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 Washington 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.

Source: Brass Crest Staff Report