The International Staff Band visited Portsmouth Citadel Corps for the weekend of 26th and 27th January 2013 to mark the start of the Corps' 140th anniversary celebrations. A capacity congregation gathered on the Saturday evening and enjoyed a fantastic evening of musical ministry under the leadership of Bandmaster Dr. Stephen Cobb and their Executive Officer Major Noel Wright.

The evening got underway in style with Kevin Larsson's exciting march 'Temple 125'. 'The Lord Bless You and Keep You', a beautiful song by songwriters Nik and Emma Pears transcribed by Staff Bandsman Paul Sharman followed before the evening was presented to God in prayer.

The music and message that followed on throughout the evening continued to inspire and uplift the congregation. Cornet soloist Carl Nielsen played Dean Goffin's 'Victorious', a classic theme and variation work, Euphonium soloist Derick Kane played Stephen Bulla's 'Air N' Variations', and the haunting Irish melody 'Through the Fair', arranged by Chelsea Pascoe, was beautifully presented on Flugel Horn by Richard Woodrow.

A mixture of traditional Salvation Army music such as Ray Steadman-Allen's 'Victorian Snapshots - On Ratcliff Highway' and Norman Audoire's march 'Montreal Citadel' contrasted with more contemporary compositions such as Steven Ponsford's 'The Day of The Lord' and Paul Lovatt-Cooper's 'Fire in The Blood', all of which had an equally powerful message and relevance.

The fantastic weekend continued on Sunday morning with a packed hall ready for morning worship under the leadership of Major Noel Wright. The Staff Band helped to settle the congregation for worship by playing William Himes'  'Soli Deo Gloria'. Brian Bowen's piece 'Consecration' was featured during worship.

The Staff Band presented another concert  in the afternoon, again featuring a varied mix of traditional and contemporary music. The concert started with Arthur Gullidge's traditional march 'Unconquered'. In stark contrast the band presented Martin Cordner's contemporary piece 'Fusion', though the piece takes its' inspiration from the old Albert Osborn song 'I Know Thee Who Thou Art'.

Cornet Soloist Gavin Lamplough played Erik Leidzen's 'Tucker' which was followed by Norman Bearcroft's euphonium solo 'Harbour Light' played by Jonathan Evans. Other music included Ray Steadman-Allen's piece 'The Warrior Psalm' and Darren Shaw's contemporary setting of his own song 'Guardian of My Soul'.

The weekend concluded with the Staff Band playing Eric Ball's 'The Triumph of Peace'.

A truly wonderful weekend of musical ministry was enjoyed by all who gathered for worship. A fantastic way to begin Portsmouth Citadel's 140th anniversary celebrations.

Take a look at some photos of the weekend below:

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Following the recent visit of Portsmouth Grammar school 6th form students to witness at first hand the work of Portsmouth Citadel's Haven community centre, the students decided to support The Salvation Army's Christmas food campaign.

Each tutor was invited to bring suitable items and fill a large box. In good natured competition each tried to outdo the other and the amount donated far exceeded expectations. This week Major Ced visited the school and shared in 6th form assembly a presentation on the work of The Salvation Army and particularly the growing ministry of food parcels. Student representatives from the 6th Form council then presented 27 large boxes of Christmas goodies which will be used to support the corps' Christmas hamper distribution programme.

As the church gathered together to celebrate Harvest it really was a day to thank God for his goodness!

Harvest festival celebrations at Portsmouth Citadel coincided with the final day of the Jewish Sukkoth, also known as the Feast of the Tabernacles. During this festival Jews recall God’s presence with them during the exodus and their wanderings through the desert. Even today this festival is still celebrated by Jewish families building, eating in, and sometimes sleeping in a sukkah, a temporary structure usually constructed of four walls and covered with a roof of tree branches.

To recreate this feast a sukkah was erected at the front of the hall and harvest gifts were brought and placed inside. These gifts of Christmas items will be used later in the year for the corps’ Christmas hamper distribution programme.The Jewish festival is celebrated with real joy – being a time of thanksgiving for God’s provision.

This theme of joy was most appropriate as the meeting included the enrolment of 2 new soldiers and an adherent.