Live in London

International Staff Band & New York Staff Band
Conductors: Bandmaster Derek W. Lance; Dr Stephen Cobb; Peter Graham
Regent Hall, London
Saturday 25th March

The New York Staff Band’s latest visit to the UK came to a fine close with this sell-out concert at Regent Hall, home to their hosts, who welcomed them to the stage with a rousing rendition of the march ‘The Invincible Army’  by Erik Leidzen.

Although there were some small amendments to the printed programme, the Americans still had a plethora of repertoire to call upon under the energised direction of Bandsmaster Derek W. Lance (they had already performed in Sale, Birmingham and Norwich), with Philip Harper’s upbeat ‘Worship the King’  followed by the precision pulse of ‘Hear the Call’  by Marcus Venables.  


The centrepiece of their first half contribution was ‘The Creation Story’; an ‘interactive worship experience’ that welcomed praise in its many forms – including the urge to dance or sing.

It was certainly no brass band version of the Haydn oratorio – more an ‘Inclusive Person’s Guide’ with a great bit of ELO ‘Mr Blue Sky’  leading a series of clever arrangements from Coldplay to the thumping ‘How Great Thou Art’  to complement the biblical narrative.

It was certainly no brass band version of the Haydn oratorio – more an ‘Inclusive Person’s Guide’ with a great bit of ELO ‘Mr Blue Sky’  leading a series of clever arrangements from Coldplay to the thumping ‘How Great Thou Art’  to complement the biblical narrative.

Stephen Cobb and the International Staff Band hit their straps after the elongated break with Shostakovich’s ‘Folk Festival’, before ‘The Living God’  by Dorothy Gates (who played trombone with the New York Staff Band) was played with tender obliqueness. 

Contrasting elements

Contrasting elements followed with Andrew Wainwright’s metaphoric ‘Horizon - The Promise of the Lord’, Eric Whitacre’s ‘The Seal Lullaby’, touchingly shaped by Richard Woodrow, and Peter Graham’s bubbly ‘Renaissance’.

Packed onto the stage like red-jackets sardines, the massed bands items started with the fun of ‘A la Manera’  and the march ‘The Ambassadors’  (conducted by Peter Graham), before the devotional led into the finale ‘My Comfort and Strength’  to round off a concert of uplifting multi-denominational music making.

Iwan Fox  

The concert can be enjoyed at: http://www.wobplay.com

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