The warmth of the Bahamian sun was matched only by the warmth of the welcome offered by Bahamian Salvationists when the Front Range Band (Colonel George Church, Executive Officer; Stan Kelley, Bandmaster) of the Salvation Army conducted their recent campaign to Nassau. The band is based in Denver, Colorado and sponsored by the Intermountain Division (Lt.-Col. Harold Brodin, Divisional Commander). The trip was planned to coincide with activities celebrating Salvation Army Week. Planning support from the Bahamas Division was provided by the Divisional Commander, Major Raphael Mason and the Divisional Secretary, Major Lester Ferguson.
The band’s special guests for the four-day trip were USA Southern Territory Salvationists Stephen and Randi Bulla. In addition to being a well-known brass band composer, conductor and clinician, Stephen Bulla is now in his third decade as the staff arranger for the United States Marine Band (known as the “President’s Own”) and the White House Orchestra. During the campaign, he played principal trombone, conducted all of his own compositions that were performed by the band, and delighted everyone with his piano solos. Randi Bulla, a competent musician in her own right, assisted in the solo cornet section.
During the four-day campaign, the band had a busy schedule playing in a number of venues and events, including open air meetings in the slums of Nassau, the annual meeting of the Nassau Advisory Board, an outdoor concert in downtown Nassau, a band clinic for local beginners and another clinic for the Nassau Citadel Band (Bandmaster Everette Sands). The band also served as the duty band for a combined area Holiness Meeting and presented a scintillating Fourth of July concert for thousands poolside at the stunning Atlantis Resort.
The Front Range Band was also featured at the Salvation Army Music and Gospel Arts Concert. Held in the beautiful Rainforest Theatre of the Wyndham Nassau Resort, the band joined with the Nassau Area Timbrels, the Nassau Citadel Silent Witness dance troupe, and the Nassau Citadel Band for the concert, which was attended by over 450 people. One of the many highlights of the evening was the playing of four “soloists” who were students at the earlier beginner clinic. These soloists were accompanied by the Front Range Band in Muffins Rhapsody (William Himes) to tremendous applause. The beginners band clinic was conducted by Stephanie Sowter, assisted by Richie Mills and Herb Brodin.
During their time in the Bahamas, the band played for such luminaries as Her Excellency Dame Dr. Ivy Dumont, Governor-General for the Bahamas, and Mr. Dumont; and the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, and Mrs. Bernadette Christie; as well as the Minister for Youth and Culture. The band had the special privilege of having Superintendent Sylvester George, administrative and musical director of the world-famous Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, perform a trombone solo with piano accompaniment supplied by Stephen Bulla.
The witness of the band was clear and direct at all performances with one listener at the downtown Nassau concert accepting Jesus as Saviour on a park bench, guided by a member of the band.
Musical selections played by the band during the campaign included a number of items from the pen of Stephen Bulla, including:
- Concertante for Cornets and Band, with cornet soloists John Covert, Daniel Limache, Don Gilmore, Harold Brodin, Jack Willis and Randi Bulla
- Armed Forces Salute
- Blessed Assurance, with soloist John Covert
- New York 90
Other concert items included:
- Variations on “Laudate Dominum” (Edward Gregson)
- Prelude on a Hymn of Praise (James Curnow)
- Finale, William Tell Overture (Rossini, arr. Dean Goffin)
- I Vow to Thee, My Country (Holst, arr. Ray Steadman-Allen)
- God and Country (William Himes)
- O Boundless Salvation (William Himes)
- ’Mid All the Traffic of the Ways (Leonard Ballantine)
- Daniel (Barrie Gott)
- Amazing Grace (William Himes)
- Peace, Perfect Peace (Erik Leidzén), a capella band vocal
- Quicksilver (Peter Graham), cornet soloists John Covert and Daniel Limache
- She’s Like a Swallow (James Curnow), horn soloist Stephanie Sowter
- Solo Secondo (William Himes), 2nd horn soloist Andy Bulla
- The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa, arr. Peter Graham)
- The Firing Line (Bruce Broughton)
- God’s Children (William Himes)
- Ceremonial Fanfare (James Curnow)
- Olympic Fanfare (John Williams, arr. Peter Graham)
THE FRONT RANGE BAND
The Front Range Band (FRB) is the principal concert band of the Salvation Army in the Denver area and is the divisional band for the Salvation Army’s Intermountain Division. The FRB is a British-style brass band that plays a wide variety of music including marches, hymn tune arrangements, arrangements of classical items and a variety of items specifically written for bass bands by top composers around the world, including our guest conductor, Stephen Bulla. The FRB is an “honors” band comprised of top Salvationist musicians and Christian brass players from other denominations in the Denver area.
The members of the band come from a variety of professions, including students, professional fund raisers, active and retired Salvation Army officers, members of the military, small businessmen, teachers, and insurance executives.
The bandmaster (conductor) of the Front Range Band is Stan Kelley. Mr. Kelley holds a degree in trumpet performance from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is certified to teach music in grades K-12. He served as the flügelhorn soloist of the Chicago Staff Band of the Salvation Army for 15 years, and served as the bandmaster and songster leader at the Oakbrook Terrace (Illinois) Corps. In addition to his duties with the FRB, he is the bandmaster of the Denver Citadel Corps Band.
Report submitted by Bandmaster Stan Kelley