Tag Archives: David Delaney

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.

Worship Service at Solomon G. Brown Corps

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

The finale of the National Capital Band’s Bravo Brass! Weekend was a worship service on Sunday, 11 April 2010, at the Solomon G. Brown (Southeast) Corps in Washington, DC. Located in the heart of the Anacostia neighborhood in the Southeast quadrant of the city, this is the newest corps building in the metro area, with the corps occupying two floors of a five-story building, with the rest of the building occupied by paying business tenants, an innovative arrangement for a Salvation Army building.

The members of the band were greeted by the corps officer, Lieutenant Michal Chapman as they arrived for the Sunday holiness meeting. The platform area of the sanctuary is not large enough for a full-size brass band, so the NCB set up to one side. As with the rest of the weekend, Bandmaster James B. Anderson was unable to be present, being out of town for medical treatment. Conducting duties for the meeting were shared between Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims and principal euphonium Steve Kellner.

The band began with some preliminary items, including James Curnow’s Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren”. Following a welcome and announcements by Lieutenant Chapman, the Corps Sergeant-Major, George Beu, accepted the tithes and offerings. As an offertory, the band presented the trombone feature I Will Follow Him (arr. Goff Richards).

The National Capital Band is blessed with many versatile musicians, and the NCB Praise Team (Captain Amy Reardon, vocals; Captain Rob Reardon, keyboard; Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims, bass guitar; Keith Morris, drum kit; David Delaney and David Mersiovsky, trumpet; and Kevin Downing, trombone) led the congregation in the contemporary worship songs Hosanna! (Paul Baloche/Benton Brown) and You Are My King (Billy James Foote). The congregation was also given the opportunity to sing with the full band using Charles Skinner’s arrangement of Crown Him with Many Crowns.

The program then took on a more devotional character, with a personal testimony given by David Mersiovsky, a prayer chorus (“Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus”) and prayer led by Noel Morris, the congregational song “And Can It Be” using the William Himes arrangement entitled Amazing Love, and a Scripture reading given by David Delaney.

The Scripture reading was followed by Delaney’s sensitive rendition of the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (William Himes), a fitting introduction to the message of the morning given by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison. Major Allison, in his usual relaxed manner, was effective in presenting the Gospel message, as evidenced by the several seekers who came forward during the time of commitment.

Before the final congregational song, O Boundless Salvation (arr. William Himes), Major Allison called Bandmaster Anderson, who was in Houston, Texas, for medical treatment. In one of the most moving experiences in the recent history of the band, all present were privileged to have the bandmaster participate in the singing of the concluding song and give the benediction from a hospital thousands of miles away. We learned later that Bandmaster Anderson was in the day room, with several other patients present, during this time, and that he, in his usual bold fashion, sang along and prayed aloud without any sign of embarrassment or timidity. The meeting ended with a prayer for Bandmaster Anderson given by the band chaplain, Captain Mike Harris, and the postlude, Rolling Along (William Himes).

As the band concluded this special ministry weekend, contributions by several guest players were acknowledged, including Darryl Crossland and Steve Sutton on cornet and Dr. Richard Holz on Bb bass.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Richmond Ministry Weekend

The National Capital Band made a long-awaited visit to Richmond, Virginia on the weekend of 21 – 22 February 2009. Preparation for this event began the previous Christmas season when fliers were handed out to those who listened to small Salvation Army ensembles throughout Richmond. Those who came to see the NCB during the ministry weekend were not disappointed.

Saturday 21 February

On Saturday, the band gathered at the Church Hill Outpost (co-located with the Richmond Boys and Girls Club), where they took part in a service commencing about 12:15 p.m. Lieutenant Sheed Tarnue, the officer in charge of the outpost, led the meeting, speaking about cleansing our lives and how having Jesus will make such cleansing possible, including a fascinating illustration using a stained cloth and two large jugs of water. There were about 50 church members, many of them young children, in attendance, who were delighted to hear a full brass band. Participation by the NCB, which was under the direction of the Deputy Bandmaster, Major Dan Proctor, included Shine, Jesus Shine, Lord, I Lift Your Name On High, and Sousa’s classic patriotic march, The Stars and Stripes Forever.

The main event of the weekend was a concert at the Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Glen Allen, Virginia. This was the NCB’s second visit to this church in as many years. With Bandmaster Anderson in front of the band, the concert opened with To a God Like This, followed by the rousing march Rolling Along (William Himes). This march, written for the Flint Citadel corps in Michigan, includes a number of jingles from historic automobile advertisements.

The first soloist of the evening was 16-year-old Kevin Downing, principal trombone, who played the variation solo Count Your Blessings. Kevin’s performance, which showed a musical maturity far beyond his years, was enthusiastically received by the capacity audience. The next item was the arrangement The Lord is Gracious, with principal cornet David Delaney providing a beautiful performance of the daunting melody. Delaney was also featured, along with Chris Dennard and David Mersiovsky, in the next item, the cornet trio The Veterans.

The Salvation Army has established a School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond area, headed by Bandmaster Matt Sims, the area music director (and bass trombone for the National Capital Band). Students from school, which meets in three different Salvation Army locations around the area, had been preparing for a performance with the NCB for several weeks, and their presentation was prefaced by a a video showing some of these preparations. Their “big moment” was performing Classics In Brass with the National Capital Band. This piece, arranged by William Himes, features snippets of well-known classical music, finishing with the “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The children received a standing ovation from the audience of over 750 people, including the band which had accompanied them. It was a remarkable end to the first half of the program to see these children, some of whom had only been playing their instruments for a few weeks, perform so well in front of such a large audience.

Following the intermission, the band opened the second half of the concert with In Good Company (Dudley Bright), an interesting arrangement pairing the Tudor melody “Pastime in Good Company” (attributed by some to Henry VIII) and the contemporary Christian song “Lord, I Lift Your Name On High”. Children from the Richmond Area Command were again featured in the next item, as the timbrel brigade performed to the march California (Emil Söderstrom). The young men of the NCB then showed their vocal skills with the jovial and humorous item Men of the Chorus, ably accompanied on piano by Maria Mathieson. The trombone section was featured in Wonders Begin (Ray Steadman-Allen).

The program then turned to a more contemplative mood, with Kenneth Downie’s beautiful and moving piece, The Father’s Blessing, associated with the words “God be with you till we meet again.” Bandmaster Anderson gave a powerful and moving devotion, remining the audience and the band that there is only one God and one Way to heaven.

The final section of the program, as has become somewhat of a tradition with the National Capital Band, featured patriotic items, beginning with God Bless America (Irving Berlin, arr. William Gordon). The band next played Stephen Bulla’s Armed Forces Salute, a medley featuring the songs of the five United States armed forces. Current and former members of each service in the audience were invited to stand as their song was played, and were enthusiastically greeted by the crowd. The concert concluded with The Stars and Stripes Forever, which concluded with audience rising to their feet to clap along with the band, which turned into a standing ovation following the conclusion of the march.

The audience for the concert was lively and receptive, and was strong in number, almost filling the large church hall. They appreciated the music of the National Capital Band and the participation of the children from the School of Performing Arts was a great topic of conversation after the concert. But the most important aspect of the NCB’s ministry was to play music with the purpose to glorify God and bring a message to the members of the audience.

Sunday, 22 February

On Sunday, the National Capital Band took part in the morning service at the Richmond Citadel Corps. The meeting began with some light and thoughtful preliminary items, concluding with Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow). Contributions by the NCB during the service included Standing Somewhere In the Shadows and Bound For the Promised Land. The congregation was also treated to a vocal duet by Wendy Hood and Christina Anderson. Following the message of the morning, given by the NCB’s Executive Officer, the service concluded with the band and congregation joining in O Boundless Salvation. As the congregation started to make their way home the band sent them off with the march Rolling Along.

The whole weekend was a great success for the Richmond Area Command and its School of Performing Arts. The National Capital Band ministered to over 1,000 people combined and during the difficult economic times, it is felt that this ministry was vital to the people of Richmond and central Virginia. The band hopes to return to the area for a Christmas engagement and again sometime in 2010.

Weekend in Harrisonburg

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) visited the Blue Ridge area of Virginia on the weekend of 21 – 23 April 2006, participating in the Brass Festival hosted by James Madison University on Friday evening, performing concerts at a shopping mall in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Saturday morning and at the Central United Methodist Church in Staunton, Virginia on Saturday evening, and conducting worship services on Sunday morning at the Salvation Army hall in Harrisonburg.

Mention must be made of several substitute players who joined us for the weekend. Because of various and sundry reasons, several regular NCB members could not be present. Providing able service in their place were Bandmaster Robert Snelson (solo cornet), Major Mike McDonald (flügelhorn), Mark Baker (trombone), Bandmaster Ron Smith (trombone), and Vernon Morris (Bb bass). Major Suzanne Barrington, who retired from the NCB last year, made a return appearance on second horn. Special thanks go to Ann Kovarik, a student at James Madison University and a member of the JMU Brass Band, who agreed to help out on second cornet, essentially sight-reading our entire repertoire.

Friday, 21 April 2006

The weekend began with in a somewhat inauspicious fashion, as the coach company sent a smaller vehicle to transport the band, rather than the full-size coach normally used. Although there was enough room for the band to ride in the coach, it did not have enough space for the equipment. Bandsman John Reeves volunteered to drive the equipment using the truck that had transported it to the rendezvous point, the Fairfax Corps building. Despite getting a late start while all of this was worked out, the band still arrived in Harrisonburg nearly on time.

The JMU Brass Festival was hosted by the JMU Brass Band and its conductor, Kevin J. Stees. Stees, who is Professor of Low Brass in the college music department, has built the JMU group into one of the best brass bands in the United States, evidenced by their close (0.2 points) second-place finish in the Championship Section at the 2006 North American Brass Band Championships. The National Capital Band participated in this year’s Brass Festival at Stees’ invitation, performing a full concert on Friday evening, 21 April 2006. Other featured performers at the Festival included cornet virtuoso Allen Vizzutti, The US Marine Band Tuba-Euphonium Quartet and the US Army Band Brass Quintet.

A large crowd was present at Memorial Hall (formerly the Harrisonburg High School), a venue recently transferred to the university. Bandmaster Anderson chose to begin the National Capital Band’s concert with the contrasting items, the march Sovereignty (Brian Bowen), followed by Leonard Ballantine’s beautiful arrangement of the American folk song “Shenandoah”, ’Mid All the Traffic. The band showed its versatility with the swing-style Since Jesus, also arranged by Leonard Ballantine.

The performance continued with Major Tony Barrington, who played The Ransomed Host (Ray Steadman-Allen). The art and simplicity possible with a hymn tune arrangement was ably demonstrated with Erik Leidzén’s classic setting of What a Friend. Another feature item followed, Peter Graham’s exciting cornet duet Quicksilver, with Noel Morris on soprano cornet and Deputy Bandmaster Ian Anderson on Bb cornet. The first half ended with an appropriate item for a concert less than a week after Easter, Christ Is Alive (Kenneth Downie).

The second half started as the first half ended, with a composition from the pen of Kenneth Downie, this time the recently-published march Winchester Revival. The third feature item of the evening again brought Ian Anderson to the fore, playing Caprice for Cornet (William Himes). The contemplative arrangement Shekinah (Kenneth Downie) and the contemporary God With Us (Kevin Norbury) followed, with the concert concluding on a triumphant note with A Psalm of Praise (James Curnow).

Saturday, 22 April 2006

In the late morning, the band made a short trip from their hotel to the Harrisonburg Mall, where they played a program approximately an hour in length. Despite a rather rainy weather outlook, there were many shoppers at the mall and the band was heard by several hundred people. Items included Washington Salute 125 (Stephen Bulla), the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (William Himes) played by Ian Anderson, Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), ‘Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Bringing in the Sheaves (William Himes), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén), Onward Christian Soldiers (arr. Gordon Langford), God With Us (Kevin Norbury) and On the King’s Highway (Erik Leidzén).

In the evening, the band traveled to the nearby city of Staunton, Virginia, for a concert at the historic Central United Methodist Church. Although the audience was smaller than expected, the concert was warmly appreciated and many good contacts were made for the local Salvation Army corps in Staunton. The first half of the concert mirrored the first half of the Friday evening concert, with the addition of a congregational song, Crown Him with Many Crowns (arr. Charles Skinner) and also a personal testimony from Ian James Anderson. Following the intermission, the band started off the second half with Washington Salute 125, followed by Caprice for Cornet. The band’s Executive Officer, Captain Kelly Igleheart, gave a Scripture reading and a short devotional, followed by Shekinah and God With Us to end the performance.

Sunday, 23 April 2006

The band conducted the Sunday morning worship service at the Harrisonburg Corps, supporting the speaker for the morning, Lt.-Colonel William Crabson, divisional commander for the National Capital and Virginia Division. The band played several preliminary items, including Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), ‘Mid All the Traffic, and God With Us. Featured items during the service included the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus and Life’s Consectration (James Curnow). Spiritual participation from members of the band was also evident, with a personal testimony from David Delaney and Scripture read by John Reeves. The service, and the band’s performances for the weekend, ended with a postlude, The Blessing (William Himes).

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