Highest Praise - National Capital and Virginia Music Councils (Part 2)

Because of the length of this report, it is being presented in two parts. Read Part 1.

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.

Saturday Music Councils

The special guests for the Music Councils had been intended to be Philip and Sheila Smith, unfortunately, they were not able to attend. Filling in to cover the masterclass and clinic for Philip Smith was Dr. Brian Appleby-Wineberg, Head of Brass and Professor of Trumpet at Rowan University.

Saturday’s events began with a morning devotional meeting held in the Camp Happyland chapel. The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) provided a musical prelude, and the session was opened by the NCV Divisional Commander, Lt.-Colonel Mark Israel. The Assistant Divisional Youth Secretary, Captain Jervonne Hinton, gave a Scripture and prayer, using Psalm 150:1–5 (The Voice version), which was the Biblical basis for the Councils.

The Councils delegates took part in a congregational song, Total Praise (Richard Smallwood, arr. William Himes), accompanied by the National Capital Band. Next up was a dance presentation from the NCV Divisional Creative Arts Ensemble (Director Amerika Outlaw), using the song Every Moment (Forever Jones). The devotional thought for the morning was brought by NCV General Secretary Major Chris Flanagan, who also serves as the Executive Officer of the National Capital Band.

Following Major Flanagan’s remarks, the Alexandria Citadel Songsters (Songster Leader Bill Bamford) presented James Curnow’s song How Beautiful Upon the Mountains. Announcements and instructions for the rest of the day were given by NCV Divisional Music Director David Delaney, and the assembled delegates were sent off to their next activities to the strains of The High Council (Ray Steadman-Allen) played by the National Capital Band.

Twelve master classes were offered in the morning, including a cornet master class led by Dr. Appleby-Wineberg, and a number of classes discussing leadership of various music and creative arts groups at the corps level.

Lunch was served outdoors, a classic American cookout, with a bandstand at the center where five different corps bands rotated through the meal. These included:

Bandmaster Dr. Joel Collier leads the Fredericksburg Corps Band.

Bandmaster Dr. Joel Collier leads the Fredericksburg Corps Band.

  • Hampton Roads Kroc Corps Band (Bandmaster Captain Cathie Burleigh)
  • Landmark Corps Band (Bandmasters Dr. Kate Wohlman and Joy Lee)
  • Alexandria Citadel Band (Bandmaster Keith Morris)
  • Montgomery County Corps Band (Bandmaster David Delaney)
  • Fredericksburg Corps Band (Bandmaster Dr. Joel Collier)

In the afternoon, clinics were held, several of which were rehearsals with the regular divisional youth music and creative arts ensembles with members of the territorial groups. Dr. Appleby-Wineberg conducted a rehearsal with the Divisional Youth Band.

Dr. Brian Appleby-Wineberg leads the Divisional Youth Band in rehearsal.

Dr. Brian Appleby-Wineberg leads the Divisional Youth Band in rehearsal.

After the clinics, everyone came back together in the chapel for a worship service to conclude the Music Councils. The Territorial Band provided the music and the Territorial Creative Arts Ensemble presented the call to worship. The message was given by Majors Chip and Leisa Hall, National Capital Area Commanders. This was followed by a Consecration of Talents, as the altar was opened as the band played All for Thee (Paul Kellner, arr. Steve Kellner), associated with Frances Ridley Havergal’s well-loved words “Take my life and let it be”.

The end of the meeting took the form of an extended “Hallelujah Windup”, beginning with a “Call to Praise” cornet fanfare by Manny Muñoz, followed by the NCV Divisional Praise Band presenting All Creatures of Our God and King. The NCV Divisional Creative Arts Ensemble offered Fight the Good Fight, using the voice and words of William Booth as an expression of praise.

For the bands, the final major item of the Councils was Leslie Condon’s timeless masterpiece The Call of the Righteous, with the Southern Territorial Band being joined by the National Capital Band and the NCV Divisional Youth Band, for a total of about 80 musicians. Then the Praise Band, Territorial Band, and Territorial Creative Arts Ensemble joined with the congregation for Be Lifted, led by Joel Collier’s powerful vocals. Following this, and closing remarks and acknowledgements, the final item of the Councils was all in attendance joining for a united vocal benediction, Ivor Bosanko’s setting of words based on Numbers 6:24–26, The Lord Bless Thee and Keep Thee.

After the Music Councils ended, the territorial groups traveled to Union Station in Washington, DC, where they performed ministry duties to the many homeless people in the area and then presented a concert in front of the station rather late in the evening, not getting back to their lodgings until nearly midnight.

Sunday Events

On Sunday morning, the territorial groups separated, with the Creative Arts Ensemble leading worship at the Northern Virginia Adult Rehabilitation Center and the Arlington Corps, and the band at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac, Maryland. After these worship services, the groups went the the C&O Canal Park (Great Falls), where they were able to relax and take in some breathtaking scenery.

The final event of the tour was a concert by the Southern Territorial Band at the Jefferson Memorial in the monumental heart of Washington, DC. The band was in formation at the base of the steps leading up to the domed memorial, next to the Tidal Basin, and listeners sat on the steps. It was a glorious sunny day and there were a large number of people in the vicinity, perhaps 600 – 800 in total hearing the group, many of them staying for the entire 40-minute concert. Concerts at the national memorials are excellent opportunities for witness, and the band took full advantage, with Bandmaster Simmons-Smith clearly announcing the intent to proclaim the name of Jesus several times during the concert.

Brass Crest Staff Report