Tag Archives: Mike Harris

Winston-Salem Ministry Weekend (Part 3 of 3)

This is the third of a series of three articles on the National Capital Band’s ministry weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) traveled to the Triad area of North Carolina for a ministry weekend, 8 – 10 November 2013. The band participated in the kettle kick-off for the Winston-Salem Area Command, performed two concerts at area churches, held a youth clinic with students from the Salvation Army’s Academy of Music and Arts, and supported a Sunday morning worship service where all three of the area corps joined together.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

United Holiness Meeting

On Sunday morning, the band returned to the Ken Carlson Boys and Girls Club, where a united Holiness Meeting, with all three of the area corps combined, was held in the gymnasium. The band played a preliminary set, including Colne (Thomas Rive), Laudes Domini (arr. Eric Ball), In Perfect Peace (Kenneth Downie), Lobe den Herren (arr. Eric Ball) and Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla).

After a welcome from Major James Allison, area commander, the flags of the three corps were brought into the hall as Joel Collier sang They Shall Come from the East accompanied by the band. The song was chosen because of the diverse nature of the corps in the command, with services being conducted in English (Washington Park), Spanish (International) and Korean (Kernersville).

Contributions from the National Capital Band included All Hail the Power (arr. Himes) and In Christ Alone (both as congregational song accompaniments) Are You Joyful? (Dudley Bright), The Call (Erik Leidzén) and Here at the Cross (James Curnow). The Kernersville Songsters sang Sing to the King.

Major Andrew Kelly, executive officer of the National Capital Band, gave the message of the morning. The meeting ended in grand style, with the NCB and the congregation joining in O Boundless Salvation, using William Himes’ stirring arrangement with a special tag (provided by Bandmaster Kellner) at the end leading into “Heavenly Gales” and concluding with “Praise God, I’m Saved”.

Following the benediction, the band closed their time in Winston-Salem with a postlude, the march Keep Singing (P. C. Rivers).

The National Capital Band would like to thank several players who joined us for all or part of the weekend, including Charlie Fisher (trombone), Chip Seiler (cornet), Jamie Hood (cornet) and Eugene Fitzgerald (horn). The band was especially delighted to be joined by former NCB member Captain Mike Harris (tuba) on Friday and Saturday. Captain Harris was a member of the band for a number of years both before and after attending the School for Officers’ Training in Atlanta, and is now, with his wife, commanding the Army’s work in the Hickory, North Carolina, area.

Ministry Weekend in Raleigh

Early on the morning of Saturday, 19 February 2011, members of the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) gathered at Divisional Headquarters in Washington to begin a journey to Raleigh, NC, for a ministry weekend. The weekend was set up by Majors Pete and Cathy Costas, who are the corps officers in Raleigh, and consisted of a short outdoor concert at North Hills Mall, a soldiers’ rally/concert and Sunday morning worship at the Raleigh Corps.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Upon arriving in Raleigh, the band was treated to lunch at the corps, and then went to North Hills Mall for an outdoor concert. Despite the season, the weather was warm and sunny, and there were many people at the venue. The band had an excellent area from which to present their concert, at the center of the mall in a large courtyard. Items included The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), Be Thou My Vision (Steve Kellner), Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Motivation (William Himes), the second movement, featuring “Amazing Grace” from Robert Redhead’s suite Shout Salvation, and Goldcrest (James Anderson).

After a brief stop at their hotel, the members of the band returned to the Raleigh Corps for set up, sound check, and dinner before the evening event, which was a Soldiers’ Rally with Salvationists from several corps in the area in attendance. The NCB started the evening with Bandmaster Kellner’s Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology, followed by a welcome by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison. The congregation was given the first of several opportunities to participate, singing Joyful, Joyful to the band’s accompaniment.

The Good Old Way, based on a Primitive Methodist song from the nineteenth century, was the next item on the program. Bruce Broughton, an established film and television composer, is a master of programmatic music, and this piece is a fine example. The band’s only soloist of the evening was principal cornet David Delaney, who gave an enthusiastic performance of Ray Steadman-Allen’s Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals.

Scott Bedio gave a testimony, which was followed by the suite Shout Salvation (Robert Redhead), conducted by deputy bandmaster Matt Sims, with Bandmaster Kellner taking the bass trombone chair.

The congregation was then offered another opportunity to participate. This time, they were treated to a premiere of a new medley arranged by Bandmaster Kellner, Army on the March! This piece, designed for audience participation, consists of a number of Salvation Army marching songs, several of which are presented in the arrangements based on those featured in classic marches: “Marching Along”, “Keep in Step” from Regent Hall Young People (Leslie Condon), “A Robe of White” from The Invincible Army (Erik Leidzén), “March On!”, “Happy Song” from Kinshasha (Leslie Condon) and “On We March with the Blood and the Fire” from Harrow Citadel (A. S. Raikes). During this item, the Army flag was marched around the hall as the audience enthusiastically sang.

The main Salvation Army center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was destroyed by the earthquake of January 2010. The USA Southern Territory is raising funds, from the soldiers, to assist in the rebuilding of the corps, which is one of the largest in the Americas. An offering was taken during the meeting in support of this effort. The band played Motivation (William Himes), with the deputy bandmaster conducting, as an offertory. This was followed by a devotional message by Major Allison.

The final band item was another composition from Bandmaster Kellner, Variations on “O Worship the King”. The piece examines the familiar hymn tune in five movements: “Fanfare”, “Little Fugue”, “Song without Words”, “Celtic Dance” and “Theme and Finale”. This led into the conclusion of the program, with the congregation singing ’O Boundless Salvation’ using William Himes’ arrangement as accompaniment. Major Pete Costas gave a benediction. The NCB sent everyone home in fine fashion, playing Goldcrest (James Anderson) as a postlude.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

On Sunday morning, the band returned to the Raleigh worship center. After the Sunday School preliminaries, the Raleigh corps members dispersed to their classes, and the band remained in the chapel for their own preparations. Major Allison gave a short devotional, and then the rest of the time became a prayer meeting among the members of the band. Bandmaster Kellner has emphasized the spiritual life of the band and its members during this season, and this short devotional time was a significant event, including band members kneeling at the Mercy Seat, being supported and assisted by other members.

The theme of the morning worship service was ’Arise, My Soul!’. The band’s main contribution was the offertory, Dean Goffin’s prelude and fugue Arise, My Soul, Arise, one of the true classics of brass band literature. Danielle Ashton read Scripture and gave her testimony. Major Allison gave the message of the morning, entitled “You Want Me To Do What?”, based on Isaiah 6:1-8. The time of commitment after the sermon again featured the band, as they presented Eric Ball’s timeless meditation, Serenity.

A highlight of the meeting was an impromptu a capella quartet from four members of the Raleigh Corps. This corps has a diverse, international congregation, and several of the local officers, including Bandmaster Henri Kissaka and Songster Leader Ghodard Diavangama, hail from Africa. The quartet, which included these persons and two other African Salvationists, sang with the unique and beautiful quality of vocal groups from that continent.

The meeting ended on an upbeat note, with the congregation singing along with the band in the medley Army on the March! (Steve Kellner). Major Pete Costas gave the benediction, and the band played The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner) as a postlude before moving downstairs to join Corps Sergeant-Major Terry Williamson and the rest of the Raleigh corps council for lunch.

This trip ranks as one of the top ministry weekends undertaken by the National Capital Band in recent years. Filling in for absent members were some of the talented local Salvationist musicians: Steve Sutton (cornet), Daniel Simmons (horn) and Charlie Fisher (trombone). In addition, the NCB was delighted to have former long-time member Captain Mike Harris, who is now the corps officer in Hickory, North Carolina, sit in with the tuba section for the Saturday night rally.

Personnel News - September 2010

The National Capital Band begins the 2010 – 2011 season with several personnel changes and additions, including a new bandmaster and seven new players.

The most significant change is in the leadership of the band, because of the retirement of Bandmaster James Anderson at the end of last season. Dr. Steve Kellner has been appointed bandmaster, moving from the principal euphonium seat. As a result, Captain Amy Reardon moves into the principal euphonium chair and Ian Chaava moves from first baritone to euphonium.

The band also said farewell to band chaplain and principal tuba Captain Mike Harris at the end of last season as he and his wife were appointed to command the corps at Hickory, North Carolina. Moving into both of these roles is Captain Rob Reardon. Joining the band on E♭ bass is Tamar Murray, who is a student at Montgomery Blair High School, where she is a member of the marching band.

On the low end of the tuba section, John Reeves went on leave of absence for military service during last season and will be unavailable for about 18 months. Filling in for John is Scott Bedio, who was a member of the NCB in the early 1990’s. Scott has been active as an instructor with the Divisional Youth Band and is a member of the Fairfax Corps Band.

Kathleen Jensen and her family recently moved to the Washington area from Atlanta. She joins the National Capital Band as principal horn, with band sergeant Dave Downing moving to first horn (at his own request).

The trombone section, already one of the band’s strengths, has been fortified with the addition of Josh Sears. Josh was a member of the Divisional Youth Band for several years before leaving for studies at Louisiana State University. He has returned to the Washington area after two years at LSU and joins the NCB on first trombone. In addition to his brass band experience, Josh has spent the past few summers as a member of the world class Crossmen drum and bugle corps, based in San Antonio, Texas. The Crossmen are perennial contenders for the Drum Corps International championship, having qualified for the finals 22 times in the past 36 years.

The cornet section also welcomes additional members, on both the front and back row. Last season, the band operated with only three solo cornets for most of the year. Joining the front row this year is Demarr Woods. A graduate of the University of Maryland music program and now a music teacher in Baltimore, Demarr has been a staff member at the NCV Summer Music Conservatory and has played with the NCB on several engagements on a temporary basis in the past few seasons.

On the back row, Ruth Choi comes in on second cornet. Ruth, who is 14, is the youngest current member of the band. She joins her sister, Ellim Choi, and her cousins Esther and Sam Kim, who joined the group in previous seasons.

Finally, Emmanuel Gonzalez joins the percussion section. Emmanuel, who is originally from Venezuela, is an accomplished kit drummer. He is employed at the Arlington Citadel Corps.

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.

Annual Band Dinner 2010

Traditionally, the National Capital Band ends each season with a dinner for the members and guests. In 2010, the dinner was held two weeks early because the last event of the season is a ministry trip to Scranton, Pennsylvania at the end of May. This year’s dinner was held at Maggiano’s in the Tysons Galleria. Notable events on the evening included the award of Bob’s Big Note, a farewell presentation to Captain Mike Harris, and the announcement by Bandmaster James Anderson that he is retiring at the end of this season.

This was not the first time that the annual dinner had been held at Maggiano’s, and as always, the food was excellent. Stuffed mushrooms, fried mozzarella covered with fresh marinara, and two types of salad began the meal. There were three main courses, served on large platters so that each diner could partake of each if they wished, including roast pork, beef with peppers, and lasagna. The desserts were special, with a rich chocolate cake and a surprising light cheesecake.

The dinner began with the band and guests singing the blessing (’Be Present at Our Table, Lord”) to the tune “Duke Street”, with some rather complex harmony. Since the focus of the dinner is fellowship, there was not much of a program, with only a few scripted events.

David Mersiovsky (left) receives Bob’s Big Note from Dave Downing

David Mersiovsky (left) receives Bob’s Big Note from Dave Downing

One of the traditions of the National Capital Band is the annual award of Bob’s Big Note. Begun by long-time Band Secretary and principal cornet Bob Goodier at his farewell dinner in 2000, the Note showcases a member of the band who has exhibited Christian faith and commitment to the band during the season, without being in the forefront. The Note itself is a simple brass paperweight in the shape of a musical note. One important feature of the award is that the current holder chooses the next recipient - there is no involvement by the Band Board or leadership in the selection.

The current holder of the Note was Dave Downing. After Mike Harris gave a brief description of the history of the Note, Dave presented the Note to David Mersiovsky.

Captain Mike Harris

Captain Mike Harris

Band Chaplain Captain Mike Harris is one of the veterans of the National Capital Band, having served for several years before entering the ministry and again after being appointed to the Fredericksburg Corps. He and his wife have recently been appointed as corps officers in Hickory, North Carolina, and Bandmaster Anderson presented him with a special framed print of a three-part painting created by former band member Laura Boutchyard.

One of the traditional moments at the Band Dinner is a speech by the bandmaster. Bandmaster Anderson began with a reprise of the highlights of the past six seasons, including the trip to New York in the spring of 2005, the visit to the Great American Brass Band Festival in Kentucky, recording The Words of the Amen, the visit to Michigan and the tour of Switzerland and France in 2007, the recent recording sessions for the upcoming Christmas album, and the many ministry weekends the band has undertaken under his leadership. He then announced that he will retire at the end of the season, relinquishing both the leadership of the National Capital Band and the position of Divisional Music Director.

Bandmaster James Anderson announces his retirement

Bandmaster James Anderson announces his retirement

To conclude the dinner, executive officer Major James Allison gave a devotional thought and thanked the members of the band and their families for the commitment shown during the past season.

Major James Allison

Major James Allison

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.

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.