A feature of this tour has been the opportunity for all the Band to meet the audience at the end of each concert. As we pass out our ISB pins, people share their thoughts of the evening with us. This is often a humbling and yet encouraging experience, as we listen to instant feedback on the effect of our ministry. Tonight was no exception, with everyone, young and old, expressing how they had either been uplifted, blessed or encouraged by the event.
Sydney Congress Hall was filled to the rafters, with warm responses throughout the evening. As the Band went through it's paces, the concert culminated, for the second consecutive evening, with 'The Kingdom Triumphant' followed by 'Fire in the Blood', which again was received by a prolonged and encouraging standing ovation.
Earlier in the day, a cloudless blue sky was the backdrop as the band gathered at Wollongong, ('The Gong' to the locals) for prayers, led by Dr Ron Smart.
Today saw the departure of John Collinson, from the Melbourne Staff Band who has been assisting on the solo cornet bench over the past week. Many thanks to John for stepping in, not only for his playing, but also in fitting in so well with the group.
We also said farewell to our coach driver for this leg of the trip, Michael, who has really become part of us, has assisted in many ways, including helping Simon Birkett with the selling of CD's. Before leaving, he made a heartfelt speech saying 'The mission you endeavour to do has been accomplished as shown by the smiles on the people's faces. You have brought real joy'. An interesting perspective from a non Salvationist.
On arriving at Sydney, we were pleased to see that Gavin Lamplough (Cornet) and Robbie Hayward (Percussion), looking rather jet lagged, had made it safely from England. Work commitments had prevented them from starting the tour with us.
After a snack lunch, the band were given some free time to explore the famous Sydney Harbour. While some chose a leisurely walk, others chose a pleasure cruise to view the sites of this magnificent natural harbour flanked by two of mankind's greatest engineering achievements. Of course, there were those whose quest for the adrenalin rush was too great to refuse the opportunity of experiencing the harbour, and receive a good soaking, aboard the 'Thunder Wave' Speedboat.
Bandmaster Stephen Cobb however was not afforded these luxuries, as he carried out a workshop with the Sydney Youth Band. The group clearly appreciated Steve's insight as he took them through Paul Sharman's 'Inclusion' and Phil Littlemore’s arrangement of 'Magnum Mysterium'. At the conclusion, the ISB joined with the youngsters and played Geoffrey Nobes beautiful arrangement of 'Lavenham'.
Following this, it was time to meet our billets for a dinner before preparing for the evening concert.
Our Executive Officer Major Mark Herbert has equipped himself well for his first ever Band trip, by delivering different thought provoking themes at each venue. Tonight he left the challenging question posed by Christ, 'Who do you say I am' which led into and set up the great finale which not only encouraged, but served to affirm our purpose for being here.
Written by Staff Bandsman Steve Hanover