Tag Archives: Steve Kellner

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).

Sextet at Marine Corps Marathon

On 30 October 2011, a sextet from the National Capital Band braved cold temperatures and an early-morning call time to provide music for the annual Marine Corps Marathon in the Washington, DC area. The marathon is one of the largest in the United States, with more than 21,000 participants. The sextet was positioned at the four-mile mark of the course, which winds through the monuments and historic locations in Washington and the close-in Virginia suburbs.

Sextet at Marine Corps Marathon

Sextet at Marine Corps Marathon

The sextet consisted of David Delaney (cornet), Ian Chaava (cornet), Chris Dennard (horn), Kevin Downing (trombone), Steve Kellner (euphonium) and John Reeves (tuba). They played a mixture of patriotic and Salvation Army tunes, and reported that many of the runners expressed their appreciation as they came by. The sextet was on duty for the entire race, not leaving their formation until the “straggler buses” came by at the rear of the field.

Sextet at Marine Corps Marathon

Sextet at Marine Corps Marathon

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.

Personnel News - September 2011

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) begins the 2011 – 2012 season by welcoming a number of new members. In a new initiative for this season, intended to clarify and formalize to some degree the requirements for membership in the band, each member and potential member received an invitation email from the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, in August.

Band Sergeant Dave Downing, one of the longest-serving members in the history of the National Capital Band, has had to step away from participation as a player because of a condition caused by medical treatment. However, he will still be a member of the band in a support role and will continue in his role as Band Sergeant.

In the cornet section, the band welcomes Bill Bamford on solo cornet. Bill has recently joined the finance department at Divisional Headquarters, and attended the Band Retreat after having started his new job only the day before! Also, Ian Chaava has moved from euphonium to solo cornet after having demonstrated his talents on that instrument at the NCV Music Conservatory during the summer. The band is fortunate to have such a versatile player in the ensemble.

Captain Cathie Burleigh, corps officer in Harrisonburg, Virginia, has joined the band on first cornet. Rachel Wiley, whose parents were appointed to Divisional Headquarters in the latest round of officer moves, has been invited as a provisional member in the second cornet section.

The addition of two members in the solo cornet section allows Chris Dennard to move to flügelhorn. Chris has previously occupied this chair in the band, most notably during the 2007 tour of Switzerland and France.

In the baritone section, Anthony Randolph, who is from Richmond, Virginia, has been invited as a provisional member.

The principal euphonium chair is now occupied by Joel Collier. Hailing from Philadelphia, Joel has begun work on a Master of Euphonium Performance degree at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Captain Amy Reardon remains in the euphonium section and, as mentioned above, Ian Chaava has moved to solo cornet.

In the bass section, the band is glad to welcome back John Reeves, who was on a leave of absence last season while he was serving in Iraq. He returns to his seat on B-flat tuba. Also joining the band on B-flat tuba is Jim Shiels, who has recently moved from St. Louis to Richmond, where he has already been commissioned as bandmaster of the Richmond Citadel Band. On E-flat bass, Captain Tim Delaney, appointed as Divisional Youth Secretary in June, has joined the ensemble.

Band Dinner 2011

The National Capital Band concluded its 2010 – 2011 season in its traditional fashion on Monday, 16 May 2011, with a dinner for the members and guests. Held again this year at Maggiano’s at Tysons Galleria, the dinner is a time for the leadership of the band to express their appreciation for the dedication and commitment shown by the members throughout the season.

Highlights of the event included a retrospective of the past season by Bandmaster Steve Kellner. Beginning with the band’s participation at the annual Family Retreat at the end of last summer, he went through the various engagements and events. Of particular note were the ministry weekends in Fredericksburg and Raleigh, and the band’s “in-town” ministry weekend in April, which included its first official participation in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. He also outlined some of the things planned for the upcoming 2011 - 2012 season.

At the end of most NCB seasons, there are a few people who will not be returning to the band in the future. This year, five members were recognized at the dinner, most of whom are moving from the area to pursue educational opportunities:

  • Tamar Murray, who will be attending Biola University in Southern California
  • Ellim Choi, who will be attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Demarr Woods, who is entering the doctoral program at Northern Colorado University
  • Josh Webb, who is moving to Hampton, Virginia in preparation for entry into the School for Officer Training at Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Scott Bedio, who had committed to play in the band for one season as a substitute while John Reeves was away on military deployment in Iraq

One of the firm traditions of the National Capital Band is the award at each annual dinner of Bob’s Big Note. Started by long-time band secretary and principal cornet Bob Goodier at his farewell dinner in 2000, the Note recognizes a member of the band who exhibits musicianship and ministry “behind the scenes” during the season. The previous year’s recipient chooses the next, without any input from the band leadership. For the 2010 – 2011 season, flügelhorn player Paul Deafenbaugh was chosen by David Mersiovsky.

The dinner concluded with brief remarks from the band’s executive officer, Major Jim Allison, who thanked the members and their families for the generous offering of time and talent throughout the year.

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).

National Cherry Blossom Festival

One of the signature annual events in Washington is the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which stretches over two weeks in early spring. Part of the festival is a continuous series of concerts by various cultural, musical, dance and other groups at the Sylvan Theater, located on the National Mall just south of the Washington Monument. For the first time in its history, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) took part in the Festival as an official participant, with a 45-minute concert at the Sylvan Theater on the afternoon of Friday, 1 April 2011.

Band members (red jackets) waiting for the previous group to finish before taking the stage

Band members (red jackets) waiting for the previous group to finish before taking the stage

Unfortunately, the weather for the event was not ideal, with cold temperatures, high winds and rain. The rain had stopped by the time that the band began, but the chilly wind made it quite difficult to perform, constantly threatening to blow over the music stands (the Sylvan Theater is a bandstand, covered, but open to the wind on three sides). Despite the challenging conditions, the band played well, presenting a varied program that began with The Risen Saviour (Paul Kellner), based on the familiar hymn “He Lives”.

Although not permitted to directly present the Gospel in this setting, Bandmaster Kellner’s selections were designed to pass on the message as an expression of the cultural significance of sacred music through the years combined with a patriotic flavor, appropriate for a concert in that location. The next item on the program was William Himes’ march God and Country. This was followed by the second movement of the suite Shout Salvation (Robert Redhead), which is based on what is perhaps the most-recognized melody throughout the world, “Amazing Grace”.

Bandmaster Kellner announces an item

Bandmaster Kellner announces an item

Another Himes march, Motivation, was next, conducted by Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims. Two classical transcriptions followed, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach, arr. Leidzén) and Hornpipe from “Water Music” (Handel). The march Novarc (Stephen Bulla), which allowed the bandmaster to mention the work of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers while introducing it, continued the program. The band showed its versatility with the next item, Deep River, a swing arrangement in the style of the famous Count Basie.

The National Capital Band has always had a strong connection with the military services, having had several current and former military musicians as members throughout the years (including the current bandmaster). Stephen Bulla’s Armed Forces Salute, featuring the service songs of all of the US armed forces, is a perennial item in the repertoire and again drew an enthusiastic reaction on this occasion.

To complete the short performance, Bandmaster Kellner chose a march by John Philip Sousa, Power and Glory. While perhaps not Sousa’s most familiar work, the march is remarkable in that it represents one of the very few occurrences where he used an existing melody when composing the march – in this case, the well-loved hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers”.

Because of the timing of the event, several regular members of the band were unable to be present. The band would like to thank Malcolm Stokes, Steve Sutton, Melissa Little and Melinda Ryan for filling in for this performance. A special mention goes to Randy Jennings, who was playing his first brass band concert and first experience with the Salvation Army, sight-reading all of the music in high winds while performing as the sole percussionist.

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