On the weekend of 6 – 7 November 2010, the National Capital Band made the short journey to Fredericksburg, Virginia to help celebrate 125 years of Salvation Army work in that city. This was the first ministry weekend under the direction of Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
The first Salvation Army meeting in Fredericksburg was held on Sunday, 29 November 1885 at Hayden Hall, 700 Princess Anne Street. The first event of the weekend was the unveiling of a plaque affixed to that building commemorating the event (permission for which was graciously extended by the current occupants, the law offices of Murray Van Lear and Paul Scott). A small ensemble from the band supported the unveiling.
The full band then gathered at Hurkamp Park, in the center of downtown Fredericksburg, for a short outdoor concert. Despite a rather chill wind (and a bird who “targeted” a member of the bass section), the band presented a light program to a small but enthusiastic group of listeners. Items included:
- Jesus Loves Me
- God’s Children
- O, How I Love Jesus
- Fill the World with Music
- Teach Me
- Come, Thou Almighty King
- Be Thou My Vision
- Down the Street
The band then went to the venue for the evening concert, Spotswood Baptist Church, where they had a sound check and rehearsal, followed by a meal provided by the Fredericksburg Corps.
The evening festival, with several hundred persons in the audience, started off with two contrasting items, Goldcrest (James Anderson) and The Prayer Meeting (Bruce Broughton). The audience was then invited to stand and sing, the song being “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”, with an accompaniment arranged by Bandmaster Kellner. The executive officer of the National Capital Band, Major James Allison, made some introductions and gave an opening prayer.
After the introductions and prayer, the program continued with another work by Bruce Broughton, The Good Old Way. This was followed by the only soloist of the evening, principal trombone Kevin Downing. Despite only being 18 years of age, Kevin, who is a freshman majoring in trombone performance at the University of Maryland, is already an accomplished soloist, as he showed with his performance of Fantasy for Trombone on Spirituals (Ray Steadman-Allen).
For many years, the suite has been a favorite form in Salvation Army compositions. The next item on the program, Shout Salvation (Robert Redhead), is a fine example of the form written in the mid-1970s. Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims conducted the band for this item. The final piece of the first half was Power and Glory, a transcription (by Bandmaster Kellner) of a march by John Philip Sousa. This march, which features the well-known hymn tune “Onward, Christian Soldiers” in the trio, is one of very few works in which Sousa used a melody that he had not composed himself.
The second half started with Motivation (William Himes), conducted by the deputy bandmaster. This was followed by the major work of the evening. Commissioner Sir Dean Goffin is one of the giants of Salvation Army music. He demonstrated his mastery of classical forms with his treatment of the familiar hymn tune “Darwalls”, the prelude and fugue Arise, My Soul, Arise. Associating the tune with words by Charles Wesley, this is sacred music of the highest order.
Arise, my soul, arise
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice
In my behalf appears;
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on his hands.
Captain Matt Satterlee, corps officer, gave a short presentation on the 125th anniversary of the Fredericksburg Corps. This was followed by a New Orleans-inspired jazz item, Lord, Lord, You Sure Been Good to Me (Eric Alexander).
During the weeks immediately preceding this ministry weekend, Major Dan Delaney, father of principal cornet David Delaney, and Bandmaster James Anderson had been promoted to Glory. Major James Allison, in his devotional thought during the concert, told the story of the song “It Is Well with My Soul”. Bandmaster Anderson’s family was singing this song at his bedside at the moment that he passed away. Following Major Allison’s talk, the band played Eric Ball’s masterful arrangement of this melody, Serenity. It was an emotional performance for many in the group, as this same arrangement had been used at Major Delaney’s funeral just a few weeks before.
The concert concluded with a modern expression of praise, Martin Cordner’s Let Everything Praise.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
After spending the night at nearby Camp Happyland, and being treated to a hot breakfast provided by the camp caretakers and staff, the band returned to Spotswood Baptist for the early service. The band played a mini-concert beginning at 8:30 am, with the service proper starting at 8:55. Items in the mini-concert included Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Be Thou My Vision (Steve Kellner), Serentity (Eric Ball) and In Christ Alone (Martin Cordner).
During the service, the band provided the accompaniment for congregational songs, and presented James Curnow’s arrangement of Come, Thou Almighty King. As this was the Sunday before the Veteran’s Day holiday (11 November), the church choir and the band joined for a medley of the songs from the five United States armed services, composed by the director of instrumental music at the church, Robert Farmer, with orchestral parts transcribed for brass by Bandmaster Kellner.
After the service at Spotswood Baptist, the band made a quick break-down and exit, traveling to the Fredericksburg Corps for the holiness meeting there. Again, the band played a few items before the meeting, including Jesus Loves Me and Be Thou My Vision. The band conducted the entire service, accompanying the congregational songs and playing Serenity and In Christ Alone as special items. Joshua Webb read Scripture, and Elizabeth Schramm gave a personal testimony detailing her experiences at the World Youth Conference in Sweden during the past summer. Major Allison gave the sermon, and the meeting concluded with the congregation and band joining in “O Boundless Salvation”. As a postlude, the band played the same march with which the weekend began at Hurkamp Park, Goldcrest.