MARCH 18-20, 2022 – It was great to be back together in person again for Future All-Stars 2022 after a three year hiatus due to COVID-19. We had a wonderful time of music-making, fellowship, devotions, awesome special guests, and an excellent finale concert. Here are some of the thoughts from two FAW delegates, and reviews of the Sunday afternoon finale concert and Saturday night recital given by Andrew Garcia and Philip Broome.
“At Future All-Stars, I was blessed with the opportunity to separate myself from the “outside” and immerse myself in music. The past four years have been nothing short of challenging, and Future All-Stars reminded me that God has everything in his hands; that God only needs me to “be still and know.” Growing up, much of the most meaningful and inspirational music that I have come across are the myriad salvation army hymn tunes and arrangements. I often find myself quietly singing or reflecting on lyrics of a hymn and I know that God’s truth is proclaimed through these songs. Opening every rehearsal with a beautiful arrangement of Mid All the Traffic, I could meditate on the lyrics of the hymn – which aligned neatly with the devotions theme. It was a really effective way for me to reset and focus on the reason why we do what we do: to worship God. Witnessing all of the staff band members dedicate themselves to their art to the best of their ability, I was reminded that my talents are my offering to God. God deserves only our best and therefore I should always aim to present my best and put my best foot forward.” – By Gavrila Wicaksono
“Coming into Future All Stars Weekend, I had no idea what to expect. I’d never done something like this before within the Salvation Army and was quite nervous to be entirely honest. As soon as we went to rehearsal for the first time, though, I knew I’d have a great time and be able to grow in more ways than one over the short time we had together. The music pushed me to learn new techniques and strategies for playing in a section. Sitting next to the Staff Band musicians and having them lead sectionals was absolutely invaluable. Being able to get advice at any moment took my performance to a whole new level in addition to helping me form relationships with the musicians I look up to. Similarly, I learned so much with my Prayer Partners. It was incredible being able to pray and discuss the Word with others, and to hear their experiences of feeling the Spirit in their lives. It helped me to further my relationship with God in my daily life, and to understand His role in my journey. Tying it all together though was hearing two professional musicians from the West Point Band. As an aspiring professional musician, it was extremely exciting to be able to hear and learn directly from Andrew Garcia and Philip Broome. I will always treasure this weekend musically and spiritually.” – By Jasmine Viola Dickson
NYSB Future All-Stars 2022 Finale Concert Review – By Major A. Philip Ferreira
There was excitement in the air as supporters of New York Staff Band’s Future All-Stars took their seats in anticipation of the start of the concert that would be the culmination of an intense weekend of rehearsals along with Bible study, good food and fellowship.
The first sounds came from the tuba section, having taken their places on the platform ahead of the rest of the band as they played the opening bars of Sandy Smith’s arrangement of James Swearingen’s “Valero”. After several bars, the percussion section marched into their places and added appropriate rhythm. Each section of the band followed, beginning with the trombones, all seamlessly adding their respective parts as they took their seats. The cornet section was the last to assemble after which Staff Bandmaster Derek Lance took his place at the podium taking the band through the remainder of this exciting item.
Following the audience’s enthusiastic response to this terrific opening the Future All-Stars, supported by the NYSB, presented “In Awesome Wonder” by Marcus Venables. This work, after a fanfare opening, transitions into a thoughtful presentation of the hymn, “How Great Thou Art”. The theme of this hymn continues and is skillfully integrated into the remainder of the piece which fittingly builds to a triumphant conclusion, reminding all present of the awesomeness of God.
Following opening remarks and the invocation by NYSB Executive Officer, Lt. Colonel Kathleen Steele, the band effectively presented James Curnow’s challenging Festival March “Faith is the Victory”.
We were blessed in that two of the Future All-Stars were given the opportunity to share a personal word of testimony. The testimonies shared by Wesley Gathinji of Columbus, Ohio and Julie Dorce of Westbury, NY were relevant and inspiring. While the Future All-Stars Weekend (FAW) is largely about excellence in music, it also continues to be about the spiritual development of these up-and-coming Salvationist musicians.
Following Wesley’s testimony the band presented Leonard Ballantine’s beautiful arrangement, “Mid All the Traffic” based on the folk song, “Shenandoah”. This lovely setting can easily bring to mind the fur traders in their canoes travelling on the scenic Missouri River. However, more appropriately we were reminded of the words to the hymn by John Oxenham from which the title of this item is derived. “‘Mid all the traffic of the ways, turmoils without, within, make in my heart a quiet place and come and dwell therein.”
Staff Sergeant Andrew Garcia, an alumnus of the Future All-Stars and of the NYSB, and Staff Sergeant Philip Broome, both Salvationists and both principal players in the West Point Band, were guest soloists and clinicians for the weekend. Andrew provided us with an outstanding rendition of Dean Goffin’s cornet solo, “Victorious” and Philip later offered up one of the movements from Philip Wilby’s euphonium concerto, “Dance: Zeibekikos”. The NYSB provided expert accompaniment for each of these items. Further on in the program Philip and Andrew would join forces in a trumpet and euphonium duet as they presented Tom Davoren’s “Ascension”. Both soloists demonstrated technical expertise and panache in each of these performances.
Caroline Wajda of Schenectady, NY has blessed and inspired Salvationist musicians over and over with her piano arrangements of major SA Band works. She did not disappoint as she presented her own rendition of Martin Cordner’s “Semper Fidelis” as a piano solo.
Further items from the FAW Band included Steven Ponsford’s exciting number, “Cross-Rhythms” and Philip Rayment’s lovely setting, “Be Still and Know”.
The Future All-Stars joined in song under the direction of NYSB Chorus Leader Aaron Harris, James Curnow’s beautiful and powerful vocal arrangement, “How Sweet the Name”. Thoughtful unison singing led to effective harmonization which built to a triumphant ending.
Major Daniel Alverio, who had been the devotional leader for the FAW, shared passionately and effectively from the Word… leading us to ponder these words from Psalm 61…
“Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
…Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.”
The FAW Band would conclude with Andrew Wainwright’s “Rhapsody on St. Francis”, the most musically challenging piece of the afternoon. It was obvious to this listener that the Future All-Stars were well-rehearsed and “pumped” to present this work which effectively brought to mind the glorious words to the hymn, “All Creatures of Our God and King”. As this work drew towards its conclusion, it was as if the band let out all the stops, drawing our attention heavenward with resounding praise to the Lord God Almighty. Alleluia!
In a fitting benediction, the Future All-Stars joined the members of the New York Staff Band in the singing of “Rock of Ages”.
Saturday Evening Guest Recital Review – By Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris
The New York Staff Band’s Future All Stars weekend has been a significant part of the staff and schedule since 2004. The event brings up to 60 young brass and percussion players from around the eastern territory and beyond to the rolling hills of New Jersey and specifically Star Lake. Several past FAW members have gone on to join the NYSB, some have become Salvation Army officers, some have met future spouses. It is a significant intense weekend to be sure.
While the young delegates get to sit in with the NYSB and play music at a very high level, they are also exposed to master classes and recitals by some of the world’s finest brass exponents. Past clinicians include Philip Cobb, Brett Baker, Sam Pilafian, James and Thomas Fountain, among others. This year’s clinicians and guest soloists for the event were Andrew Garcia and Philip Broome of the West Point Band. It was particularly significant that both Andrew and Philip got their early training in Salvation Army music programs. Andrew Garcia was a future all-star himself in the early days.
The two West Pointers presented an impressive recital. Sound, breath control, and technique were on display to the attentive audience. To start things off, they played a movement from a Beethoven piano trio. A piano trio normally would feature piano, violin and cello. This transcription for piano, trumpet and euphonium worked very well, setting the stage for the evening with three musicians performing together with balance, blend, and aplomb.
Sergeant Garcia then played the demanding “Three Episodes for Trumpet” by Joseph Turrin. The music of Joseph Turrin is well known throughout the brass world. It is challenging to play but most often a most welcome sound to the listener. This performance was notable for its clarity and beauty. The second episode featured exquisite flugel playing.
Philip Broome then took his turn, featuring another Turrin piece, his popular “Concert Piece No. 1”. Again, heartfelt sounds, and fluid technique impressed the listeners. Andrew Garcia then brought out his cornet to play a good old traditional theme and variations solo, “Silver Threads”. He prefaced his playing with a humorous anecdote about a performance of the same solo he played as a youngster that did not go so well. He then proceeded to erase that memory with a superb version that brought smiles and hearty applause from the young audience.
Philip then took us on “A Walk in the Woods” that set a warm reflective mood and demonstrated the unique range and color of the euphonium. A beautiful performance of wonderful music. The recital finished with duets that showed both depth and sophistication in their composition. “Sola Fide” (By Faith Alone) and “Aguas de Marco” brought the evening to a rewarding conclusion.
Special mention should be made that throughout the hour-long recital we were all treated to the outstanding piano artistry of Yalin Chi, also a member of the West Point Band. It was an impressive and enjoyable intimate time of music making that surely impressed and inspired the future all-stars.