Centenary Celebrated in Lynchburg

On the first weekend of April 2005, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James Anderson) visited the central Virginia town of Lynchburg to help the local Salvation Army corps celebrate its centenary. The trip was proposed and organized by Band Chaplain Joe DeMato, who has been a soldier at the Lynchburg Corps for many years. Accompanying the band on the weekend were the DC Metro Timbrels, under the direction of Elsie Morris.

As is usual when traveling to the south and west, the band gathered at the Fairfax Corps early on the morning of Saturday, 2 April, arriving in Lynchburg at around 1 pm after an uneventful coach ride. After checking into the hotel, the band moved across the road to the River Ridge Mall, a major shopping complex, for a one-hour concert. The performance started in fine fashion with Emil Söderström’s march Minneapolis IV, followed by the familiar hymn Onward Christian Soldiers (arr. Gordon Langford). A complete contrast in style was next, the band going into “big band” mode for Since Jesus (Leonard Ballantine).

The concert then showcased the band’s euphonium soloist, Major Tony Barrington, who played the old standard Ransomed (George Marshall). This was followed by William Himes’ whimsical arrangement of Bringing in the Sheaves. Two more of the band’s soloists were featured, soprano cornet Noel Morris and principal cornet Ian Anderson, who played Quicksilver (Peter Graham). Paul Drury’s exciting quick march Jubilee was the background for a well-received timbrel drill, followed by another work by Peter Graham, Dance Before the Lord. The concert ended with arrangements of two well-known hymns, What a Friend (Erik Leidzén) and James Curnow’s Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren”.

After an early supper at the Lynchburg Corps, the band went to the venue for the evening festival, the Rivermont Presbyterian Church. This fine old church has hosted the band in the past, and is a fitting place for a brass band concert. The audience, although small, was appreciative. The band opened with Minneapolis IV and Onward Christian Soldiers, with the audience participating. Following an invocation offered by Major Ken Wilson (first cornet), the concert continued with the swing arrangement Since Jesus and the euphonium solo Ransomed, played by Major Tony Barrington.

As with all Salvation Army bands, spiritual expression is of paramount importance to the National Capital Band. This was evidenced by personal testimonies from two members, Christina Anderson (percussion) and John Reeves (Eb bass). After the testimonies, the DC Metro Timbrels presented a drill accompanied by Percy Merritt’s old march Sword and Shield. The first half of the program concluded with Kenneth Downie’s sensitive arrangement Shekinah and James Curnow’s triumphant Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren”.

Resuming after the intermission, the band began with Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), the cornet duet Quicksilver, and another timbrel item, this one to Jubilee. The concert then turned in a devotional direction, with vocal soloist Deborah Bearchell singing They Could Not (Harris/Cloninger, arr. Brian Bowen), ably accompanied by Christina Anderson on piano with the band joining on the last verse. Following a Scripture reading and devotional message, the concert continued with What a Friend and concluded with another work by James Curnow, A Psalm of Praise.

On Sunday morning, the band participated in the meetings at the Lynchburg Corps, beginning with a united Sunday School session. The band played The Red Shield (Henry Goffin), Jubilee (again accompanying the DC Metro Timbrels) and Since Jesus. Captain Michael Harris, who plays Eb bass in the band and serves as the corps officer in Fredericksburg, Virginia, gave the lesson.

The band was also in charge of the Holiness Meeting, beginning with preliminary music including I Know Thou Art Mine (Leonard Ballantine) and Jesus Loves Me (James Anderson). The meeting proper was begun with the Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren”. Other items presented by the band included the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (William Himes), played by Ian Anderson, Reverie (Kenneth Downie) and several items used as congregational songs: Onward Christian Soldiers (arr. Gordon Langford), Come Into His Presence (Lynn Baird, arr. Ray Steadman-Allen), and O Boundless Salvation (William Himes). In keeping with the celebratory mood of the weekend, the band offered Norman Bearcroft’s march To Regions Fair as a postlude. Following the morning service, the band was invited to partake in a centenary luncheon in the corps gymnasium and then boarded their coach for the journey back to the Washington area.

Source: Brass Crest Staff Report