National Capital Band Visits Lynchburg, Virginia

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Ian Anderson) traveled to the central Virginia city of Lynchburg for the weekend of 22 - 23 February 2003. During the weekend, the band participated in a “Concert for America” on Saturday evening, performing works with a patriotic American theme in conjunction with the Brookville High School Symphonic Band (Director Bryan J. Ralls) and the Hyland Heights Baptist Church choir (Director David G. Dalton). The band also played in the Sunday morning services at Hyland Heights Baptist Church.

The band departed from the Fairfax, Virginia Corps early on the morning of Saturday, 22 February, for the four-hour journey to the central Virginia valleys. The weather was less than pleasant, as the winter storms that had battered the middle Atlantic area in the preceding weeks had given way to torrential rains. Following a brief lunch stop, the band arrived at the Hyland Heights Baptist Church, which was the base of operations for the weekend.

The evening concert commenced at 7:00 pm with comments from Reverend Carl Weiser, senior pastor of Hyland Heights Baptist Church, immediately followed by the presentation of the colors by the 2/317/2/80th Drill Sergeant Color Guard, based in Lynchburg. The Brookville High School Symphonic Band played The Star-Spangled Banner. The Symphonic Band continued with two works, When Angels Weep (David Schaffer) and Gathering at the Ranks of Hebron (David Holsinger). Both works showed the versatility and skill of the young musicians, under excellent leadership from their band director, Bryan Ralls.

The Brookville High School Symphonic Band has been chosen to participate in the National Invitational Band and Orchestra Festival, which will be held 18 – 19 April in the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the premier orchestral concert hall in the United States. The Saturday evening concert was a fundraiser for the Brookville band, with over $2000 collected in a free-will offering.

Following a congregational song, the National Capital Band took the stage. They began their portion of the program with the A.R.C. Centennial March, written by former National Capital bandmaster Stephen Bulla. This was followed by the Prelude on “Darwalls” (Kenneth Downie). Bandsman John Snelson gave a personal testimony, outlining “Three Reasons Why I’m a Christian”. This was followed by vocal soloist Deborah Bearchell, singing You’ll Never Walk Alone (Rodgers and Hammerstein, arr. William Himes) with the band accompanying. Just before the intermission, the band provided one of the highlights of the evening with the Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla). This piece presents songs associated with the five branches of the United States Armed Forces (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines). With the house lights up, members of the audience who had served or were related to those who had served were invited to stand when the tune for their branch was played.

Five brass players from Brookville High School (Matt Farley and Craig Kompelien, trumpet; Andrew Farley and Kevin Moorman, trombone; and T. J. Jackson, baritone) joined the National Capital Band after the intermission. Two pieces, both arranged by William Himes, were presented: the march God and Country, and a fanfare on the National Hymn, God of Our Fathers.

The concert then shifted in a vocal mode, with the Hyland Heights Baptist Chruch Choir, directed by Minister of Music David G. Dalton. The choir presented three songs: High and Lifted Up (Jimmy Fedorkevich); Come, Let Us Bow Down (Nathan DiGesare and Dan Scott), featuring soloist Tanya Ziedler; and Sweet Aroma of Praise (Jimmy Fedorkevich), featuring a flügelhorn solo by Brookville High band director Bryan Ralls. The offering for the evening, which was designated to help with the cost of the Brookville Symphonic Band’s trip to Carnegie Hall, was collected. During the collection, the National Capital Band played an arrangement of the worship song Be Still for the Presence of the Lord (David J. Evans, arr. Andrew Blyth).

Dr. Wayne Kompelien is Associate Professor of Music at Liberty University. An accomplished opera singer, he founded the opera program at Liberty and has produced numerous opera productions there since 1986. He currently serves as president of the Virginia chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

The choir and band then joined together for two items to conclude the concert. Dr. Wayne Kompelien of Liberty University in Lynchburg was the featured soloist for God Bless America (Irving Berling, arr. Alex Smith and Bob Clemons). This was followed by the Battle Hymn of the Republic (arr. Peter J. Wilhousky). Following a bendiction, the Brookville High School brass players again joined the National Capital Band in a spirited rendition of The Stars and Stripes Forever (John Philip Sousa).

On Sunday morning, the National Capital Band returned to Hyland Heights Baptist Church, participating in both of the morning services. The band was joined by a former member, Janet Cunningham (baritone), who now lives in the Lynchburg area and was instrumental in arranging the weekend. The band provided preliminary music, music for praise and worship singing, and accompaniment for the choir in both services. Pieces used included Give thanks with a grateful heart (Henry Smith, arr. Leonard Ballantine), Be Still for the Presence of the Lord, In His Presence (Dick and Melody Tunney, arr. David Catherwood), and Amazing Grace (arr. William Himes). The band again accompanied the choir for God Bless America, with Tom Plyter as soloist, and the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Source: Brass Crest Staff Report