Tag Archives: Staunton

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.

Weekend in Harrisonburg

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) visited the Blue Ridge area of Virginia on the weekend of 21 – 23 April 2006, participating in the Brass Festival hosted by James Madison University on Friday evening, performing concerts at a shopping mall in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Saturday morning and at the Central United Methodist Church in Staunton, Virginia on Saturday evening, and conducting worship services on Sunday morning at the Salvation Army hall in Harrisonburg.

Mention must be made of several substitute players who joined us for the weekend. Because of various and sundry reasons, several regular NCB members could not be present. Providing able service in their place were Bandmaster Robert Snelson (solo cornet), Major Mike McDonald (flügelhorn), Mark Baker (trombone), Bandmaster Ron Smith (trombone), and Vernon Morris (Bb bass). Major Suzanne Barrington, who retired from the NCB last year, made a return appearance on second horn. Special thanks go to Ann Kovarik, a student at James Madison University and a member of the JMU Brass Band, who agreed to help out on second cornet, essentially sight-reading our entire repertoire.

Friday, 21 April 2006

The weekend began with in a somewhat inauspicious fashion, as the coach company sent a smaller vehicle to transport the band, rather than the full-size coach normally used. Although there was enough room for the band to ride in the coach, it did not have enough space for the equipment. Bandsman John Reeves volunteered to drive the equipment using the truck that had transported it to the rendezvous point, the Fairfax Corps building. Despite getting a late start while all of this was worked out, the band still arrived in Harrisonburg nearly on time.

The JMU Brass Festival was hosted by the JMU Brass Band and its conductor, Kevin J. Stees. Stees, who is Professor of Low Brass in the college music department, has built the JMU group into one of the best brass bands in the United States, evidenced by their close (0.2 points) second-place finish in the Championship Section at the 2006 North American Brass Band Championships. The National Capital Band participated in this year’s Brass Festival at Stees’ invitation, performing a full concert on Friday evening, 21 April 2006. Other featured performers at the Festival included cornet virtuoso Allen Vizzutti, The US Marine Band Tuba-Euphonium Quartet and the US Army Band Brass Quintet.

A large crowd was present at Memorial Hall (formerly the Harrisonburg High School), a venue recently transferred to the university. Bandmaster Anderson chose to begin the National Capital Band’s concert with the contrasting items, the march Sovereignty (Brian Bowen), followed by Leonard Ballantine’s beautiful arrangement of the American folk song “Shenandoah”, ’Mid All the Traffic. The band showed its versatility with the swing-style Since Jesus, also arranged by Leonard Ballantine.

The performance continued with Major Tony Barrington, who played The Ransomed Host (Ray Steadman-Allen). The art and simplicity possible with a hymn tune arrangement was ably demonstrated with Erik Leidzén’s classic setting of What a Friend. Another feature item followed, Peter Graham’s exciting cornet duet Quicksilver, with Noel Morris on soprano cornet and Deputy Bandmaster Ian Anderson on Bb cornet. The first half ended with an appropriate item for a concert less than a week after Easter, Christ Is Alive (Kenneth Downie).

The second half started as the first half ended, with a composition from the pen of Kenneth Downie, this time the recently-published march Winchester Revival. The third feature item of the evening again brought Ian Anderson to the fore, playing Caprice for Cornet (William Himes). The contemplative arrangement Shekinah (Kenneth Downie) and the contemporary God With Us (Kevin Norbury) followed, with the concert concluding on a triumphant note with A Psalm of Praise (James Curnow).

Saturday, 22 April 2006

In the late morning, the band made a short trip from their hotel to the Harrisonburg Mall, where they played a program approximately an hour in length. Despite a rather rainy weather outlook, there were many shoppers at the mall and the band was heard by several hundred people. Items included Washington Salute 125 (Stephen Bulla), the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (William Himes) played by Ian Anderson, Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), ‘Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Bringing in the Sheaves (William Himes), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén), Onward Christian Soldiers (arr. Gordon Langford), God With Us (Kevin Norbury) and On the King’s Highway (Erik Leidzén).

In the evening, the band traveled to the nearby city of Staunton, Virginia, for a concert at the historic Central United Methodist Church. Although the audience was smaller than expected, the concert was warmly appreciated and many good contacts were made for the local Salvation Army corps in Staunton. The first half of the concert mirrored the first half of the Friday evening concert, with the addition of a congregational song, Crown Him with Many Crowns (arr. Charles Skinner) and also a personal testimony from Ian James Anderson. Following the intermission, the band started off the second half with Washington Salute 125, followed by Caprice for Cornet. The band’s Executive Officer, Captain Kelly Igleheart, gave a Scripture reading and a short devotional, followed by Shekinah and God With Us to end the performance.

Sunday, 23 April 2006

The band conducted the Sunday morning worship service at the Harrisonburg Corps, supporting the speaker for the morning, Lt.-Colonel William Crabson, divisional commander for the National Capital and Virginia Division. The band played several preliminary items, including Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), ‘Mid All the Traffic, and God With Us. Featured items during the service included the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus and Life’s Consectration (James Curnow). Spiritual participation from members of the band was also evident, with a personal testimony from David Delaney and Scripture read by John Reeves. The service, and the band’s performances for the weekend, ended with a postlude, The Blessing (William Himes).