Special Events

Band Dinner 2011

The National Capital Band concluded its 2010 – 2011 season in its traditional fashion on Monday, 16 May 2011, with a dinner for the members and guests. Held again this year at Maggiano’s at Tysons Galleria, the dinner is a time for the leadership of the band to express their appreciation for the dedication and commitment shown by the members throughout the season.

Highlights of the event included a retrospective of the past season by Bandmaster Steve Kellner. Beginning with the band’s participation at the annual Family Retreat at the end of last summer, he went through the various engagements and events. Of particular note were the ministry weekends in Fredericksburg and Raleigh, and the band’s “in-town” ministry weekend in April, which included its first official participation in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. He also outlined some of the things planned for the upcoming 2011 - 2012 season.

At the end of most NCB seasons, there are a few people who will not be returning to the band in the future. This year, five members were recognized at the dinner, most of whom are moving from the area to pursue educational opportunities:

  • Tamar Murray, who will be attending Biola University in Southern California
  • Ellim Choi, who will be attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Demarr Woods, who is entering the doctoral program at Northern Colorado University
  • Josh Webb, who is moving to Hampton, Virginia in preparation for entry into the School for Officer Training at Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Scott Bedio, who had committed to play in the band for one season as a substitute while John Reeves was away on military deployment in Iraq

One of the firm traditions of the National Capital Band is the award at each annual dinner of Bob’s Big Note. Started by long-time band secretary and principal cornet Bob Goodier at his farewell dinner in 2000, the Note recognizes a member of the band who exhibits musicianship and ministry “behind the scenes” during the season. The previous year’s recipient chooses the next, without any input from the band leadership. For the 2010 – 2011 season, flügelhorn player Paul Deafenbaugh was chosen by David Mersiovsky.

The dinner concluded with brief remarks from the band’s executive officer, Major Jim Allison, who thanked the members and their families for the generous offering of time and talent throughout the year.

National Cherry Blossom Festival

One of the signature annual events in Washington is the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which stretches over two weeks in early spring. Part of the festival is a continuous series of concerts by various cultural, musical, dance and other groups at the Sylvan Theater, located on the National Mall just south of the Washington Monument. For the first time in its history, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) took part in the Festival as an official participant, with a 45-minute concert at the Sylvan Theater on the afternoon of Friday, 1 April 2011.

Band members (red jackets) waiting for the previous group to finish before taking the stage

Band members (red jackets) waiting for the previous group to finish before taking the stage

Unfortunately, the weather for the event was not ideal, with cold temperatures, high winds and rain. The rain had stopped by the time that the band began, but the chilly wind made it quite difficult to perform, constantly threatening to blow over the music stands (the Sylvan Theater is a bandstand, covered, but open to the wind on three sides). Despite the challenging conditions, the band played well, presenting a varied program that began with The Risen Saviour (Paul Kellner), based on the familiar hymn “He Lives”.

Although not permitted to directly present the Gospel in this setting, Bandmaster Kellner’s selections were designed to pass on the message as an expression of the cultural significance of sacred music through the years combined with a patriotic flavor, appropriate for a concert in that location. The next item on the program was William Himes’ march God and Country. This was followed by the second movement of the suite Shout Salvation (Robert Redhead), which is based on what is perhaps the most-recognized melody throughout the world, “Amazing Grace”.

Bandmaster Kellner announces an item

Bandmaster Kellner announces an item

Another Himes march, Motivation, was next, conducted by Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims. Two classical transcriptions followed, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach, arr. Leidzén) and Hornpipe from “Water Music” (Handel). The march Novarc (Stephen Bulla), which allowed the bandmaster to mention the work of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers while introducing it, continued the program. The band showed its versatility with the next item, Deep River, a swing arrangement in the style of the famous Count Basie.

The National Capital Band has always had a strong connection with the military services, having had several current and former military musicians as members throughout the years (including the current bandmaster). Stephen Bulla’s Armed Forces Salute, featuring the service songs of all of the US armed forces, is a perennial item in the repertoire and again drew an enthusiastic reaction on this occasion.

To complete the short performance, Bandmaster Kellner chose a march by John Philip Sousa, Power and Glory. While perhaps not Sousa’s most familiar work, the march is remarkable in that it represents one of the very few occurrences where he used an existing melody when composing the march – in this case, the well-loved hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers”.

Because of the timing of the event, several regular members of the band were unable to be present. The band would like to thank Malcolm Stokes, Steve Sutton, Melissa Little and Melinda Ryan for filling in for this performance. A special mention goes to Randy Jennings, who was playing his first brass band concert and first experience with the Salvation Army, sight-reading all of the music in high winds while performing as the sole percussionist.

Annual Band Retreat 2010

“New Beginnings” was the theme for the annual Family Camp for the National Capital & Virginia Division this year, and the same spirit carried through the following weekend (10 – 11 September 2010), when the National Capital Band gathered at Camp Happyland for their annual Band Retreat. With a new bandmaster, Dr. Steve Kellner at the helm and seven new players joining the band this season, the band is indeed experiencing “new beginnings”.

The Band Retreat has been the first official engagement of each season for the NCB for many years. It is intended as a time to perform organizational tasks, read through the upcoming repertoire, and set the band up both musically and spiritually for their mission. This year, Bandmaster Kellner instituted significant changes in the schedule of the retreat, with more emphasis on the spiritual and social aspects of the group.

Rehearsal sessions were reduced from 90 minutes to 60, but were increased in number from three to five. After each rehearsal session, the band broke into four groups, with each member (and family members who were in attendance for the retreat) participating through each group in a round-robin fashion. The groups, using materials provided by the Band Chaplain, Captain Rob Reardon, were so effective that the rehearsal sessions on Saturday were further shortened to allow more time for them. These devotional group sessions set the band on firm spiritual footing for the upcoming season. After the final rehearsal session on Saturday, Major James Allison, the band’s Executive Officer, led a short service of consecration which ended with most of those present kneeling in prayer at the recently-dedicated altars in the Happyland chapel.

Musically, the band was introduced to the new repertoire. Bandmaster Kellner has chosen a number of challenging items this year, and with only two items retained from the previous season, intense rehearsal is to be anticipated. Highlights of the repertoire include the prelude and fugue Arise, My Soul, Arise (Dean Goffin), Bruce Broughton’s The Good Old Way, the sublime and powerful meditation Serenity (Eric Ball), Variations on “O Worship the King” composed by Bandmaster Kellner, and Martin Cordner’s energetic Let Everything Praise!.

The National Capital Band is fortunate to have some outstanding young players, including principal cornet David Delaney, 27, and principal trombone Kevin Downing, 18. This season’s repertoire includes major solo items for both of them, with Bandmaster Kellner choosing two complementary works, based on spirituals, by Ray Steadman-Allen. These are the cornet solo Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals and Fantasy for Trombone on Spirituals.

As with most years, a few members of the band were unable to attend the retreat because of work or other commitments. Three former members of the band returned to help fill in these gaps: Sam and Stephanie Funkhouser, on euphonium and horn respectively, and Rick Potter on E♭ bass. Their participation in both the rehearsals and the group sessions enhanced the quality of the weekend.

From Strength to Strength

A capacity crowd gathered in the hall at Alexandria Citadel on the afternoon of Sunday, 18 July 2010 to salute Bandmaster James B. Anderson and Christina Anderson. On the platform, the National Capital Band, enhanced by a number of former players and guests, provided the musical backing for the event. With the title “From Strength to Strength”, the afternoon was a praise-filled celebration of the impact that these two Spirit-filled people have had during their eighteen years of ministry in the United States.

Bandmaster Anderson is well-known for composing quality marches. Under his direction, the National Capital Band presented two of them, The Pioneers and Life in the Spirit (which he described to the band during the sound check as his attempt at composing a “spiritual march”), as preliminary items.

Major Kelly Igleheart, divisional commander for the National Capital and Virginia Division, who was the chairman for the afternoon, welcomed the large audience and guests. He then led the assembly in a congregational song, The Drumbeats of His Army (words by Henry Burton, music by James Anderson).

The Andersons arrived in the USA on 4 July 1992, Jim having been hired by Lt.-Col. Jack T. Waters to be the Divisional Music Director for the Texas Division. Fittingly, the first person to speak in tribute was Colonel Waters, who described the process by which Bandmaster Anderson came to be employed by the Salvation Army in Texas. This was followed by an item from the band, Bandmaster Anderson’s selection Our God Reigns.

Former Chaplain of the National Capital Band, Captain Mike Harris, who returned from his new appointment in Hickory, North Carolina, for the event, offered prayer. This was followed by the second tribute, from Major Travis Israel, who was the corps officer at Dallas Temple when the Andersons came to Texas in 1992. Major Israel described how the Andersons and their children immediately became involved soldiers of the corps, notwithstanding their busy schedules, highlighting the ministry aspect of their service.

Kevin Norbury’s arrangement of contemporary Christian songs, God With Us, is a favorite of Bandmaster Anderson’s. After being in the NCB repertoire for five consecutive seasons, it usually evokes some groans of protest from the band when put on a program, but on this occasion it was entirely fitting as the next item on the program. NCB principal trombone Kevin Downing gave the next tribute, representing both the young musicians of the division and the members of the National Capital Band. He described Bandmaster Anderson’s encouragement from his first youth band rehearsal, where he had not yet learned to read treble clef, through his present place as the trombone soloist for the NCB as he prepares to enter the University of Maryland music program in the autumn.

The congregation was given an opportunity to stretch a bit with the next item, the congregational song Our God Reigns, using Bandmaster Anderson’s arrangement. The song was led by Bandmaster Nick Simmons-Smith, current Territorial Music Secretary for the USA South, who mentioned that he was not attending the event in his official capacity, but rather as a friend of the Andersons. Bandmaster Simmons-Smith also recounted how, as a young musician, he was hired by Bandmaster Anderson to work in the music department in Texas, finding himself teaching at a music event in Mexico City two weeks after arriving from England, as the Texas music department often traveled south of the border to provide music support to the Mexican Salvationists.

Dr. Richard Holz, retired Territorial Music Secretary, gave the next tribute. Dr. Holz brought Bandmaster Anderson to Territorial Headquarters after his time in Texas, where he served as the first Territorial Music Education Director. Dr. Holz emphasized Jim’s strength and experience as an outstanding music educator, building on his experience in the schools in Scotland.

The first surprise of the afternoon provided, appropriately, a bit of Scottish flavor to the afternoon. Noted vocal soloist Marjory Watson, who lives in Scotland, was the guest at the music conservatory in the Carolinas, and extended her stay in the US in order to be at this event. Accompanied by Maria Mathieson (also a native of Scotland), Marjory sang the great Scottish ballad My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose, with Christian words as the second verse.

Christina Anderson served as the Divisional Gospel Arts Director during the past six years. Major Donna Igleheart, who worked closely with Christina at the beginning of this time, gave a heartfelt tribute to her contributions to the work and the ministry of the divisional youth and music departments. Christina was also presented with a plaque commemorating her service in the NCV Division.

The Anderson’s three children – Lois, Esther and Tim, were all present for the afternoon, and the next item featured the entire Anderson family performing Bandmaster Anderson’s treatment of The Gentle Voice, with Jim, Tim, Lois and Esther singing with Christina at the piano. Prior to the performance, the children gave a short presentation, humorously describing the family meeting just before they moved to America, and presenting a short poem written for their father.

Next came one of the more poignant moments of the afternoon, especially for the members of the National Capital Band. When Bandmaster Anderson was 15 years of age, he made his first brass band arrangement, of the well-loved song Jesus Loves Me, which was published in the Triumph Series a few years later. This was the final piece which he conducted as the Bandmaster of the National Capital Band. Their were few dry eyes among the players at the conclusion of the music.

The retirement ceremony for Bandmaster Anderson was conducted by Major James Allison, who has worked closely with him for the past several years as the Executive Officer of the National Capital Band. The Anderson children held American and Salvation Army flags (both the corps flag from Alexandria Citadel and the National Capital Band flag) as a backdrop. Major Allison, in recanting the major events of Jim’s life and ministry, emphasized again and again that at every turning point, “no one knew” the future impact, but that “God knew”. It is evident that the hand of God has guided Jim’s life and career, and this was made clear in the long list of achievements recounted by Major Allison. Jim was presented with a plaque commemorating his 18 years of service as an employee of the Salvation Army and with a framed baton for his six years as Bandmaster of the National Capital Band.

Bandmaster Anderson gave an impassioned response, detailing his view of his journey to this place. He particularly emphasized his time as a Divisional Music Director, both in Texas and in the National Capital and Virginia division. Several of those who spoke in tribute earlier in the program had mentioned Jim’s predilection to stop in the middle of a rehearsal, remove his glasses and proceed to give a strong Gospel message. At the end of the response, he did this, bringing back vivid memories for those who had been on the receiving end of these messages.

Following his response, Bandmaster Anderson formally passed the baton to Bandmaster David Delaney, who succeeds him as Divisional Music Director. Bandmaster Delaney then passed it on to Dr. Steve Kellner, who will serve as the Bandmaster of the National Capital Band.

Next was the second surprise of the afternoon. Bandmaster William Himes felt compelled to compose a piece for Bandmaster Anderson’s retirement. Although he was not able to be present for the event, he worked into the early morning hours on the preceding Wednesday to complete the composition. The piece, entitled This I Know, is dedicated “To my friend, James Anderson, for his faith and courage.” It combines the song “Jesus Is the Sweetest Name I Know” (which Jim has said has been of great help to him through his recent medical struggle) with quotes from Jim’s arrangement of “Jesus Loves Me”. After the National Capital Band played this item, Bandmaster Simmons-Smith presented Jim with a framed page of the score.

Now-retired Bandmaster Anderson was not given an opportunity to rest for the remainder of the program, as Josh Webb gave up his chair so that Jim could take his place in the tuba section. The event concluded with yet another of Jim’s marches, Goldcrest, followed by the congregation singing O Boundless Salvation, with multiple flags waving as the band accompanied the singing using William Himes’ arrangement.

Captian Ken Argot, corps officer of Alexandria Citadel, where the Andersons have been soldiers for the past six years, gave the benediction. The National Capital Band, in a final tribute to the outgoing bandmaster, played On the King’s Highway, a march composed by the first leader of the NCB, Erik Leidzén, as a postlude.

Annual Band Dinner 2010

Traditionally, the National Capital Band ends each season with a dinner for the members and guests. In 2010, the dinner was held two weeks early because the last event of the season is a ministry trip to Scranton, Pennsylvania at the end of May. This year’s dinner was held at Maggiano’s in the Tysons Galleria. Notable events on the evening included the award of Bob’s Big Note, a farewell presentation to Captain Mike Harris, and the announcement by Bandmaster James Anderson that he is retiring at the end of this season.

This was not the first time that the annual dinner had been held at Maggiano’s, and as always, the food was excellent. Stuffed mushrooms, fried mozzarella covered with fresh marinara, and two types of salad began the meal. There were three main courses, served on large platters so that each diner could partake of each if they wished, including roast pork, beef with peppers, and lasagna. The desserts were special, with a rich chocolate cake and a surprising light cheesecake.

The dinner began with the band and guests singing the blessing (’Be Present at Our Table, Lord”) to the tune “Duke Street”, with some rather complex harmony. Since the focus of the dinner is fellowship, there was not much of a program, with only a few scripted events.

David Mersiovsky (left) receives Bob’s Big Note from Dave Downing

David Mersiovsky (left) receives Bob’s Big Note from Dave Downing

One of the traditions of the National Capital Band is the annual award of Bob’s Big Note. Begun by long-time Band Secretary and principal cornet Bob Goodier at his farewell dinner in 2000, the Note showcases a member of the band who has exhibited Christian faith and commitment to the band during the season, without being in the forefront. The Note itself is a simple brass paperweight in the shape of a musical note. One important feature of the award is that the current holder chooses the next recipient - there is no involvement by the Band Board or leadership in the selection.

The current holder of the Note was Dave Downing. After Mike Harris gave a brief description of the history of the Note, Dave presented the Note to David Mersiovsky.

Captain Mike Harris

Captain Mike Harris

Band Chaplain Captain Mike Harris is one of the veterans of the National Capital Band, having served for several years before entering the ministry and again after being appointed to the Fredericksburg Corps. He and his wife have recently been appointed as corps officers in Hickory, North Carolina, and Bandmaster Anderson presented him with a special framed print of a three-part painting created by former band member Laura Boutchyard.

One of the traditional moments at the Band Dinner is a speech by the bandmaster. Bandmaster Anderson began with a reprise of the highlights of the past six seasons, including the trip to New York in the spring of 2005, the visit to the Great American Brass Band Festival in Kentucky, recording The Words of the Amen, the visit to Michigan and the tour of Switzerland and France in 2007, the recent recording sessions for the upcoming Christmas album, and the many ministry weekends the band has undertaken under his leadership. He then announced that he will retire at the end of the season, relinquishing both the leadership of the National Capital Band and the position of Divisional Music Director.

Bandmaster James Anderson announces his retirement

Bandmaster James Anderson announces his retirement

To conclude the dinner, executive officer Major James Allison gave a devotional thought and thanked the members of the band and their families for the commitment shown during the past season.

Major James Allison

Major James Allison

Return to Gaithersburg Presbyterian

Despite a snowy weekend in the Washington area, the members of the National Capital Band gathered at Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church for the church’s annual Hymn Sing and Chili Dinner. 2010 is the third consecutive year that the band has participated in this event.

The event, led by music minister Ann Y. Schmidt, was described as a way to throw off the “winter blues.” The large congregation, accompanied by the NCB and church organist Mark Hanak, sang multiple verses of seventeen hymns and songs. Most of the singing was accompanied by selections from the Salvation Army’s Band Tune Book and the Hallelujah Chorus series. “Big” arrangements were used for God Bless America (Irving Berlin, arr. William Gordon), O Boundless Salvation (William Himes), Onward Christian Soldiers (Gordon Langford) and Crown Him with Many Crowns (Charles Skinner).

For many of those present, the highlight of the event was the performance of Andrae Crouch’s contemporary classic My Tribute. Through a fortuitous error, the congregation was not provided with the words of the verse. Bandmaster Anderson, when he learned of this, offered to sing the verse as a solo. As he began the song, with the words, “How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me?” many members of the band (including this writer) found it difficult to see their parts through tears. The bandmaster’s unwavering testimony and passion for ministry through his physical challenges of the past 18 months are a model of Christian faith and have been uplifting, encouraging and challenging to all who have witnessed them.

In addition to the accompaniment of the congregational singing, the band presented a prelude, Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology (Steve Kellner), a feature item during the Hymn Sing, Dance Like David (Andrew Mackereth), and a postlude, Cornerstone (Andrew Mackereth). The band’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison, also gave a short report on the Army’s relief work in Haiti.

Following the Hymn Sing, the congregation and the band retired the church’s fellowship hall, where they were treated to a vast assortment of various types of chili, all prepared by members of the church.

Sessions for Christmas Recording

On Friday evening, 22 January 2010, members of the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) gathered in the chapel at Camp Happyland to begin recording a new Christmas album.

Under the expert supervision of Grammy-nominated engineer Phil Bulla, the band recorded twelve items, finishing on Saturday afternoon. Highlights of the recording include a new piece from the pen of principal euphonium Steve Kellner, Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and Robert Redhead’s classic suite The Joy of Christmas.

The full list of items recorded:

  1. Christmas Idyll (Kenneth Downie)
  2. Ding Dong Merrily on High (Douglas Court)
    Euphonium solo, Steve Kellner, soloist
  3. Fanfare Jubiloso (James Curnow)
  4. Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (Steve Kellner)
  5. Feliz Navidad (Dorothy Gates)
  6. I Wonder As I Wander (Ray Bowes)
  7. The Joy of Christmas (Robert Redhead)
  8. Nowell (Andrew Mackereth)
  9. Season’s Greetings (James Anderson)
  10. Shepherds Surprise (Kenneth Downie)
  11. The Shining Star (Peter Graham)
  12. Stille, Stille, Stille (James Curnow)

Further information on the album, including a release date and information on advance orders, will be announced in the future.

The band would like to thank a number of players who helped out with the recording:

  • Darryl Crossland
  • Steve Sutton
  • Dr. Bethany Mikles
  • Bethany Hawley
  • Dr. Richard Holz
  • Dr.Tom Walker

Mini-Concert at Maryland ARC

Bandmaster James B. Anderson and the National Capital Band made their final rehearsal of 2009 into a special event at the Adult Rehabilitation Center in Hyattsville, Maryland. At the invitation of Majors Paul and Dawn McFarland, the band changed its rehearsal venue from Divisional Headquarters to the chapel at the ARC on Monday, 7 December 2009, using the latter part of the rehearsal time as a mini-concert for the residents of the center.

After some challenges fitting the band formation onto the platform in the ARC chapel, Bandmaster Anderson took the band through an abbreviated rehearsal, using slightly more than half the normal 2 hours. Residents from the ARC took their seats gradually during this time. After the rehearsal portion of the evening was complete, principal baritone Robert Schramm gave a short devotion, for both the members of the band and the residents already in the hall, which focused on the story of the well-loved Christmas carol O Come, All Ye Faithful.

The mini-concert began with a congregational carol, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (arr. Willcocks, trans. James Anderson). This was followed by the march The Shining Star and Robert Redhead’s suite The Joy of Christmas. Three members of the band’s solo cornet bench, David Delaney, David Mersiovsky and Chris Dennard, presented the classic trumpet trio Bugler’s Holiday (Leroy Anderson). The band followed with its last item of the short concert, Feliz Navidad (José Feliciano, arr. Dorothy Gates), which generated extended applause from the audience. The concert concluded with another congregational carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas (arr. Rutter, trans. James Anderson), with the usual “surprise” accelerando on Day 12.

Stockholm South Citadel Visit to Washington

Monday, 10 April 2006, saw the Stockholm South Citadel Band of the Salvation Army visit the Washington, DC area. The one-day stopover in the Nation’s Capital was part of a 10-day tour in which the band traveled from Connecticut to Florida. Now under the leadership of Bandmaster Lars-Otto Ljungholm, the Swedish ensemble has a long history of musical and spiritual excellence.

Beginning the day in Philadelphia, where they had performed on Sunday evening, the Stockholm band journeyed by coach south to Washington, unfortunately becoming snared in some of the area’s infamous traffic, arriving in the city some hours later than originally planned. However, they were still able to play an outdoor concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial, at the western end of Washington’s monumental core, at the schedule time of 3:00 pm. Despite the travel difficulties, the band managed to arrive at the Memorial just at the time they were to begin playing and quickly set up and get going. The weather was good, and there were large crowds on the National Mall, with many people sitting on the steps in front of the Memorial to listen to the band.

Despite their late arrival, the band was able to get in a full 45-minute set at the Lincoln Memorial, and made many contacts with listeners. Bandmaster Ljungholm chose a mixture of music, including several solo items, including a cornet quartet, a cornet solo, Swedish Melody, played by Kalle Ljungholm, and a moving performance of I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked (arr. Peter Graham) by principal trombone Lars-Oskar Öhman. In fitting style, the band ended their performance with an exciting rendition of Wilfred Heaton’s classic march Praise. The fine weather and fine playing of the band made for an enjoyable afternoon in the heart of Washington.

Following the concert at the Lincoln Memorial, the Stockholm South Citadel Band made the short journey across the Potomac River to Alexandria, Virginia, where the local Salvation Army Citadel was the venue for the evening festival. Prior to the festival they were joined by members of the National Capital Band for a meal. The National Capital Band has strong ties with the Stockholm group, as Bandmaster Lars-Otto Ljungholm was a member of the National Capital Band for 13 years, many of them as principal cornet and the last four as Bandmaster. The NCB also featured Deputy Bandmaster Ove Ericson on a 5-day “mini-tour” of the southern US in autumn 2001.

The Alexandria Citadel hall was filled over capacity (extra chairs being set out even as the band entered to begin the concert!) as the band presented a Festival of Music. Bandmaster Ljungholm chose to begin the evening with a new work by a young composer in the band, Anders Beijer. Entitled The Water of Life, the march is the title work on the band’s latest recording. This was followed by vocal soloist Magnus Ahlström, who sang Sverige (Sweden). Lars Ohman and Kristin Ljungholm presented selected Scripture passages, followed by an invocation. The hosts for the evening, Major Tony Barrington (corps officer at Alexandria Citadel) and Lt.-Colonel William Crabson (Divisional Commander) spoke briefly after the prayer.

A running feature throughout the concert was the use of video clips to introduce the band and some of the soloists. The first of these clips were shown at this time, followed by Ove Ericson’s playing of the cornet solo Life’s Pageant (Terry Camsey). As usual, Ove showed great sensitivity and skill in his performance, which was followed by a video message from the Mayor of Stockholm, Annica Billström. Continuing in a Swedish theme, the band next presented a classical transcription, Overture from “Joan of Arc” (August Söderman), conducted by the retired Bandmaster, Torgny Hanson, who also arranged the piece.

The concert continued in the classical vein, as Magnus Ahlström returned, this time portraying Figaro as he sang the famous Cavatina from Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville”, with Göran Larsson serving as his rather unfortunate customer. Ahlstroöm, who is a professional singer with the world-renowned Swedish Radio Choir, thoroughly entertained the crowd with his rendition, which was arranged with a brass band accompaniment by Bandmaster Ljungholm.

Next up was the band’s fine euphonium soloist, Richard Kendrick, who played the old classic theme-and-variations solo The Song of the Brother (Erik Leidzén). The 2004 Swedish brass solo champion, Kendrick showed his fine abilities with this well-known work. The first half of the program concluded with Peter Graham’s challenging work, Renaissance.

The second half began with a classic Salvation Army march, The Scarlet Jersey (Ray Steadman-Allen), followed by Radiant Pathway (Leslie Condon), a tuba duet featuring Andreas Wiberg on Bb bass and Simon Friskus on Eb bass. The next item brought the concert into a more devotional mood. Erik Leidzén was a master of tone colors and moods, and the band played next one of his less-often presented meditations, The Call. This led into a short Scripture and devotional message from Major Göran Larsson, trailed by another item from Magnus Ahlström, Easter Triumph (arr. A. Holmlund), featuring the well-known song “The Old Rugged Cross”.

The final program item of the evening was a piece that has become a classic of Salvation Army brass band literature, Edward Gregson’s Variations on “Laudate Dominum”. The band showed their range and virtuosity in negotiating the numerous musical styles required to successfully perform this major work. Following an extended standing ovation, the band launched a lightning-quick rendition of Peter Graham’s Dance Before the Lord. Again faced with nearly deafening applause, Bandmaster Ljungholm called Bandmaster James Anderson to the stage, where Anderson conducted the band in the march Under the Blue and Yellow Flag (Widkvist, arr. R. Frödén). After yet another round of applause, the band finally concluded their performance, this time forming a choir and singing Lord, You Know That We Love You (Howard Davies), accompanied by a brass sextet and again featuring the voice of Magnus Ahlström.

NCV Music Councils 2006

For the first time in several years, the National Capital and Virginia Division of the Salvation Army sponsored a Divisional Music Councils. Held 25 - 26 February 2006 at Camp Happyland in central Virginia, the Councils featured the Pendel Youth Band, Chorus, Timbrels, and Mime Troupe. On Sunday, 27 February, the Pendel groups participated in worship meetings at the Arlington Citadel Corps.

Friday – Sounds of Salvation

The weekend began with a festival on Friday evening where all of the groups from Pendel contributed. Entitled Sounds of Salvation, the concert opened with the Pendel Youth Chorus, conducted by Cathy Hayes, singing Jubilate Deo, ably accompanied by Captain Margaret Davis on piano, Jon Burgmayer on cornet, and Darien DiSilvio on percussion. Following words of welcome from the National Capital and Virgina Divisional Music Director, Bandmaster James Anderson, the Youth Band played Vanguard (Norman Bearcroft).

The next item was a cornet duet featuring a father-and-son combination, David and Jon Burgmayer, who played The Crusaders (Terry Camsey) accompanied by the band. Another Pendel unit was introduced, the Mime Troupe (led by Major Bessie Babbitt, who performed to I Can Only Imagine, recorded by the popular contemporary Christian artists, Mercy Me. The Youth Band demonstrated some musical flexibility by playing a transcription of a classical work, Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 for Piano (arr. Terry Camsey). As with all Salvation Army musical sections, there is a strong spiritual element to the Pendel youth groups, and this was evidenced by several personal testimonies from the young people, the first of which was Bethany Babbitt.

Following Bethany’s testimony, the Youth Chorus again sang, this time presenting two items, Prepare! (Leonard Ballantine) and Joy Webb’s moving devotional song Come Into Our World. The Youth Band continued the theme with Stephen Bulla’s song arrangement My Father’s World. Another testimony followed, this time by Eric White. The congregation was given the opportunity to paricipate in a congregational song, led by Captain Margaret Davis and accompanied by the band, the familiar hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (arr. Dr. Harold Burgmayer).

Following some announcements from Bandmaster Anderson regarding the activities for the next day, the concert continued with an item by the Pendel Youth Timbrels, Westbourne, accompanied by the Youth Band. The band then played an arrangement by Paul Curnow of the the well-known contemporary gospel song Step by Step. Next was another testimony, this one a short but moving one from Jeff Eisenhart, who spoke about his spiritual trials after the loss of a close friend. The mime troupe returned, this time performing with the chorus, to the song This Day (arr. Press). Captain Davis then brought a devotional thought.

The concert concluded with another item from the Youth Band, The Great Crusade (Ray Steadman-Allen), and another item from the Youth Chorus, Praise His Name (Hampton). The chorus item was again backed by members of the band, David Burgmayer on cornet and Darien DiSilvio on percussion. Following a benediction, the Youth Chorus sent the audience off by singing Nolan’s Irish Blessing.

Saturday – Massed Groups – Clinics – Praise Concert

Many of the audience from the Friday evening concert stayed overnight at Camp Happyland, where they were joined the next morning by many others. The morning began with breakfast in the camp Dining Hall, after which a Massed Band rehearsal was held in the camp chapel. For those attendees who did not play instruments, Captain Greg Shannon held a vocal clinic in the main rehearsal room of the Music Conservatory building. Attendance for both was impressive, with more than 60 players in the massed band, including the Pendel Youth Band musicians, members of the National Capital Band, and players from various corps bands around the division. After these sessions, the groups came together to form a Massed Chorus nearly 130 members strong, which was conducted by Cathy Hayes.

After the rehearsals for the massed groups, the assemblage broke into individual workshop groups, with small groups in various places all over the camp. Both performance and programming classes were offered, with instructors from both the Pendel and NCV divisions participating. This was a good time of learning and instruction benefitting everyone who took part.

At 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon, the finale of the Music Councils, “Let There Be Praise”, featured the massed band and chorus, along with the Pendel and various National Capital and Virginia performing groups. After an opening congregational song and an invocation by Captain Kelly Igleheart (Executive Officer of the National Capital Band), the afternoon began with the Massed Band playing First Light (Harold Burgmayer), conducted by Bandmaster Aaron Harris. Because of the large number of musicians participating in the massed ensemble, the conductor was placed in the center with players all around. The next item was from the Pendel Youth Band, Andrew Mackereth’s Walking in the Light. Next up was the Norfolk Songsters, who sang My Help. This was followed In My Heart There Rings a Melody (arr. Anderson), played by the Alexandria Citadel Band.

Captain Margaret Davis has a fine, classicly-trained soprano voice, and she demonstrated this by singing Puccini’s aria O Mio Babbino Caro during the concert, followed by the Pendel Youth Chorus presenting an entertaining arrangement of What a Wonderful World. Next up was the National Capital Band, the premier musical group of the National Capital and Virginia Division, who played Winchester Revival (Kenneth Downie). The Massed Chorus gave a stirring performance of the song Don’t Let the Devil (Graeme Press), after which the drama/mime group Blessed from the Portsmouth Corps performed to I’ve Got My Mind Made Up.

The NCV Divisional Youth Chorus was next, singing the popular song People Need the Lord (Nelson/McHugh, arr. Tom Fettke). Following this was the performance of a relatively new group in the division, Skyline Brass, conducted by Captain David May. Made up of members of corps in the Skyline Drive region of the Blue Ridge, this small group made a good showing, playing Finlandia (arr. James Cheyne). Two more of the NCV youth groups participated next, the timbrels performing a drill to Stephen Bulla’s march Land of Freedom accompanied by the NCV Divisional Youth Band, and then the band playing To a God Like This (John Larsson, arr. Ian Robinson) as a feature item of their own. Getting out of the brass mode for a while, the audience was delighted by a soldier from the Tidewater area of the division who played a violin solo.

Moving toward the end of the program, the Alexandria Citadel Songsters brought the audience back to the recent Christmas season with Jesus, What a Wonderful Child/Emmanuel (arr. Mauldin). Another band followed, this one the Norfolk/Tidewater Area Band, who played the selection Bless Me. Another item by the Massed Chorus was next, Before the Cross (Gregson), again ably conducted by Cathy Hayes. The Divisional Commander for the NCV Division, Lt.-Col. William Crabson, gave a short devotional thought. The festival concluded with the final item by the Massed Band, a medley of contemporary gospel songs arranged by Kevin Norbury, God With Us, conducted by Bandmaster James Anderson.

Sunday – Morning Worship at Arlington Citadel

Although the Music Councils officially ended with the festival on Saturday afternoon, the Pendel groups stayed in the Washington area through Sunday, conducting Sunday morning worship services at the Arlington Citadel Corps. All of the Pendel groups contributed to the service. The band items included St. Peter, This Is My Father’s World, and Rejoice Ye Pure In Heart, as well as backing for the congregational songs. The mime and dance troupe performed This Day, with Tyneisha Menginie as a featured performer. The Youth Chorus reprised a couple of items from the weekend performances, What a Wonderful World and An Irish Blessing, which was used as the benediction.

Spiritual influence from the Pendel young people was evident throughout the service, with spoken introductions to each item, a personal testimony from Ian Mudge, and their general demeanor during the service. The message of the morning was brought by Major Andrew Murray.

Following the service, the Pendel groups were joined by soldiers from the Arlington and Alexandria Citadel Corps at the Northern Virginia Adult Rehabilitation Center for lunch before boarding their coach for the trip back to the Philadelphia area.

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