Concert part of anniversary celebration

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by James Anderson, Divisional Music Secretary – 

Amidst the lofty splendor of the over 100 year old Lake Avenue Presbyterian church, the Pasadena Tabernacle band and songsters presented a Thanksgiving Festival of Praise as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of the Pasadena Tabernacle corps and the 115th anniversary of the commencement of the “Army” work in Pasadena.

Special guests for the occasion were General John Gowans, Commissioner Gisele Gowans, Staff Bandmaster William Himes and his wife, Linda Himes. To have such wonderful leaders and powerful communicators, participating throughout the weekend, was a rare and unique privilege.

A large congregation, including many former soldiers of the corps, had gathered from all over the world to celebrate this very special event. The first line of the opening congregational song seemed to perfectly sum up the atmosphere: “We Gather together to ask the Lords blessing”.

Much of the music featured was new and as yet unpublished repertoire from the pen of Bandmaster Himes and was being presented by the “Tab” band for the first time. The cornet solo “Caprice for Cornet”, was played with consummate skill, artistry and seemingly effortless ease by principal cornetist John Doctor. The selection ‘Endless Praise’ featuring three well-known gospel songs, “How Marvelous”, “Blessed Assurance” and “Joyful Joyful”, proved to be a great crown pleaser.

The Tabernacle Songsters, recently returned from a highly successful evangelical campaign in New Zealand were in sparkling form. Under the masterful leadership of Songster Leader Martin Hunt, the group thrilled the large and appreciative congregation. Towards the end of their second set of songs the songster leader invited all former tabernacle songsters to join the brigade on the platform to sing a favorite from their repertoire “Carry the Light”. The thrill of hearing 125 voices sing with passion, intensity and verve “Go ye into all the world” will be, for this listener, a vivid memory for many years to come.

A number of former music leaders of the corps were present, including Dr. Bandmaster Ronald Smart of Australia, who conducted the scintillating Festival march “The Witness”. Bandmaster William Gordon, who for almost twenty years directed the Tabernacle band, provided a new composition. The premier of his majestic and stately “March Triumphal” was warmly received.

Bandmaster Himes, recognized not only as a composer but also as a euphonium soloist featured his emotionally profound and moving solo “My Christ is all in All”.
The beautiful soprano voice of songster Barbara Allen is known and loved by countless thousands, through her recordings. One of the many highlights of the evening came when Barbara accompanied by her husband Steve on the piano and supported by the band and songsters gave a thrilling rendition of the Carol Cymbala classic “He is the Same”.

The concert was brought to an exciting instrumental conclusion with the performance of another unpublished composition, “The words of the Amen”. Featuring the band, singers and narrator, this piece seeks to capture the joy to be experienced when “One day we shall be like Him” and “We shall see him face to Face.”

As a final paean of praise the congregation rose together and sang with unity of spirit and grateful hearts Charles Wesley’s powerful hymn “Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God, shouldst die for me”.



Her rich French accent bringing additional emphasis to the depth of her

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