New York Staff Band is a hit in Pacific Northwest
Concert tour marks first visit to the area by the famed band.
by Barbara Blix, Major –
Months of planning came to fruition recently as east met west when the New York Staff Band made its first-ever appearance in the Pacific Northwest, under the leadership of Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris, Chorus Leader Major Thomas Mack, and Executive Officer Major Richard Munn, Eastern Territorial Secretary for Program and Ambassador for Prayer and Spiritual Formation.
Following a morning of sightseeing in the majestic Columbia River Gorge, the band went right to work in an almost non-stop series of concerts and outdoor ministry.
The impetus of the band’s visit came through Colonel Edward Fritz, former executive officer for the band, now retired in Portland. Fritz also served as steering committee chairman for the weekend event, with venues including both indoor and outdoor locations. One highlight was the band’s performance at Pioneer Courthouse Square, known locally as “Portland’s living room” due to its proximity to city center and high volume of foot traffic. While the band played, Army representatives both in and out of uniform went into the listening crowd and shared the gospel. Only eternity will attest to the harvest of seeds planted that day.
On Sunday morning, following a march through neighborhood streets, bandsmen and women participated in the holiness meeting at the Portland Tabernacle Corps and shared a luncheon with the corps’ band and songsters. The weekend event culminated in a rousing concert at one of the largest churches in the Portland area. Concertgoers were thrilled again and again by the musicianship, both collectively and individually, of NYSB members as they presented a variety of old standards and contemporary pieces.
A comment by one of the billet hosts sums up the general impression left by this amazing musical group. “I can’t say enough about the band’s performances. With such talent evidenced by its members and the executive officer’s skill as leader and pastor, there was still great humility. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to be part of a grand weekend.”