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Tidewater Ministry Weekend (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first of a two-part series of articles on the band’s ministry weekend in the Tidewater area of Virginia, 5 – 6 November 2011.

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) traveled to the Tidewater area of Virginia on 4 November 2011 for a ministry weekend which included a kettle kick-off, music for a fashion show, a youth band clinic, an evening festival, morning worship and an afternoon praise concert.

Most of the members of the band gathered at Divisional Headquarters on Friday evening and boarded two mini-buses for the journey south. Stops were made in Fredericksburg and Richmond to gather more of the band. Arriving late in the evening, the band checked into the hotel and spent a restful evening in anticipation of a busy Saturday.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

On Saturday morning, a sextet from the band stayed behind at the hotel to provide support for a fund-raising Fashion Show. The rest of the band boarded the buses and went to a Wal-Mart in Virginia Beach. Setting up in an open area near the entrance, the band provided 90 minutes of Christmas carols for the area-wide red kettle kick-off, joined by a couple of mascots (including a cow from the local Chick-Fil-A franchise, who at one point took the baton and conducted the band through “Hark the Herald Angels”).

The band (still minus the sextet) then went to the Norfolk Corps for lunch and the afternoon activities. With young musicians from both the Richmond Citadel and Hampton Corps present, Bandmaster Kellner gave a “breathing and buzzing” lecture (complete with hand motions). The students were then assigned to various master classes with NCB members, many of which were one-on-one sessions.

The conclusion of the clinic was a demonstration concert. Finally joined by the sextet, the National Capital Band started off with The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner). Next up was the Hampton Youth Band, led by Josh Webb. This group played “Duke Street” and “Fairest Lord Jesus”, both from the First Book of Hymn Tunes.

Next, the NCB presented a contrasting item, James Anderson’s arrangement of Jesus Loves Me. The Richmond Youth Band was then featured, under the direction of Matt Sims. They presented three familiar Christmas carols, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”, “Joy to the World” and “Jingle Bells”.

Another composition from James Anderson, Goldcrest, was the next presentation from the National Capital Band. This was followed by the Hampton Corps senior band, led by the corps officer, Major Kim Feinauer. This group played “Repton” and “He Came to Give Us Life”.

The next item featured the NCB’s young trombone virtuoso, Kevin Downing, who played Kevin Hayward’s arrangement of the classic solo by Bill Pearce, Joshua. Major James Allison, the band’s Executive Officer, gave a brief devotional talk, which was followed by the final item from the NCB, Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). Captain Tim Delaney, Divisional Youth Secretary and member of the NCB tuba section, ended the afternoon session with a benediction.

The next event for the band was the evening festival, held at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. This is the third time that the National Capital Band has presented a concert at this venue. Before the concert, the band had dinner in the church’s fellowship hall.

The concert began with St. Francis (William Himes), followed immediately by Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner) as a congregational song. Major Allison gave a welcome, and the concert continued with The Ambassadors (Peter Graham).

The first feature item on the program was another Peter Graham composition, the cornet duet Quicksilver, ably played by David Delaney (Bb cornet) and Noel Morris (soprano cornet). This was followed by Paul Sharman’s arrangement of the contemporary Christian song The Power of the Cross.

The second feature item of the evening was the trombone solo Joshua presented by Kevin Downing. This jazzy version of “Joshua Fit the Battle” was a signature item for the great trombonist Bill Pearce, and this arrangement was made by Kevin Hayward, former bandmaster of the Canadian Staff Band. Kevin Downing, who is in his third season as the principal trombone of the National Capital Band, is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, majoring in trombone performance.

The first half of the program ended with Suite for Brass (Three Hymns) (Stephen Bulla). In three movements, this piece features the familiar hymns “O Worship the King”, “Amazing Grace” and “How Firm a Foundation”.

Following an intermission, the band brought the audience back with The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton). This was followed by the swing-style Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). Major Allison then brought a devotional, which was tied in with the band’s next item, Dean Goffin’s sublime meditation The Light of the World.

The final item of the concert was William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician. With innovative elements such as chanting and singing from the band during the piece, this is one of the more original works in the repertoire. Major Lewis Reckline, Tidewater Area Commander pronounced the benediction. The band sent the audience home with a postlude, The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner).

Weekend in Norfolk and Virginia Beach

The National Capital Band’s fall campaign in the National Capital and Virginia Division took the group to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, with performances in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Sponsored by the area command, led by Major Gene Hogg, the weekend consisted of a concert at a local shopping mall, a festival at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, and Sunday morning services at the Norfolk Corps.

Saturday Afternoon Concert

The band gathered at the Fairfax Corps building early on Saturday morning to embark on their trip to Norfolk. The trip south was uneventful, with the bus actually arriving at the first stop, the Military Circle Mall, over a hour ahead of schedule. This allowed for a relaxed setup at the venue, which was a stage constructed in the mall’s food court. The concert commenced promptly at 2:00 p.m., beginning with Brian Bowen’s festival march Sovereignty. This was followed by a swing-style item, Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine). The band’s principal euphonium, Major Tony Barrington, followed with a fluent performance of a classic solo, The Conqueror (Ray Steadman-Allen). The concert continued in the “classic” mode, with a gem from the pen of Erik Leidzén, What a Friend.

The eleventh of November is a day observed as a holiday in many countries, marking the end of World War I and especially noted as a day for honoring those who have served in the military forces. The band presented Armed Forces Salute, a medley consisting of songs associated with the United States armed forces (Air Force, Coast Guard, Army, Navy, and Marines), arranged by the band’s principal trombone, Stephen Bulla, who is the chief arranger for the United States Marine Band. This was followed by another medley, this one of contemporary Christian melodies entitled God With Us (Camp Kirkland/Tom Fettke, arr. Kevin Norbury). Next was another familiar melody in a simple arrangement by Bandmaster James Anderson, Jesus Loves Me.

A swing-style item from Leonard Ballantine, Sweet By and By, featuring Chris Dennard on flügelhorn, was contrasted with the same composer’s beautiful arrangement of the American folk melody “Shenandoah”, entitled ’Mid All the Traffic. A display of agility and speed on the cornet valves was given by Noel Morris on soprano and Ian Anderson on Bb cornet as they presented the duet Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Another item in a contemporary style, Blessings! (Nick Simmons-Smith) followed, and the concert concluded with a Christmas march by Stephen Bulla, The Bells of Christmas, in anticipation of the upcoming season.

Saturday Evening Festival

After checking in at the hotel and enjoying a meal with some of the local Salvationists, the band made a short trip to the neighboring city of Virginia Beach where the Saturday evening festival was held at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church. A small but appreciative audience was in attendance for the festival. The program for the concert featured many of the same items used in afternoon, including Sovereignty, God With Us, The Conqueror, ’Mid All the Traffic, Quicksilver, The Bells of Christmas, Blessings!, and Sweet By and By. Two major works, each concluding one half of the festival, were added. Just before the intermission, the band presented Bandmaster Anderson’s The Words of the Amen, and the high point of the second half was a seldom-heard gem from the pen of Dudley Bright, Confrontations. Ian Anderson also gave a fine rendition of the Rhapsody for Cornet and Band (Ray Bowes). The concert concluded with a congregational song, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name. Kenneth Downie’s march Winchester Revival was the postlude.

Sunday Morning Worship

The weekend concluded with worship services at the Norfolk Corps on Sunday morning. The entire service was conducted by the band, with Executive Officer James Allison being the featured speaker. A highlight of the meeting was the recognition of long-time NCB trombonist Joe DeMato, who retired from the band (after more than 25 years of service) over the summer. The recognition was presented by former NCB member Lt.-Colonel J. B. Matthews, who was the Executive Officer when Joe joined the NCB in 1978.

The band provided a large amount of music before and during the service, including Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), ’Mid All the Traffic, and God With Us as preliminary musi. Two feature items Take Time . . . (Kenneth Downie) and the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (William Himes) played by Ian Anderson, were used during the service. A number of congregational songs using extended arrangements were also presented, including Prayer of Thanksgiving (William Himes), All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, Lord, I Lift Your Name On High, and O Boundless Salvation.