Weekend in Norfolk and Virginia Beach

The National Capital Band’s fall campaign in the National Capital and Virginia Division took the group to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, with performances in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Sponsored by the area command, led by Major Gene Hogg, the weekend consisted of a concert at a local shopping mall, a festival at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, and Sunday morning services at the Norfolk Corps.

Saturday Afternoon Concert

The band gathered at the Fairfax Corps building early on Saturday morning to embark on their trip to Norfolk. The trip south was uneventful, with the bus actually arriving at the first stop, the Military Circle Mall, over a hour ahead of schedule. This allowed for a relaxed setup at the venue, which was a stage constructed in the mall’s food court. The concert commenced promptly at 2:00 p.m., beginning with Brian Bowen’s festival march Sovereignty. This was followed by a swing-style item, Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine). The band’s principal euphonium, Major Tony Barrington, followed with a fluent performance of a classic solo, The Conqueror (Ray Steadman-Allen). The concert continued in the “classic” mode, with a gem from the pen of Erik Leidzén, What a Friend.

The eleventh of November is a day observed as a holiday in many countries, marking the end of World War I and especially noted as a day for honoring those who have served in the military forces. The band presented Armed Forces Salute, a medley consisting of songs associated with the United States armed forces (Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, and Marines), arranged by the band’s principal trombone, Stephen Bulla, who is the chief arranger for the United States Marine Band. This was followed by another medley, this one of contemporary Christian melodies entitled God With Us (Camp Kirkland/Tom Fettke, arr. Kevin Norbury). Next was another familiar melody in a simple arrangement by Bandmaster James Anderson, Jesus Loves Me.

A swing-style item from Leonard Ballantine, Sweet By and By, featuring Chris Dennard on flügelhorn, was contrasted with the same composer’s beautiful arrangement of the American folk melody “Shenandoah”, entitled ’Mid All the Traffic. A display of agility and speed on the cornet valves was given by Noel Morris on soprano and Ian Anderson on Bb cornet as they presented the duet Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Another item in a contemporary style, Blessings! (Nick Simmons-Smith) followed, and the concert concluded with a Christmas march by Stephen Bulla, The Bells of Christmas, in anticipation of the upcoming season.

Saturday Evening Festival

After checking in at the hotel and enjoying a meal with some of the local Salvationists, the band made a short trip to the neighboring city of Virginia Beach where the Saturday evening festival was held at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church. A small but appreciative audience was in attendance for the festival. The program for the concert featured many of the same items used in afternoon, including Sovereignty, God With Us, The Conqueror, ’Mid All the Traffic, Quicksilver, The Bells of Christmas, Blessings!, and Sweet By and By. Two major works, each concluding one half of the festival, were added. Just before the intermission, the band presented Bandmaster Anderson’s The Words of the Amen, and the high point of the second half was a seldom-heard gem from the pen of Dudley Bright, Confrontations. Ian Anderson also gave a fine rendition of the Rhapsody for Cornet and Band (Ray Bowes). The concert concluded with a congregational song, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name. Kenneth Downie’s march Winchester Revival was the postlude.

Sunday Morning Worship

The weekend concluded with worship services at the Norfolk Corps on Sunday morning. The entire service was conducted by the band, with Executive Officer James Allison being the featured speaker. A highlight of the meeting was the recognition of long-time NCB trombonist Joe DeMato, who retired from the band (after more than 25 years of service) over the summer. The recognition was presented by former NCB member Lt.-Colonel J. B. Matthews, who was the Executive Officer when Joe joined the NCB in 1978.

The band provided a large amount of music before and during the service, including Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), ’Mid All the Traffic, and God With Us as preliminary musi. Two feature items Take Time . . . (Kenneth Downie) and the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (William Himes) played by Ian Anderson, were used during the service. A number of congregational songs using extended arrangements were also presented, including Prayer of Thanksgiving (William Himes), All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, Lord, I Lift Your Name On High, and O Boundless Salvation.