Tag Archives: Richmond Youth Band

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).

Clinic at Alexandria

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

Ninety “budding musicians”, representing eight corps – Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Montgomery County, Prince George’s and Solomon G. Brown (Southeast) – were treated to classes and a performance session with the National Capital Band on Saturday, 10 April 2010.

The event kicked off at 10:00 am in the sanctuary, with a devotional thought from the NCB’s executive officer, Major James Allison. This was followed by a fascinating and informative session on proper breathing techniques conducted by Dr. Steve Kellner. The the participants were assigned to a number of masterclasses, each with at last one member of the NCB. In fact, every room in the building that could be used for a class was used, and some had to be conducted in the corps’ social services offices next door.

Following the masterclasses, the corps groups that would be performing in the grand finale concert of the clinic were given time to rehearse. During the rehearsals, a pizza lunch was set up in the corps parking lot, as the weather was fine, although a bit windy. Then everyone headed back into the building for the grand finale of the clinic, a mini-concert featuring the NCB and several groups from individual corps music programs.

The only space large enough to hold all of the musicians and their instruments was the gymnasium. The sound of 120 brass musicians (90 clinic participants and 30 members of the NCB) all warming up at the same time was, quite simply, enormous. In the absence of Bandmaster James Anderson, who was unable to be with the band on this weekend because of medical treatment, conducting duties were split between deputy bandmaster Matt Sims and principal euphonium Steve Kellner. The NCB got the finale off to a fine start with Cornerstone (Andrew Mackereth) with Steve conducting, followed by words of welcome from Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims and an invocation from Major Allison.

The first group to perform was the youth band from the host corps, Alexandria Citadel, under the direction of Dave Downing. They presented the old classic Jesus Shall Reign (Vernon Post), a piece which many of the members of the NCB remembered as having been used when they were members of a corps youth band.

Next, all of the musicians joined together for a rousing rendition of William Himes’ Muffins Rhapsody, with Matt Sims conducting the NCB and David Delaney leading the assembled participants. The youth band from the Fairfax Corps then performed Duke Street (William Himes), led by Scott Bedio.

The NCB continued the program with Jesus Loves Me, using the well-known arrangement by Bandmaster Anderson. The next group to perform was a combination of players from the two Maryland corps represented, Montgomery County and Prince George’s. Under the direction of David Delaney (bandmaster at Montgomery County), they presented When the Spirit Says Sing.

Over the last three years, under the inspired direction of Bandmaster Matt Sims, the Richmond Area Command has developed the School for the Performing Arts, which now has about 120 students with instruction at three locations. Many of the members of the Richmond Citadel youth band are beneficiaries of this excellent program. With Matt conducting, the youth band presented Down the Street (Erik Silfverberg). Then, 10-year-old Angela Li presented the cornet solo Whiter than Snow with David Carter accompanying on piano.

The final item from the NCB during the mini-concert was I Will Follow Him, featuring the trombone section. As a grand finale to the clinic sessions, all of the assembled musicians again gathered, this time playing another special item by William Himes, Classics in Brass. Major Allison closed the proceedings with a benediction.

Christmas Joy in Richmond

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) traveled to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday, 5 December 2009 for a concert entitled “Christmas Joy”.

Despite some rather nasty weather, with rain and a threat of snow, the members of the band arrived in good order at the church at noon, with the concert scheduled to begin at 2:45 pm. The first order of business was a lunch, provided by the Salvation Army Womens’ Auxiliary. The the band set up and did some sound checks in the sanctuary. While the church is a beautiful place, it was somewhat difficult to adjust to the nearly 6-second reverberation time.

By the time that the concert began, nearly 800 people had gathered to listen, despite the increasingly wintry weather. In addition to the National Capital Band, the concert featured young musicians from the Richmond area. The Salvation Army in Richmond has established a School for the Performing Arts, under the direction of area music director Bandmaster Matt Sims, and the fruits of that program were evident in the fine performances of the youth band (conducted by Bandmaster Brad Ford) and the youth chorus (conducted by Bandmaster Sims). A group of four timbrelists from Richmond presented a routine to the march Christmas Joy, accompanied by the National Capital Band.

Other highlights of the concert included the classic Leroy Anderson trumpet trio Bugler’s Holiday, performed with style by David Delaney, David Mersiovsky and Chris Dennard, and the band’s performance of the suite The Joy of Christmas (Robert Redhead). As with many Christmas concerts, the audience joined in several times to sing carols. The most notable of these was The Twelve Days of Christmas (arr. John Rutter, trans. James Anderson) with Bandmaster Anderson’s usual showmanship with a large accelerando on Day 12, and then reminding the audience that they must “watch the conductor!”

By the end of the concert, snow was falling outside, but this did not detract from the message conveyed to the enthusiastic audience by the National Capital Band and the other participants in the event.