Tag Archives: James Anderson

Bravo Brass!

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

As a part of their Bravo Brass weekend, the National Capital Band of the Salvation Army (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) joined with The Dominion Brass (Conductors Steve Kellner and Ben Roundtree) for a concert at McLean Presbyterian Church, on 10 April 2010.

The Dominion Brass, founded in 2002, is a large brass and percussion ensemble made up of professional musicians and music educators from the Washington, DC area. Its mission is to glorify God through music and to support other ministries and charitable organizations through concert performances. Since its founding, the ensemble has played several concerts annually and raised over $30,000 for various local, national and international ministries and charities.

The concert began with The Dominion Brass on the stage, where they started with Joyful, Joyful (arr. Steve Kellner) as a congregational song. This was followed by a arrangement by Ben Roundtree of The Power of the Cross. The next item was the premiere of an extended work composed by Steve Kellner, Variations on “O Worship the King”. This well-known hymn was presented in five movements, representing a variety of musical styles: Fanfare, Little Fugue, Song without Words, Celtic Dance and the closing Theme and Finale.

One of the great composers for choir in the twentieth century was Randall Thompson. His classic choral work Alleluia has been skillfully transcribed for brass choir by Steve Kellner, and this was the next work presented by The Dominion Brass. Contrasting with this symphonic chorale was the next item, There Is Power in the Blood, featuring the six-member trombone section of The Dominion Brass. Arranged by Ben Roundtree in a classic jazz format, this piece was greeted with long and loud applause.

The final item was the Finale from Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Organ Symphony”, arranged by Phil Snedecor. The McLean Presbyterian Church has recently installed a new organ, and it was an excellent benefit to the concert to have the church’s organist, David Bading, participate in this presentation.

During the intermission, the platform was reset for the National Capital Band. Unfortunately, Bandmaster James Anderson was unable to attend the events this weekend for medical reasons, but Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims and principal euphonium Steve Kellner filled in admirably in the Bandmaster’s absence. Two Dominion Brass members, Phil Franke (euphonium) and Dana Landis (trombone) helped out by filling in for Kellner and Sims respectively.

The National Capital Band began its portion of the program with two pieces composed by Leslie Condon, Celebration and Song of Exuberance. The latter, one of the more difficult trombone solos in the Salvation Army repertoire, was given an excellent rendition by Kevin Downing, the NCB’s principal trombone. The third item was William Himes’ joyous Cause for Celebration.

The concert then turned from the contemporary rhythms and harmonies of William Himes to a item by a composer who may be considered the origin of all sacred brass music, Giovanni Gabrieli. An innovator often credited with the first significant use of dynamics, massed instrumentation and antiphonal effects, Gabrieli’s music is still appreciated and admired despite being composed some 400 years ago. Steve Kellner provided the arrangement of Canzon Septimi Toni No. 2, with the National Capital Band as “choir one” on the stage and The Dominion Brass split on either side of the audience to provide the antiphonal effect.

Returning to more contemporary music, the next item was Peter Graham’s Renaissance. For this item, The Dominion Brass filled the choir loft behind the National Capital Band, joining in the majestic final section as the piece concludes with the emphatic statement “May Jesus Christ Be Praised!”.

For the finale of the concert, everyone in the hall was included, with both bands, the church organ, and the audience combining for Crown Him with Many Crowns (arr. Charles Skinner), providing a fitting conclusion to the concert.

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.

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.

Sessions for Christmas Recording

On Friday evening, 22 January 2010, members of the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) gathered in the chapel at Camp Happyland to begin recording a new Christmas album.

Under the expert supervision of Grammy-nominated engineer Phil Bulla, the band recorded twelve items, finishing on Saturday afternoon. Highlights of the recording include a new piece from the pen of principal euphonium Steve Kellner, Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and Robert Redhead’s classic suite The Joy of Christmas.

The full list of items recorded:

  1. Christmas Idyll (Kenneth Downie)
  2. Ding Dong Merrily on High (Douglas Court)
    Euphonium solo, Steve Kellner, soloist
  3. Fanfare Jubiloso (James Curnow)
  4. Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (Steve Kellner)
  5. Feliz Navidad (Dorothy Gates)
  6. I Wonder As I Wander (Ray Bowes)
  7. The Joy of Christmas (Robert Redhead)
  8. Nowell (Andrew Mackereth)
  9. Season’s Greetings (James Anderson)
  10. Shepherds Surprise (Kenneth Downie)
  11. The Shining Star (Peter Graham)
  12. Stille, Stille, Stille (James Curnow)

Further information on the album, including a release date and information on advance orders, will be announced in the future.

The band would like to thank a number of players who helped out with the recording:

  • Darryl Crossland
  • Steve Sutton
  • Dr. Bethany Mikles
  • Bethany Hawley
  • Dr. Richard Holz
  • Dr.Tom Walker

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.

Warrenton/Culpeper Ministry Weekend

For the second successive year, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) traveled to Warrenton and Culpeper, Virginia, for a ministry weekend. The weekend included a joint concert with the Warrenton Chorale (Director Steve Aiello) on Saturday afternoon and Sunday services at the Culpeper United Methodist Church (Pastor Randy Orndorff).

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The NCB made the relatively short journey to Warrenton late Saturday morning, arriving around noon at the concert venue. As the band had performed a similar concert with the chorale at the same church last year, the setup was quick, allowing plenty of time to rehearse the joint items.

An estimated audience of 125 persons were in place at 3:00 pm when the “Almost Christmas” concert began with the NCB playing Kenneth Downie’s festival march The Joy-Bringer. The audience and chorale joined with the band in the hymn May Jesus Christ Be Praised (arr. Michael Kenyon), which was well-received despite Bandmaster Anderson’s inadvertent elimination of the link between the first and second verses. Larry Yeager, associate pastor of Heritage Presbyterian Church and a member of the Chorale, gave the invocation.

The band continued the program with Cause for Celebration (William Himes), followed by two items from the chorale, following the “almost Christmas” theme, Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella and Bethlehem, of Noblest Cities, both arranged by Howard Helvey. The festive atmosphere was sustained with the band’s performance of the ebullient Dance Like David (Andrew Mackereth).

The National Capital Band’s principal trombone, Kevin Downing, who at 17 years of age is an emerging virtuoso, gave a fine performance of Leslie Condon’s difficult solo Song of Exuberance. The first half of the concert concluded with the chorale joining the band in Bandmaster Anderson’s composition Our God Reigns and the band’s major work of the afternoon, Renaissance (Peter Graham).

Following the intermission, the band started off the second half with Andrew Mackereth’s march Cornerstone, conducted by the deputy bandmaster, Matt Sims. The chorale sang When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. John Rutter) before the band brought the concert to a more contemplative mood with James Curnow’s Pastorale (The King of Love My Shepherd Is. The band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, was unable to travel with the band for the weekend, so the band chaplain, Captain Mike Harris, gave a short devotional at this point in the concert.

The choral returned to Christmas music with two more carols, The First Noel (arr. Dan Forrest) and Carol of the Bells (arr. Peter Wilhousky), with the first verse of the latter presented with “doot” being used instead of the lyrics – an entertaining performance.

The concert concluded in triumphant fashion, with Dudley Bright’s Paean followed by the band and chorale again uniting with one of the most recognized of all musical items, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, conducted by Steve Aiello. To conclude the concert, the audience was again asked to join with the band and chorale in Crown Him with Many Crowns (arr. Charles Skinner).

Following the concert, the band shared an excellent meal with the chorale and then moved to Camp Happyland, where they spent the evening in rest and relaxation.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Again reprising last year’s trip, the band arose early on Sunday morning, arriving at Culpeper United Methodist Church at 7:00 am to set up, with the first of three services scheduled to begin at 8:00. Again, as the band had been to this church a year ago, the setup was relatively quick. The church has three services, of which the band participated in the first and the third. In the absence of Major Allison, Captain Rob Reardon graciously accepted the challenge of preaching in all three of the services, doing an admirable job speaking on the stewardship of family. Despite some issues with the church’s audio-visual system in the first service, the services were moving and effective, and the band was again blessed to be a part of the worship at this church.

Before each of the two services in which they participated, the band provided preliminary music with Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology (Steve Kellner), ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine) and Endless Praise (William Himes). During the service, the band provided accompaniment for the congregational singing and played feature items, including God Bless America (William Gordon) in honor of Veterans’ Day and Wilfred Heaton’s masterful arrangement of Just As I Am. Following the services, the band “played out” the congregation with Cornerstone.

The most moving moment of the worship services was the playing of a new arrangement by Bandmaster Anderson of the contemporary Christian song, There Is a Savior, in memory of Kelsey Orndorff, the daughter of the pastor of Culpeper United Methodist Church. When the band visited the church last year, they learned that the pastor’s daughter had been killed in an automobile accident just a few weeks before, in fact, that weekend was the first time that the Pastor Orndorff had returned to the pulpit after the tragedy. The band had a profound impact during last year’s visit, and when he learned that the band would be returning this year, Bandmaster Anderson undertook to compose this arrangement.

Following the worship services, members of the band were treated to a lunch at a local Italian restaurant, arranged by former NCB member Joe DeMato.

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.

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