Tag Archives: Wendy Morris

Christmas Concerts 2011

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) performed at two annual events during the Christmas season of 2011, including a concert in Richmond, Virginia and a performance at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC.

Richmond – Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Christmas concert in Richmond has become a traditional annual event. Expertly organized by Bandmaster Matt Sims, the music director for the Salvation Army’s Central Virginia area command (area commanders Captains David and Dawn Worthy), the concert has drawn a crowd of several hundred each year it has been held. This year, the concert was again held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and the master of ceremonies was popular Richmond radio personality Kat Simons, who is the midday host on Lite98.

The concert began with Kenneth Downie’s Intrada on “Regent Square”, immediately followed by a congregational carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. A Christmas Festival (Leroy Anderson, arr. Andrew Duncan) was up next. This ebullient medley of familiar carols is a classic American favorite.

Remaining in a joyous spirit, the band next presented the third movement of James Curnow’s A Christmas Triptych, “Good King Wenceslas”. Principal euphonium Joel Collier then gave a dexterous rendition of Ding Dong Merrily on High (Douglas Court).

Under the direction of Bandmaster Sims, the Richmond area Salvation Army has a strong School of the Performing Arts. A group of students from the school, augmented by some youngsters from the host church, sang Christmas Medley (arr. Steve Kellner) accompanied by the band. The first half of the program concluded with a classical note, with Farandole (Georges Bizet, arr. Richard Phillips), sometimes known as March of the Three Kings.

Bandmaster Kellner started off the second half of the program with the march medley Season’s Greetings (James Anderson) and another congregational carol, “Joy to the World”. Two contrasting arrangements were then offered. First was a contemporary arrangement of Carol of the Bells (Darrol Barry), with a jazz break inserted into the familiar pattern. Next was Erik Leidzén’s classic arrangement of the well-loved carol Silent Night. The concert continued with The Message of Christmas (William Himes).

In a glorious finale to the afternoon, the congregation joined with the band, singing Handel’s majestic Hallelujah Chorus (arr. Arthur Goldsmith). Several hundred voices and the powerful sound of the brass band joined in the spacious sanctuary, echoing for quite some time after the last chord.

Washington – Sunday, 4 December 2011

Since 2001, the National Capital Band has held an annual Community Appreciation Christmas Concert. This event, which is a “thank you” to members of the public for their generous donations throughout the year, is now organized by the National Capital Area Command (area commanders Majors Steve and Wendy Morris). This year, the event moved to a new venue, the grand ballroom of the historic Willard Intercontinental Hotel, with 500 people in attendance. Located just one block east of the White House, the Willard is the jewel of Washington hotels, frequently hosting visiting heads of state and other dignitaries. This master of ceremonies for this year’s concert was long-time Washington television personality Bob Ryan. The concert also featured the Lower School Guild from the National Cathedral School, a choir of sixty 5th and 6th-grade girls led by Tanya Coyne.

This year’s concert was dedicated to the memory of Dick Carr, who passed away in 2011 after a lengthy illness. A member of one of Washington’s major real estate and construction families, Carr was a long-time member of the Salvation Army’s Washington advisory board, and was instrumental in several of the major projects undertaken by the Army during the last twenty years, including the construction of the Harbor Light Center, the Turning Point transitional housing complex, and most recently the Solomon G. Brown Corps Community Center in Southeast Washington.

The concert began with Intrada on “Regent Square” and immediately moved to a congregational carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”. Other contributions from the band included A Christmas Festival (Leroy Anderson, arr. Andrew Duncan), Silent Night (Erik Leidzén), Carol of the Bells (Darrol Barry) and Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén). The audience was invited to join with the band in singing Joy to the World (arr. William Himes) and the Hallelujah Chorus (arr. Arthur Goldsmith).

The young women of the Guild contributed two excellent songs, showing musical maturity with multiple parts and complex harmonies.

In addition to the music, the concert also featured words from several community leaders and a presentation by Major Steve Morris, as he discussed the scope of the work in the National Capital Area over the preceding year.

The band would like to thank the following substitute players who stepped in to help during the busy Christmas season: Dean Sims, Jan Sims, Tim Kershaw and Kenny Brown.

2010 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert

The 2010 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert, featuring the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner), was held on 12 December in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to the band, the concert also featured youth soloist Sharolyn Hyson, the DC Metro Timbrelists (Director Elsie Morris), and the Robinson Singers (Director Michael Horanski). The concert was sponsored by the National Capital Area Command of The Salvation Army, led by Majors Steve and Wendy Morris. The master of ceremonies for the evening was John Schriffen, a reporter for NBC 4 television.

The concert was the tenth in the annual series, which began in 2001 as a means of expressing thanks to the Washington metro area for their generosity during the relief efforts after the attack on the Pentagon on 11 September. As always, no admission was charged, and the concert featured several opportunities for the audience to join in singing with the band.

The concert opened with Fanfare on “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, composed by Bandmaster Kellner. The congregation was then invited to sing this carol with the band, using an arrangement by William Himes as accompaniment. Major Steve Morris then gave an invocation and introduced John Schriffen as the master of ceremonies. The band continued the festival with The Proclamation of Christmas (Stephen Bulla).

One of the traditions for the annual Christmas Concert, begun by the late Bandmaster James Anderson, is to have a “junior soloist” on the program. This year, Sharolyn Hyson, an elementary school student at Immanuel Lutheran School in Alexandria, and also a participant in the Salvation Army’s Alexandria School of the Performing Arts, sang Sleigh Ride (Mitchell Parish/Leroy Anderson). Her performance of this challenging song generated a standing ovation from the audience.

After the band presented Go Tell It! (Leonard Ballantine), the Robinson Singers were next on the program. The Singers are a choir from the Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, Virginia, led by Mr. Michael Horanski. For their first set, they sang Carol (Neighbors, on This Frosty Tide) and then gave an outstanding and beautiful a capella rendition of There Will Be Rest (Frank Ticheli).

The audience was again given the opportunity to sing with the band, with Christmas Sing-Along (William Himes). This was followed by another arrangement by Bandmaster Kellner, Little Drummer Bolero, which blends the “The Little Drummer Boy” with Ravel’s Bolero.

Another traditional item on the Christmas Concert program is a performance by the DC Metro Timbrelists. This group is made up of performers from several of the corps in the Area Command, and is put together especially for the concert. This year, they performed a drill to the classic Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén), with the audience expressing loud approval.

Next, the concert turned to a quieter phase. Noel Morris is one of the longest-serving members of the National Capital Band, with almost all of his 27 seasons being on soprano cornet. The only instrumental soloist of the evening, he played Stephen Bulla’s arrangement of O Holy Night. This was followed by another carol for all, Silent Night, which led into an inspirational message from Major Steve Morris.

The band continued the program with For Unto Us a Child Is Born (Handel, arr. William Gordon) and then the Robinson Singers returned for two more songs. The first was John Rutter’s glorious Candlelight Carol, sung with outstanding balance and sensitivity. The final item from the choir again showcased their a capella skills, as they sang Linus and Lucy (Vince Guaraldi/Philip Kern) from the familiar “Peanuts” television specials.

The concert ended with a last opportunity for the audience to join in, with Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. Major Steve Morris thanked John Schriffen and the other participants and offered a benediction to close the evening.

2009 Community Appreciation Christmas Concert

The National Capital Area Command held its annual Community Appreciation Christmas Concert, featuring the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson), on Sunday, 13 December 2009.

Other performers included mezzo-soprano Sara Dell’Omo, junior soloist David S. Carroll, the DC Metro Timbrelists led by Elsie Morris and The Singin’ Eagles of C. Hunter Ritchie Elementary School led by Steve Aiello.

Held in the auditorium of the historic George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, a capacity audience of nearly 400 persons were present for this year’s concert. Following words of welcome from the Area Commander, Major Steve Morris, the National Capital Band began the evening with Fanfare Jubiloso (James Curnow). This was followed by the first of several “carols for all”, O Come, All Ye Faithful (arr. Willcocks, trans. James Anderson). Major Wendy Morris then gave an invocation. The concert continued with the band’s performance of On Christmas Day (Stephen Bulla).

For the past several years, it has been the tradition at this event to feature a junior vocal soloist, to sing Away in a Manger. This year, the soloist was Daniel Carroll, whose parents are officers at the Harbor Light Center in Washington. Following his excellent performance, Daniel was interviewed by Bandmaster Anderson and given the opportunity to lead the congregation in a verse of the song.

The National Capital Band has a number of talented soloists, and the next item, Leroy Anderson’s well-known trumpet trio, Bugler’s Holiday, featured three of them – David Delaney, David Mersiovsky and Chris Dennard. Their performance was met with much applause from the audience.

For the past several years, this event has featured mezzo-soprano Sara Dell’Omo, who is a featured vocal soloist with the US Marine Band and White House Orchestra (“The President’s Own). Her first contribution to this year’s concert was the medley Season of Christmas (Stephen Bulla), which includes the songs We Need a Little Christmas, Pine Cones and Holly Berries and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Following Silent Night sung as a congregational carol, the next guest performers were introduced. For the past two years, the National Capital Band has partnered with the Warrenton Chorale for a concert in the autumn. The director of the chorale, Steve Aiello, is a school music teacher, and for the Christmas concert this year the “Singin’ Eagles” of C. Hunter Ritchie Elementary School were invited to participate. Looking sharp in their green vests and purple bowties, the young vocalists presented two items in their first set, Christmas A-Comin’ (Carl Strommen) and The Animal’s Lullaby (Cynthia Gray).

The National Capital Band continued the program with Feliz Navidad (José Feliciano, arr. Dorothy Gates). It has been a feature of the annual Christmas concert since the beginning to have a timbrel group made up of performers from various Salvation Army corps in the Washington area. This year they performed a routine, accompanied by the band, to Peter Graham’s march The Shining Star.

Another item which has become an audience favorite during the annual concert is singing The Twelve Days of Christmas. With the band accompanying (using Bandmaster Anderson’s transcription of the John Rutter arrangement), the audience is taken through all twelve days, with a surprise accelerando on Day 12 that prompted some mock anger on the part of bandmaster. Following this, the concert was brought back to a somewhat more serious mood with Sara Dell’Omo’s second offering, O Holy Night, and Robert Redhead’s suite The Joy of Christmas presented by the band. This led into an inspirational message from Major Steve Morris.

The choir returned with Laudamus Te (Ruth Elaine Schramm) and Play for Me a Simple Melody, which concluded with three different lines being sung at the same time, an impressive performance for any choir, but made more so by the fact that this choir is made up of students 12 years old and younger. A final congregational carol, Hark the Herald Angels (arr. Willcocks, trans. Anderson), finished the concert and the National Capital Band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, gave the benediction. As the crowd departed, the band presented Season’s Greetings (James Anderson) as a postlude.