SAWSO Benefit Concert

On the afternoon of Saturday, 30 April 2011, a musical festival was held at the Alexandria Citadel Corps for the benefit of the Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), featuring the Arlandria Brass (Bandmaster Keith Morris) and the Landmark Songsters (Songster Leader Kyungnan Lee). The event was organized by Noel Morris of Alexandria Citadel, and was somewhat unique in that it was driven entirely by soldiers, with a minimum of officer involvement.

Created especially for this event, the Arlandria Brass consisted of 29 musicians representing eight different corps in two divisions: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Landmark and Richmond in the National Capital and Virginia Division; and Baltimore (Middle River) and Frederick in the Maryland and West Virginia Division. The group was led by Bandmaster Keith Morris of the Arlington Citadel Corps. The Alexandria Citadel Band graciously gave up four of their regular weekly rehearsals to allow the Arlandria group time to prepare for the event.

The Arlandria Brass got things started with Fanfare to Worship (Steven Ponsford). Captain Ken Argot, corps officer of the host corps, Alexandria Citadel, serving as the compère for the afternoon, gave some words of welcome and an invocation. This was followed by Norman Bearcroft’s march Long Point.

The Landmark Corps is a Korean ministry that originally grew out of meetings at Alexandria Citadel, and is now a full-fledged corps co-located with the Fairfax Corps. For many years, they have been known for their fine songster brigade, and the current group is no exception. In their first set, they sang two songs: Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart (George Croly/Dwight Gustafson) and You Were Born to Receive Love from God (Minsup Lee). Even when singing in a language which most in the audience did not understand, the warmth and intensity of their performance brought forth the message embedded in the music.

The band then presented two contrasting items. First was the joyous We Will Rejoice! (Erik Silfverberg), featuring the familiar song “This Is the Day”. Next was Leonard Ballantine’s moving arrangement of I Know Thou Art Mine, with Commissioner Unsworth’s timeless melody associated with the words of “My Jesus, I love thee”. The congregation was given the opportunity to participate by singing “In the Love of Jesus”.

Lt.-Colonel Joan Canning, Director of SAWSO, was scheduled to give a presentation on the work of the organization. Unfortunately, her flight was delayed coming back from the National Advisory Organizations Conference in Florida, and she was unable to do so. Graciously and ably stepping in for her was Bram Bailey, director of program for SAWSO. Bailey gave an overview of the office, which was established as a part of the USA National Headquarters of the Salvation Army in 1977. SAWSO supports programs in more than 40 of the poorest countries where the Salvation Army is working, leveraging funds of about $25 million per year into a number of effective programs by engaging with local Salvation Army programs and other relief agencies. He also specifically mentioned the role of the Salvation Army in disaster relief in Haiti and Japan.

Following the presentation, the Arlandria Brass presented their major work for the afternoon, Ray Bowes’s suite Crown of Gold. This was followed by another song from the Landmark Songsters, The Holy City (F. E. Weatherly/Stephen Adams, arr. Camp Kirkland). The band continued with another rousing item by Erik Silfverberg, Shalom.

The event ended with another item for the congregation to sing, O Church Arise (Getty/Townend, arr. Stephen Bulla). The band gave a stirring postlude with Winterthur Centenary (Ray Bowes), before all present were treated to a spaghetti dinner, with a minimum donation of $5 per diner earmarked for SAWSO.

Source: Brass Crest Staff Report