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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.

National Capital Area Soldiers Rally

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) supported a Soldiers Rally sponsored by the National Capital Area Command and held at Alexandria Citadel Corps on Sunday, 6 October 2013.

The rally was preceded by a mini-concert from the band. In keeping with the theme of the event, this consisted of marches and other upbeat items, including: Camp Happyland (James Anderson), Greenock Citadel (Kenneth Downie), Keep Singing (P. C. Rivers), Goldcrest (James Anderson) and Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla).

Following words of welcome from the National Capital Area commander, Major Lewis Reckline, a Scripture presentation featuring young people from the Landmark (Korean) Corps was given. The praise band from the Montgomery Country Corps added energy to the evening with three songs, How Great Thou Art, Hosanna and Forever Reign.

The meeting continued with a prayer by Major Janice Fitzgerald (Fairfax Corps) and the taking of an offering by Lieutenant Trey Jones (Alexandria Citadel). The divisional goal for World Services giving for this year is $959,000. The divisional commander has challenged to division to raise the addition $41,000 to make the total an even $1 million, and the offering from this meeting was put toward that challenge. The band played Are You Joyful? as an offertory.

Major Jacqulyn Reckline led the congregation through a testimony time, in between verses of the old war song “Gird on the Armor”. This was followed by a Scripture presentation featuring youth from the Fairfax Corps.

The message for the evening was brought by Lieutenant Michael Good, corps officer of the Solomon G. Brown Corps in southeast Washington. His message was challenging and thought-provoking for everyone at the rally, showing a maturity of spirit beyond his experience of only four months as a commissioned Salvation Army officer.

The evening concluded in rousing fashion with O Boundless Salvation, with the band playing William Himes’ arrangement, Major Curt Sayre (Montgomery County Corps) leading the congregation and Major Alan Gonzalez (Arlington Hispanic Corps) handling the traditional waving of the Army flag. After a benediction by Lieutenant Shalanda Jackson, as the congregation moved into the corps fellowship hall for a reception following the meeting, the band “played them out” with Wilfred Heaton’s classic festival march Praise.

Personnel News - September 2013

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) announced some personnel changes at the beginning of the 2013 – 2014 season.

The band says farewell to Ruth Choi, whose officer parents were appointed to the staff of Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta. Also leaving the band are Esther Kim and Sam Kim, who will both be attending the University of Virginia. Josh Sears also has an educational commitment that will keep him from participating for at least the first half of the season.

Jim and Susan Shiels were appointed to the Suffolk Corps in southeastern Virginia and have resumed full-time service as officers with the rank of Captain. Despite the long distance, Jim will continue to play in the band, but Susan will be stepping away.

Joining the band are Majors Tim and Donna Carter, Tim on first horn and Donna on second cornet. The Carters were appointed as area commanders in Central Virginia (Richmond) over the summer. Also joining the band from the Richmond area is Sara Elliott, who has moved from Oklahoma to take the position as music director for the Central Virginia Area Command. Sara will be handling the flügelhorn duties.

The Fredericksburg Corps has also hired a new director for its music programs. Kate Wohlman comes over from England to fill this spot and joins the NCB on Bb bass. The bass section is also bolstered by Lieutenant Trey Jones, corps officer at Alexandria Citadel, who has played with the band as a substitute several times in the past couple of years but has now committed to a full season. Also joining the band from Alexandria Citadel is Troy Stupart. Both Trey and Troy will be on Eb bass.

In addition to new players, there have been changes in the cornet and horn sections. Danielle Ashton moves from first cornet to solo horn. John McKee, who joined the band in the middle of last season, moves from solo cornet to first cornet to fill Danielle’s spot, and Rebekah Schramm moves from second to first cornet.

2013 - 2014 Season Gets Under Way

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) officially began its 2013 – 2014 season in its traditional fashion with a retreat at Camp Happyland. The members of the band gathered on the evening of Friday, 6 September 2013 for a time of musical and spiritual preparation for the upcoming season.

This year’s retreat was exceptionally well-attended, with only three members of the group unable to attend. The format was the same as that used in previous years, with five rehearsal sessions (one on Friday night and four on Saturday) interspersed with meals and with three breakout devotional sections, ending with a consecration service on Saturday afternoon. This format was introduced by Bandmaster Kellner at the first retreat held under his leadership (2010) and has proved to be very effective at preparing the band for their season of ministry.

During the breakout sessions, members of the band were divided into four groups for a time of sharing and prayer. Devotional materials for the sessions, prepared by Major Rob Reardon (Band Chaplain), centered around the Bramwell Coles song Here at the Cross. James Curnow’s meditation on this song is one of the band’s primary devotional selections for this season. Each session looked at a verse of the song and the consecration service wrapped up the theme with an emphasis on the last line of the chorus, “Lord, for Thy service, fit me I plead”.

The rehearsal sessions, each one hour in length, were intense as usual. They serve to introduce new repertoire and to allow the band to begin coming together as a unit, particularly for members who have changed seats or are joining the band.

Curnow Visits Rehearsal

On Monday evening, 4 February 2013, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) was privileged to have well-known composer and conductor James Curnow as guest conductor for its rehearsal.

Curnow is one of the most well-known active Salvation Army composers, and has also published many works for concert and wind bands. In the Washington, DC area to supervise the recording of a demonstration CD for the American Instrumental Ensemble Series, he graciously agreed to come to the city early in order to conduct the rehearsal. The band is featuring two of his works in its concert repertoire this season, the devotional selection Guardian of Our Way and the extended work The Great Salvation War.

The guest conductor handled the entire rehearsal, beginning with taking the band through some of his Tone Studies for Band. The next item was the song arrangement O How I Love Jesus. Insights given by the composer as the band rehearsed this simple yet profound piece enhanced the meaning for the members of the band.

He also took the band through the to items from their concert repertoire mentioned above, spending nearly half the rehearsal time on The Great Salvation War. As with any piece of descriptive music, the understanding of the meaning of the work by the players is crucial to an effective performance, and Curnow’s descriptions of the various motifs and themes used throughout this extended work gave this understanding to the band.

At the end of the rehearsal, the band had a brief lesson in sight-reading as the guest took us through his composition Emblems, which many of the members of the band had never seen before this rehearsal.

In addition to the guest conductor, the band also welcomed back former member Bernie Dake, who is now a member of the music department staff at Territorial Headquarters in Atlanta. Bernie was also in town for the recording sessions to be held later in the week.

Gaithersburg Presbyterian Winter Hymn Sing

For the fifth consecutive year, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) visited Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church for the church’s Winter Hymn Sing.

This year, the band began with a “mini-concert”, playing five items before the event began. These included three hymn tunes arranged by Eric Ball, Angelus, Laudes Domini and Lobe den Herren. Also featured in this section were Jesus Loves Me (James B. Anderson) and St. Francis (William Himes).

The bulk of the event, as is evident from the name, consisted of the assembled congregation singing a variety of song – a total of fifteen. Ably led by the church’s director of music, Ann Y. Schmidt, and assisted by organist Mark Hanak, the event moved smoothly from item to item.

During the program, in addition to accompanying thirteen of the fifteen songs, the band presented the third movement of William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician. The singing drew to a rousing finish with the band, organ and congregation joining in Crown Him with Many Crowns (arr. Charles Skinner).

As in previous years, the Hymn Sing was followed by a chili dinner in the church fellowship hall. Members of the church provided a dazzling variety of chili, with everything from traditional beef to venison to chicken to vegetarian. One rather unusual choice this year was a Moroccan chili, with exotic spices served over a bed of couscous.

The Winter Hymn Sing has become a favorite on the National Capital Band’s annual schedule, and this year was no exception as the band enjoyed good music and good fellowship with the members of Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church.

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.

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.

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.

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