Hymns and Chili

On 25 January 2009, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) journeyed a few miles north of Washington to the suburban city of Gaithersburg. For the second consecutive year, the band was invited to provide the backing for the annual Hymn Sing service at the Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church.

The church hall was filled to capacity as Gaithersburg Presbyterian’s music director, Ann Y. Schmidt, led the congregation in singing 18 different hymns, backed by the National Capital Band. Although it may seem that hymn tunes would not stretch an accomplished brass band, this has proved to be one of the NCB’s more taxing events. For several of the songs, arrangements from the Hallelujah Chorus series were used, along with other extensive arrangements. One of the highlights was O Boundless Salvation, which the NCB introduced to the congregation at the previous year’s event, with the church members singing along to William Himes’ stirring arrangement. The culmination of the service was Crown Him With Many Crowns, with the church organ joining with the band and congregation.

The second part of the annual event is the church’s annual Chili Dinner, where the members of the NCB were able to partake in fellowship with the members of the church. Some forty varieties of chili, all prepared by various members of the church, were served, with varieties ranging from vegetable to venison.