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capNational Capital Band Performs Christmas Concert in Richmond

The Salvation Army National Capital Band, under the direction of Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner, presented a Christmas Concert at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Richmond in early December, marking the band's second visit to the church for what has become an annual concert in Richmond.

Organized by Bandmaster Matt Sims, School of Performing Arts Director for The Salvation Army in Central Virginia, the event drew an audience of more than 600 people.

As the audience members entered the church, they were greeted by a brass ensemble of students from the School of Performing Arts. The ensemble, despite cold conditions, played carols outside the main entrance to the church.

The concert kicked off with Fanfare on "O Come, All Ye Faithful", composed by Bandmaster Kellner. The concert took the form of a dialog, with the band's executive officer, Major James Allison, reading passages of Scripture related to the story of Christmas between the band items.

A special feature was the participation of a select chorus of students from the School of Performing Arts who sang a medley of Christmas favorites accompanied by an ensemble from the band.

The band's only soloist for the afternoon was soprano cornet Noel Morris, who played Stephen Bulla's O Holy Night.

Other items from the band included another Bulla work, The Proclamation of Christmas; For Unto Us a Child Is Born (arr. William Gordon) from Handel's "Messiah"; Coventry Carol (Robert C. Schramm); the Trepak and March from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker (both arranged by Keith Wilkinson); Little Drummer Bolero (arr. Steve Kellner); and Leonard Ballantine's swing arrangement of Go Tell It.

Major Allison gave a brief devotional thought, and announced an initiative to raise $100,000 to continue the School of Performing Arts program. Proceeds from voluntary donations (tickets to the concert were free) placed in kettles in the church lobby were applied to this effort.

Captain David Worthy, area commander for Central Virginia, offered acknowledgements and thanks to the church staff and the NCB, before the band sent the audience home "tapping their toes" with Erik Leidzén's classic Christmas Joy.

The National Capital Band would like to thank a few players who joined us for this concert to fill in for absent members: Jim Squirrel and Dean Sims on solo cornet, Jan Sims on horn, and Melinda Ryan on Eb tuba.


musicSalvation Army Musicians Vital Part of Christmas Season and Red Kettle Campaign

For the fourth consecutive year, The Salvation Army in Central Virginia utilized musicians throughout the Red Kettle Campaign, supplementing the traditional bell ringer.

Several full time musicians returned from last year, including; Dean Sims, cornet; Jan Sims alto horn; Steve Sutton, cornet; and Melissa Little, alto horn. This campaign also included several new musicians, including; Jim Squirrell, cornet; and John Adams, trombone.

This campaign also, for the first time, included volunteer musicians from the United Kingdom who arrived in Central Virginia to participate in two-week intervals.

These musicians included; Bevan Spencer, euphonium, from Yorkshire, England; Racheal Power, cornet, from Waringstown, Northen Ireland; David Blackmore, cornet, from Oxford, England and Ken Freeman, euphonium, from Llaelly, South Wales.

Each day, these musicians played at a Red Kettle location, performing Christmas carols for upwards of six hours.

The musicians were also involved in special events including an indoor concert at Chesterfield Towne Center, two performances at Short Pump Town Center and participation in the National Capital Band Concert in Richmond.

They also visited several retirement home, including Lakewood Manor, Emeritus at Deep Run and Chesterfield Heights, playing to audiences ranging between 50-80 people.

On Sundays, they attended various Salvation Army churches in throughout Central and Northern Virginia.

"These musicians had a profound impact on people's lives throughout the season, and gave many great blessings," said Matt Sims, The Salvation Army School of Performing Arts Director.

"The ministry provided was immense and many prayers, chats and hugs were given out to people who really needed someone to care for them, even if it was just for a few minutes."

"Once again, it was a Christmas to remember and it is my hope that next year, even more musicians will be part of the experience." 


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