Concert of Hope

On Saturday, 23 February 2002, three Salvation Army musical groups, from three divisions in two territories, united in a great festival of music and praise. The concert was sponsored by the Baltimore Area Command (Major Jim Arrowood, area commander). The audience of over 200 was treated to the spectacle of three full brass bands jammed onto one stage. Visiting groups included the Pendel Brass and Singers, led by Bandmaster Dr. Harold Burgmayer, Songster Leader Priscilla Burgmayer and Timbrel Leader Leslie Knaggs. The Pendel groups are sponsored by the headquarters of the Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The second group of visitors was the National Capital Band, attached to the headquarters of the National Capital & Virginia Division in Washington, DC. The bandmaster is Lars-Otto Ljungholm. The host band was the Baltimore Area Band, under the direction of Bandmaster Ron Smith.

The concert began in a rousing fashion, with the Baltimore Area Band on stage playing the classic American patriotic march National Emblem (E. E. Bagley, arr. Ron Smith). Bandmaster Smith then led the massed bands in William Himes’ arrangment of The Star-Spangled Banner. This was followed by the massed bands, conducted by Lars-Otto Ljungholm, presenting America the Beautiful, arranged by National Capital Band principal trombonist Dorothy Gates. A powerful set of images, showing the tragic events of September 11 and the Salvation Army’s response to those tragedies, was projected above the massed groups during the performance.

Following words of welcome from the Maryland and West Virginia Divisional Commander, Major John Falin, the Pendel Timbrels displayed a routine accompanied by the Pendel Brass. The music was William Gordon”s arrangement of the gospel classic Soon and Very Soon (Andraé Crouch). Another Divisional Commander, Lt.-Colonel William Crabson of the National Capital and Virginia Division, the took the microphone, leading the audience in a medley, Sing Along Psalms (Stephen Bulla), accompanied by the National Capital Band. The Pendel Brass then presented a major festival arrangement, Tabernacle, written by their bandmaster, Harold Burgmayer. The piece, based on the hymn tune “Hanover”, features narration and several interesting musical effects.

The National Capital Band performed the only instrumental solo of the afternoon, The Conqueror (Ray Steadman-Allen), performed with technical ease and musicianship by principal euphonium Major Tony Barrington. Priscilla Burgmayer led the Pendel Singers in their first vocal selection, Larry Shackley’s Go Down Moses. This was followed by the Baltimore Area Band’s featured selection, Spirit of Freedom, a work by William Himes, originally composed for the Pendel Brass in 1975. This extended arrangement features the American hymn “Faith of Our Fathers”.

The massed bands then premiered a new festival march written by Bandmaster Burgmayer. Entitled HeartFire, the piece features the popular song by Graham Kendrick, “Shine, Jesus Shine”. The Pendel Brass brought the program into a more devotional mood with a sensitive presentation of Brian Bowen’s meditation My Comfort and Strength. Two vocal selections followed, the Pendel Singers presenting Oh, Precious Lord (Claire Cloninger) and then the massed chorus (all three bands and the Pendel Singers), performing Mark Hayes’ arrangement of Grace, with a beautiful cello and piano accompaniment. This was followed by a short devotional thought from the Area Commander for Baltimore, Major Jim Arrowood.

The concert then moved back into a festive mood with Renaissance (Peter Graham), ably played by the National Capital Band. Then the massed bands, with Bandmaster Ron Smith conducting, showed their American patriotism with what is perhaps the most famous of John Philip Sousa’s many marches, The Stars and Stripes Forever. The concert concluded with the audience again participating, singing the Salvation Army classic song Eternal God (words by Catherine Baird), accompanied by all three bands, both in turn and massed. The final, majestic statement, repeated with confidence in Leslie Condon’s music, reminds us all that “Christ has overcome the world!”

Lt.-Colonel William Carlson, Divisional Commander for Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, provided some closing remarks. The Baltimore Area Band provided the postlude, March Patriotica by Stephen Bulla.

Source: Brass Crest Staff Report