the band to get together for a weekend in Florida recently. For many band members, it was good just to get away from some awful winter weather in Northern parts of the Territory!
The Band, as always, was on a tight schedule of rehearsals, performances, and travel. We got off to the perfect start on Thursday, when we locked the key to the truck (with all our equipment) inside the cab! I won't mention who was at fault, but I am grateful for Bernie Dake for driving the truck that weekend.
The band was privileged to have Brian Bowen conduct a portion of Thursday's rehearsal. Brian comes with tremendous experience - as New York Staff Bandmaster and as a composer and editor for many publications inside and outside the Salvation Army. He took us through "Praise" (Heaton), "The Last Amen" (Graham), and his own composition "City of God" - a delightful treatment of the song 'Marching to Zion.' We are grateful to Brian for driving through a tornado warning to be with us!
We had the pleasure of playing a short concert for the Eastern Territory retired Salvation Army Officers, after a pleasant lunch.
Friday evening featured the band in concert with the Territorial Songsters and Creative Arts Ensemble. The band commenced the concert with Stephen Bulla's "Praise Him" a great opener for any festival. "The Last Amen" was featured as well as a duet with dancer Kaitlyn Hardiman: "Shepherd Song" (Goff Richards). A spritely version of "Down to the river to pray" (Fernie) returned folks to their seats after a brief interval. The band, songsters, and creative arts all combined for a glorious finale "They shall come from the east" (Larsson) written especially for the Southern Territorial band. This moving collaboration will also be featured at Commissioning later this year. "Praise" and an impromptu encore of "Celebration" concluded the concert that was well-received by all those present.
Saturday included a morning worship service featuring "In Christ Alone" (Dr. Steve Kellner, Euphonium Soloist), and an outdoor concert in Lakeland, FL that was well-attended by members of the community and corps.
The band supported the Territorial Commander (Commissioner Donald Bell) on Sunday morning by playing among other things, "For our transgressions" (Calvert). Members of the band also formed a praise team, as well as providing uplifting songs for worship.
It was a good weekend for all concerned and we hope the folk of Florida were blessed, inspired, and challenged. We certainly enjoyed a warm reception.