Tag Archives: building dedication

Covington Ministry Weekend

On the weekend of 20 – 21 February 2010, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) traveled to Covington, Virginia, to support the celebration of the dedication of a new Salvation Army building.

Covington is a small city in southwestern Virginia. The Salvation Army “opened fire” there in 1926 and purchased a building on Highland Avenue at that time. Over 80 years later, this building was still in use, despite having been obsolete for decades. The new building dedicated on this weekend is the first phase of three planned segments, with a chapel and gymnasium still to be built. The campaign to make the progress seen so far has been quite long and difficult, with many of the other corps in the National Capital and Virginia Division contributing toward the effort, as well as donations from local businesses and individuals in Covington and the nearby town of Clifton Forge.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Unlike many of the weekend engagements undertaken by the National Capital Band, this one did not feature a Saturday evening concert. Instead, the band supported the local Salvation Army’s appreciation dinner for Advisory Board members, donors and members of the community who supported the campaign to build the new facility. The band arrived in Covington early in the afternoon and members were able to spend a couple of hours relaxing at the hotel before going to the Covington Baptist Church for the dinner. Some time was spent in setting up, as the room was quite small for a band of this size, but a satisfactory arrangement was made. The band then ate dinner and returned to the formation as the guests began to arrive.

As the dinner guests came in, the band provided some music, including Cornerstone (Andrew Mackereth), God Bless America (Irving Berlin, arr. William Gordon), My Tribute (Andrae Crouch, arr. Kevin Norbury) and Cause for Celebration (William Himes). Captains Karl and Janice Dahlin, corps officers for Covington, gave some words of welcome, which were followed by an invocation given by the chairman of the Advisory Board, Reverend Bill Hartsfield.

As the guests were served, the band continued with Bugler’s Holiday (Leroy Anderson), featuring David Delaney, David Mersiovsky and Chris Dennard. Other items in this segment included Swedish Folk Song (arr. Peter Graham), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén) and another time through My Tribute, especially requested by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison.

Two special feature items were presented by the band during the dinner. The first, I Will Follow Him (from the movie “Sister Act”) featured the trombone section (Kevin Downing, Maria Mathieson, Ellim Choi and Matt Sims). The second required the men of the band to showcase their vocal talents with the light-hearted Men of the Chorus (accompanied on piano by Christina Anderson).

Most of the officers on the divisional staff were present for the event, including the Divisional Commander and his wife, Majors Mark and Alice Bell. The Salvation Army in Covington has struggled financially for many years, as the region is not strong economically and the needs are great. During this a considerable debt from the local corps to Divisional Headquarters has built up, as the headquarters covered operating expenses that could not be met by the corps fund-raising efforts. In a move that surprised everyone in the room, Major Mark Bell announced that all of the debt which had been carried on the books from the Covington Corps to Divisional Headquarters was cancelled – $61,000 for the local thrift store and $129,000 for the corps operations. He also presented a check for $10,000 to the corps officers, the first $2,500 of which was earmarked to stock the corps food bank used to help those in need of nutritional assistance, and the rest to begin operations in the new building “in the black.”

The campaign to raise the funds to build the first phase of the project in Covington was long, again owing the to economic condition of the surrounding area. The building being dedicated on this weekend was only the first phase of the project, with a chapel and gymnasium also planned. In another surprise, Major Bell also announced that the remaining work on building the chapel, estimated to cost $205,000, would also be financed by Divisional Headquarters.

One of the guests at the dinner was the Mayor of Covington, Stephanie Clark. In addition to being a civic leader, the Mayor is an evangelical Christian. She had heard the band playing My Tribute during the dinner, and asked if she could sing with the band before she made her remarks to the gathering. So, for the third time, the band played this piece, with the Mayor contributing soulful and powerful vocals. The band played another feature, Dance Like David (Andrew Mackereth) before the end of the dinner. Following special remarks and a challenge to the Covington community to complete the project by building the gymnasium, Major Allison, Major Bell and the rest of the Salvationists present joined the band in leading the congregation in O Boundless Salvation, using William Himes’ excellent arrangement as the accompaniment.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

On Sunday morning, the members of the band formed up near the old corps building on Highland Avenue, with members of the divisional staff and the Covington corps. They stepped off sharply on a march of witness through the streets, marching from the old corps building to the new, a distance of slightly less than half a mile. Marching to old favorite hymn tunes such as “All for Jesus” and “Onward, Christian Soldiers”, the parade ended in the small parking area in front of the new building, with the band playing the classic march Golden Jubilee and then the assembled Salvationists saluting as the Covington corps flag entered the new building for the first time.

Since the chapel portion of the project has not been completed, the Sunday morning service was held in a multi-purpose room in the new building. The room lacks a platform, but the holiness table and Mercy Seat from the old corps had been transferred and placed at the front of the room, and there was just enough room on the side to set up the band formation.

The band opened the worship with some preliminary music, including Be Thou My Vision, Jesus Loves Me and ’Mid All the Traffic. During the meeting the band featured Swedish Folk Song as an offertory, and members of the band formed into a chorus to sing The Saviour’s Name (Clarke, arr. Ballantine).

Several testimonies were given by officers who had been associated with the Covington corps over the years, including Major Eric Roberts and Major Linda Sloan. The most moving of the testimonies was that of Major Jim McGee, who described coming to Covington as a railway worker, becoming saved in a watchtower on the rail yard, finding the Salvation Army as a church and eventually becoming an officer. Corps Sergeant-Major Robin Hall also spoke eloquently about her long association with the corps, and was named “Soldier of the Year”. Mike McCulley of the Covington Corps contributed to the meeting by singing Who Am I?.

Major Mark Bell gave a challenging message, which was followed by the band and congregation joining for O Boundless Salvation, with Bandmaster Anderson stepping away from the band for the last verse to wave the Corps flag in the traditional salute associated with the Founder’s song. The band played Washington Salute 125 (Stephen Bulla) as a postlude.

This ministry weekend, while not a typical one for the National Capital Band, was a rewarding one as the band supported one of the smaller corps in the division during an extremely important weekend for both the corps and the city of Covington.

Weekend of Hope in Lynchburg

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) traveled to the city of Lynchburg, Virginia for a ministry weekend, 2 – 3 May, 2009. The primary reason for the band’s visit was the celebration of the opening of a new Salvation Army facility in Lynchburg, the Center of Hope. Located next to the existing Lynchburg Corps building on Park Avenue, this center replaces aging shelter and other buildings in the city.

The first event of the weekend was Community Appreciation Concert, held at the Heritage United Methodist Church. The concert, which was free to the public as an expression of the Salvation Army’s appreciation for the large amount of community support for the Center of Hope Project, generated a near-capacity audience of 350.

Despite being somewhat hampered by an unusual seating formation, forced by the unusual shape of the platform at the church, the NCB gave a strong performance, commencing with Dudley Bright’s mixture of Tudor English and contemporary Christian melodies, In Good Company. Following an invocation and words of welcome from Major David Cope, commanding officer in Lynchburg, the band continued with the festival march Rolling Along (William Himes).

The first soloist feature of the evening was the exciting euphonium solo The Better World, played with dexterity and sensitivity by Sam Funkhouser. This was followed by William Himes’ re-telling of the story of the battle of Jericho in words and music, Jericho Revisited, featuring Captain Michael Harris as narrator.

A large part of the ministry of the National Capital Band is the personal commitment of the members to their faith. A feature of most NCB concerts is a personal testimony by one of the members. On this occasion, one of the younger members of the band, Ian Chaava, gave a short but moving presentation. Following Ian’s testimony, another feature item was presented, the cornet trio Sweetest Name (Howard W. Evans), with soloists David Delaney, Chris Dennard and David Mersiovsky. The first half of the program concluded with Musicmaker, Peter Graham’s tribute to the musical contributions of General John Larsson.

Following the intermission, the NCB started off the second half of the program with Bandmaster Anderson’s march Goldcrest, many of the audience singing along with the theme “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy.” This was followed by what might be considered the major work of the evening, another offering by William Himes, the suite To the Chief Musician. This demanding work again showed the narration skills of Captain Michael Harris, used the band for chanting and singing, and featured Christina Anderson as vocal soloist in the second movement.

The trombone section was featured in the next item, Wonders Begin (Ray Steadman-Allen). Following this, the band moved into “swing mode” for Leonard Ballantine’s arrangement of the spiritual Wade in the Water. The band’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison, gave a short devotional message after this item.

The concert concluded, as do many NCB concerts, with patriotic music, beginning with William Gordon’s arrangement of God Bless America. This was followed by a medley of songs associated with the United States military, Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla). This piece, which includes the songs associated with the five branches of the US Armed Forces (Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Marines), is often featured on NCB programs. The band’s tradition is to have members of the audience who are current or former members of the military stand as the song for their branch is played to receive the recognition of the audience. This is a popular part of the NCB concerts, and this time was no exception.

Following the benediction, the band gave the final patriotic number, perhaps the most recognized of all American marches, John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever. The audience responded with a standing ovation, and the band played the march Motondo as an encore.

On Sunday morning, the NCB conducted worship services at the Lynchburg Corps. The holiness meeting was celebratory in nature, keeping in step with the theme of the weekend. The band presented Bound for the Promised Land (Paul Drury) and Our God Reigns (James Anderson) as preliminary items. Following some words of welcome and the taking of the offering, the congregation participated in singing Crown Him with Many Crowns (with the band accompanying using Charles Skinner’s stirring arrangement) and Shout to the Lord. Sam Funkhouser gave an excellent personal testimony detailing his journey from faith to doubt and returning to an even stronger faith.

The Scripture lesson of the morning, John 21:15–22, was preceded by David Delaney’s sensitive playing of the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (arr. William Himes). Following the Scripture reading, the trombone section was featured in Goff Richards’ arrangement of I Will Follow Him, as featured in the film “Sister Act”. This item was specifically requested by the speaker for the morning, Major James Allison, fitting in perfectly with the sermon entitled Jesus Said, “Follow Me”. Following the sermon and altar call (which featured a moving vocal solo by Kirby Crews of the Lynchburg Corps), the meeting concluded with the congregation and band joining together for O Boundless Salvation, with the band playing William Himes’ arrangement of the Founder’s Song. As a postlude, the band ended the morning service with The Father’s Blessing (Kenneth Downie).

The final event of the weekend, a ribbon-cutting and dedication of the new Center of Hope building, was unfortunately driven indoors by heavy rains. However, the use of the Lynchburg Corps gymnasium in no way detracted from the celebration. During the ceremony there were remarks by members of the local Advisory Board and others closely associated with the fund-raising and construction of the $5,000,000 Center of Hope, and a proclamation from the office of the Mayor of Lynchburg, who could not attend due to being on an out-of-town trip, but was ably represented by the Deputy Mayor. The program also featured a vocal solo sung by Major Debbie Cope. The band supported the ceremony with Dance Before the Lord (Peter Graham) presented as a special item, and also provided some music before and after the ceremony, including Joyful, Joyful, The Southern Cross (Brian Bowen), Blessings (Nick Simmons-Smith), The Lord Is Gracious, Motondo and several other items.

Taken all together, the band considered this as one of the best ministry weekends in recent years, well-planned and executed. For budget reasons, the band was not able to hire a coach for the trip, as had been the practice in previous years. Thanks are due to the Arlington Citadel Corps for providing two small buses to transport band members from the Washington area, the Fairfax Corps for providing a van to the Arlington Corps allowing them to release one of the buses, the Washington Metro Area Command for providing the equipment truck, and especially to NCB members Noel Morris, Keith Morris and John Reeves, who volunteered to drive for the weekend.

New River Valley (Christiansburg)

On the weekend of 3 – 4 March 2007, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) journeyed to the New River Valley in southwestern Virginia. The weekend marked the dedication of a new building for the New River Valley Corps, based in Christiansburg. Although this area is a part of the National Capital and Virginia Division, the band has not often played in the Valley.

Following an early-morning departure from the Fairfax Corps, the NCB arrived in Christiansburg in time for an excellent lunch prepared by the local Salvationists, and then made a short journey to the New River Valley Mall. A one-hour concert was scheduled, beginning at 2:00 pm. Items included Sovereignty (Brian Bowen), Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), God With Us (Kirkland/Fettke, arr. Norbury), ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Blessings! (Nick Simmons-Smith), and Motondo (Donald Osgood). Three items featuring soloists from the band were also programmed: Major Tony Barrington, euphonium – The Conqueror (Ray Steadman-Allen); Chris Dennard, flügelhorn – Sweet By and By (Leonard Ballantine); and Noel Morris and Ian Anderson, soprano and Bb cornets – Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Although only a few people stood and listened to the entire concert, the mall management estimated that several hundred heard at least a portion.

After checking into the hotel, the band was treated to dinner at a local restaurant, then went to Faith Christian Church on Phlegar Street in Christiansburg, the venue for the evening festival. This church is linked to the Salvation Army in the area, and especially to the Army’s new building, which was previously owned by the church. The evening festival began with Sovereignty, followed by an invocation by the pastor of Faith Christian Church, Clyde George. God With Us and The Conqueror were next, with Lt.-Colonel Barry Swanson (on his first – and last – trip with the NCB, as he has received orders for transfer to International Headquarters) gave a personal testimony. After another sparkling performance of the cornet duet Quicksilver, the first half of the program came to a close with Bandmaster Anderson’s tone poem The Words of the Amen, which will be the title track on the latest NCB recording.

The band got the second half of the program moving with Donald Osgood’s march Motondo, followed by the swing-style Blessings!. The host church was represented by vocal soloist Rosa Eberle, who sang Above All. Deputy bandmaster and principal cornet Ian Anderson presented Ray Bowes’ lyrical Rhapsody for Cornet and Band, just before the band’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison gave a Scripture reading and brief lesson. This led into the flügelhorn feature Sweet By and By and the evening’s final item, Dudley Bright’s tone poem Confrontations, which features the well-known song by Stanley Ditmer, “I’m In His Hands”. The benediction was given by New River Valley corps officer Major John Blevins, and the NCB offered Winchester Revival (Kenneth Downie) as a postlude.

On Sunday morning, the band was treated to a fine country breakfast at the Corps building, complete with musical entertainment from a friend of the corps. Spirits were high despite a severe cold snap which led to slippery roads and some snow flurries – a marked change from the pleasant weather on Saturday.

Usually, when the band does a weekend trip, the entire Sunday morning service is done by the band. On this trip, however, because of the dedication of the new building, the band played a supporting role. Preliminary music included Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), Take Time . . . (Kenneth Downie), and God With Us. The service included participation from the New River Valley corps officers, Majors John and Diana Blevins, members of the local Advisory Board, and divisional leaders Lt.-Colonels William and LaVern Crabson. Band contributions during the service included Blessings! and In Light We Walk (Stephen Bulla), along with accompaniments for congregational songs, which include William Himes’ arrangement of O Boundless Salvation. Another Himes work, The Blessing, was played as a postlude.

With some regular members unable to join the band on the weekend, several people generously came in to fill empty seats. Bethany Mikles (horn) and Patrick Morris (trombone), who are reserve members of the band, were both able to attend the weekend. Others brought in for the event included Darryl Crossland on solo cornet and Art Henry on solo horn.