Tag Archives: William Crabson

Christmas Presence (1992)

Christmas Presence (1992)

Christmas Presence (1992)

In 1891 the Salvation Army in San Francisco introduced a new idea — a red kettle to raise funds for needy families at Christmas. This highly visible strategy caught on and spread successfully throughout the country, becoming a familiar sign of the season to every Christmas shopper.

To mark the occasion of the Red Kettle Centennial, First Lady Barbara Bush agreed to become honorary Christmas chairperson and officially inaugurate the 1991 centennial year of kettle work. Her presence at the official National Kettle Kick-Off in Washington, DC was accompanied by the National Capital Band, which premiered the specially commisssioned Christmas march, The Bells of Christmas, featured on this recording.

Tracks

1 Christmas Presence Sound Montage
2 The Proclamation of Christmas (Stephen Bulla)
  The Festive Season (Morley Calvert)
3       I. Christ was born on Christmas Day
4       II. The Holly and the Ivy
5       III. Good King Wenceslas
6 How Far to Bethlehem? (Stephen Bulla)
7 A Carol Medley – from Noel (Donald Osgood)
8 Christmas Comes But Once a Year (Brian Bowen)
9 Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming (Stephen Bulla)
10 March on a Traditional French Air (Philip Ditmer)
11 Coventry Carol (Robert C. Schramm)
12 O Holy Night (Stephen Bulla) Noel Morris, soprano cornet soloist
  Two Canadian Christmas Carols (Morley Calvert)
13       I. Jesous Ahatonia (Huron Indian)
14       II. Il Est Né (French Canadian)
15 Midwinter (Stephen Bulla)
16 Silent Night (Erik Leidzén) Major William Crabson, narrator
17 Crusaders (Dean Goffin)
18 Introductory Comments First Lady Barbara Bush
19 The Bells of Christmas (Stephen Bulla)

New River Valley (Christiansburg)

On the weekend of 3 – 4 March 2007, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) journeyed to the New River Valley in southwestern Virginia. The weekend marked the dedication of a new building for the New River Valley Corps, based in Christiansburg. Although this area is a part of the National Capital and Virginia Division, the band has not often played in the Valley.

Following an early-morning departure from the Fairfax Corps, the NCB arrived in Christiansburg in time for an excellent lunch prepared by the local Salvationists, and then made a short journey to the New River Valley Mall. A one-hour concert was scheduled, beginning at 2:00 pm. Items included Sovereignty (Brian Bowen), Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine), What a Friend (Erik Leidzén), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), God With Us (Kirkland/Fettke, arr. Norbury), ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Blessings! (Nick Simmons-Smith), and Motondo (Donald Osgood). Three items featuring soloists from the band were also programmed: Major Tony Barrington, euphonium – The Conqueror (Ray Steadman-Allen); Chris Dennard, flügelhorn – Sweet By and By (Leonard Ballantine); and Noel Morris and Ian Anderson, soprano and Bb cornets – Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Although only a few people stood and listened to the entire concert, the mall management estimated that several hundred heard at least a portion.

After checking into the hotel, the band was treated to dinner at a local restaurant, then went to Faith Christian Church on Phlegar Street in Christiansburg, the venue for the evening festival. This church is linked to the Salvation Army in the area, and especially to the Army’s new building, which was previously owned by the church. The evening festival began with Sovereignty, followed by an invocation by the pastor of Faith Christian Church, Clyde George. God With Us and The Conqueror were next, with Lt.-Colonel Barry Swanson (on his first – and last – trip with the NCB, as he has received orders for transfer to International Headquarters) gave a personal testimony. After another sparkling performance of the cornet duet Quicksilver, the first half of the program came to a close with Bandmaster Anderson’s tone poem The Words of the Amen, which will be the title track on the latest NCB recording.

The band got the second half of the program moving with Donald Osgood’s march Motondo, followed by the swing-style Blessings!. The host church was represented by vocal soloist Rosa Eberle, who sang Above All. Deputy bandmaster and principal cornet Ian Anderson presented Ray Bowes’ lyrical Rhapsody for Cornet and Band, just before the band’s Executive Officer, Major James Allison gave a Scripture reading and brief lesson. This led into the flügelhorn feature Sweet By and By and the evening’s final item, Dudley Bright’s tone poem Confrontations, which features the well-known song by Stanley Ditmer, “I’m In His Hands”. The benediction was given by New River Valley corps officer Major John Blevins, and the NCB offered Winchester Revival (Kenneth Downie) as a postlude.

On Sunday morning, the band was treated to a fine country breakfast at the Corps building, complete with musical entertainment from a friend of the corps. Spirits were high despite a severe cold snap which led to slippery roads and some snow flurries – a marked change from the pleasant weather on Saturday.

Usually, when the band does a weekend trip, the entire Sunday morning service is done by the band. On this trip, however, because of the dedication of the new building, the band played a supporting role. Preliminary music included Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren” (James Curnow), Take Time . . . (Kenneth Downie), and God With Us. The service included participation from the New River Valley corps officers, Majors John and Diana Blevins, members of the local Advisory Board, and divisional leaders Lt.-Colonels William and LaVern Crabson. Band contributions during the service included Blessings! and In Light We Walk (Stephen Bulla), along with accompaniments for congregational songs, which include William Himes’ arrangement of O Boundless Salvation. Another Himes work, The Blessing, was played as a postlude.

With some regular members unable to join the band on the weekend, several people generously came in to fill empty seats. Bethany Mikles (horn) and Patrick Morris (trombone), who are reserve members of the band, were both able to attend the weekend. Others brought in for the event included Darryl Crossland on solo cornet and Art Henry on solo horn.

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).

Stockholm South Citadel Visit to Washington

Monday, 10 April 2006, saw the Stockholm South Citadel Band of the Salvation Army visit the Washington, DC area. The one-day stopover in the Nation’s Capital was part of a 10-day tour in which the band traveled from Connecticut to Florida. Now under the leadership of Bandmaster Lars-Otto Ljungholm, the Swedish ensemble has a long history of musical and spiritual excellence.

Beginning the day in Philadelphia, where they had performed on Sunday evening, the Stockholm band journeyed by coach south to Washington, unfortunately becoming snared in some of the area’s infamous traffic, arriving in the city some hours later than originally planned. However, they were still able to play an outdoor concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial, at the western end of Washington’s monumental core, at the schedule time of 3:00 pm. Despite the travel difficulties, the band managed to arrive at the Memorial just at the time they were to begin playing and quickly set up and get going. The weather was good, and there were large crowds on the National Mall, with many people sitting on the steps in front of the Memorial to listen to the band.

Despite their late arrival, the band was able to get in a full 45-minute set at the Lincoln Memorial, and made many contacts with listeners. Bandmaster Ljungholm chose a mixture of music, including several solo items, including a cornet quartet, a cornet solo, Swedish Melody, played by Kalle Ljungholm, and a moving performance of I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked (arr. Peter Graham) by principal trombone Lars-Oskar Öhman. In fitting style, the band ended their performance with an exciting rendition of Wilfred Heaton’s classic march Praise. The fine weather and fine playing of the band made for an enjoyable afternoon in the heart of Washington.

Following the concert at the Lincoln Memorial, the Stockholm South Citadel Band made the short journey across the Potomac River to Alexandria, Virginia, where the local Salvation Army Citadel was the venue for the evening festival. Prior to the festival they were joined by members of the National Capital Band for a meal. The National Capital Band has strong ties with the Stockholm group, as Bandmaster Lars-Otto Ljungholm was a member of the National Capital Band for 13 years, many of them as principal cornet and the last four as Bandmaster. The NCB also featured Deputy Bandmaster Ove Ericson on a 5-day “mini-tour” of the southern US in autumn 2001.

The Alexandria Citadel hall was filled over capacity (extra chairs being set out even as the band entered to begin the concert!) as the band presented a Festival of Music. Bandmaster Ljungholm chose to begin the evening with a new work by a young composer in the band, Anders Beijer. Entitled The Water of Life, the march is the title work on the band’s latest recording. This was followed by vocal soloist Magnus Ahlström, who sang Sverige (Sweden). Lars Ohman and Kristin Ljungholm presented selected Scripture passages, followed by an invocation. The hosts for the evening, Major Tony Barrington (corps officer at Alexandria Citadel) and Lt.-Colonel William Crabson (Divisional Commander) spoke briefly after the prayer.

A running feature throughout the concert was the use of video clips to introduce the band and some of the soloists. The first of these clips were shown at this time, followed by Ove Ericson’s playing of the cornet solo Life’s Pageant (Terry Camsey). As usual, Ove showed great sensitivity and skill in his performance, which was followed by a video message from the Mayor of Stockholm, Annica Billström. Continuing in a Swedish theme, the band next presented a classical transcription, Overture from “Joan of Arc” (August Söderman), conducted by the retired Bandmaster, Torgny Hanson, who also arranged the piece.

The concert continued in the classical vein, as Magnus Ahlström returned, this time portraying Figaro as he sang the famous Cavatina from Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville”, with Göran Larsson serving as his rather unfortunate customer. Ahlstroöm, who is a professional singer with the world-renowned Swedish Radio Choir, thoroughly entertained the crowd with his rendition, which was arranged with a brass band accompaniment by Bandmaster Ljungholm.

Next up was the band’s fine euphonium soloist, Richard Kendrick, who played the old classic theme-and-variations solo The Song of the Brother (Erik Leidzén). The 2004 Swedish brass solo champion, Kendrick showed his fine abilities with this well-known work. The first half of the program concluded with Peter Graham’s challenging work, Renaissance.

The second half began with a classic Salvation Army march, The Scarlet Jersey (Ray Steadman-Allen), followed by Radiant Pathway (Leslie Condon), a tuba duet featuring Andreas Wiberg on Bb bass and Simon Friskus on Eb bass. The next item brought the concert into a more devotional mood. Erik Leidzén was a master of tone colors and moods, and the band played next one of his less-often presented meditations, The Call. This led into a short Scripture and devotional message from Major Göran Larsson, trailed by another item from Magnus Ahlström, Easter Triumph (arr. A. Holmlund), featuring the well-known song “The Old Rugged Cross”.

The final program item of the evening was a piece that has become a classic of Salvation Army brass band literature, Edward Gregson’s Variations on “Laudate Dominum”. The band showed their range and virtuosity in negotiating the numerous musical styles required to successfully perform this major work. Following an extended standing ovation, the band launched a lightning-quick rendition of Peter Graham’s Dance Before the Lord. Again faced with nearly deafening applause, Bandmaster Ljungholm called Bandmaster James Anderson to the stage, where Anderson conducted the band in the march Under the Blue and Yellow Flag (Widkvist, arr. R. Frödén). After yet another round of applause, the band finally concluded their performance, this time forming a choir and singing Lord, You Know That We Love You (Howard Davies), accompanied by a brass sextet and again featuring the voice of Magnus Ahlström.

NCV Music Councils 2006

For the first time in several years, the National Capital and Virginia Division of the Salvation Army sponsored a Divisional Music Councils. Held 25 - 26 February 2006 at Camp Happyland in central Virginia, the Councils featured the Pendel Youth Band, Chorus, Timbrels, and Mime Troupe. On Sunday, 27 February, the Pendel groups participated in worship meetings at the Arlington Citadel Corps.

Friday – Sounds of Salvation

The weekend began with a festival on Friday evening where all of the groups from Pendel contributed. Entitled Sounds of Salvation, the concert opened with the Pendel Youth Chorus, conducted by Cathy Hayes, singing Jubilate Deo, ably accompanied by Captain Margaret Davis on piano, Jon Burgmayer on cornet, and Darien DiSilvio on percussion. Following words of welcome from the National Capital and Virgina Divisional Music Director, Bandmaster James Anderson, the Youth Band played Vanguard (Norman Bearcroft).

The next item was a cornet duet featuring a father-and-son combination, David and Jon Burgmayer, who played The Crusaders (Terry Camsey) accompanied by the band. Another Pendel unit was introduced, the Mime Troupe (led by Major Bessie Babbitt, who performed to I Can Only Imagine, recorded by the popular contemporary Christian artists, Mercy Me. The Youth Band demonstrated some musical flexibility by playing a transcription of a classical work, Mozart’s Sonata No. 11 for Piano (arr. Terry Camsey). As with all Salvation Army musical sections, there is a strong spiritual element to the Pendel youth groups, and this was evidenced by several personal testimonies from the young people, the first of which was Bethany Babbitt.

Following Bethany’s testimony, the Youth Chorus again sang, this time presenting two items, Prepare! (Leonard Ballantine) and Joy Webb’s moving devotional song Come Into Our World. The Youth Band continued the theme with Stephen Bulla’s song arrangement My Father’s World. Another testimony followed, this time by Eric White. The congregation was given the opportunity to paricipate in a congregational song, led by Captain Margaret Davis and accompanied by the band, the familiar hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (arr. Dr. Harold Burgmayer).

Following some announcements from Bandmaster Anderson regarding the activities for the next day, the concert continued with an item by the Pendel Youth Timbrels, Westbourne, accompanied by the Youth Band. The band then played an arrangement by Paul Curnow of the the well-known contemporary gospel song Step by Step. Next was another testimony, this one a short but moving one from Jeff Eisenhart, who spoke about his spiritual trials after the loss of a close friend. The mime troupe returned, this time performing with the chorus, to the song This Day (arr. Press). Captain Davis then brought a devotional thought.

The concert concluded with another item from the Youth Band, The Great Crusade (Ray Steadman-Allen), and another item from the Youth Chorus, Praise His Name (Hampton). The chorus item was again backed by members of the band, David Burgmayer on cornet and Darien DiSilvio on percussion. Following a benediction, the Youth Chorus sent the audience off by singing Nolan’s Irish Blessing.

Saturday – Massed Groups – Clinics – Praise Concert

Many of the audience from the Friday evening concert stayed overnight at Camp Happyland, where they were joined the next morning by many others. The morning began with breakfast in the camp Dining Hall, after which a Massed Band rehearsal was held in the camp chapel. For those attendees who did not play instruments, Captain Greg Shannon held a vocal clinic in the main rehearsal room of the Music Conservatory building. Attendance for both was impressive, with more than 60 players in the massed band, including the Pendel Youth Band musicians, members of the National Capital Band, and players from various corps bands around the division. After these sessions, the groups came together to form a Massed Chorus nearly 130 members strong, which was conducted by Cathy Hayes.

After the rehearsals for the massed groups, the assemblage broke into individual workshop groups, with small groups in various places all over the camp. Both performance and programming classes were offered, with instructors from both the Pendel and NCV divisions participating. This was a good time of learning and instruction benefitting everyone who took part.

At 3:00 pm on Saturday afternoon, the finale of the Music Councils, “Let There Be Praise”, featured the massed band and chorus, along with the Pendel and various National Capital and Virginia performing groups. After an opening congregational song and an invocation by Captain Kelly Igleheart (Executive Officer of the National Capital Band), the afternoon began with the Massed Band playing First Light (Harold Burgmayer), conducted by Bandmaster Aaron Harris. Because of the large number of musicians participating in the massed ensemble, the conductor was placed in the center with players all around. The next item was from the Pendel Youth Band, Andrew Mackereth’s Walking in the Light. Next up was the Norfolk Songsters, who sang My Help. This was followed In My Heart There Rings a Melody (arr. Anderson), played by the Alexandria Citadel Band.

Captain Margaret Davis has a fine, classicly-trained soprano voice, and she demonstrated this by singing Puccini’s aria O Mio Babbino Caro during the concert, followed by the Pendel Youth Chorus presenting an entertaining arrangement of What a Wonderful World. Next up was the National Capital Band, the premier musical group of the National Capital and Virginia Division, who played Winchester Revival (Kenneth Downie). The Massed Chorus gave a stirring performance of the song Don’t Let the Devil (Graeme Press), after which the drama/mime group Blessed from the Portsmouth Corps performed to I’ve Got My Mind Made Up.

The NCV Divisional Youth Chorus was next, singing the popular song People Need the Lord (Nelson/McHugh, arr. Tom Fettke). Following this was the performance of a relatively new group in the division, Skyline Brass, conducted by Captain David May. Made up of members of corps in the Skyline Drive region of the Blue Ridge, this small group made a good showing, playing Finlandia (arr. James Cheyne). Two more of the NCV youth groups participated next, the timbrels performing a drill to Stephen Bulla’s march Land of Freedom accompanied by the NCV Divisional Youth Band, and then the band playing To a God Like This (John Larsson, arr. Ian Robinson) as a feature item of their own. Getting out of the brass mode for a while, the audience was delighted by a soldier from the Tidewater area of the division who played a violin solo.

Moving toward the end of the program, the Alexandria Citadel Songsters brought the audience back to the recent Christmas season with Jesus, What a Wonderful Child/Emmanuel (arr. Mauldin). Another band followed, this one the Norfolk/Tidewater Area Band, who played the selection Bless Me. Another item by the Massed Chorus was next, Before the Cross (Gregson), again ably conducted by Cathy Hayes. The Divisional Commander for the NCV Division, Lt.-Col. William Crabson, gave a short devotional thought. The festival concluded with the final item by the Massed Band, a medley of contemporary gospel songs arranged by Kevin Norbury, God With Us, conducted by Bandmaster James Anderson.

Sunday – Morning Worship at Arlington Citadel

Although the Music Councils officially ended with the festival on Saturday afternoon, the Pendel groups stayed in the Washington area through Sunday, conducting Sunday morning worship services at the Arlington Citadel Corps. All of the Pendel groups contributed to the service. The band items included St. Peter, This Is My Father’s World, and Rejoice Ye Pure In Heart, as well as backing for the congregational songs. The mime and dance troupe performed This Day, with Tyneisha Menginie as a featured performer. The Youth Chorus reprised a couple of items from the weekend performances, What a Wonderful World and An Irish Blessing, which was used as the benediction.

Spiritual influence from the Pendel young people was evident throughout the service, with spoken introductions to each item, a personal testimony from Ian Mudge, and their general demeanor during the service. The message of the morning was brought by Major Andrew Murray.

Following the service, the Pendel groups were joined by soldiers from the Arlington and Alexandria Citadel Corps at the Northern Virginia Adult Rehabilitation Center for lunch before boarding their coach for the trip back to the Philadelphia area.

2005 Community Carol Concert

The National Capital and Virginia Division of the Salvation Army, based in Washington, DC, held its annual Community Christmas Carol Concert at the Westover Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia, on 11 December 2005. The special guest for this year’s concert was Sara Dell’Omo, mezzo-soprano, vocal soloist from “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. The concert also featured the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James Anderson), the Swansonettes (a girls’ choir from Swanson Middle School, directed by Elizabeth Gephardt), the Hughes Methodist Church Chancel Bell Choir (directed by Marie Bunting), the Metro DC Timbrelists (directed by Elsie Morris) and a young vocalist from the Fairfax Corps of the Salvation Army, Gerson Cruz.

Sara Dell'Omo

Sara Dell'Omo

The National Capital Band opened the concert with Kenneth Downie’s Intrada on “Regent Square”, then provided accompaniment as the audience sang O Come All Ye Faithful. Following an invocation by the band’s Executive Officer, Captain Kelly Igleheart, the band continued with a Christmas march, Season’s Greetings, composed by the bandmaster.

The Salvation Army corps in Fairfax, Virginia has a strong children’s musical program, and this year a representative of that program, Gerson Cruz, was chosen to sing Away in a Manger. Gerson, who is 7 years old, was also interviewed by Bandmaster Anderson. The band played again following his solo, this time presenting Peter Graham’s Christmas Calypso.

Sara Dell’Omo was next on the program. In May 2005, she was appointed vocal soloist of the United States Marine Band, the first time in the band’s history (over 200 years) that a female soloist has been featured. Accompanied by the National Capital Band, she began with Deck the Halls, arranged by Stephen Bulla, the NCB’s principal trombone. In addition to his skills as a brass band composer, Bulla has been Staff Arranger for the Marine Band for over twenty years. For Dell’Omo’s next item, he moved to the piano, to provide accompaniment for Rise Up Shepherds and Follow (arr. Mark Hayes). Following the vocal solos, the audience was again invited to participate in singing the carol Child in the Manger.

The Swanson Middle School is located directly across the street from the Westover Baptist Church, and the girls’ choir known as the Swansonettes has been featured several times at the annual Community Carol Concert. They sang two carols, Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella (arr. Strommen) and Pat-a-Pan (arr. Davis) under the direction of Elizabeth Gephardt. The band then played their “major” work for the evening, Robert Redhead’s selection The Joy of Christmas.

Bell choirs are unique musical groups because of the great degree of coordination and timing required to produce a satisfying result. The Chancel Bell Choir from Hughes United Methodist Church was next to perform, under the direction of Marie Bunting, presenting At the Manger (Michael Helman). Another carol for all followed, this time the well-loved German carol Silent Night.

The concert took a lighter tone as the DC Metro Timbrelists, led by Elsie Morris, were next up, performing a drill to Erik Leidzén’s classic Christmas march, Christmas Joy, enthusiastically played by the National Capital Band. The was followed by The Twelve Days of Christmas, with the audience participating as the band was put through its paces by Bandmaster Anderson.

The Swansonettes returned to sing White Christmas, after which the band presented two more items, the swing-style Kings of Orient (David Ayma) and a beautiful arrangement by Stephen Bulla of Gustav Holst’s carol Mid-Winter.

The special guest of the evening, Sara Dell’Omo, returned for two more items, the first being the Wexford Carol (arr. Stephen Bulla) accompanied by the band, and then a medley composed of The Christmas Song and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, accompanied by Stephen Bulla at the piano.

Following greetings from the Divisional Commander for the National Capital and Virginia Division, Lt.-Colonel William Crabson (a former Executive Officer of the National Capital Band), the festival concluded with a final carol for all, Hark the Herald Angels Sing.