New Jersey All Age Brass Day May 11

by Robert Mitchell

They’re calling it a “band jamboree” of sorts.

The Salvation Army’s New Jersey Division has organized an All Age Brass Day on May 11 at the Asbury, N.J., Citadel Corps that harkens back to the former band councils that were popular several years ago.

“We haven’t had band councils in a long time and maybe we should get back to that,” said Nathan Power, the divisional music director in New Jersey.

Power said the event, which begins at 9 a.m. with registration, will offer a “mix of fellowship and music” and he has invited musicians from local corps in New Jersey and also non-Salvation Army bands like the Princeton Brass Band and Imperial Brass to take part. Both of those groups have Salvation Army connections. Aaron VanderWeele, principal euphonium with the New York Staff Band (NYSB), is the music director of Princeton Brass, while Ron Waiksnoris is the music director for Imperial Brass and the NYSB’s former bandmaster.

Dr. Jonathan Corry, a professional trumpet player and conductor from the United Kingdom who has directed several contesting bands and orchestras, will be the guest conductor for the day. He was formerly The Salvation Army’s music director in Chicago with the Central Territory’s Metropolitan Division and was the bandmaster of the world-famous Enfield Citadel Band in London, England.

Power, who plays tuba in the band at the Montclair, N.J., Citadel Corps, said he expects about 100 musicians from across the division. He foresees everyone receiving a packet of music for massed band and then a full day of music as well as a conducting masterclass.

New Jersey’s divisional band “Salvation Brass” is the underlying driver behind this initiative with musicians from all over New Jersey rehearsing once a month at DHQ in Union.

“We’re also trying to engage some of our older retired folks to attend who still play in bands around The Salvation Army, but maybe don’t want to commit to being at a monthly rehearsal,” he said.

While recently going through old programs from past band councils, Power said he was impressed by the time and effort that went into the events.

“They would have a special weekend where everybody got together on a weekend and basically did something like this,” he said. “All the bands would congregate for a mass band and either the divisional music director or a special guest would come.

“It was basically a day of encouragement to make sure some of those far-flung corps like in Atlantic City or Asbury Park would stay connected with the rest of the division. It’s basically a method of encouragement for everyone.”

Power also hopes the May 11 event will help encourage younger musicians who sometimes can’t attend corps rehearsals in the evening with school the next day.

“We want to show them there’s a big future in being a musician and to have joy in your music,” he said. “We want those kids who are maybe 10 or 11 years old to see those in their 70s and 80s still playing away and enjoying this as a way of praising the Lord, but also as a social thing and being friends together.”

For more information on the New Jersey All Age Brass Day,