International Staff Songsters wow West

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by Jim Anderson, bandmaster – 

THE INTERNATIONAL STAFF Songsters recently performed throughout the Western Territory.

Fabulous…inspiring…superb…wonderful…uplifting…These were only a few of the superlatives overheard at various congregations describing the impact of the International Staff Songsters (ISS) during their seven day Easter campaign in the Western Territory.

Under the leadership of their recently appointed conductor, Songster Leader Andrew Blyth, the group reached new heights of excellence in presentation and performance. Never was there any doubt, though, that the intent of their music making is the worship and adoration of Christ the redeemer and savior.

Commencing the evening before Good Friday in San Diego at the newly opened Kroc Center Theatre, the group immediately captured the hearts and minds of listeners with a scintillating and toe-tapping rendition of “Jesus is Alive.”

The theme of the tour, “Total Praise,” was evident not only through the selected repertoire but also in the body language of the songsters and the atmosphere, which they created at each venue.

At noon on Good Friday, the songsters, participated in a beautifully crafted service at Tustin Ranch and from there, the songsters moved to the largest corps in the Southern California Division, Santa Ana Temple. The spirit of praise bubbled over in this vigorous expression of Latino worship. During Easter weekend the ISS, hosted by the Pasadena Tabernacle Corps and organized by the Tabernacle songsters, experienced the very best of California hospitality. Singing again to a capacity congregation, the ISS amazed the listeners with their technical brilliance, especially during the singing of “Veni Emmanuel” (Come Lord Jesus). The newly written piece for choir, timpani and xylophone stretches the limits of contemporary choral works.

One of the most unusual highlights of the ISS tour was participation in the Easter Sunday morning sunrise service at the world famous Hollywood Bowl. The stunning effect of commencing worship in semi-darkness and concluding in brilliant sunshine is an experience to savor and remember. The songsters thrilled the 4000 strong audience with a rhythmic and exciting Easter song, “An Easter Tale,” by ISS songster Darren Bartlett.

The last three days of the visit to the Western Territory involved extensive travel, covering in total 1,650 miles from Las Vegas in the south to Seattle in the northwest.

An enthusiastic congregation, including a large number of Adult Rehabilitation program recipients, welcomed the songsters as they began their evening concert at the Las Vegas Corps by bringing the gospel message about the true light, the Light of the World.

During a devotional moment, Executive Officer, Major Bill Cochrane reminded listeners that the reality was not in the glittering facades of Las Vegas, but in the way, truth and life offered by Jesus.

The magnificent Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church in the Concord area of greater San Francisco provided the penultimate venue. Songster Leader Andrew Blyth is to be congratulated for providing at each venue music catering to every taste and always leaving the congregation wanting more.

Although not exactly sleepless when they arrived in Seattle, the songsters were certainly weary. They had sung over twenty concerts in their fourteen-day campaign. A final burst of adrenaline, however, made the festival at the Shoreline Performing Arts Center a most memorable evening.

The Western Territory thanks God for the visit of the ISS and believes that as a result the eternal destiny of many will have been transferred from darkness into light.

Hendersons open Narva, Estonia

Hendersons open Narva, Estonia

THE OPENING OF the Narva Corps in Estonia was promoted during open-air meetings,

Allen reviews Tab concert

Allen reviews Tab concert

by Barbara Allen –  “Total Praise!

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