Winston-Salem Ministry Weekend (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second 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.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Music Clinics and Demonstration Concert

On Saturday morning, the band traveled to the Ken Carlson Boys and Girls Club for a day of music clinics from the Academy of Music and Arts. The Academy is an intensive after-school program for young people (ages 8 – 18) wishing to develop their musical talent. Over 40 students were present for the clinics.

The clinics began with all of the participants gathered in the gymnasium for Dr. Kellner’s “breathing and buzzing” clinic. Following this, the group was split into several classes, by instrument and skill level, with one or two members of the National Capital Band assigned to each class. These individual sessions lasted for an hour, after which the clinics broke for lunch.

Trombone class during music clinics in Winston-Salem

Trombone class instructed by Major Andrew Kelly (far left) and Kevin Downing (far right)

After lunch, the three bands from the Academy (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced) were given time to rehearse in preparation for an afternoon demonstration concert with all three groups and the National Capital Band. The concert opened with the NCB playing Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla). The Beginner Band, conducted by Court Wynter was up next, presenting the hymn tune “Boston”.

While the Beginner Band took their seats in the audience and the Intermediate Band, conducted by David Zuniga, came into the band formation, the NCB played Keep Singing (P. C. Rivers). After the Intermediate Band’s selection had concluded, the concert continued with Soli Deo Gloria (William Himes), again played by the NCB.

The Advanced Band, under the direction of Steve Sutton, was up next. Remarkably, every player in the band is a student in the Academy of Music and Arts – there are no adult “ringers”, with the exception of the soprano cornet. Their first item was the march Brazil 75 (Leonard Ballantine). This was followed by the NCB’s principal euphonium, Joel Collier, who presented the last movement of Spiritual Fantasy (Douglas Court), “Joshua Fit the Battle”, accompanied by the NCB.

The highlight of the concert was the Advanced Band’s presentation of one of the classics of Salvation Army brass band literature, Brian Bowen’s meditation on Psalm 23, My Comfort and Strength. This is a challenging work even for experienced bands, and, although the performance was perhaps not as polished as one by a staff band, it was remarkable for its musicality, poise and impact on the audience.

The afternoon concert concluded with two items where the students combined with the National Capital Band. First, the members of the Advanced Band joined in Christmas Joy (as had been done during the previous night’s concert). Then, all of the students were featured in William Himes’ Classics in Brass.

First Annual Jack Sutton, Jr. Music Festival

After the conclusion of the music clinics, the National Capital Band made the short trip to the First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, the venue for the evening concert. This concert was named for Jack Sutton, Jr., a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board from 2001 – 2010, who passed away on 27 November 2011. Sutton was a deacon at First Presbyterian. It is intended that this festival become an annual event featuring a Salvation Army brass band.

After setting up in the theatre-style sanctuary, the band had some relaxation time at the church. They were then treated to a catered dinner, generously provided by the Sutton family.

The program for the concert was the same as for the Friday night concert, except that The Call was replaced by In Perfect Peace (Kenneth Downie). As on Friday night, the Advanced Band from the Academy of Music and Arts played in the foyer before the concert. The drum line, under the direction of C. J. Powell (who is a member of the drum line staff at Winston-Salem University), “played in” the National Capital Band as they took the stage.

Major James Allison, area commander, made a special presentation to the Sutton family at the opening of the concert, acknowledging Jack Sutton, Jr.’s service to the Salvation Army and to the community at large. On stage for the presentation were Betty Sutton (his wife), Betsy Hoppe (his daughter), Jack Sutton III (his son) and Peter Sanderson (his first cousin).

Also featured during the concert was the Singing Company from the Kernersville (Korean) Corps. This singing company was the winner of the divisional singing company competition this past spring and represented the North and South Carolina Division at the territorial singing competition in June 2013.