God’s promise, our thanks

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Pasadena Tabernacle Band presents annual Thanksgiving festival.


How long has this been going on? We’re really not sure. We do know that the Tab band has been presenting an annual Thanksgiving festival continuously since at least 1943, but the event probably goes back much further than that. (If you know, we’d love to hear about it!)

Promise…A Festival of Thanksgiving was presented by the band on Saturday, November 11. In a tribute fitting Veteran’s Day, the band presented the “National Hymn (God of our Fathers)” in honor, and in memory, of Veterans everywhere.

The Tab band performs this annual concert to praise God and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. The theme “Promise” refers to God’s promise—the covenant He has already made with each of us. In celebration the band played a truly varied program—pieces in classical, swing, and march styles joined timbrelists in Cossack costume—lending an air of joy and novelty to the program.

Guest soloist, Michael Baker is a graduate of the Julliard School of Music. A freelance trumpet player in the New York area, Baker has performed with several Broadway shows, and frequently plays with the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Symphony and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In addition to his professional musical responsibilities, Baker gives of his time as the deputy bandmaster for The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel Band and plays in the New York Staff Band.

Baker was flawless—demonstrating wonderful tone and precise technique—in his performance of several solos, including: “You lift me up”, “Carnival of Venice”, “Silver threads among the Gold”, and “Standing on the Promises”. Baker was joined by Tab solo cornet player and Songster Leader Martin Hunt to perform the well-known and challenging duet, “Quicksilver”. Hunt responded to what many might consider an intimidating situation with characteristic aplomb, and the two played beautifully together.

What about the “Promise?” As a statement of praise for God’s gracious promise of salvation, the band performed Bruce Broughton’s, “Covenant”. The piece—written in 1970—still sounds quite contemporary. It is demanding for both the performers and the audience, as it depicts the Christian’s choice to accept God’s will for his life in spite of the constant intrusion and distractions of the world.

Thus, the true purpose of such an event was made clear: to draw the listener closer to Christ. After all the practice, prayer and hard work, that is the only reason that Salvation Army bands exist. Year after year, the Tab band—as do all Army musicians—strives to meet this standard. We hope that this showed in our playing and in our service.

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