Visit to Williamsburg
On Friday, 17 March, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) set off on their first ministry weekend of 2006. Journeying south to the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, the band participated in the local Salvation Army’s Annual Meeting on Friday evening, performed three outdoor concerts on Saturday, and played for two Sunday morning services at the New Town Methodist Church. The weekend events were organized by the corps officers in Williamsburg, Captains Greg and Jeanne Shannon. Captain Jeanne Shannon is a member of the horn section of the NCB, traveling farther than any other current member to attend weekly rehearsals.
The Friday evening event was held in a new, upscale development just a few blocks from the Salvation Army offices in Williamsburg. The clubhouse for the community has just been completed, with the Army’s Annual Dinner being only the second event in held in the facility. The dinner, attended by members of the local Salvation Army Advisory Board, Women’s Auxiliary, and other volunteers and contributors, showcases work done by the corps throughout the year. The members of the National Capital Band were asked to provide a “mini-concert” for the event. Items included the march Sovereignty (Brian Bowen), Bandmaster Anderson”s arrangement of Jesus Loves Me, and several other items. A highlight of the band’s participation was a personal testimony given by Laura Boutchyard. The band was amply rewarded for their participation with a fine meal, always appreciated by the players.
As is sometimes the case in mid-March in the Middle Atlantic states, Saturday was rather cold and blustery, although with brilliant sunshine. The band was scheduled to play in three different outdoor venues on the day. Unfortunately, the weather was simply too cold and windy for the first location, and the performance had to be cut short after only three items. Although still a bit chilly, the second location was more conducive to playing. Later in the afternoon, the third concert, held at Merchant’s Square in Colonial Williamsburg (a restored historical area of the town), benefited from warmer temperatures and quite a number of people stopped and listened to the band during their performance.
Items played during the outdoor concerts included the swing number Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén), ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Bringing in the Sheaves (William Himes), Prelude Fanfare on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), and God With Us (Kevin Norbury). Solo items included The Ransomed Host (Ray Steadman-Allen), featuring Major Tony Barrington on euphonium, Caprice for Cornet (William Himes), featuring Deputy Bandmaster Ian Anderson, the cornet duet Quicksilver, featuring Ian Anderson on Bb cornet and Noel Morris on Eb soprano cornet, and the flügelhorn feature Sweet By and By, featuring Randi Bulla.
Following the afternoon concert at Colonial Williamsburg, the band was treated to a special guided tour of Bruton Parish, one of the oldest churches in Virginia and still an active Episcopal church. Later, the band traveled to nearby Yorktown, Virginia, another historic town, for an excellent dinner at the Carrot Tree restaurant and a “ghost tour” of some of the historic houses.
On Sunday morning, the NCB joined with the congregation at the New Town United Methodist Church for two services. Although the church was originally a bit skeptical about the band’s ability to fit in with their contemporary style, the worship services were blessed with a great spirit and were considered successful by all. The special item by the band in both services was Sweet By and By. A special mention must be made of the effort made by Stephen and Randi Bulla to be present for Sunday morning, as they left immediately following the Saturday afternoon concert, driving several hundred miles round-trip to fulfill a commitment to the Spires Brass Band, performing on Saturday evening in Frederick, Maryland. Following the concert with Spires, they drove back to Williamsburg, arriving at the band’s hotel in the early morning hours, and were ready for duty with the band at both of the worship services.