Highest Praise - National Capital and Virginia Music Councils (Part 1)

Because of the length of this report, it is being presented in two parts. Southern Territorial Band in the chapel at Camp Happyland

Southern Territorial Band in the chapel at Camp Happyland

The Southern Territorial Band (Bandmaster Nick Simmons-Smith) (STB) and Territorial Creative Arts Ensemble (Director Bethany Farrell) (TCAE) toured the National Capital and Virginia (NCV) Division, Wednesday 12 –  Saturday 16 October 2016, with the featured event the Music Councils, entitled “Highest Praise”, held at Camp Happyland.

The Creative Arts Ensemble began the tour at the Hampton Roads Kroc Center, holding a Corps Creative Arts Workshop on Wednesday evening, community outreach ministry on Thursday afternoon, and an evening performance at the Kroc Center on Friday evening. Following the Friday performance, they traveled to Fredericksburg, Virginia, joining the Territorial Band for the Music Councils on Saturday.

On Sunday, 16 October, the TCAE led worship at the Northern Virginia Adult Rehabilitation Center and the Arlington Corps, before rejoining the Territorial Band at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, for the final concert of the tour.

The Southern Territorial Band began the weekend with rehearsals at Camp Happyland on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. They then traveled to Harrisonburg, Virginia, where they gave a joint concert with the James Madison University Brass Band (Musical Director Kevin Stees). Over the past few years, the Music and Creative Arts Department of the NCV Division has developed a close relationship with the JMU music department, with students from the University frequently working as instructors at the NCV Music Conservatory in the summers. Dr. Joel Collier, a member of the STB and principal euphonium of the National Capital Band, received both his masters and doctoral degrees from James Madison University.

Friday Evening Concert

On Friday evening, the Territorial Band began the Music Councils with a concert in the Chapel at Camp Happyland. It had been planned for the special guests for the Councils to be Philip and Sheila Smith, however, just a week before the event they were forced to withdraw because of a medical issue. Stepping into the gap as guest soloist for Friday evening was Chris Gekker. Gekker is Professor of Trumpet at the University of Maryland, counting among his former students NCV Divisional Music Director and STB principal cornet David Delaney.

Chris Gekker

Chris Gekker

The band opened in the concert with a fanfare prelude, In Hope Rejoice (Andrew Barrington), followed by words of welcome and an invocation from the NCV Divisional Commander, Lt.-Colonel Mark Israel. Next up was Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology (Steve Kellner), based upon the well-loved tune “Old Hundredth”. Tom Hanton came out from the trombone section to lead the audience in a congregational song, Joyful, Joyful (arr. Steve Kellner).

Guest soloist Chris Gekker joined the band for Ernst Sachse’s Concertino in E♭, one of the standard works of the advanced repertoire for trumpet. The band then gave a choral reading of Psalm 150 (from “The Voice” version), which was the Scriptural base for the Music Councils. The band played Julibant Praise (James Curnow), followed by a moving personal testimony from Manny Muñoz. The devotional tone was continued with the cornet feature Shenandoah (Dorothy Gates), a melody associated with the words “’Mid all the traffic of the ways”.

"Quicksilver". Chris Gekker and David Delaney.

"Quicksilver". Chris Gekker and David Delaney.

The guest soloist then made his second appearance, this time playing Someone to Watch Over Me (George Gershwin, arr. Turrin/Christmas). He was then joined by David Delaney, his former student, and they presented the cornet duet Quicksilver (Peter Graham). The next item was Rejoice, the Lord Is King (Handel, arr. Joel Collier), leading into a devotional thought from the Territorial Band’s chaplain, Captain Mike Harris, who spoke about his time as the corps officer in Fredericksburg, Virginia, relating his experiences there with the theme for the Councils.

After the devotional thought, the band brought their major work for the evening, Festivity (Leslie Condon), which includes “Rejoice, the Lord Is King” as one of its themes. The concert came to a close with announcements and a benediction given by the NCV Assistant Divisional Music Director, Dr. Steve Kellner. The final notes of the evening were another special item, the cornet quartet Heralds of Victory (Richard E. Holz), featuring David Delaney, Manny Muñoz, Sara Elliott, and special guest Chris Gekker.

"Heralds of Victory". Left to right: Manny Munoz, Anthony Barrington, Sara Elliott, Chris Gekker

"Heralds of Victory". Left to right: Manny Munoz, Anthony Barrington, Sara Elliott, Chris Gekker.

A video of the entire concert is available on the NCV Music YouTube channel:

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