The New York Staff Band was about halfway through its annual festival at OOB when Major Richard Munn, the band’s executive officer, called for the musicians to put down their instruments for a moment and pray at the Mercy Seat.
“We’d like to do something deeply significant,” said Munn, who also serves as the territorial program secretary.
With legendary musician Lt. Colonel Norman Bearcroft playing softly on piano, band members left the stage and were met by family members and friends at the Mercy Seat.
“Surround a particular bandsman,” Munn exhorted. “Have a prayer. Lay your hand on that person. This is the band’s solemn commitment to the effectiveness of its ministry and firm belief that the Lord will bless it for the next 120 years and more.”
Munn, who introduced each song, mentioned the NYSB’s 120th anniversary, its recent trip to California, and a reunion of former members scheduled in October.
In his opening prayer, Munn asked that the band would be “strengthened and galvanized” for the task before it. “Bless these heralds!” he said.
As the band prepared to play “In Christ There Is No East or West,” Munn said that many years ago, the song had helped affirm his own newfound faith in Christ.
“Born in my heart was the realization that [my faith] would stick for a lifetime,” said Munn.
Former Generals John Gowans and John Larsson, who wrote 10 musicals together, came on stage to delight the crowd with a duet called “A Different Man” from their musical “Takeover Bid.”
Major Thomas Mack later led the NYSB Chorus in “How Much More” from the Gowans & Larsson musical “Hosea.”
Among the other selections performed at the concert: “Victory in Jesus,” “Crossroads,” “Exultate,” “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked,” “Call of the Cossacks,” “Bravura,” and “Variations on Maccabeus.”