Tag Archives: Gaithersburg

Gaithersburg Presbyterian Winter Hymn Sing

For the fifth consecutive year, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) visited Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church for the church’s Winter Hymn Sing.

This year, the band began with a “mini-concert”, playing five items before the event began. These included three hymn tunes arranged by Eric Ball, Angelus, Laudes Domini and Lobe den Herren. Also featured in this section were Jesus Loves Me (James B. Anderson) and St. Francis (William Himes).

The bulk of the event, as is evident from the name, consisted of the assembled congregation singing a variety of song – a total of fifteen. Ably led by the church’s director of music, Ann Y. Schmidt, and assisted by organist Mark Hanak, the event moved smoothly from item to item.

During the program, in addition to accompanying thirteen of the fifteen songs, the band presented the third movement of William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician. The singing drew to a rousing finish with the band, organ and congregation joining in Crown Him with Many Crowns (arr. Charles Skinner).

As in previous years, the Hymn Sing was followed by a chili dinner in the church fellowship hall. Members of the church provided a dazzling variety of chili, with everything from traditional beef to venison to chicken to vegetarian. One rather unusual choice this year was a Moroccan chili, with exotic spices served over a bed of couscous.

The Winter Hymn Sing has become a favorite on the National Capital Band’s annual schedule, and this year was no exception as the band enjoyed good music and good fellowship with the members of Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church.

Return to Gaithersburg Presbyterian

Despite a snowy weekend in the Washington area, the members of the National Capital Band gathered at Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church for the church’s annual Hymn Sing and Chili Dinner. 2010 is the third consecutive year that the band has participated in this event.

The event, led by music minister Ann Y. Schmidt, was described as a way to throw off the “winter blues.” The large congregation, accompanied by the NCB and church organist Mark Hanak, sang multiple verses of seventeen hymns and songs. Most of the singing was accompanied by selections from the Salvation Army’s Band Tune Book and the Hallelujah Chorus series. “Big” arrangements were used for God Bless America (Irving Berlin, arr. William Gordon), O Boundless Salvation (William Himes), Onward Christian Soldiers (Gordon Langford) and Crown Him with Many Crowns (Charles Skinner).

For many of those present, the highlight of the event was the performance of Andrae Crouch’s contemporary classic My Tribute. Through a fortuitous error, the congregation was not provided with the words of the verse. Bandmaster Anderson, when he learned of this, offered to sing the verse as a solo. As he began the song, with the words, “How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me?” many members of the band (including this writer) found it difficult to see their parts through tears. The bandmaster’s unwavering testimony and passion for ministry through his physical challenges of the past 18 months are a model of Christian faith and have been uplifting, encouraging and challenging to all who have witnessed them.

In addition to the accompaniment of the congregational singing, the band presented a prelude, Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology (Steve Kellner), a feature item during the Hymn Sing, Dance Like David (Andrew Mackereth), and a postlude, Cornerstone (Andrew Mackereth). The band’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison, also gave a short report on the Army’s relief work in Haiti.

Following the Hymn Sing, the congregation and the band retired the church’s fellowship hall, where they were treated to a vast assortment of various types of chili, all prepared by members of the church.

Hymns and Chili

On 25 January 2009, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) journeyed a few miles north of Washington to the suburban city of Gaithersburg. For the second consecutive year, the band was invited to provide the backing for the annual Hymn Sing service at the Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church.

The church hall was filled to capacity as Gaithersburg Presbyterian’s music director, Ann Y. Schmidt, led the congregation in singing 18 different hymns, backed by the National Capital Band. Although it may seem that hymn tunes would not stretch an accomplished brass band, this has proved to be one of the NCB’s more taxing events. For several of the songs, arrangements from the Hallelujah Chorus series were used, along with other extensive arrangements. One of the highlights was O Boundless Salvation, which the NCB introduced to the congregation at the previous year’s event, with the church members singing along to William Himes’ stirring arrangement. The culmination of the service was Crown Him With Many Crowns, with the church organ joining with the band and congregation.

The second part of the annual event is the church’s annual Chili Dinner, where the members of the NCB were able to partake in fellowship with the members of the church. Some forty varieties of chili, all prepared by various members of the church, were served, with varieties ranging from vegetable to venison.