Future All-Stars Weekend
February 23-25, 2018

Fifty-five young people from around the USA Eastern and Canada/Bermuda Territories gathered at Star Lake Lodge for the New York Staff Band’s Fifteenth Annual Future All-stars Weekend, sponsored by the Green Family Foundation.  The weekend represents an intended desire by members of the New York Staff Band to identify, develop, and challenge the next generation of musicians spiritually and musically.

The intense fifty-two hour sprint featured five full length rehearsals, two devotional periods, two instrument sectional periods, Sunday Morning Worship, and the Future All-Stars Finale.  Somehow, the young people found time to quickly jaunt into New York City to hear a three hour New York Staff Band concert with Mnozil Brass.

The Spiritual theme for the weekend was Be Perfect.  Majors Phil and Jodi Lloyd, USA Eastern Territory Youth Leaders, challenged us pursue our relationship with Christ with the same passion and vigor we strive for in our musical journeys. Scripture throughout the weekend was drawn from fifth chapter of Matthew and the second chapter of Philippians.  The two devotional times were supplemented with small groups, led by New York Staff Band members.

The music for the weekend was presented well to an enthusiastic crowd at Montclair Citadel Sunday Afternoon.  The program commenced with I Will Proclaim (Marcus Venables).  This piece works in itself as an opener to any festival, but it also draws a musical comparison to Colonel Robert Redhead’s famous piece, A Fanfare of Praise.   This was followed up by the signature piece of the weekend, Future All-Stars (Martin Cordner) and the congregational song, Be Still for the Presence of The Lord (arr. William Himes).   The Word presented itself verbally through the prayer of Lt. Colonel James LaBossiere, the devotional of Major Philip Lloyd, and two spirited testimonies by Future All-Star members Helen Wajda and Edward Hardy.  Several other works were presented, including Libertango (Astor Piazolla arr. Harold Burgmayer), Solidarity (Robert Redhead), and the classic mediation Light of the World (Dean Goffin), conducted by Matt Luhn, Divisional Music Director for the Massachusetts Division and principal trombonist of the New York Staff Band.  The band also sang Jesus Paid it All and concluded the festival with Steven Ponsford’s tour de force, Turris Fortissima.

With this being the fifteenth Future All-Star Weekend, The New York Staff Band is now at the point where a number of Future All-Star members are starting to contribute to the weekly ministry of the New York Staff Band.  A number of Future All-Stars are current members of the band.  This particular finale featured a march written by Future All-Star Alum Kevin Downing called Camp Walter Johnson, named presumably after the divisional camp of the Carolina Divisions.  The march was led by the famous euphonium soloist of the band, Aaron VanderWeele, who was one of the chief organizers of the first several Future All-Star Weekends.

This was certainly an enjoyable weekend and one that was spiritually and musically uplifting for all privileged enough to have experienced it!

Eric R. Dina
Divisional Music Director – Northeast Ohio Division of The Salvation Army

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