On Sunday, 23 October 2011, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) visited the Northern Virginia Adult Rehabilitation Center (NOVARC) for the center’s Sunday evening Salvation Meeting. The band played a short concert before the meeting, and then led the worship service.
Members of the band arrived at NOVARC at 4:00 pm, doing setup and a short sound check in the center’s multi-purpose area, as the chapel does not have a stage large enough for a full-size brass band. The dining room is adjacent to this space, and, with a movable wall open, provided a large room for the event. After setting up, the NCB ate a light dinner in the dining room with many of the residents. The pre-meeting concert began at 5:40 pm.
The band began the 20-minute concert time with an ebullient march by Noel Jones, This Is the Day. This was followed by a contrasting item, Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson). Principal cornet David Delaney and long-time soprano cornet Noel Morris joined to present an exciting duet, Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Another change of style was used to demonstrate the versatility of the band, with the swing-style Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). The mini-concert concluded with another march, Peter Graham’s The Ambassadors.
The Salvation Meeting itself began at 6:00 pm, starting off with the congregational song, “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder”. This was followed by the first of the band’s feature items, the trombone solo Joshua, played skilfully by principal trombone Kevin Downing.
One of the highlights of a meeting at one of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers is often the testimonies of the residents. For this meeting, David Delaney energetically led the congregational song, “Stand Up for Jesus”, with several testimonies offered between each verse. The heartfelt statements of men who are in the process of recovery from addiction were, as always, moving and thought-provoking.
The band’s second feature item has a direct connection to the venue. Originally written by Stephen Bulla for the dedication of this center, the march NOVARC was a fitting choice on this occasion.
Many members of the band also have powerful testimonies, none more so than Band Sergeant Dave Downing. His story is a shining example of God’s healing power, as he was the recipient of a heart transplant nine years ago, and has recently undergone successful surgery for a malignant tumor in a salivary gland. Despite the fact that he can not play a brass instrument at this time, because of the effects of the surgery, he has remained a member of the band, and will be providing multimedia support during some of the band’s performances. The residents of the center showed appreciation as he shared his story during the meeting.
In preparation for the evening’s message, Jason and Joel Collier presented the vocal duet He Looked Beyond. Their powerful vocals (so powerful that the sound system in the room was somewhat overloaded) gave a good introduction to the remarks from the NCB’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison. The major’s simple message was effective, with several men coming forward to the makeshift mercy seat in front of the band.
The meeting concluded with a triumphant congregational song, “Victory in Jesus”. The band sent the men back to their residence hall with the march Goldcrest (James Anderson).
The work of the ARC Command is a vital part of the Salvation Army’s mission, and it was a genuine pleasure for the National Capital Band to join with the residents and staff for this special occasion.