Tag Archives: Noel Morris

Christmas Presence (1992)

Christmas Presence (1992)

Christmas Presence (1992)

In 1891 the Salvation Army in San Francisco introduced a new idea — a red kettle to raise funds for needy families at Christmas. This highly visible strategy caught on and spread successfully throughout the country, becoming a familiar sign of the season to every Christmas shopper.

To mark the occasion of the Red Kettle Centennial, First Lady Barbara Bush agreed to become honorary Christmas chairperson and officially inaugurate the 1991 centennial year of kettle work. Her presence at the official National Kettle Kick-Off in Washington, DC was accompanied by the National Capital Band, which premiered the specially commisssioned Christmas march, The Bells of Christmas, featured on this recording.


1 Christmas Presence Sound Montage
2 The Proclamation of Christmas (Stephen Bulla)
  The Festive Season (Morley Calvert)
3       I. Christ was born on Christmas Day
4       II. The Holly and the Ivy
5       III. Good King Wenceslas
6 How Far to Bethlehem? (Stephen Bulla)
7 A Carol Medley – from Noel (Donald Osgood)
8 Christmas Comes But Once a Year (Brian Bowen)
9 Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming (Stephen Bulla)
10 March on a Traditional French Air (Philip Ditmer)
11 Coventry Carol (Robert C. Schramm)
12 O Holy Night (Stephen Bulla) Noel Morris, soprano cornet soloist
  Two Canadian Christmas Carols (Morley Calvert)
13       I. Jesous Ahatonia (Huron Indian)
14       II. Il Est Né (French Canadian)
15 Midwinter (Stephen Bulla)
16 Silent Night (Erik Leidzén) Major William Crabson, narrator
17 Crusaders (Dean Goffin)
18 Introductory Comments First Lady Barbara Bush
19 The Bells of Christmas (Stephen Bulla)

Staunton Centennial

On the weekend of 18 – 19 February 2012, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) journeyed to the Shenandoah Valley city of Staunton, Virginia to participate in the celebration of 100 years of Salvation Army service there. The trip included a youth music workshop on Saturday afternoon, a music festival on Saturday evening, worship at the corps on Sunday morning and a Soldiers Rally and Birthday Celebration on Sunday afternoon. The band was delighted to be invited to participate in this event by the corps officers, Majors Sam and Mary Kay Hearne.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The first event of the weekend was a youth music clinic with students from the Salvation Army music program in the Valley. This program has been given a regional emphasis with the employment of Jason Collier as regional music director for the Valley in the fall of 2011, and this was the first opportunity for the students to showcase their skills for a visiting group. About twenty young people from the Staunton and Harrisonburg Corps participated in the workshops.

The workshop began with a group session, with Bandmaster Kellner leading everyone in a “Breathing and Buzzing” session. The group then broke into groups by instrument, with members of the NCB providing instruction and guidance to the students. After the individual sessions, the group reassembled in the corps gymnasium, where there was a short concert, featuring the Harrisonburg Junior Band playing Abide with Me (arr. Robert Redhead) and the Staunton Singing Company presenting Lord, You’re Beautiful, both under the direction of Jason Collier. Items by the NCB included two classics by James Anderson, Goldcrest and Jesus Loves Me. The highlight of the afternoon was William Himes’ Classics in Brass, with the students accompanied by the NCB.

The band then packed up and moved a short distance to Memorial Baptist Church, the venue for the evening concert. The members of the church, lead by Pastor Temple Myers, were extremely gracious and accommodating to the band, including disassembling a part of the platform in the sanctuary in order to allow the band enough room. They also provided a wonderful meal to the band before the concert. There were several large displays of artwork from young member of the community on display in the lobby of the church, as well as some historic photos of the Staunton Corps and members through the years.

The concert began in rousing fashion with The Ambassadors (Peter Graham), immediately followed by the audience joining with the band to sing Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner). Words of welcome were then brought by the Divisional Commander for the National Capital and Virginia Division, Major Kelly Igleheart.

The next item was the duet Quicksilver (Peter Graham), featuring Noel Morris (soprano cornet) and David Delaney (cornet). After being ably represented by the duettists, the entire cornet section was featured at the beginning of the following selection, The Power of the Cross (Paul Sharman).

The Downing family has been a key part of the ministry of the National Capital Band for over forty years. The band’s principal trombone, Kevin Downing, is the second generation of that family to play in the band. Although still a student (he is currently a sophomore majoring in trombone performance at the University of Maryland), he is already a virtuoso performer. For this concert, he performed the jazzy solo Joshua, made famous by Bill Pearce and arranged for brass band by Kevin Hayward. The solo features extreme range, a variety of styles, and an amazing cadenza, at the end of which Kevin played an entire phrase in multiphonics – playing two notes (and sometimes three) at the same time.

Kevin’s performance was followed by an example of the Salvation Army’s music program in the Staunton area, as the young players in that program joined with the NCB for Classics in Brass. The band then concluded the first half of the program with William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician.

After a fifteen-minute intermission, the band brought the audience back to their seats with a rousing rendition of The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton), followed by a congregational song, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (arr. William Himes). Another offering from the band in this section of the program was Leonard Ballantine’s big-band style arrangement Shall We Gather.

During the second half of the program, Major Sam Hearne recognized local leaders and members of the Advisory Board of the Staunton Salvation Army. In addition, the Mayor of Staunton, Lacy B. King, Jr., read a proclamation celebrating the centenary of the Salvation Army in Staunton.

Another highlight of the second half was Ray Houser at the piano. Houser is a long-time supporter of the Salvation Army in Staunton and, despite advanced age and failing health, is still able to pound out songs on the piano in a unique country-gospel style.

The National Capital Band ended the festival with two classic items from the pen of Dean Goffin. As Bandmaster Kellner pointed out to the audience, a unique feature of Salvation Army brass music is the meditation – a piece which examines and enlarges on a tune with a strong reference to the associated words. Perhaps the greatest expression of the meditation in the Salvation Army brass band literature is The Light of the World.

The final item of the evening was another masterwork by Dean Goffin, Symphony of Thanksgiving. One of the most challenging items in the entire Salvation Army repertoire, this piece, with its classical form and style, was a fitting end to a concert celebrating 100 years of service in the local community, and was met with extended applause from the nearly 400 people in attendance.

Following the postlude, The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), the members of the band and audience were treated to an excellent reception in the church’s fellowship hall.

The band is grateful for the assistance provided on Saturday by Dave LaBossiere, who traveled down from Philadelphia to sit in on euphonium.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

On Sunday morning, the band returned to the Staunton Corps building to support the Sunday morning worship service and a Soldiers’ Rally and Birthday Celebration in the afternoon. There was some concern about the weather forecast, as a winter storm warning had been issued for the region by the National Weather Service, but the events continued as planned.

Before morning worship, the band provided some preliminary items, including Angelus (arr. Eric Ball), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Laudes Domini (arr. Eric Ball), O How I Love Jesus (James Curnow) and Lobe den Herren (arr. Eric Ball).

The service featured the Staunton Singing Company, led by Jason Collier, presenting Lord, Your’re Beautiful, the band playing The Light of the World (Dean Goffin) and Major Mark Woodcock, a former corps officer at Staunton, who sang Till the Storm Passes By and brought the message for the morning. NCB Executive Officer Major James Allison participated by enrolling three new senior soldiers into the Staunton Corps.

The afternoon meeting began a bit earlier than planned because of the snow forecast. The congregation from Staunton was bolstered by members of the Harrisonburg Corps and the Charlottesville Corps. The band started things off with The Ambassadors (Peter Graham) and The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton). The meeting was themed “Doors of the Past, Present and Future” and featured three speakers: representing the Past, Lt.-Colonel J. B. Matthews (who was the corps officer at Staunton for the 50th anniversary celebration); representing the Present, Home League Treasurer Jean DePriest; and speaking to the Future, Major Bruce Williams (also a former Staunton corps officer).

Following these presentations, the band’s principal trombone, Kevin Downing, performed the jazz solo Joshua (Pearce/Kaiser, arr. Kevin Hayward) before Lt.-Colonel Sandra Definbaugh brought a Bible message. Lt.-Col. Definbaugh, currently appointed as the Business Manager at National Headquarters, is a Staunton native and attended the corps as a girl.

The weekend was brought to a rousing and appropriate close with the band and congregation joining in O Boundless Salvation, with a “tag” consisting of Heavenly Gales and Praise God, I’m Saved.

Following the meeting, when the outside door was opened, it was evident that the threat of snow had materialized, with two inches already on the ground and more coming down. The members of the NCB quickly packed up, grabbed the box dinners which had been provided by the Staunton Corps, and headed back to the Washington area, fortunately not hindered much by the weather, which improved considerably as they traveled north through Harrisonburg.

The weekend was a great success for both the NCB and the Staunton Corps. The corps officers and members of the Corps and the Advisory Board are to be commended for excellent planning and organization throughout the weekend, which was evidenced by the attendance for the Saturday evening concert.

Tidewater Ministry Weekend (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second of a two-part series of articles on the band’s ministry weekend in the Tidewater area of Virginia, 5 – 6 November 2011.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

On Sunday, 6 November 2011, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) returned to the Norfolk Corps to continue their ministry weekend in the Tidewater Area. Sunday activities included morning worship and a praise concert in the afternoon.

The morning Holiness Meeting began with a series of prelude items by the band, including Angelus (Eric Ball), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Be Thou My Vision (Steve Kellner) and St. Francis (William Himes). With members of three different corps in the area (Norfolk, Hampton and Portsmouth) gathered together, the hall was full beyond capacity.

During the service, the band participated in the praise and worship time, which was led by Jason and Joel Collier, and included Come, Now Is the Time to Worship (arr. James Shiels), Jesus, Messiah and He Knows My Name. The band also featured Paul Sharman’s arrangement of The Power of the Cross.

The message of the morning, which was given by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, was based around the theme “The Light of the World“. The band played Dean Goffin’s magnificent and moving mediation before the message, and Major Allison used the imagery of this music and the painting which inspired it to exhort the congregation to allow the Savior to enter into their lives.

Following a lunch in the corps gymnasium, the band and congregation returned to the chapel for an afternoon Praise Concert. The band kicked off the afternoon with Goldcrest (James Anderson) and then accompanied the congregation as they sang Joyful, Joyful. Other band items included The Ambassadors (Peter Graham) and The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton).

Three of the band’s featured players also presented items. David Delaney (cornet) and Noel Morris (soprano cornet) offered Quicksilver (Peter Graham) and principal trombone Kevin Downing gave an exuberant rendition of Joshua (Pearce/Kaiser, arr. Kevin Hayward).

As the praise concert ended, the band concluded the ministry weekend with The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner). A busy weekend of performances and teaching, although tiring, was inspiring and uplifting for the members of the band.

The band would like to acknowledge some substitute players who filled in for the weekend: David Adams (solo cornet), Patrick Morris (euphonium) and Dan Dobney (Eb bass). We appreciate your efforts during the weekend.

Tidewater Ministry Weekend (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first of a two-part series of articles on the band’s ministry weekend in the Tidewater area of Virginia, 5 – 6 November 2011.

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) traveled to the Tidewater area of Virginia on 4 November 2011 for a ministry weekend which included a kettle kick-off, music for a fashion show, a youth band clinic, an evening festival, morning worship and an afternoon praise concert.

Most of the members of the band gathered at Divisional Headquarters on Friday evening and boarded two mini-buses for the journey south. Stops were made in Fredericksburg and Richmond to gather more of the band. Arriving late in the evening, the band checked into the hotel and spent a restful evening in anticipation of a busy Saturday.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

On Saturday morning, a sextet from the band stayed behind at the hotel to provide support for a fund-raising Fashion Show. The rest of the band boarded the buses and went to a Wal-Mart in Virginia Beach. Setting up in an open area near the entrance, the band provided 90 minutes of Christmas carols for the area-wide red kettle kick-off, joined by a couple of mascots (including a cow from the local Chick-Fil-A franchise, who at one point took the baton and conducted the band through “Hark the Herald Angels”).

The band (still minus the sextet) then went to the Norfolk Corps for lunch and the afternoon activities. With young musicians from both the Richmond Citadel and Hampton Corps present, Bandmaster Kellner gave a “breathing and buzzing” lecture (complete with hand motions). The students were then assigned to various master classes with NCB members, many of which were one-on-one sessions.

The conclusion of the clinic was a demonstration concert. Finally joined by the sextet, the National Capital Band started off with The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner). Next up was the Hampton Youth Band, led by Josh Webb. This group played “Duke Street” and “Fairest Lord Jesus”, both from the First Book of Hymn Tunes.

Next, the NCB presented a contrasting item, James Anderson’s arrangement of Jesus Loves Me. The Richmond Youth Band was then featured, under the direction of Matt Sims. They presented three familiar Christmas carols, “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”, “Joy to the World” and “Jingle Bells”.

Another composition from James Anderson, Goldcrest, was the next presentation from the National Capital Band. This was followed by the Hampton Corps senior band, led by the corps officer, Major Kim Feinauer. This group played “Repton” and “He Came to Give Us Life”.

The next item featured the NCB’s young trombone virtuoso, Kevin Downing, who played Kevin Hayward’s arrangement of the classic solo by Bill Pearce, Joshua. Major James Allison, the band’s Executive Officer, gave a brief devotional talk, which was followed by the final item from the NCB, Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). Captain Tim Delaney, Divisional Youth Secretary and member of the NCB tuba section, ended the afternoon session with a benediction.

The next event for the band was the evening festival, held at the Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. This is the third time that the National Capital Band has presented a concert at this venue. Before the concert, the band had dinner in the church’s fellowship hall.

The concert began with St. Francis (William Himes), followed immediately by Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner) as a congregational song. Major Allison gave a welcome, and the concert continued with The Ambassadors (Peter Graham).

The first feature item on the program was another Peter Graham composition, the cornet duet Quicksilver, ably played by David Delaney (Bb cornet) and Noel Morris (soprano cornet). This was followed by Paul Sharman’s arrangement of the contemporary Christian song The Power of the Cross.

The second feature item of the evening was the trombone solo Joshua presented by Kevin Downing. This jazzy version of “Joshua Fit the Battle” was a signature item for the great trombonist Bill Pearce, and this arrangement was made by Kevin Hayward, former bandmaster of the Canadian Staff Band. Kevin Downing, who is in his third season as the principal trombone of the National Capital Band, is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, majoring in trombone performance.

The first half of the program ended with Suite for Brass (Three Hymns) (Stephen Bulla). In three movements, this piece features the familiar hymns “O Worship the King”, “Amazing Grace” and “How Firm a Foundation”.

Following an intermission, the band brought the audience back with The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton). This was followed by the swing-style Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). Major Allison then brought a devotional, which was tied in with the band’s next item, Dean Goffin’s sublime meditation The Light of the World.

The final item of the concert was William Himes’ suite To the Chief Musician. With innovative elements such as chanting and singing from the band during the piece, this is one of the more original works in the repertoire. Major Lewis Reckline, Tidewater Area Commander pronounced the benediction. The band sent the audience home with a postlude, The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner).

NOVARC Salvation Meeting

On Sunday, 23 October 2011, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) visited the Northern Virginia Adult Rehabilitation Center (NOVARC) for the center’s Sunday evening Salvation Meeting. The band played a short concert before the meeting, and then led the worship service.

Members of the band arrived at NOVARC at 4:00 pm, doing setup and a short sound check in the center’s multi-purpose area, as the chapel does not have a stage large enough for a full-size brass band. The dining room is adjacent to this space, and, with a movable wall open, provided a large room for the event. After setting up, the NCB ate a light dinner in the dining room with many of the residents. The pre-meeting concert began at 5:40 pm.

The band began the 20-minute concert time with an ebullient march by Noel Jones, This Is the Day. This was followed by a contrasting item, Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson). Principal cornet David Delaney and long-time soprano cornet Noel Morris joined to present an exciting duet, Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Another change of style was used to demonstrate the versatility of the band, with the swing-style Shall We Gather (Leonard Ballantine). The mini-concert concluded with another march, Peter Graham’s The Ambassadors.

The Salvation Meeting itself began at 6:00 pm, starting off with the congregational song, “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder”. This was followed by the first of the band’s feature items, the trombone solo Joshua, played skilfully by principal trombone Kevin Downing.

One of the highlights of a meeting at one of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers is often the testimonies of the residents. For this meeting, David Delaney energetically led the congregational song, “Stand Up for Jesus”, with several testimonies offered between each verse. The heartfelt statements of men who are in the process of recovery from addiction were, as always, moving and thought-provoking.

The band’s second feature item has a direct connection to the venue. Originally written by Stephen Bulla for the dedication of this center, the march NOVARC was a fitting choice on this occasion.

Many members of the band also have powerful testimonies, none more so than Band Sergeant Dave Downing. His story is a shining example of God’s healing power, as he was the recipient of a heart transplant nine years ago, and has recently undergone successful surgery for a malignant tumor in a salivary gland. Despite the fact that he can not play a brass instrument at this time, because of the effects of the surgery, he has remained a member of the band, and will be providing multimedia support during some of the band’s performances. The residents of the center showed appreciation as he shared his story during the meeting.

In preparation for the evening’s message, Jason and Joel Collier presented the vocal duet He Looked Beyond. Their powerful vocals (so powerful that the sound system in the room was somewhat overloaded) gave a good introduction to the remarks from the NCB’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison. The major’s simple message was effective, with several men coming forward to the makeshift mercy seat in front of the band.

The meeting concluded with a triumphant congregational song, “Victory in Jesus”. The band sent the men back to their residence hall with the march Goldcrest (James Anderson).

The work of the ARC Command is a vital part of the Salvation Army’s mission, and it was a genuine pleasure for the National Capital Band to join with the residents and staff for this special occasion.

2010 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert

The 2010 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert, featuring the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner), was held on 12 December in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to the band, the concert also featured youth soloist Sharolyn Hyson, the DC Metro Timbrelists (Director Elsie Morris), and the Robinson Singers (Director Michael Horanski). The concert was sponsored by the National Capital Area Command of The Salvation Army, led by Majors Steve and Wendy Morris. The master of ceremonies for the evening was John Schriffen, a reporter for NBC 4 television.

The concert was the tenth in the annual series, which began in 2001 as a means of expressing thanks to the Washington metro area for their generosity during the relief efforts after the attack on the Pentagon on 11 September. As always, no admission was charged, and the concert featured several opportunities for the audience to join in singing with the band.

The concert opened with Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, composed by Bandmaster Kellner. The congregation was then invited to sing this carol with the band, using an arrangement by William Himes as accompaniment. Major Steve Morris then gave an invocation and introduced John Schriffen as the master of ceremonies. The band continued the festival with The Proclamation of Christmas (Stephen Bulla).

One of the traditions for the annual Christmas Concert, begun by the late Bandmaster James Anderson, is to have a “junior soloist” on the program. This year, Sharolyn Hyson, an elementary school student at Immanuel Lutheran School in Alexandria, and also a participant in the Salvation Army’s Alexandria School of the Performing Arts, sang Sleigh Ride (Mitchell Parish/Leroy Anderson). Her performance of this challenging song generated a standing ovation from the audience.

After the band presented Go Tell It! (Leonard Ballantine), the Robinson Singers were next on the program. The Singers are a choir from the Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia, led by Mr. Michael Horanski. For their first set, they sang Carol (Neighbors, on This Frosty Tide) and then gave an outstanding and beautiful a capella rendition of There Will Be Rest (Frank Ticheli).

The audience was again given the opportunity to sing with the band, with Christmas Sing-Along (William Himes). This was followed by another arrangement by Bandmaster Kellner, Little Drummer Bolero, which blends the “The Little Drummer Boy” with Ravel’s Bolero.

Another traditional item on the Christmas Concert program is a performance by the DC Metro Timbrelists. This group is made up of performers from several of the corps in the Area Command, and is put together especially for the concert. This year, they performed a drill to the classic Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén), with the audience expressing loud approval.

Next, the concert turned to a quieter phase. Noel Morris is one of the longest-serving members of the National Capital Band, with almost all of his 27 seasons being on soprano cornet. The only instrumental soloist of the evening, he played Stephen Bulla’s arrangement of O Holy Night. This was followed by another carol for all, Silent Night, which led into an inspirational message from Major Steve Morris.

The band continued the program with For Unto Us a Child Is Born (Handel, arr. William Gordon) and then the Robinson Singers returned for two more songs. The first was John Rutter’s glorious Candlelight Carol, sung with outstanding balance and sensitivity. The final item from the choir again showcased their a capella skills, as they sang Linus and Lucy (Vince Guaraldi/Philip Kern) from the familiar “Peanuts” television specials.

The concert ended with a last opportunity for the audience to join in, with Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. Major Steve Morris thanked John Schriffen and the other participants and offered a benediction to close the evening.

Christmas in Richmond

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) presented a Christmas Concert at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Richmond, Virginia, on 4 December 2010. This was the band’s second visit to the church for what has become an annual concert in Richmond.

Organized by Bandmaster Matt Sims, Music Director for the Salvation Army in Central Virginia (also the deputy bandmaster and bass trombonist of the NCB), the event drew an audience of more than 600 people. As the audience members entered the church, they were prepared for the experience by a brass ensemble of students from the School of Performing Arts, a Salvation Army program directed by Bandmaster Sims. The ensemble, despite cold conditions, played carols outside the main entrance to the church.

The concert kicked off with Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, composed by Bandmaster Kellner. The concert took the form of a dialog, with the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, reading passages of Scripture related to the story of Christmas between the band items.

A special feature was the participation of a select chorus of students from the School of Performing Arts (it not being possible to have all 120 or so students participate because of the limitations of the church hall). They sang a medley of Christmas favorites accompanied by an ensemble from the band.

The band’s only soloist for the afternoon was soprano cornet Noel Morris, who played Stephen Bulla’s O Holy Night. Other items from the band included another Bulla work, The Proclamation of Christmas; For Unto Us a Child Is Born (arr. William Gordon) from Handel’s “Messiah”; Coventry Carol (Robert C. Schramm); the Trepak and March from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (both arranged by Keith Wilkinson); Little Drummer Bolero (arr. Steve Kellner); and Leonard Ballantine’s swing arrangement of Go Tell It.

Major Allison gave a brief devotional thought, and announced an initiative to raise $100,000 to continue the School of Performing Arts program. Proceeds from voluntary donations (tickets to the concert were free) placed in kettles in the church lobby were applied to this effort. Captain David Worthy, area commander for Central Virginia, offered acknowledgements and thanks to the church staff and the NCB, before the band sent the audience home “tapping their toes” with Erik Leidzén’s classic Christmas Joy.

The National Capital Band would like to thank a few players who joined us for this concert to fill in for absent members: Jim Squirrel and Dean Sims on solo cornet, Jan Sims on horn, and Melinda Ryan on E♭ tuba.

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.

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.

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.

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