The Salvation Army’s National Capital Area Command held its second annual “Thanks for Giving” concert on Sunday, 11 November 2018, at the Rachel Schlesinger Hall on the campus of Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Virginia. This seasonal concert has three themes: honoring military service and sacrifice (Veterans Day), giving thanks (Thanksgiving), and the kickoff of the Christmas season. The concert featured the National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) and noted gospel singer Anthony Brown and his ensemble, group therAPy.
Before the concert proper began, the National Capital Band played a brief prelude, consisting of Camp Happyland (James Anderson), Greater Things (Steve Kellner), and God Bless America (Irving Berlin, arr. William Himes). The first section of the program was the Veterans Day portion, honoring military service members. Fittingly, the concert began with the The Star-Spangled Banner, using Erik Leidzén’s classic arrangement, with fanfare. After words of welcome from the National Capital Area Commander, Major James Hall, the band continued with America the Beautiful (Carmen Dragon, arr. Steve Kellner). The Veterans Day portion of the concert concluded with Armed Forces Tribute (Stephen Bulla). During this item, which features the service songs of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines), members of each service in the audience were invited to stand as the song for their branch was played.
The Thanksgiving portion of the program is a way for the Salvation Army to give thanks for the many donors and other community supporters of their mission. Part of this is the Compassionate Citizen Award, given to a member of the community who has had a great impact on the community. This year’s recipient was Debbi Jarvis, Vice President of Corporate Relations at Howard University. Jarvis was previously Vice President of Corporate Relations for the local power company, Pepco, and before joining Pepco was a television news anchor for NBC4 – Washington. Unfortunately, Jarvis was unable to attend the concert because of a family obligation.
The band played 10,000 Reasons (arr. Steve Kellner) before a video showcasing one of the young Salvationist musicians from the Area Command was shown. This year’s focus was on Sangjun Lee (Landmark Corps). Lee grew as a musician through corps music programs and programs on the area and divisional level, and is in his second season on euphonium in the National Capital Band. The tribute consisted of a video presentation featuring Lee and showcasing the work of the various Salvation Army music programs. He then played the solo I Surrender All (David Chaulk, arr. Andrew Mackereth), accompanied by the band.
The band then left the stage as Anthony Brown and group therAPy came on. Brown, who serves as Assistant Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden (Maryland), rose to national prominence with the release of his second album, Everyday Jesus, earning a Grammy Award nomination, three Billboard Music Award nominations, and numerous Stellar Award trophies.
The program then moved into the Christmas phase, started by the National Capital Area Children’s Choir, led by Dr. Kate Wohlman, who sang Child of God (Emily Crocker), accompanied on piano by Kevin Downing. The band presented The Proclamation of Christmas (Stephen Bulla), and then the audience was invited to sing along with Shepherd’s Story (Steve Kellner), a medley featuring “Angels we have heard on high”, “O little town of Bethlehem”, and “Joy to the world”. The concert was brought into a more contemplative mood as the National Capital Area Vocalists, accompanied by Kevin Downing, sang Silent Night (arr. Rebecca R. Clark).
Major Hall returned with some words of appreciation before the finale of the concert. This was Little Drummer Bolero (Davis/Ravel, arr. Steve Kellner), featuring the National Capital Band, National Capital Area Children’s Choir, and Anthony Brown. Also featured was a drum line from the Area Command, anchored by members of the Solomon G. Brown Corps, a rousing finale to the Thanks for Giving concert.
Brass Crest Staff Report