Tag Archives: Alexandria Citadel Youth Band

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).

Clinic at Alexandria

This is the first of three articles on the National Capital Band’s “Bravo Brass!” ministry weekend in the Washington, DC metro area, 10 – 11 April 2010.

Ninety “budding musicians”, representing eight corps – Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Montgomery County, Prince George’s and Solomon G. Brown (Southeast) – were treated to classes and a performance session with the National Capital Band on Saturday, 10 April 2010.

The event kicked off at 10:00 am in the sanctuary, with a devotional thought from the NCB’s executive officer, Major James Allison. This was followed by a fascinating and informative session on proper breathing techniques conducted by Dr. Steve Kellner. The the participants were assigned to a number of masterclasses, each with at last one member of the NCB. In fact, every room in the building that could be used for a class was used, and some had to be conducted in the corps’ social services offices next door.

Following the masterclasses, the corps groups that would be performing in the grand finale concert of the clinic were given time to rehearse. During the rehearsals, a pizza lunch was set up in the corps parking lot, as the weather was fine, although a bit windy. Then everyone headed back into the building for the grand finale of the clinic, a mini-concert featuring the NCB and several groups from individual corps music programs.

The only space large enough to hold all of the musicians and their instruments was the gymnasium. The sound of 120 brass musicians (90 clinic participants and 30 members of the NCB) all warming up at the same time was, quite simply, enormous. In the absence of Bandmaster James Anderson, who was unable to be with the band on this weekend because of medical treatment, conducting duties were split between deputy bandmaster Matt Sims and principal euphonium Steve Kellner. The NCB got the finale off to a fine start with Cornerstone (Andrew Mackereth) with Steve conducting, followed by words of welcome from Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims and an invocation from Major Allison.

The first group to perform was the youth band from the host corps, Alexandria Citadel, under the direction of Dave Downing. They presented the old classic Jesus Shall Reign (Vernon Post), a piece which many of the members of the NCB remembered as having been used when they were members of a corps youth band.

Next, all of the musicians joined together for a rousing rendition of William Himes’ Muffins Rhapsody, with Matt Sims conducting the NCB and David Delaney leading the assembled participants. The youth band from the Fairfax Corps then performed Duke Street (William Himes), led by Scott Bedio.

The NCB continued the program with Jesus Loves Me, using the well-known arrangement by Bandmaster Anderson. The next group to perform was a combination of players from the two Maryland corps represented, Montgomery County and Prince George’s. Under the direction of David Delaney (bandmaster at Montgomery County), they presented When the Spirit Says Sing.

Over the last three years, under the inspired direction of Bandmaster Matt Sims, the Richmond Area Command has developed the School for the Performing Arts, which now has about 120 students with instruction at three locations. Many of the members of the Richmond Citadel youth band are beneficiaries of this excellent program. With Matt conducting, the youth band presented Down the Street (Erik Silfverberg). Then, 10-year-old Angela Li presented the cornet solo Whiter than Snow with David Carter accompanying on piano.

The final item from the NCB during the mini-concert was I Will Follow Him, featuring the trombone section. As a grand finale to the clinic sessions, all of the assembled musicians again gathered, this time playing another special item by William Himes, Classics in Brass. Major Allison closed the proceedings with a benediction.