Ministry Reports

Parade and Concert in Richmond

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) traveled to Richmond, Virginia on 7 December 2013, participating in the Richmond Christmas Parade and playing a carol concert at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the afternoon.

This was the first time that the full band marched in the Richmond Christmas Parade. In previous years, small ensembles have taken part. The parade is a major event, with several hundred thousand spectators lining Broad Street along the 2.5-mile route.

After the conclusion of the parade, the band went across town to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the venue for the annual Richmond carol concert. This concert has been held at the church for the past several years. The band arrived in good time after the parade, setting up and having a box lunch before the afternoon concert, which began at 2:45 pm.

The concert opened with Christmas Prelude (arr. Rieks van der Velde), which features the carol “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. The audience was invited to sing along with the band for this item. After words of welcome and an invocation from Major Tim Carter, Central Virginia Area Commander, the concert continued with two contrasting items. First was the Troika from “Lieutenant Kije” (Serge Prokofiev, arr. Andrew Blyth). This was contrasted with Christmas Time Is Here (Vince Guaraldi, arr. Stephen Bulla), which is familiar from the classic Charlie Brown Christmas television special.

Next was another opportunity for the audience to participate, with a medley of carols, including “Deck the Halls”, “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”. This was followed by a performance by students from the Salvation Army’s School for the Performing Arts, led by Sara Elliott. The first half of the concert finished with a Christmas march, The Carollers (Richard Holz).

Following the intermission, the band brought things back to motion with Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén). Major Donna Carter, Central Virginia Coordinator of Women’s Services, read Scripture from John 1:1–14. The band played Silent Night, a new arrangement by a member of the band’s bass section, Kate Wohlman. This led into a devotional given by the band’s Executive Officer, Major Andrew Kelly, entitled “The Life-Light”, using the Scripture text read earlier.

The band’s final item of the concert was Christmas Finale (Paul Lovatt-Cooper). Just before the benediction given by Major Tim Carter, the audience finished the afternoon, joining with the band in another medley of carols, including “Joy to the World”, “The First Noel” and “Away in a Manger”.

The band was scheduled to perform another carol concert the following afternoon, in Fairfax, Virginia, however, this event had to be canceled on account of hazardous winter weather conditions.

Winston-Salem Ministry Weekend (Part 3 of 3)

This is the third 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.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

United Holiness Meeting

On Sunday morning, the band returned to the Ken Carlson Boys and Girls Club, where a united Holiness Meeting, with all three of the area corps combined, was held in the gymnasium. The band played a preliminary set, including Colne (Thomas Rive), Laudes Domini (arr. Eric Ball), In Perfect Peace (Kenneth Downie), Lobe den Herren (arr. Eric Ball) and Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla).

After a welcome from Major James Allison, area commander, the flags of the three corps were brought into the hall as Joel Collier sang They Shall Come from the East accompanied by the band. The song was chosen because of the diverse nature of the corps in the command, with services being conducted in English (Washington Park), Spanish (International) and Korean (Kernersville).

Contributions from the National Capital Band included All Hail the Power (arr. Himes) and In Christ Alone (both as congregational song accompaniments) Are You Joyful? (Dudley Bright), The Call (Erik Leidzén) and Here at the Cross (James Curnow). The Kernersville Songsters sang Sing to the King.

Major Andrew Kelly, executive officer of the National Capital Band, gave the message of the morning. The meeting ended in grand style, with the NCB and the congregation joining in O Boundless Salvation, using William Himes’ stirring arrangement with a special tag (provided by Bandmaster Kellner) at the end leading into “Heavenly Gales” and concluding with “Praise God, I’m Saved”.

Following the benediction, the band closed their time in Winston-Salem with a postlude, the march Keep Singing (P. C. Rivers).

The National Capital Band would like to thank several players who joined us for all or part of the weekend, including Charlie Fisher (trombone), Chip Seiler (cornet), Jamie Hood (cornet) and Eugene Fitzgerald (horn). The band was especially delighted to be joined by former NCB member Captain Mike Harris (tuba) on Friday and Saturday. Captain Harris was a member of the band for a number of years both before and after attending the School for Officers’ Training in Atlanta, and is now, with his wife, commanding the Army’s work in the Hickory, North Carolina, area.

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.

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.

Staunton Centennial

On the weekend of 18 – 19 February 2012, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) journeyed to the Shenandoah Valley city of Staunton, Virginia to participate in the celebration of 100 years of Salvation Army service there. The trip included a youth music workshop on Saturday afternoon, a music festival on Saturday evening, worship at the corps on Sunday morning and a Soldiers Rally and Birthday Celebration on Sunday afternoon. The band was delighted to be invited to participate in this event by the corps officers, Majors Sam and Mary Kay Hearne.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The first event of the weekend was a youth music clinic with students from the Salvation Army music program in the Valley. This program has been given a regional emphasis with the employment of Jason Collier as regional music director for the Valley in the fall of 2011, and this was the first opportunity for the students to showcase their skills for a visiting group. About twenty young people from the Staunton and Harrisonburg Corps participated in the workshops.

The workshop began with a group session, with Bandmaster Kellner leading everyone in a “Breathing and Buzzing” session. The group then broke into groups by instrument, with members of the NCB providing instruction and guidance to the students. After the individual sessions, the group reassembled in the corps gymnasium, where there was a short concert, featuring the Harrisonburg Junior Band playing Abide with Me (arr. Robert Redhead) and the Staunton Singing Company presenting Lord, You’re Beautiful, both under the direction of Jason Collier. Items by the NCB included two classics by James Anderson, Goldcrest and Jesus Loves Me. The highlight of the afternoon was William Himes’ Classics in Brass, with the students accompanied by the NCB.

The band then packed up and moved a short distance to Memorial Baptist Church, the venue for the evening concert. The members of the church, lead by Pastor Temple Myers, were extremely gracious and accommodating to the band, including disassembling a part of the platform in the sanctuary in order to allow the band enough room. They also provided a wonderful meal to the band before the concert. There were several large displays of artwork from young member of the community on display in the lobby of the church, as well as some historic photos of the Staunton Corps and members through the years.

The concert began in rousing fashion with The Ambassadors (Peter Graham), immediately followed by the audience joining with the band to sing Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner). Words of welcome were then brought by the Divisional Commander for the National Capital and Virginia Division, Major Kelly Igleheart.

The next item was the duet Quicksilver (Peter Graham), featuring Noel Morris (soprano cornet) and David Delaney (cornet). After being ably represented by the duettists, the entire cornet section was featured at the beginning of the following selection, The Power of the Cross (Paul Sharman).

The Downing family has been a key part of the ministry of the National Capital Band for over forty years. The band’s principal trombone, Kevin Downing, is the second generation of that family to play in the band. Although still a student (he is currently a sophomore majoring in trombone performance at the University of Maryland), he is already a virtuoso performer. For this concert, he performed the jazzy solo Joshua, made famous by Bill Pearce and arranged for brass band by Kevin Hayward. The solo features extreme range, a variety of styles, and an amazing cadenza, at the end of which Kevin played an entire phrase in multiphonics – playing two notes (and sometimes three) at the same time.

Kevin’s performance was followed by an example of the Salvation Army’s music program in the Staunton area, as the young players in that program joined with the NCB for Classics in Brass. The band then concluded the first half of the program with William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician.

After a fifteen-minute intermission, the band brought the audience back to their seats with a rousing rendition of The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton), followed by a congregational song, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (arr. William Himes). Another offering from the band in this section of the program was Leonard Ballantine’s big-band style arrangement Shall We Gather.

During the second half of the program, Major Sam Hearne recognized local leaders and members of the Advisory Board of the Staunton Salvation Army. In addition, the Mayor of Staunton, Lacy B. King, Jr., read a proclamation celebrating the centenary of the Salvation Army in Staunton.

Another highlight of the second half was Ray Houser at the piano. Houser is a long-time supporter of the Salvation Army in Staunton and, despite advanced age and failing health, is still able to pound out songs on the piano in a unique country-gospel style.

The National Capital Band ended the festival with two classic items from the pen of Dean Goffin. As Bandmaster Kellner pointed out to the audience, a unique feature of Salvation Army brass music is the meditation – a piece which examines and enlarges on a tune with a strong reference to the associated words. Perhaps the greatest expression of the meditation in the Salvation Army brass band literature is The Light of the World.

The final item of the evening was another masterwork by Dean Goffin, Symphony of Thanksgiving. One of the most challenging items in the entire Salvation Army repertoire, this piece, with its classical form and style, was a fitting end to a concert celebrating 100 years of service in the local community, and was met with extended applause from the nearly 400 people in attendance.

Following the postlude, The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), the members of the band and audience were treated to an excellent reception in the church’s fellowship hall.

The band is grateful for the assistance provided on Saturday by Dave LaBossiere, who traveled down from Philadelphia to sit in on euphonium.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

On Sunday morning, the band returned to the Staunton Corps building to support the Sunday morning worship service and a Soldiers’ Rally and Birthday Celebration in the afternoon. There was some concern about the weather forecast, as a winter storm warning had been issued for the region by the National Weather Service, but the events continued as planned.

Before morning worship, the band provided some preliminary items, including Angelus (arr. Eric Ball), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Laudes Domini (arr. Eric Ball), O How I Love Jesus (James Curnow) and Lobe den Herren (arr. Eric Ball).

The service featured the Staunton Singing Company, led by Jason Collier, presenting Lord, Your’re Beautiful, the band playing The Light of the World (Dean Goffin) and Major Mark Woodcock, a former corps officer at Staunton, who sang Till the Storm Passes By and brought the message for the morning. NCB Executive Officer Major James Allison participated by enrolling three new senior soldiers into the Staunton Corps.

The afternoon meeting began a bit earlier than planned because of the snow forecast. The congregation from Staunton was bolstered by members of the Harrisonburg Corps and the Charlottesville Corps. The band started things off with The Ambassadors (Peter Graham) and The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton). The meeting was themed “Doors of the Past, Present and Future” and featured three speakers: representing the Past, Lt.-Colonel J. B. Matthews (who was the corps officer at Staunton for the 50th anniversary celebration); representing the Present, Home League Treasurer Jean DePriest; and speaking to the Future, Major Bruce Williams (also a former Staunton corps officer).

Following these presentations, the band’s principal trombone, Kevin Downing, performed the jazz solo Joshua (Pearce/Kaiser, arr. Kevin Hayward) before Lt.-Colonel Sandra Definbaugh brought a Bible message. Lt.-Col. Definbaugh, currently appointed as the Business Manager at National Headquarters, is a Staunton native and attended the corps as a girl.

The weekend was brought to a rousing and appropriate close with the band and congregation joining in O Boundless Salvation, with a “tag” consisting of Heavenly Gales and Praise God, I’m Saved.

Following the meeting, when the outside door was opened, it was evident that the threat of snow had materialized, with two inches already on the ground and more coming down. The members of the NCB quickly packed up, grabbed the box dinners which had been provided by the Staunton Corps, and headed back to the Washington area, fortunately not hindered much by the weather, which improved considerably as they traveled north through Harrisonburg.

The weekend was a great success for both the NCB and the Staunton Corps. The corps officers and members of the Corps and the Advisory Board are to be commended for excellent planning and organization throughout the weekend, which was evidenced by the attendance for the Saturday evening concert.

Tidewater Ministry Weekend (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second of a two-part series of articles on the band’s ministry weekend in the Tidewater area of Virginia, 5 – 6 November 2011.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

On Sunday, 6 November 2011, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) returned to the Norfolk Corps to continue their ministry weekend in the Tidewater Area. Sunday activities included morning worship and a praise concert in the afternoon.

The morning Holiness Meeting began with a series of prelude items by the band, including Angelus (Eric Ball), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Be Thou My Vision (Steve Kellner) and St. Francis (William Himes). With members of three different corps in the area (Norfolk, Hampton and Portsmouth) gathered together, the hall was full beyond capacity.

During the service, the band participated in the praise and worship time, which was led by Jason and Joel Collier, and included Come, Now Is the Time to Worship (arr. James Shiels), Jesus, Messiah and He Knows My Name. The band also featured Paul Sharman’s arrangement of The Power of the Cross.

The message of the morning, which was given by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, was based around the theme “The Light of the World“. The band played Dean Goffin’s magnificent and moving mediation before the message, and Major Allison used the imagery of this music and the painting which inspired it to exhort the congregation to allow the Savior to enter into their lives.

Following a lunch in the corps gymnasium, the band and congregation returned to the chapel for an afternoon Praise Concert. The band kicked off the afternoon with Goldcrest (James Anderson) and then accompanied the congregation as they sang Joyful, Joyful. Other band items included The Ambassadors (Peter Graham) and The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton).

Three of the band’s featured players also presented items. David Delaney (cornet) and Noel Morris (soprano cornet) offered Quicksilver (Peter Graham) and principal trombone Kevin Downing gave an exuberant rendition of Joshua (Pearce/Kaiser, arr. Kevin Hayward).

As the praise concert ended, the band concluded the ministry weekend with The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner). A busy weekend of performances and teaching, although tiring, was inspiring and uplifting for the members of the band.

The band would like to acknowledge some substitute players who filled in for the weekend: David Adams (solo cornet), Patrick Morris (euphonium) and Dan Dobney (Eb bass). We appreciate your efforts during the weekend.

Tidewater Ministry Weekend (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first of a two-part series of articles on the band’s ministry weekend in the Tidewater area of Virginia, 5 – 6 November 2011.

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) traveled to the Tidewater area of Virginia on 4 November 2011 for a ministry weekend which included a kettle kick-off, music for a fashion show, a youth band clinic, an evening festival, morning worship and an afternoon praise concert.

Most of the members of the band gathered at Divisional Headquarters on Friday evening and boarded two mini-buses for the journey south. Stops were made in Fredericksburg and Richmond to gather more of the band. Arriving late in the evening, the band checked into the hotel and spent a restful evening in anticipation of a busy Saturday.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

On Saturday morning, a sextet from the band stayed behind at the hotel to provide support for a fund-raising Fashion Show. The rest of the band boarded the buses and went to a Wal-Mart in Virginia Beach. Setting up in an open area near the entrance, the band provided 90 minutes of Christmas carols for the area-wide red kettle kick-off, joined by a couple of mascots (including a cow from the local Chick-Fil-A franchise, who at one point took the baton and conducted the band through “Hark the Herald Angels”).

The band (still minus the sextet) then went to the Norfolk Corps for lunch and the afternoon activities. With young musicians from both the Richmond Citadel and Hampton Corps present, Bandmaster Kellner gave a “breathing and buzzing” lecture (complete with hand motions). The students were then assigned to various master classes with NCB members, many of which were one-on-one sessions.

The conclusion of the clinic was a demonstration concert. Finally joined by the sextet, the National Capital Band started off with The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner). Next up was the Hampton Youth Band, led by Josh Webb. This group played “Duke Street” and “Fairest Lord Jesus”, both from the First Book of Hymn Tunes.

Next, the NCB presented a contrasting item, James Anderson’s arrangement of Jesus Loves Me. The Richmond Youth Band was then featured, under the direction of Matt Sims. They presented three familiar Christmas carols, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”, “Joy to the World” and “Jingle Bells”.

Another composition from James Anderson, Goldcrest, was the next presentation from the National Capital Band. This was followed by the Hampton Corps senior band, led by the corps officer, Major Kim Feinauer. This group played “Repton” and “He Came to Give Us Life”.

The next item featured the NCB’s young trombone virtuoso, Kevin Downing, who played Kevin Hayward’s arrangement of the classic solo by Bill Pearce, Joshua. Major James Allison, the band’s Executive Officer, gave a brief devotional talk, which was followed by the final item from the NCB, Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). Captain Tim Delaney, Divisional Youth Secretary and member of the NCB tuba section, ended the afternoon session with a benediction.

The next event for the band was the evening festival, held at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. This is the third time that the National Capital Band has presented a concert at this venue. Before the concert, the band had dinner in the church’s fellowship hall.

The concert began with St. Francis (William Himes), followed immediately by Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner) as a congregational song. Major Allison gave a welcome, and the concert continued with The Ambassadors (Peter Graham).

The first feature item on the program was another Peter Graham composition, the cornet duet Quicksilver, ably played by David Delaney (Bb cornet) and Noel Morris (soprano cornet). This was followed by Paul Sharman’s arrangement of the contemporary Christian song The Power of the Cross.

The second feature item of the evening was the trombone solo Joshua presented by Kevin Downing. This jazzy version of “Joshua Fit the Battle” was a signature item for the great trombonist Bill Pearce, and this arrangement was made by Kevin Hayward, former bandmaster of the Canadian Staff Band. Kevin Downing, who is in his third season as the principal trombone of the National Capital Band, is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, majoring in trombone performance.

The first half of the program ended with Suite for Brass (Three Hymns) (Stephen Bulla). In three movements, this piece features the familiar hymns “O Worship the King”, “Amazing Grace” and “How Firm a Foundation”.

Following an intermission, the band brought the audience back with The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton). This was followed by the swing-style Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). Major Allison then brought a devotional, which was tied in with the band’s next item, Dean Goffin’s sublime meditation The Light of the World.

The final item of the concert was William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician. With innovative elements such as chanting and singing from the band during the piece, this is one of the more original works in the repertoire. Major Lewis Reckline, Tidewater Area Commander pronounced the benediction. The band sent the audience home with a postlude, The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner).

Montgomery 25

On Sunday, 3 April 2011, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Corps of the Salvation Army celebrated 25 years of worship and service. Special guests for the event included the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner), Major James Allison (General Secretary, National Capital and Virginia Division), and former Montgomery County corps officers Major Earl Fitzgerald and Captains Melvin and Dianne Welch.

Following an excellent cooked-to-order pancake breakfast in the Corps fellowship hall, the celebration proper began with the National Capital Band providing a musical prelude as a photo montage showing the history of the corps was presented. Major Tina McBride, corps officer, gave a welcome and introductions. This was followed by comments from two community representatives. First was Mr. Al Blocker, the chairman of the corps Advisory Board. Next was the chaplain from the Germantown Volunteer Fire Department. The corps and the fire department have worked together on several initiatives since the corps moved to its present location, which is directly across the street from the fire station.

The Montgomery County praise team led a rousing, enthusiastic time of praise and worship, followed by a prayer given by Captain Melvin Welch, a former corps officer at this corps. One of the young people from the corps gave a report on the recently-concluded Youth Councils, which was followed by an ebullient selection from the small, but energetic, Montgomery County Corps Band, under the direction of Bandmaster David Delaney.

Following a congregational song, several persons associated with the corps over the years gave short memoirs. First up was Florence Kuria, long-time member and bookkeeper at the corps. Next was Danielle (Costello) Delaney, who recounted how her family, in a somewhat desperate condition, was invited to the corps by the first corps officers, then-Lieutenants Brack and Annette Dodd. At that time, the corps building was an old frame house near the railroad tracks in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Danielle’s testimony of the change made by this invitation in the life of her and the others in her family was powerful and moving. Captain Dianne Welch also gave a memoir of her time as a corps officer in Montgomery County.

The National Capital Band presented William Broughton’s big-band style Deep River as the offertory. This was followed by a dramatic presentation entitled Walk the Line, written and performed by the youth of the corps, which was originally presented at Youth Councils. Following a congregational song and responsive Scripture reading, Major Earl Fitzgerald, another former corps officer, set the mood for the message of the morning by singing His Grace Still Amazes Me.

The message was given by Major James Allison. He built on the themes expressed in Danielle Delaney’s memoir. In his “down-home”, South Carolina accented style, he skillfully expounded Gospel truth. As the invitation to the altar was given, the band played Eric Ball’s masterful meditation Serenity, during which several people knelt at the altar – a response with which the composer would have been well-pleased.

The presence of seekers at the altar heightened the excitement of the celebration, which was allowed to burst forth as the morning concluded with the congregation and band joining in the song medley Army on the March. Arranged by Bandmaster Kellner, this item contains several “old school” Salvation Army songs, with arrangements taken from several classic marches such as The Invincible Army (Erik Leidzén), Kinshasa (Leslie Condon), and finishing with “On We March with the Blood and the Fire” from Harrow Citadel (A. S. Raikes), with the corps flag being marched around the hall as the congregation sang.

Following some closing remarks and a benediction by Major Steve Morris, Area Commander for the Washington, DC Metro Area, the band sent the happy congregation home to the strains of The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), with its timeless reminder that “He Lives!”.

Second Annual Youth Band Day

For the second consecutive year, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) held a Youth Band Day in the Washington, DC metro area. This year’s event was held at the Eugene B. Casey Center for Worship and Service (Montgomery County Corps) in Germantown, Maryland, on Saturday, 2 April 2011, with more than 65 young people and other music students in attendance.

The NCB has established this as an annual event to showcase the young people of the area, providing them with specialized instruction and an opportunity to perform in a public concert. This is in addition to the continuous support given to local music programs given by NCB members throughout the year – in fact, each group featured in the Grand Concert at the end of the event was led by a member of the National Capital Band.

Bandmaster Kellner showing breathing exercises

Bandmaster Kellner showing breathing exercises

The event began with a combined session in the Corps hall, where Bandmaster Kellner gave a short talk on proper breathing for brass players and warm-up techniques. The assembled students were then divided into a number of classes, with members of the National Capital Band as instructors. Each student was provided with a packet, graded according to their current level of musical skill, which was used by the instructors during the classes.

Kevin Downing (right) gives a trombone lesson

Kevin Downing (right) gives a trombone lesson

After the classes, which were 75 minutes in length, the groups adjourned to the gymnasium for lunch. Following the meal, each participating youth band was given a rehearsal space, with approximately an hour of time to rehearse their items for the event’s finale, the Grand Concert.

The Grand Concert began with the National Capital Band playing The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), followed by words of welcome from Major Jonathan McBride, corps officer of the host corps, and a prayer from NCB euphoniumist Ian Chaava.

David Mersiovsky teaches a cornet class

David Mersiovsky teaches a cornet class

The body of the concert consisted of performances by a number of youth bands from corps in the Washington, DC metro area, beginning with the group from Alexandria Citadel. This ensemble, led by Bandmaster David Downing, played Kearny Youth (Stephen Bulla) and Hand Me My Trumpet (Ivor Bosanko). Next up were the MoCo First Timers, led by Bandmaster David Delaney. They presented a medley, Amazing Grace & Onward Christian Soldiers (arr. David Mersiovsky).

Following another item from the National Capital Band, Deep River (William Broughton), the next two youth bands presented their items. First was the group from the Solomon G. Brown Center (Southeast Corps), led by Bandmaster Danielle Ashton, playing Alleluia and When the Saints Go Marching In. Next up were Bandmaster David Mersiovsky and the group from the Fredericksburg Corps. They presented a medley, Ode to Joy & Hot Cross Buns in the Minor (arranged by Bandmaster Mersiovsky) and a short rendition of God Is So Good.

Bandmaster David Downing conducts the group from Alexandria Citadel

Bandmaster David Downing conducts the group from Alexandria Citadel

Once again, the National Capital Band presented an item as the youth bands exchanged places, this time offering Bandmaster James Anderson’s timeless arrangement of Jesus Loves Me. First up in this set was the band from the Fairfax Corps, led by Bandmaster Scott Bedio, playing The HCB Opus (S. Bedio), an exposition on “Hot Cross Buns”. The final local group to perform was the Montgomery County Corps Band, under the direction of Bandmaster David Delaney. Although not technically a youth band, this group has a high percentage of young people. They offered Morning Glory (James Anderson).

The concert ended with two special items. The National Capital, augmented by ten of the most advanced students, played God’s Children (William Himes). Then all of the students formed a massed band in front of the platform. With the NCB as accompaniment, they presented William Himes’ arrangement Classics in Brass as the finale to the day. Following a benediction by NCB executive officer Major James Allison, the NCB capped the event with a postlude, Goldcrest (James Anderson).

Ministry Weekend in Raleigh

Early on the morning of Saturday, 19 February 2011, members of the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) gathered at Divisional Headquarters in Washington to begin a journey to Raleigh, NC, for a ministry weekend. The weekend was set up by Majors Pete and Cathy Costas, who are the corps officers in Raleigh, and consisted of a short outdoor concert at North Hills Mall, a soldiers’ rally/concert and Sunday morning worship at the Raleigh Corps.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Upon arriving in Raleigh, the band was treated to lunch at the corps, and then went to North Hills Mall for an outdoor concert. Despite the season, the weather was warm and sunny, and there were many people at the venue. The band had an excellent area from which to present their concert, at the center of the mall in a large courtyard. Items included The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), Be Thou My Vision (Steve Kellner), Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Motivation (William Himes), the second movement, featuring “Amazing Grace” from Robert Redhead’s suite Shout Salvation, and Goldcrest (James Anderson).

After a brief stop at their hotel, the members of the band returned to the Raleigh Corps for set up, sound check, and dinner before the evening event, which was a Soldiers’ Rally with Salvationists from several corps in the area in attendance. The NCB started the evening with Bandmaster Kellner’s Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology, followed by a welcome by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison. The congregation was given the first of several opportunities to participate, singing Joyful, Joyful to the band’s accompaniment.

The Good Old Way, based on a Primitive Methodist song from the nineteenth century, was the next item on the program. Bruce Broughton, an established film and television composer, is a master of programmatic music, and this piece is a fine example. The band’s only soloist of the evening was principal cornet David Delaney, who gave an enthusiastic performance of Ray Steadman-Allen’s Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals.

Scott Bedio gave a testimony, which was followed by the suite Shout Salvation (Robert Redhead), conducted by deputy bandmaster Matt Sims, with Bandmaster Kellner taking the bass trombone chair.

The congregation was then offered another opportunity to participate. This time, they were treated to a premiere of a new medley arranged by Bandmaster Kellner, Army on the March! This piece, designed for audience participation, consists of a number of Salvation Army marching songs, several of which are presented in the arrangements based on those featured in classic marches: “Marching Along”, “Keep in Step” from Regent Hall Young People (Leslie Condon), “A Robe of White” from The Invincible Army (Erik Leidzén), “March On!”, “Happy Song” from Kinshasha (Leslie Condon) and “On We March with the Blood and the Fire” from Harrow Citadel (A. S. Raikes). During this item, the Army flag was marched around the hall as the audience enthusiastically sang.

The main Salvation Army center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was destroyed by the earthquake of January 2010. The USA Southern Territory is raising funds, from the soldiers, to assist in the rebuilding of the corps, which is one of the largest in the Americas. An offering was taken during the meeting in support of this effort. The band played Motivation (William Himes), with the deputy bandmaster conducting, as an offertory. This was followed by a devotional message by Major Allison.

The final band item was another composition from Bandmaster Kellner, Variations on “O Worship the King”. The piece examines the familiar hymn tune in five movements: “Fanfare”, “Little Fugue”, “Song without Words”, “Celtic Dance” and “Theme and Finale”. This led into the conclusion of the program, with the congregation singing ’O Boundless Salvation’ using William Himes’ arrangement as accompaniment. Major Pete Costas gave a benediction. The NCB sent everyone home in fine fashion, playing Goldcrest (James Anderson) as a postlude.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

On Sunday morning, the band returned to the Raleigh worship center. After the Sunday School preliminaries, the Raleigh corps members dispersed to their classes, and the band remained in the chapel for their own preparations. Major Allison gave a short devotional, and then the rest of the time became a prayer meeting among the members of the band. Bandmaster Kellner has emphasized the spiritual life of the band and its members during this season, and this short devotional time was a significant event, including band members kneeling at the Mercy Seat, being supported and assisted by other members.

The theme of the morning worship service was ’Arise, My Soul!’. The band’s main contribution was the offertory, Dean Goffin’s prelude and fugue Arise, My Soul, Arise, one of the true classics of brass band literature. Danielle Ashton read Scripture and gave her testimony. Major Allison gave the message of the morning, entitled “You Want Me To Do What?”, based on Isaiah 6:1-8. The time of commitment after the sermon again featured the band, as they presented Eric Ball’s timeless meditation, Serenity.

A highlight of the meeting was an impromptu a capella quartet from four members of the Raleigh Corps. This corps has a diverse, international congregation, and several of the local officers, including Bandmaster Henri Kissaka and Songster Leader Ghodard Diavangama, hail from Africa. The quartet, which included these persons and two other African Salvationists, sang with the unique and beautiful quality of vocal groups from that continent.

The meeting ended on an upbeat note, with the congregation singing along with the band in the medley Army on the March! (Steve Kellner). Major Pete Costas gave the benediction, and the band played The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner) as a postlude before moving downstairs to join Corps Sergeant-Major Terry Williamson and the rest of the Raleigh corps council for lunch.

This trip ranks as one of the top ministry weekends undertaken by the National Capital Band in recent years. Filling in for absent members were some of the talented local Salvationist musicians: Steve Sutton (cornet), Daniel Simmons (horn) and Charlie Fisher (trombone). In addition, the NCB was delighted to have former long-time member Captain Mike Harris, who is now the corps officer in Hickory, North Carolina, sit in with the tuba section for the Saturday night rally.

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