Tag Archives: Montgomery County Corps

Montgomery 25

On Sunday, 3 April 2011, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Corps of the Salvation Army celebrated 25 years of worship and service. Special guests for the event included the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner), Major James Allison (General Secretary, National Capital and Virginia Division), and former Montgomery County corps officers Major Earl Fitzgerald and Captains Melvin and Dianne Welch.

Following an excellent cooked-to-order pancake breakfast in the Corps fellowship hall, the celebration proper began with the National Capital Band providing a musical prelude as a photo montage showing the history of the corps was presented. Major Tina McBride, corps officer, gave a welcome and introductions. This was followed by comments from two community representatives. First was Mr. Al Blocker, the chairman of the corps Advisory Board. Next was the chaplain from the Germantown Volunteer Fire Department. The corps and the fire department have worked together on several initiatives since the corps moved to its present location, which is directly across the street from the fire station.

The Montgomery County praise team led a rousing, enthusiastic time of praise and worship, followed by a prayer given by Captain Melvin Welch, a former corps officer at this corps. One of the young people from the corps gave a report on the recently-concluded Youth Councils, which was followed by an ebullient selection from the small, but energetic, Montgomery County Corps Band, under the direction of Bandmaster David Delaney.

Following a congregational song, several persons associated with the corps over the years gave short memoirs. First up was Florence Kuria, long-time member and bookkeeper at the corps. Next was Danielle (Costello) Delaney, who recounted how her family, in a somewhat desperate condition, was invited to the corps by the first corps officers, then-Lieutenants Brack and Annette Dodd. At that time, the corps building was an old frame house near the railroad tracks in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Danielle’s testimony of the change made by this invitation in the life of her and the others in her family was powerful and moving. Captain Dianne Welch also gave a memoir of her time as a corps officer in Montgomery County.

The National Capital Band presented William Broughton’s big-band style Deep River as the offertory. This was followed by a dramatic presentation entitled Walk the Line, written and performed by the youth of the corps, which was originally presented at Youth Councils. Following a congregational song and responsive Scripture reading, Major Earl Fitzgerald, another former corps officer, set the mood for the message of the morning by singing His Grace Still Amazes Me.

The message was given by Major James Allison. He built on the themes expressed in Danielle Delaney’s memoir. In his “down-home”, South Carolina accented style, he skillfully expounded Gospel truth. As the invitation to the altar was given, the band played Eric Ball’s masterful meditation Serenity, during which several people knelt at the altar – a response with which the composer would have been well-pleased.

The presence of seekers at the altar heightened the excitement of the celebration, which was allowed to burst forth as the morning concluded with the congregation and band joining in the song medley Army on the March. Arranged by Bandmaster Kellner, this item contains several “old school” Salvation Army songs, with arrangements taken from several classic marches such as The Invincible Army (Erik Leidzén), Kinshasa (Leslie Condon), and finishing with “On We March with the Blood and the Fire” from Harrow Citadel (A. S. Raikes), with the corps flag being marched around the hall as the congregation sang.

Following some closing remarks and a benediction by Major Steve Morris, Area Commander for the Washington, DC Metro Area, the band sent the happy congregation home to the strains of The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), with its timeless reminder that “He Lives!”.

Second Annual Youth Band Day

For the second consecutive year, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) held a Youth Band Day in the Washington, DC metro area. This year’s event was held at the Eugene B. Casey Center for Worship and Service (Montgomery County Corps) in Germantown, Maryland, on Saturday, 2 April 2011, with more than 65 young people and other music students in attendance.

The NCB has established this as an annual event to showcase the young people of the area, providing them with specialized instruction and an opportunity to perform in a public concert. This is in addition to the continuous support given to local music programs given by NCB members throughout the year – in fact, each group featured in the Grand Concert at the end of the event was led by a member of the National Capital Band.

Bandmaster Kellner showing breathing exercises

Bandmaster Kellner showing breathing exercises

The event began with a combined session in the Corps hall, where Bandmaster Kellner gave a short talk on proper breathing for brass players and warm-up techniques. The assembled students were then divided into a number of classes, with members of the National Capital Band as instructors. Each student was provided with a packet, graded according to their current level of musical skill, which was used by the instructors during the classes.

Kevin Downing (right) gives a trombone lesson

Kevin Downing (right) gives a trombone lesson

After the classes, which were 75 minutes in length, the groups adjourned to the gymnasium for lunch. Following the meal, each participating youth band was given a rehearsal space, with approximately an hour of time to rehearse their items for the event’s finale, the Grand Concert.

The Grand Concert began with the National Capital Band playing The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), followed by words of welcome from Major Jonathan McBride, corps officer of the host corps, and a prayer from NCB euphoniumist Ian Chaava.

David Mersiovsky teaches a cornet class

David Mersiovsky teaches a cornet class

The body of the concert consisted of performances by a number of youth bands from corps in the Washington, DC metro area, beginning with the group from Alexandria Citadel. This ensemble, led by Bandmaster David Downing, played Kearny Youth (Stephen Bulla) and Hand Me My Trumpet (Ivor Bosanko). Next up were the MoCo First Timers, led by Bandmaster David Delaney. They presented a medley, Amazing Grace & Onward Christian Soldiers (arr. David Mersiovsky).

Following another item from the National Capital Band, Deep River (William Broughton), the next two youth bands presented their items. First was the group from the Solomon G. Brown Center (Southeast Corps), led by Bandmaster Danielle Ashton, playing Alleluia and When the Saints Go Marching In. Next up were Bandmaster David Mersiovsky and the group from the Fredericksburg Corps. They presented a medley, Ode to Joy & Hot Cross Buns in the Minor (arranged by Bandmaster Mersiovsky) and a short rendition of God Is So Good.

Bandmaster David Downing conducts the group from Alexandria Citadel

Bandmaster David Downing conducts the group from Alexandria Citadel

Once again, the National Capital Band presented an item as the youth bands exchanged places, this time offering Bandmaster James Anderson’s timeless arrangement of Jesus Loves Me. First up in this set was the band from the Fairfax Corps, led by Bandmaster Scott Bedio, playing The HCB Opus (S. Bedio), an exposition on “Hot Cross Buns”. The final local group to perform was the Montgomery County Corps Band, under the direction of Bandmaster David Delaney. Although not technically a youth band, this group has a high percentage of young people. They offered Morning Glory (James Anderson).

The concert ended with two special items. The National Capital, augmented by ten of the most advanced students, played God’s Children (William Himes). Then all of the students formed a massed band in front of the platform. With the NCB as accompaniment, they presented William Himes’ arrangement Classics in Brass as the finale to the day. Following a benediction by NCB executive officer Major James Allison, the NCB capped the event with a postlude, Goldcrest (James Anderson).