Christmas Concerts 2011

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) performed at two annual events during the Christmas season of 2011, including a concert in Richmond, Virginia and a performance at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC.

Richmond – Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Christmas concert in Richmond has become a traditional annual event. Expertly organized by Bandmaster Matt Sims, the music director for the Salvation Army’s Central Virginia area command (area commanders Captains David and Dawn Worthy), the concert has drawn a crowd of several hundred each year it has been held. This year, the concert was again held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and the master of ceremonies was popular Richmond radio personality Kat Simons, who is the midday host on Lite98.

The concert began with Kenneth Downie’s Intrada on “Regent Square”, immediately followed by a congregational carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. A Christmas Festival (Leroy Anderson, arr. Andrew Duncan) was up next. This ebullient medley of familiar carols is a classic American favorite.

Remaining in a joyous spirit, the band next presented the third movement of James Curnow’s A Christmas Triptych, “Good King Wenceslas”. Principal euphonium Joel Collier then gave a dexterous rendition of Ding Dong Merrily on High (Douglas Court).

Under the direction of Bandmaster Sims, the Richmond area Salvation Army has a strong School of the Performing Arts. A group of students from the school, augmented by some youngsters from the host church, sang Christmas Medley (arr. Steve Kellner) accompanied by the band. The first half of the program concluded with a classical note, with Farandole (Georges Bizet, arr. Richard Phillips), sometimes known as March of the Three Kings.

Bandmaster Kellner started off the second half of the program with the march medley Season’s Greetings (James Anderson) and another congregational carol, “Joy to the World”. Two contrasting arrangements were then offered. First was a contemporary arrangement of Carol of the Bells (Darrol Barry), with a jazz break inserted into the familiar pattern. Next was Erik Leidzén’s classic arrangement of the well-loved carol Silent Night. The concert continued with The Message of Christmas (William Himes).

In a glorious finale to the afternoon, the congregation joined with the band, singing Handel’s majestic Hallelujah Chorus (arr. Arthur Goldsmith). Several hundred voices and the powerful sound of the brass band joined in the spacious sanctuary, echoing for quite some time after the last chord.

Washington – Sunday, 4 December 2011

Since 2001, the National Capital Band has held an annual Community Appreciation Christmas Concert. This event, which is a “thank you” to members of the public for their generous donations throughout the year, is now organized by the National Capital Area Command (area commanders Majors Steve and Wendy Morris). This year, the event moved to a new venue, the grand ballroom of the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel, with 500 people in attendance. Located just one block east of the White House, the Willard is the jewel of Washington hotels, frequently hosting visiting heads of state and other dignitaries. This master of ceremonies for this year’s concert was long-time Washington television personality Bob Ryan. The concert also featured the Lower School Guild from the National Cathedral School, a choir of sixty 5th and 6th-grade girls led by Tanya Coyne.

This year’s concert was dedicated to the memory of Dick Carr, who passed away in 2011 after a lengthy illness. A member of one of Washington’s major real estate and construction families, Carr was a long-time member of the Salvation Army’s Washington advisory board, and was instrumental in several of the major projects undertaken by the Army during the last twenty years, including the construction of the Harbor Light Center, the Turning Point transitional housing complex, and most recently the Solomon G. Brown Corps Community Center in Southeast Washington.

The concert began with Intrada on “Regent Square” and immediately moved to a congregational carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. Other contributions from the band included A Christmas Festival (Leroy Anderson, arr. Andrew Duncan), Silent Night (Erik Leidzén), Carol of the Bells (Darrol Barry) and Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén). The audience was invited to join with the band in singing Joy to the World (arr. William Himes) and the Hallelujah Chorus (arr. Arthur Goldsmith).

The young women of the Guild contributed two excellent songs, showing musical maturity with multiple parts and complex harmonies.

In addition to the music, the concert also featured words from several community leaders and a presentation by Major Steve Morris, as he discussed the scope of the work in the National Capital Area over the preceding year.

The band would like to thank the following substitute players who stepped in to help during the busy Christmas season: Dean Sims, Jan Sims, Tim Kershaw and Kenny Brown.