New York Staff Band Groundbreaking Composition – ‘Creation’ by Dorothy Gates – A Preview

By Colonel Richard Munn

On the eve of the 2023 NYSB tour of the UK we learn that at the centerpiece of the repertoire will be the genre-breaking, boundary-setting composition ‘Creation’ by residence composer Dorothy Gates.

Make no mistake, this is special.

Some will remember the accolades for the orchestral symphony-length ‘Jehovah’ in 2019 – well, the NYSB/Gates team has remarkably done it again with a 45 minute, narrated multi-media surrounded sequence of contrasting show tunes, worship songs, rock ballads and grand hymns.  Those great tunes are energized and enlivened by the scintillating sound of brass.

Moving back and forth from profundity to playfulness in short order, the net effect keeps us captivated to the accumulating momentum of the whole.  Tunes from Hillsong, Coldplay, Electric Light Orchestra, Rio 2 and Little Mermaid are all arrayed, interplaying with the Genesis creation story as joyfully described by Eugene Peterson in the Message.

At the heart of the experience is the timeless mystery and sheer diversity of God’s creativity, with you and me, earthy humans solely made in His image.  The resplendent imagery of species diversity, galaxies, fauna, ocean and terrain constantly fill the large backdrop screen, and is at times overwhelming in its color and form.

This is a Salvation Army banding first, and a professional recording is anticipated for this coming summer.

Kudos to the team – composer Dorothy Gates, Bandmaster Derek Lance, media creator Major Jay Knaggs, script writer Major Lauren Hodgson and Creative Arts Director Carol Jaudes.