Tag Archives: mall concert

New River Valley (Christiansburg)

On the weekend of 3 – 4 March 2007, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) journeyed to the New River Valley in southwestern Virginia. The weekend marked the dedication of a new building for the New River Valley Corps, based in Christiansburg. Although this area is a part of the National Capital and Virginia Division, the band has not often played in the Valley.

Following an early-morning departure from the Fairfax Corps, the NCB arrived in Christiansburg in time for an excellent lunch prepared by the local Salvationists, and then made a short journey to the New River Valley Mall. A one-hour concert was scheduled, beginning at 2:00 pm. Items included Sovereignty (Brian Bowen), Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), God With Us (Kirkland/Fettke, arr. Norbury), ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Blessings! (Nick Simmons-Smith), and Motondo (Donald Osgood). Three items featuring soloists from the band were also programmed: Major Tony Barrington, euphonium – The Conqueror (Ray Steadman-Allen); Chris Dennard, flügelhorn – Sweet By and By (Leonard Ballantine); and Noel Morris and Ian Anderson, soprano and Bb cornets – Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Although only a few people stood and listened to the entire concert, the mall management estimated that several hundred heard at least a portion.

After checking into the hotel, the band was treated to dinner at a local restaurant, then went to Faith Christian Church on Phlegar Street in Christiansburg, the venue for the evening festival. This church is linked to the Salvation Army in the area, and especially to the Army’s new building, which was previously owned by the church. The evening festival began with Sovereignty, followed by an invocation by the pastor of Faith Christian Church, Clyde George. God With Us and The Conqueror were next, with Lt.-Colonel Barry Swanson (on his first – and last – trip with the NCB, as he has received orders for transfer to International Headquarters) gave a personal testimony. After another sparkling performance of the cornet duet Quicksilver, the first half of the program came to a close with Bandmaster Anderson’s tone poem The Words of the Amen, which will be the title track on the latest NCB recording.

The band got the second half of the program moving with Donald Osgood’s march Motondo, followed by the swing-style Blessings!. The host church was represented by vocal soloist Rosa Eberle, who sang Above All. Deputy bandmaster and principal cornet Ian Anderson presented Ray Bowes’ lyrical Rhapsody for Cornet and Band, just before the band’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison gave a Scripture reading and brief lesson. This led into the flügelhorn feature Sweet By and By and the evening’s final item, Dudley Bright’s tone poem Confrontations, which features the well-known song by Stanley Ditmer, “I’m In His Hands”. The benediction was given by New River Valley corps officer Major John Blevins, and the NCB offered Winchester Revival (Kenneth Downie) as a postlude.

On Sunday morning, the band was treated to a fine country breakfast at the Corps building, complete with musical entertainment from a friend of the corps. Spirits were high despite a severe cold snap which led to slippery roads and some snow flurries – a marked change from the pleasant weather on Saturday.

Usually, when the band does a weekend trip, the entire Sunday morning service is done by the band. On this trip, however, because of the dedication of the new building, the band played a supporting role. Preliminary music included Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), Take Time . . . (Kenneth Downie), and God With Us. The service included participation from the New River Valley corps officers, Majors John and Diana Blevins, members of the local Advisory Board, and divisional leaders Lt.-Colonels William and LaVern Crabson. Band contributions during the service included Blessings! and In Light We Walk (Stephen Bulla), along with accompaniments for congregational songs, which include William Himes’ arrangement of O Boundless Salvation. Another Himes work, The Blessing, was played as a postlude.

With some regular members unable to join the band on the weekend, several people generously came in to fill empty seats. Bethany Mikles (horn) and Patrick Morris (trombone), who are reserve members of the band, were both able to attend the weekend. Others brought in for the event included Darryl Crossland on solo cornet and Art Henry on solo horn.

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.

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).

Visit to Williamsburg

On Friday, 17 March, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) set off on their first ministry weekend of 2006. Journeying south to the city of Williamsburg, Virginia, the band participated in the local Salvation Army’s Annual Meeting on Friday evening, performed three outdoor concerts on Saturday, and played for two Sunday morning services at the New Town Methodist Church. The weekend events were organized by the corps officers in Williamsburg, Captains Greg and Jeanne Shannon. Captain Jeanne Shannon is a member of the horn section of the NCB, traveling farther than any other current member to attend weekly rehearsals.

The Friday evening event was held in a new, upscale development just a few blocks from the Salvation Army offices in Williamsburg. The clubhouse for the community has just been completed, with the Army’s Annual Dinner being only the second event in held in the facility. The dinner, attended by members of the local Salvation Army Advisory Board, Women’s Auxiliary, and other volunteers and contributors, showcases work done by the corps throughout the year. The members of the National Capital Band were asked to provide a “mini-concert” for the event. Items included the march Sovereignty (Brian Bowen), Bandmaster Anderson”s arrangement of Jesus Loves Me, and several other items. A highlight of the band’s participation was a personal testimony given by Laura Boutchyard. The band was amply rewarded for their participation with a fine meal, always appreciated by the players.

As is sometimes the case in mid-March in the Middle Atlantic states, Saturday was rather cold and blustery, although with brilliant sunshine. The band was scheduled to play in three different outdoor venues on the day. Unfortunately, the weather was simply too cold and windy for the first location, and the performance had to be cut short after only three items. Although still a bit chilly, the second location was more conducive to playing. Later in the afternoon, the third concert, held at Merchant’s Square in Colonial Williamsburg (a restored historical area of the town), benefited from warmer temperatures and quite a number of people stopped and listened to the band during their performance.

Items played during the outdoor concerts included the swing number Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén), ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Bringing in the Sheaves (William Himes), Prelude Fanfare on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), and God With Us (Kevin Norbury). Solo items included The Ransomed Host (Ray Steadman-Allen), featuring Major Tony Barrington on euphonium, Caprice for Cornet (William Himes), featuring Deputy Bandmaster Ian Anderson, the cornet duet Quicksilver, featuring Ian Anderson on Bb cornet and Noel Morris on Eb soprano cornet, and the flügelhorn feature Sweet By and By, featuring Randi Bulla.

Following the afternoon concert at Colonial Williamsburg, the band was treated to a special guided tour of Bruton Parish, one of the oldest churches in Virginia and still an active Episcopal church. Later, the band traveled to nearby Yorktown, Virginia, another historic town, for an excellent dinner at the Carrot Tree restaurant and a “ghost tour” of some of the historic houses.

On Sunday morning, the NCB joined with the congregation at the New Town United Methodist Church for two services. Although the church was originally a bit skeptical about the band’s ability to fit in with their contemporary style, the worship services were blessed with a great spirit and were considered successful by all. The special item by the band in both services was Sweet By and By. A special mention must be made of the effort made by Stephen and Randi Bulla to be present for Sunday morning, as they left immediately following the Saturday afternoon concert, driving several hundred miles round-trip to fulfill a commitment to the Spires Brass Band, performing on Saturday evening in Frederick, Maryland. Following the concert with Spires, they drove back to Williamsburg, arriving at the band’s hotel in the early morning hours, and were ready for duty with the band at both of the worship services.