Return to Gaithersburg Presbyterian

Despite a snowy weekend in the Washington area, the members of the National Capital Band gathered at Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church for the church’s annual Hymn Sing and Chili Dinner. 2010 is the third consecutive year that the band has participated in this event.

The event, led by music minister Ann Y. Schmidt, was described as a way to throw off the “winter blues.” The large congregation, accompanied by the NCB and church organist Mark Hanak, sang multiple verses of seventeen hymns and songs. Most of the singing was accompanied by selections from the Salvation Army’s Band Tune Book and the Hallelujah Chorus series. “Big” arrangements were used for God Bless America (Irving Berlin, arr. William Gordon), O Boundless Salvation (William Himes), Onward Christian Soldiers (Gordon Langford) and Crown Him with Many Crowns (Charles Skinner).

For many of those present, the highlight of the event was the performance of Andrae Crouch’s contemporary classic My Tribute. Through a fortuitous error, the congregation was not provided with the words of the verse. Bandmaster Anderson, when he learned of this, offered to sing the verse as a solo. As he began the song, with the words, “How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me?” many members of the band (including this writer) found it difficult to see their parts through tears. The bandmaster’s unwavering testimony and passion for ministry through his physical challenges of the past 18 months are a model of Christian faith and have been uplifting, encouraging and challenging to all who have witnessed them.

In addition to the accompaniment of the congregational singing, the band presented a prelude, Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology (Steve Kellner), a feature item during the Hymn Sing, Dance Like David (Andrew Mackereth), and a postlude, Cornerstone (Andrew Mackereth). The band’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison, also gave a short report on the Army’s relief work in Haiti.

Following the Hymn Sing, the congregation and the band retired the church’s fellowship hall, where they were treated to a vast assortment of various types of chili, all prepared by members of the church.