Tag Archives: carol concert

Parade and Concert in Richmond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

2010 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert

The 2010 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert, featuring the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner), was held on 12 December in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to the band, the concert also featured youth soloist Sharolyn Hyson, the DC Metro Timbrelists (Director Elsie Morris), and the Robinson Singers (Director Michael Horanski). The concert was sponsored by the National Capital Area Command of The Salvation Army, led by Majors Steve and Wendy Morris. The master of ceremonies for the evening was John Schriffen, a reporter for NBC 4 television.

The concert was the tenth in the annual series, which began in 2001 as a means of expressing thanks to the Washington metro area for their generosity during the relief efforts after the attack on the Pentagon on 11 September. As always, no admission was charged, and the concert featured several opportunities for the audience to join in singing with the band.

The concert opened with Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, composed by Bandmaster Kellner. The congregation was then invited to sing this carol with the band, using an arrangement by William Himes as accompaniment. Major Steve Morris then gave an invocation and introduced John Schriffen as the master of ceremonies. The band continued the festival with The Proclamation of Christmas (Stephen Bulla).

One of the traditions for the annual Christmas Concert, begun by the late Bandmaster James Anderson, is to have a “junior soloist” on the program. This year, Sharolyn Hyson, an elementary school student at Immanuel Lutheran School in Alexandria, and also a participant in the Salvation Army’s Alexandria School of the Performing Arts, sang Sleigh Ride (Mitchell Parish/Leroy Anderson). Her performance of this challenging song generated a standing ovation from the audience.

After the band presented Go Tell It! (Leonard Ballantine), the Robinson Singers were next on the program. The Singers are a choir from the Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia, led by Mr. Michael Horanski. For their first set, they sang Carol (Neighbors, on This Frosty Tide) and then gave an outstanding and beautiful a capella rendition of There Will Be Rest (Frank Ticheli).

The audience was again given the opportunity to sing with the band, with Christmas Sing-Along (William Himes). This was followed by another arrangement by Bandmaster Kellner, Little Drummer Bolero, which blends the “The Little Drummer Boy” with Ravel’s Bolero.

Another traditional item on the Christmas Concert program is a performance by the DC Metro Timbrelists. This group is made up of performers from several of the corps in the Area Command, and is put together especially for the concert. This year, they performed a drill to the classic Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén), with the audience expressing loud approval.

Next, the concert turned to a quieter phase. Noel Morris is one of the longest-serving members of the National Capital Band, with almost all of his 27 seasons being on soprano cornet. The only instrumental soloist of the evening, he played Stephen Bulla’s arrangement of O Holy Night. This was followed by another carol for all, Silent Night, which led into an inspirational message from Major Steve Morris.

The band continued the program with For Unto Us a Child Is Born (Handel, arr. William Gordon) and then the Robinson Singers returned for two more songs. The first was John Rutter’s glorious Candlelight Carol, sung with outstanding balance and sensitivity. The final item from the choir again showcased their a capella skills, as they sang Linus and Lucy (Vince Guaraldi/Philip Kern) from the familiar “Peanuts” television specials.

The concert ended with a last opportunity for the audience to join in, with Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. Major Steve Morris thanked John Schriffen and the other participants and offered a benediction to close the evening.

Christmas in Richmond

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) presented a Christmas Concert at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Richmond, Virginia, on 4 December 2010. This was the band’s second visit to the church for what has become an annual concert in Richmond.

Organized by Bandmaster Matt Sims, Music Director for the Salvation Army in Central Virginia (also the deputy bandmaster and bass trombonist of the NCB), the event drew an audience of more than 600 people. As the audience members entered the church, they were prepared for the experience by a brass ensemble of students from the School of Performing Arts, a Salvation Army program directed by Bandmaster Sims. The ensemble, despite cold conditions, played carols outside the main entrance to the church.

The concert kicked off with Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, composed by Bandmaster Kellner. The concert took the form of a dialog, with the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, reading passages of Scripture related to the story of Christmas between the band items.

A special feature was the participation of a select chorus of students from the School of Performing Arts (it not being possible to have all 120 or so students participate because of the limitations of the church hall). They sang a medley of Christmas favorites accompanied by an ensemble from the band.

The band’s only soloist for the afternoon was soprano cornet Noel Morris, who played Stephen Bulla’s O Holy Night. Other items from the band included another Bulla work, The Proclamation of Christmas; For Unto Us a Child Is Born (arr. William Gordon) from Handel’s “Messiah”; Coventry Carol (Robert C. Schramm); the Trepak and March from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (both arranged by Keith Wilkinson); Little Drummer Bolero (arr. Steve Kellner); and Leonard Ballantine’s swing arrangement of Go Tell It.

Major Allison gave a brief devotional thought, and announced an initiative to raise $100,000 to continue the School of Performing Arts program. Proceeds from voluntary donations (tickets to the concert were free) placed in kettles in the church lobby were applied to this effort. Captain David Worthy, area commander for Central Virginia, offered acknowledgements and thanks to the church staff and the NCB, before the band sent the audience home “tapping their toes” with Erik Leidzén’s classic Christmas Joy.

The National Capital Band would like to thank a few players who joined us for this concert to fill in for absent members: Jim Squirrel and Dean Sims on solo cornet, Jan Sims on horn, and Melinda Ryan on E♭ tuba.

2009 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert

The National Capital Area Command held its annual Community Appreciation Christmas Concert, featuring the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson), on Sunday, 13 December 2009.

Other performers included mezzo-soprano Sara Dell’Omo, junior soloist David S. Carroll, the DC Metro Timbrelists led by Elsie Morris and The Singin’ Eagles of C. Hunter Ritchie Elementary School led by Steve Aiello.

Held in the auditorium of the historic George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, a capacity audience of nearly 400 persons were present for this year’s concert. Following words of welcome from the Area Commander, Major Steve Morris, the National Capital Band began the evening with Fanfare Jubiloso (James Curnow). This was followed by the first of several “carols for all”, O Come, All Ye Faithful (arr. Willcocks, trans. James Anderson). Major Wendy Morris then gave an invocation. The concert continued with the band’s performance of On Christmas Day (Stephen Bulla).

For the past several years, it has been the tradition at this event to feature a junior vocal soloist, to sing Away in a Manger. This year, the soloist was Daniel Carroll, whose parents are officers at the Harbor Light Center in Washington. Following his excellent performance, Daniel was interviewed by Bandmaster Anderson and given the opportunity to lead the congregation in a verse of the song.

The National Capital Band has a number of talented soloists, and the next item, Leroy Anderson’s well-known trumpet trio, Bugler’s Holiday, featured three of them – David Delaney, David Mersiovsky and Chris Dennard. Their performance was met with much applause from the audience.

For the past several years, this event has featured mezzo-soprano Sara Dell’Omo, who is a featured vocal soloist with the US Marine Band and White House Orchestra (“The President’s Own). Her first contribution to this year’s concert was the medley Season of Christmas (Stephen Bulla), which includes the songs We Need a Little Christmas, Pine Cones and Holly Berries and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Following Silent Night sung as a congregational carol, the next guest performers were introduced. For the past two years, the National Capital Band has partnered with the Warrenton Chorale for a concert in the autumn. The director of the chorale, Steve Aiello, is a school music teacher, and for the Christmas concert this year the “Singin’ Eagles” of C. Hunter Ritchie Elementary School were invited to participate. Looking sharp in their green vests and purple bowties, the young vocalists presented two items in their first set, Christmas A-Comin’ (Carl Strommen) and The Animal’s Lullaby (Cynthia Gray).

The National Capital Band continued the program with Feliz Navidad (José Feliciano, arr. Dorothy Gates). It has been a feature of the annual Christmas concert since the beginning to have a timbrel group made up of performers from various Salvation Army corps in the Washington area. This year they performed a routine, accompanied by the band, to Peter Graham’s march The Shining Star.

Another item which has become an audience favorite during the annual concert is singing The Twelve Days of Christmas. With the band accompanying (using Bandmaster Anderson’s transcription of the John Rutter arrangement), the audience is taken through all twelve days, with a surprise accelerando on Day 12 that prompted some mock anger on the part of bandmaster. Following this, the concert was brought back to a somewhat more serious mood with Sara Dell’Omo’s second offering, O Holy Night, and Robert Redhead’s suite The Joy of Christmas presented by the band. This led into an inspirational message from Major Steve Morris.

The choir returned with Laudamus Te (Ruth Elaine Schramm) and Play for Me a Simple Melody, which concluded with three different lines being sung at the same time, an impressive performance for any choir, but made more so by the fact that this choir is made up of students 12 years old and younger. A final congregational carol, Hark the Herald Angels (arr. Willcocks, trans. Anderson), finished the concert and the National Capital Band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, gave the benediction. As the crowd departed, the band presented Season’s Greetings (James Anderson) as a postlude.

Christmas Joy in Richmond

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) traveled to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, 5 December 2009 for a concert entitled “Christmas Joy”.

Despite some rather nasty weather, with rain and a threat of snow, the members of the band arrived in good order at the church at noon, with the concert scheduled to begin at 2:45 pm. The first order of business was a lunch, provided by the Salvation Army Womens’ Auxiliary. The the band set up and did some sound checks in the sanctuary. While the church is a beautiful place, it was somewhat difficult to adjust to the nearly 6-second reverberation time.

By the time that the concert began, nearly 800 people had gathered to listen, despite the increasingly wintry weather. In addition to the National Capital Band, the concert featured young musicians from the Richmond area. The Salvation Army in Richmond has established a School for the Performing Arts, under the direction of area music director Bandmaster Matt Sims, and the fruits of that program were evident in the fine performances of the youth band (conducted by Bandmaster Brad Ford) and the youth chorus (conducted by Bandmaster Sims). A group of four timbrelists from Richmond presented a routine to the march Christmas Joy, accompanied by the National Capital Band.

Other highlights of the concert included the classic Leroy Anderson trumpet trio Bugler’s Holiday, performed with style by David Delaney, David Mersiovsky and Chris Dennard, and the band’s performance of the suite The Joy of Christmas (Robert Redhead). As with many Christmas concerts, the audience joined in several times to sing carols. The most notable of these was The Twelve Days of Christmas (arr. John Rutter, trans. James Anderson) with Bandmaster Anderson’s usual showmanship with a large accelerando on Day 12, and then reminding the audience that they must “watch the conductor!”

By the end of the concert, snow was falling outside, but this did not detract from the message conveyed to the enthusiastic audience by the National Capital Band and the other participants in the event.

2005 Community Carol Concert

The National Capital and Virginia Division of the Salvation Army, based in Washington, DC, held its annual Community Christmas Carol Concert at the Westover Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia, on 11 December 2005. The special guest for this year’s concert was Sara Dell’Omo, mezzo-soprano, vocal soloist from “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. The concert also featured the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James Anderson), the Swansonettes (a girls’ choir from Swanson Middle School, directed by Elizabeth Gephardt), the Hughes Methodist Church Chancel Bell Choir (directed by Marie Bunting), the Metro DC Timbrelists (directed by Elsie Morris) and a young vocalist from the Fairfax Corps of the Salvation Army, Gerson Cruz.

Sara Dell'Omo

Sara Dell'Omo

The National Capital Band opened the concert with Kenneth Downie’s Intrada on “Regent Square”, then provided accompaniment as the audience sang O Come All Ye Faithful. Following an invocation by the band’s Executive Officer, Captain Kelly Igleheart, the band continued with a Christmas march, Season’s Greetings, composed by the bandmaster.

The Salvation Army corps in Fairfax, Virginia has a strong children’s musical program, and this year a representative of that program, Gerson Cruz, was chosen to sing Away in a Manger. Gerson, who is 7 years old, was also interviewed by Bandmaster Anderson. The band played again following his solo, this time presenting Peter Graham’s Christmas Calypso.

Sara Dell’Omo was next on the program. In May 2005, she was appointed vocal soloist of the United States Marine Band, the first time in the band’s history (over 200 years) that a female soloist has been featured. Accompanied by the National Capital Band, she began with Deck the Halls, arranged by Stephen Bulla, the NCB’s principal trombone. In addition to his skills as a brass band composer, Bulla has been Staff Arranger for the Marine Band for over twenty years. For Dell’Omo’s next item, he moved to the piano, to provide accompaniment for Rise Up Shepherds and Follow (arr. Mark Hayes). Following the vocal solos, the audience was again invited to participate in singing the carol Child in the Manger.

The Swanson Middle School is located directly across the street from the Westover Baptist Church, and the girls’ choir known as the Swansonettes has been featured several times at the annual Community Carol Concert. They sang two carols, Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella (arr. Strommen) and Pat-a-Pan (arr. Davis) under the direction of Elizabeth Gephardt. The band then played their “major” work for the evening, Robert Redhead’s selection The Joy of Christmas.

Bell choirs are unique musical groups because of the great degree of coordination and timing required to produce a satisfying result. The Chancel Bell Choir from Hughes United Methodist Church was next to perform, under the direction of Marie Bunting, presenting At the Manger (Michael Helman). Another carol for all followed, this time the well-loved German carol Silent Night.

The concert took a lighter tone as the DC Metro Timbrelists, led by Elsie Morris, were next up, performing a drill to Erik Leidzén’s classic Christmas march, Christmas Joy, enthusiastically played by the National Capital Band. The was followed by The Twelve Days of Christmas, with the audience participating as the band was put through its paces by Bandmaster Anderson.

The Swansonettes returned to sing White Christmas, after which the band presented two more items, the swing-style Kings of Orient (David Ayma) and a beautiful arrangement by Stephen Bulla of Gustav Holst’s carol Mid-Winter.

The special guest of the evening, Sara Dell’Omo, returned for two more items, the first being the Wexford Carol (arr. Stephen Bulla) accompanied by the band, and then a medley composed of The Christmas Song and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, accompanied by Stephen Bulla at the piano.

Following greetings from the Divisional Commander for the National Capital and Virginia Division, Lt.-Colonel William Crabson (a former Executive Officer of the National Capital Band), the festival concluded with a final carol for all, Hark the Herald Angels Sing.