Easter in the Deep South for NCV Youth Sections

Fifty members and chaperones of the National Capital & Virginia Division’s Youth Band and Timbrels (DYB) gathered at Camp Happyland, near Culpeper, Virginia, on the evening of Wednesday, 23 March 2005 to begin a five-day journey through the Deep South. The visit to the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi Division was a return visit, as PSALM Brass, that division’s corresponding group, had traveled to the NCV Division last year (News Item). It was the first trip for the DYB outside of the NCV division since a tour of Costa Rica in 2001. The group departed at around 9:00 pm on the eighteen-hour trip to Jackson, Mississippi. The groups were led by the Divisional Music Director, Bandmaster James Anderson, the Divisional Gospel Arts Director, Christina Anderson, and Timbrel Leader Sandra Bedio.

Thursday, 24 March 2005

Arriving in Jackson in the early afternoon on Thursday, 24 March, the group was taken to the Center of Hope. This recently-completed facility houses both the Jackson Citadel Corps and a residential center for disadvantaged people. The Center staff graciously allowed the DYB members to shower and change using a part of the residential center. The band and timbrels were also able to partake of an excellent meal at the Center before the evening festival, which was held in the Jackson Citadel hall.

Bandmaster James Anderson, conductor of the band and NCV Divisional Music Director, opened the festival with some introductions and then invited the audience to sing Shine, Jesus Shine (Graham Kendrick, arr. Richard Phillips) accompanied by the band. The festival proper began with a classic Salvation Army march written by Ray Steadman-Allen, The Scarlet Jersey. This was followed by a cornet trio (also a Steadman-Allen composition), The Veterans, featuring soloists Kevin Affum, Megan Hartley, and Danielle Ashton. This was the first time that the three had performed the trio in a public concert setting.

As with all Salvation Army musical meetings, a Gospel witness was evident. David Davenport, a member of the baritone section, and Angel Saunders, a timbrelist, gave their personal testimonies. Following this, the band and timbrels joined to form a chorus. Accompanied by Christina Anderson on piano, the chorus presented two items, At the Name of Jesus (Stephen Bulla) and Cast All Your Care (Cymbala).

After the vocal items, the Divisional Youth Timbrels presented a drill to Bandmaster Anderson’s march Goldcrest, which was enthusiastically received by the capacity crowd. This was followed by a trombone solo, Andante et Allegro (Guy-Ropartz), played by Kevin Downing, accompanied on piano by Christina Anderson. Kevin, at 12 one of the youngest members of the band, had performed this solo in a school festival earlier in the month and received top marks.

The next item featured percussionist James Williams, playing the drum kit as the band presented Harold Burgmayer’s arrangement of Louis Prima’s exuberant Sing, Sing, Sing. The Timbrels returned, this time using a recorded version of the contemporary song Heaven as accompaniment. The band presented another march by Bandmaster Anderson, Conservatory Salute, which features melodies associated with various states in the USA Southern Territory. Captain Kelly Igleheart, NCV Divisional Youth Secretary and executive officer for the DYB and Timbrels, gave a devotional message.

The concert concluded with another work from the pen of James Anderson, the selection Our God Reigns. The audience was given a last chance to participate as the band followed the selection with a congregational version of the title melody. Following the concert, and some refreshments in the courtyard of the Center of Hope, the band boarded their coach and went to Camp Hidden Lake.

Friday, 25 March 2005

On Friday morning, following breakfast at Camp Hidden Lake, the band went to the North Park Mall in Jackson, where they performed a 45-minute concert outside one of the anchor stores. Leaving the mall after lunch, the band and timbrels traveled to the second destination on the tour, New Orleans, Louisiana, arriving at the Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center after a four-hour trip. After eating dinner at the facility, a Praise Concert was presented in the ARC Chapel, with essentially the same program as on Thursday evening, with one notable addition being the trombone feature Wonders Begin when the Lord Comes In (John Larsson, arr. Ray Steadman-Allen). The young people were able to get some needed recreation time in before and after the concert.

Saturday, 26 March 2005

Saturday morning was scheduled in a similar manner to Friday morning, with an outdoor concert at the Riverwalk in New Orleans in the morning. Despite a rather chilly and misty morning, the band and timbrels presented a varied and interesting program. One highlight of the concert was an addition to Sing, Sing, Sing, with euphonium player Carlandos Finney stepping out of the band to present a dance interpretation, which was enthusiastically received by the audience. As on Friday, the group was given some free time after the Riverwalk concert, boarding the coach after lunch for the journey to Birmingham, Alabama, the last destination of the tour.

Unfortunately, the trip to Birmingham took slightly longer than scheduled, partially because of the inclement weather, disturbing the Saturday evening schedule. Undaunted by the slight delays, the band, again playing at an ARC, presented another version of the Praise Concert, with the same items as in New Orleans. Two notable additions were Carlandos Finney again dancing during Sing, Sing, Sing (this time including timbrelist Angel Saunders) and a devotional given by the band’s principal cornet, Jonathan Sears. In an entertaining illustration of God’s love for all regardless of condition or circumstance, Jonathan punctuated his discourse by distributing several dollar bills into the audience.

Easter Sunday, 27 March 2005

The group had an early call, as a sunrise service in conjunction with the Trinity United Methodist Church in Birmingham was on the schedule. Originally intended to be an outdoor event, the service had to be moved into the Trinity Church hall because of the weather. Nonetheless, the service was excellent as the Youth Choir from the church led the meeting, including having one of the choir give the devotional message. The NCV youth band and timbrels provided preliminary music and further support throughout the service.

After the sunrise service, the group returned to the hotel, had a bit of breakfast and then reboarded the bus for the short trip to the Birmingham Citadel corps, where they were warmly greeted by the commanding officers, Captains Matthew and Cathy Riley. As is fitting for an Easter Sunday service, the hall was filled to capacity. The band provided preliminary music, including one of the classics of the American Band Journal, Erik Leidzén’s sensitive arrangement of What a Friend. The meeting was planned with a celebratory emphasis, expressing joy in the Resurrection of our Lord. Members of the band and timbrels contributed in a personal way, with the morning prayer offered by principal trombone John Adams and personal testimonies from Jessica Smith and Michael Good. The timbrels performed a drill to Heaven and the chorus presented At the Name of Jesus. The band prepared the congregation to receive the morning message, presented by Captain Kelly Igleheart, with a tender presentation of Lord, With My All I Part (Richard Phillips). The spiritual effect of the meeting was intense, evidenced by nine men who came forward during the altar call.

Following the meeting, the band and timbrels returned to the Birmingham City Command building, where they were served an excellent lunch. During the meal, the Band Sergeant, Scott Bedio, offered an opportunity for members of the group to speak about the impact of the trip on themselves. Many members of the group took the opportunity to express the great spiritual uplifting brought on by the weekend of ministry. The group then returned to the bus for the fourteen-hour trip back to Virginia, arriving back at Camp Happyland at around 4:00 am on Monday, 28 March.

Source: Brass Crest Staff Report