The Arlington Citadel Corps and the National Capital Band welcomed Lt.-Colonel Norman Bearcroft and his wife, Major Kathleen Bearcroft, for a musical weekend on 8 – 9 May 2004. The weekend included a workshop for Washington area songsters, a concert featuring the National Capital Band and the Arlington Citadel Songsters, and a worship service celebrating Music Sunday.
The weekend began early Saturday afternoon with a series of rehearsals conducted by Lt.-Col. Bearcroft, with various groups participating in the weekend, including the Arlington Citadel Band, the Arlington Citadel Songsters, and the National Capital Band. This was followed by a rehearsal with a massed songster brigade, made up of songsters from around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. This rehearsal was held in the style of a master class and workshop, with Lt.-Col. Bearcroft demonstrating rehearsal techniques for vocal groups in the context of an actual working rehearsal.
Following a spaghetti dinner in the corps fellowship hall, the evening festival commenced at 7:00 pm, with the National Capital Band playing Arthur Gullidge’s march Victorious, under the baton of Bandmaster John Jones. This was immediately followed by a tender rendition of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (arr. Ray Steadman-Allen), leading into the invocation by the Executive Officer of the National Capital Band, Major Todd Smith. Major Smith then introduced the guest conductor for the evening, Lt.-Colonel Norman Bearcroft.
The first item under the direction of Lt.-Col. Bearcroft was the soprano cornet solo High Fidelity, ably played by Noel Morris. The Arlington Songsters then moved to the front of the platform, where they presented their first set of three items, including Jesus, the Name, In Jesus Steps, and Ever Is the War Cry. The band then presented the march Wreath of Courage.
The program then moved into a devotional phase, with Bandmaster Jones returning to conduct Leonard Ballantine’s I Know Thou Art Mine, followed by a Scripture reading and thoughts from Major Kathleen Bearcroft. The Arlington Citadel Songsters returned for another set of three selections, including In the Secret of Thy Presence, The Well is Deep, and Bound for the Promised Land. The next selection featured the cornet section of the National Capital Band, playing The King’s Trumpeters. A different mood was presented with another well-crafted arrangment by Leonard Ballantine, ’Mid All the Traffic, featuring the American folk song “Shenandoah” which the composer has associated with John Oxenham’s familiar words “’Mid all the traffic of the ways”.
Yet another change in the mood of the evening followed, as the choir from the Northern Virginia Adult Rehabilitation Center (NOVARC), under the direction of Major Bill Madison, enthuiastically sang I’ve Been Changed (Mosie Lister). The massed choir then moved to the front of the platform, conducted by Lt.-Col. Bearcroft in singing Holy, Holy, Holy. After some final words of appreciation to the guests from Major Todd Smith, the concert concluded with one of Lt.-Col. Bearcroft’s earliest compositions, the march To Regions Fair, and a benediction pronounced by the Arlington Citadel corps officer, Captain Daniel Choi.
Source: Brass Crest Staff Report, photos by Rebekah