Tag Archives: Steve Sutton

Winston-Salem Ministry Weekend (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second of a series of three articles on the National Capital Band’s ministry weekend in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) traveled to the Triad area of North Carolina for a ministry weekend, 8 – 10 November 2013. The band participated in the kettle kick-off for the Winston-Salem Area Command, performed two concerts at area churches, held a youth clinic with students from the Salvation Army’s Academy of Music and Arts, and supported a Sunday morning worship service where all three of the area corps joined together.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Music Clinics and Demonstration Concert

On Saturday morning, the band traveled to the Ken Carlson Boys and Girls Club for a day of music clinics from the Academy of Music and Arts. The Academy is an intensive after-school program for young people (ages 8 – 18) wishing to develop their musical talent. Over 40 students were present for the clinics.

The clinics began with all of the participants gathered in the gymnasium for Dr. Kellner’s “breathing and buzzing” clinic. Following this, the group was split into several classes, by instrument and skill level, with one or two members of the National Capital Band assigned to each class. These individual sessions lasted for an hour, after which the clinics broke for lunch.

Trombone class during music clinics in Winston-Salem

Trombone class instructed by Major Andrew Kelly (far left) and Kevin Downing (far right)

After lunch, the three bands from the Academy (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced) were given time to rehearse in preparation for an afternoon demonstration concert with all three groups and the National Capital Band. The concert opened with the NCB playing Praise Him! (Stephen Bulla). The Beginner Band, conducted by Court Wynter was up next, presenting the hymn tune “Boston”.

While the Beginner Band took their seats in the audience and the Intermediate Band, conducted by David Zuniga, came into the band formation, the NCB played Keep Singing (P. C. Rivers). After the Intermediate Band’s selection had concluded, the concert continued with Soli Deo Gloria (William Himes), again played by the NCB.

The Advanced Band, under the direction of Steve Sutton, was up next. Remarkably, every player in the band is a student in the Academy of Music and Arts – there are no adult “ringers”, with the exception of the soprano cornet. Their first item was the march Brazil 75 (Leonard Ballantine). This was followed by the NCB’s principal euphonium, Joel Collier, who presented the last movement of Spiritual Fantasy (Douglas Court), “Joshua Fit the Battle”, accompanied by the NCB.

The highlight of the concert was the Advanced Band’s presentation of one of the classics of Salvation Army brass band literature, Brian Bowen’s meditation on Psalm 23, My Comfort and Strength. This is a challenging work even for experienced bands, and, although the performance was perhaps not as polished as one by a staff band, it was remarkable for its musicality, poise and impact on the audience.

The afternoon concert concluded with two items where the students combined with the National Capital Band. First, the members of the Advanced Band joined in Christmas Joy (as had been done during the previous night’s concert). Then, all of the students were featured in William Himes’ Classics in Brass.

First Annual Jack Sutton, Jr. Music Festival

After the conclusion of the music clinics, the National Capital Band made the short trip to the First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, the venue for the evening concert. This concert was named for Jack Sutton, Jr., a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board from 2001 – 2010, who passed away on 27 November 2011. Sutton was a deacon at First Presbyterian. It is intended that this festival become an annual event featuring a Salvation Army brass band.

After setting up in the theatre-style sanctuary, the band had some relaxation time at the church. They were then treated to a catered dinner, generously provided by the Sutton family.

The program for the concert was the same as for the Friday night concert, except that The Call was replaced by In Perfect Peace (Kenneth Downie). As on Friday night, the Advanced Band from the Academy of Music and Arts played in the foyer before the concert. The drum line, under the direction of C. J. Powell (who is a member of the drum line staff at Winston-Salem University), “played in” the National Capital Band as they took the stage.

Major James Allison, area commander, made a special presentation to the Sutton family at the opening of the concert, acknowledging Jack Sutton, Jr.’s service to the Salvation Army and to the community at large. On stage for the presentation were Betty Sutton (his wife), Betsy Hoppe (his daughter), Jack Sutton III (his son) and Peter Sanderson (his first cousin).

Also featured during the concert was the Singing Company from the Kernersville (Korean) Corps. This singing company was the winner of the divisional singing company competition this past spring and represented the North and South Carolina Division at the territorial singing competition in June 2013.

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.

Ministry Weekend in Raleigh

Early on the morning of Saturday, 19 February 2011, members of the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) gathered at Divisional Headquarters in Washington to begin a journey to Raleigh, NC, for a ministry weekend. The weekend was set up by Majors Pete and Cathy Costas, who are the corps officers in Raleigh, and consisted of a short outdoor concert at North Hills Mall, a soldiers’ rally/concert and Sunday morning worship at the Raleigh Corps.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Upon arriving in Raleigh, the band was treated to lunch at the corps, and then went to North Hills Mall for an outdoor concert. Despite the season, the weather was warm and sunny, and there were many people at the venue. The band had an excellent area from which to present their concert, at the center of the mall in a large courtyard. Items included The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner), Be Thou My Vision (Steve Kellner), Joyful, Joyful (Steve Kellner), Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson), Motivation (William Himes), the second movement, featuring “Amazing Grace” from Robert Redhead’s suite Shout Salvation, and Goldcrest (James Anderson).

After a brief stop at their hotel, the members of the band returned to the Raleigh Corps for set up, sound check, and dinner before the evening event, which was a Soldiers’ Rally with Salvationists from several corps in the area in attendance. The NCB started the evening with Bandmaster Kellner’s Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology, followed by a welcome by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison. The congregation was given the first of several opportunities to participate, singing Joyful, Joyful to the band’s accompaniment.

The Good Old Way, based on a Primitive Methodist song from the nineteenth century, was the next item on the program. Bruce Broughton, an established film and television composer, is a master of programmatic music, and this piece is a fine example. The band’s only soloist of the evening was principal cornet David Delaney, who gave an enthusiastic performance of Ray Steadman-Allen’s Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals.

Scott Bedio gave a testimony, which was followed by the suite Shout Salvation (Robert Redhead), conducted by deputy bandmaster Matt Sims, with Bandmaster Kellner taking the bass trombone chair.

The congregation was then offered another opportunity to participate. This time, they were treated to a premiere of a new medley arranged by Bandmaster Kellner, Army on the March! This piece, designed for audience participation, consists of a number of Salvation Army marching songs, several of which are presented in the arrangements based on those featured in classic marches: “Marching Along”, “Keep in Step” from Regent Hall Young People (Leslie Condon), “A Robe of White” from The Invincible Army (Erik Leidzén), “March On!”, “Happy Song” from Kinshasha (Leslie Condon) and “On We March with the Blood and the Fire” from Harrow Citadel (A. S. Raikes). During this item, the Army flag was marched around the hall as the audience enthusiastically sang.

The main Salvation Army center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was destroyed by the earthquake of January 2010. The USA Southern Territory is raising funds, from the soldiers, to assist in the rebuilding of the corps, which is one of the largest in the Americas. An offering was taken during the meeting in support of this effort. The band played Motivation (William Himes), with the deputy bandmaster conducting, as an offertory. This was followed by a devotional message by Major Allison.

The final band item was another composition from Bandmaster Kellner, Variations on “O Worship the King”. The piece examines the familiar hymn tune in five movements: “Fanfare”, “Little Fugue”, “Song without Words”, “Celtic Dance” and “Theme and Finale”. This led into the conclusion of the program, with the congregation singing ’O Boundless Salvation’ using William Himes’ arrangement as accompaniment. Major Pete Costas gave a benediction. The NCB sent everyone home in fine fashion, playing Goldcrest (James Anderson) as a postlude.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

On Sunday morning, the band returned to the Raleigh worship center. After the Sunday School preliminaries, the Raleigh corps members dispersed to their classes, and the band remained in the chapel for their own preparations. Major Allison gave a short devotional, and then the rest of the time became a prayer meeting among the members of the band. Bandmaster Kellner has emphasized the spiritual life of the band and its members during this season, and this short devotional time was a significant event, including band members kneeling at the Mercy Seat, being supported and assisted by other members.

The theme of the morning worship service was ’Arise, My Soul!’. The band’s main contribution was the offertory, Dean Goffin’s prelude and fugue Arise, My Soul, Arise, one of the true classics of brass band literature. Danielle Ashton read Scripture and gave her testimony. Major Allison gave the message of the morning, entitled “You Want Me To Do What?”, based on Isaiah 6:1-8. The time of commitment after the sermon again featured the band, as they presented Eric Ball’s timeless meditation, Serenity.

A highlight of the meeting was an impromptu a capella quartet from four members of the Raleigh Corps. This corps has a diverse, international congregation, and several of the local officers, including Bandmaster Henri Kissaka and Songster Leader Ghodard Diavangama, hail from Africa. The quartet, which included these persons and two other African Salvationists, sang with the unique and beautiful quality of vocal groups from that continent.

The meeting ended on an upbeat note, with the congregation singing along with the band in the medley Army on the March! (Steve Kellner). Major Pete Costas gave the benediction, and the band played The Risen Savior (Paul Kellner) as a postlude before moving downstairs to join Corps Sergeant-Major Terry Williamson and the rest of the Raleigh corps council for lunch.

This trip ranks as one of the top ministry weekends undertaken by the National Capital Band in recent years. Filling in for absent members were some of the talented local Salvationist musicians: Steve Sutton (cornet), Daniel Simmons (horn) and Charlie Fisher (trombone). In addition, the NCB was delighted to have former long-time member Captain Mike Harris, who is now the corps officer in Hickory, North Carolina, sit in with the tuba section for the Saturday night rally.

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.

Sessions for Christmas Recording

On Friday evening, 22 January 2010, members of the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) gathered in the chapel at Camp Happyland to begin recording a new Christmas album.

Under the expert supervision of Grammy-nominated engineer Phil Bulla, the band recorded twelve items, finishing on Saturday afternoon. Highlights of the recording include a new piece from the pen of principal euphonium Steve Kellner, Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and Robert Redhead’s classic suite The Joy of Christmas.

The full list of items recorded:

  1. Christmas Idyll (Kenneth Downie)
  2. Ding Dong Merrily on High (Douglas Court)
    Euphonium solo, Steve Kellner, soloist
  3. Fanfare Jubiloso (James Curnow)
  4. Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful” (Steve Kellner)
  5. Feliz Navidad (Dorothy Gates)
  6. I Wonder As I Wander (Ray Bowes)
  7. The Joy of Christmas (Robert Redhead)
  8. Nowell (Andrew Mackereth)
  9. Season’s Greetings (James Anderson)
  10. Shepherds Surprise (Kenneth Downie)
  11. The Shining Star (Peter Graham)
  12. Stille, Stille, Stille (James Curnow)

Further information on the album, including a release date and information on advance orders, will be announced in the future.

The band would like to thank a number of players who helped out with the recording:

  • Darryl Crossland
  • Steve Sutton
  • Dr. Bethany Mikles
  • Bethany Hawley
  • Dr. Richard Holz
  • Dr.Tom Walker