Crescendo of Praise

by Joy Lee –

[Photos by Nikole Lim]

A resounding “Crescendo of Praise” filled the halls of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts theater on Saturday evening as all four territorial music groups—Territorial Band, Songsters, Youth Band, and Youth Chorus—participated in a two-hour presentation that captivated the audience with dynamic music and programming.

The evening was based on “The Present Age” by Leslie Condon, which walks through the Christian journey of well-meant intentions, challenges, re-dedication and service.

First steps on the journey
The program began as the Territorial Band played “Fill the world with Glory,” a brand new number written for the band by Kevin Larsson. Immediately following the overture, the Territorial Songsters’ prayer chorus, “Lord How I Love You,” ushered in a moment of prayer. Then, the Youth Band played the suite “On the Road,” which encapsulates the various stages of the Christian journey—adventure, sorrow and joy.

The voices of the Territorial Songsters—singing the William Tell Overture a capella while nestled in the theater’s box seats—kicked off the beginning of the Christian pilgrimage.

In between musical numbers, the territory sent off 24 members of the service corps teams and presented $6 million for world services.

Challenges along the way
The theme of offering and sacrifice continued as the songsters sang Commissioner Dick Krommenhoek’s arrangement of “My Life Must Be Christ’s Broken Bread.” Afterwards, to communicate the challenges and struggles associated with ministry, the Territorial Youth Chorus sang “Fix You,” followed by the territorial band’s rendition of Kenneth Downie’s “In the Love of Jesus.” The evening progressed with a crescendo as the music groups performed “Onward!” “He’s More than Wonderful,” (with soloist Barbara Allen), “Psalm of Celebration,” “Celebration of Contemporary Gospel Song” and “Cantad a Jehova.”

The finale, “The Present Age,” involved participants from Crestmont College and from the Long Beach, San Pedro, Pasadena Tabernacle, and Tustin Ranch corps, who provided visual interpretation with dance and choreodrama. The drama segments told the story that composer Condon tells through music, of a young evangelist eager to serve God until he is overwhelmed by his fears to face the crowd who reject his efforts. Dancers used bright blue fabric to re-create the water motif and express the peace that the main character finally discovers in his struggle in serving. In the end, the curtain rose to reveal a crowd of people marching to “Courage, Brother,” a song of affirmation to persevere and do the right in service despite challenges in ministry.

Bandmaster Richard Opina of the Sierra del Mar Division said, “The well thought out and well-performed program was both moving and exciting. I enjoyed the mixture of old classics and new works. Even as the almost two-hour evening came to a close I, as well as others in the audience, were standing and cheering for more. The Lord truly blessed all in attendance.”

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