Winston-Salem Ministry Weekend (Part 1 of 3)

This is the first of a series of three articles on the National Capital Band’s ministry weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) traveled to the Triad area of North Carolina for a ministry weekend, 8 – 10 November 2013. The band participated in the kettle kick-off for the Winston-Salem Area Command, performed two concerts at area churches, held a youth clinic with students from the Salvation Army’s Academy of Music and Arts, and supported a Sunday morning worship service where all three of the area corps joined together.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The weekend began early on Friday morning, with the majority of the band members meeting at 6:30am at the Fairfax Corps to meet the coach. Following stops to pick up more members in Fredericksburg and Richmond, the band arrived at the hotel in Winston-Salem just after 1:00pm. Major James Allison, area commander for Winston-Salem, and several other officers of the command were on hand to greet the band and had box lunches ready to go.

After a quick lunch, the members of the band changed into their uniforms and headed for the nearby Hanes Mall to participate in the Winston-Salem area Kettle Kick-off. The band formed up in the parking lot and marched down the outside of the mall from one end to the other, accompanied by officers from the corps in the area, with local news cameras rolling. After completing the short march, the band divided into six ensembles, each supporting a kettle placed at one of the mall entrances. After playing at the kettles for about an hour, the band returned to the coach and left for Central Triad Church, the venue for the evening concert.

The band had an easy time setting up on the stage at the church. Following a sound check, the church provided an excellent meal before the evening concert. As the audience came into the hall before the festival, the Advanced Band from the Winston-Salem Salvation Army’s Academy of Music provided music in the foyer of the church. Another of the performing groups from the Academy is a drum line, who commenced the concert with an item and then “marched in” the National Capital Band as they took the stage.

The band’s first item was Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla), followed immediately by Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner) with the audience joining in song. Major James Allison, area commander for Winston-Salem, gave a welcome and introductions. In his previous appointment as General Secretary for the National Capital and Virginia Division, Major Allison served as the Executive Officer for the National Capital Band for six seasons. His first act in his new appointment was to invite the band for this ministry weekend. The program continued with Dudley Bright’s lively arrangement Are You Joyful?

The band’s only soloist of the evening was principal euphonium Joel Collier, who played Spiritual Fantasy (Douglas Court). Originally written for Bandmaster Kellner, the solo features three movements based on African-American spirituals, including “I’ve Got a Robe”, “Balm in Gilead” and “Joshua Fit the Battle”. The virtuoso performance by the soloist led to extended applause from the appreciative audience.

One of the major events at Central Triad Church during the year is the live presentation of a drama entitled The Lost Shepherd. This 2-hour drama is staged during the Easter season (seven performances in 2013) and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Salvation Army. Pastor Leroy Kelly presented Major Allison with $1500 during the concert. In addition, a free-will offering was taken with all monies received going to the Salvation Army. During the collection of the offering, the band played Keep Singing, ending the first half of the concert.

Following an intermission, the band started off the second half with James Anderson’s modern classic march Goldcrest, followed by Soli Deo Gloria (William Himes). In recognition of the upcoming season, the next item was Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén), with the Advanced Band coming up on the stage as the they joined the National Capital Band for the march.

Major Andrew Kelly, executive officer of the National Capital Band, gave a short devotional thought and introduced the next item. Originally written in 1923, The Call is one of Erik Leidzén’s most intense works. Built around the well-known tune associated with the words “Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling”, the piece then asks the ultimate question, “What will your answer be?”.

The final item of the concert was another piece based on spirituals, Peter Graham’s Seize the Day. Following a benediction by Major Allison, the band sent the audience on their way with a postlude, The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner).

Central Triad Church was kind enough to produce a video recording of the entire concert. You can view excerpts from the video on the National Capital Band’s YouTube channel.