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National Capital Area Command Soldiers Rally

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) was privileged to support a Soldiers Rally sponsored by the National Capital Area Command. The rally was held at the Montgomery County (Maryland) Corps on Sunday, 30 September 2018. Special guests for the evening were the comedy duo Bean and Bailey.

Bradley Bean and Jackson Bailey have been performing as Bean and Bailey since 1999. They have been frequent contributors to Salvation Army events over the years.

Bean and Bailey’s mission is to bring clean, wholesome humor to audiences across America. According to Bean, “Laughter has the power to bring unity to groups of people, as well as healing to individuals who are hurting. It is such a blessing to us when we see this happen at our comedy show.” Bailey states, “I may not be the sharpest spoon in the drawer, but I do know the Bible is true when it says that ‘laughter is a good medicine’.”

The band began the rally with some preliminary music, including Motondo (Donald Osgood), 10,000 Reasons (arr. Steve Kellner), and Greater Things (also known as Tampa 125) (Steve Kellner). After words of welcome from Montgomery County corps officer Lieutenant Carmen Owens and opening remarks by Area Commander Major James Hall, Major NaKisha Carr, corps officer at the Solomon G. Brown Corps, led the congregation in “Stand Up and Bless the Lord”, accompanied by the band.

A collection was then taken, during which the band presented their feature item for the evening, Alan Fernie’s arrangement of Onward, Christian Soldiers. Then Major Hall introduced the special guests for the evening, Bean and Bailey. The comedy set was entertaining and uplifting, including among other things some light-hearted takes on the Salvation Army slogan “Doing the Most Good” and several “roasts” of Major Hall.

The rally ended with another congregational song, “Power in the Blood”, led by Corps Sergeant-Major John Reeves of Alexandria Citadel Corps. Captain Alvaro Porras, corps officer of Arlington Corps, gave a benediction. The band topped off the night with the rousing march Camp Happyland (James Anderson) as a postlude.

National Capital Area Soldiers Rally

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) supported a Soldiers Rally sponsored by the National Capital Area Command and held at Alexandria Citadel Corps on Sunday, 6 October 2013.

The rally was preceded by a mini-concert from the band. In keeping with the theme of the event, this consisted of marches and other upbeat items, including: Camp Happyland (James Anderson), Greenock Citadel (Kenneth Downie), Keep Singing (P. C. Rivers), Goldcrest (James Anderson) and Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla).

Following words of welcome from the National Capital Area commander, Major Lewis Reckline, a Scripture presentation featuring young people from the Landmark (Korean) Corps was given. The praise band from the Montgomery Country Corps added energy to the evening with three songs, How Great Thou Art, Hosanna and Forever Reign.

The meeting continued with a prayer by Major Janice Fitzgerald (Fairfax Corps) and the taking of an offering by Lieutenant Trey Jones (Alexandria Citadel). The divisional goal for World Services giving for this year is $959,000. The divisional commander has challenged to division to raise the addition $41,000 to make the total an even $1 million, and the offering from this meeting was put toward that challenge. The band played Are You Joyful? as an offertory.

Major Jacqulyn Reckline led the congregation through a testimony time, in between verses of the old war song “Gird on the Armor”. This was followed by a Scripture presentation featuring youth from the Fairfax Corps.

The message for the evening was brought by Lieutenant Michael Good, corps officer of the Solomon G. Brown Corps in southeast Washington. His message was challenging and thought-provoking for everyone at the rally, showing a maturity of spirit beyond his experience of only four months as a commissioned Salvation Army officer.

The evening concluded in rousing fashion with O Boundless Salvation, with the band playing William Himes’ arrangement, Major Curt Sayre (Montgomery County Corps) leading the congregation and Major Alan Gonzalez (Arlington Hispanic Corps) handling the traditional waving of the Army flag. After a benediction by Lieutenant Shalanda Jackson, as the congregation moved into the corps fellowship hall for a reception following the meeting, the band “played them out” with Wilfred Heaton’s classic festival march Praise.

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.