Territorial band plays Denver

Band performs several engagements in the Mile High City.

by Hilly Stoner and Neil Smith – 

Members of the Western Territorial Band experience severe weather conditions during their visit to Denver, Colo.

From all parts of the Western Territory, members of the Territorial Band arrived in Denver to be greeted by the third consecutive weekend winter storm. Undaunted by the weather conditions—although a little cold from trying to push a stuck bus—the band soon gathered to prepare for a variety of engagements ranging from a public rehearsal, a Silvercrest concert, workshops on a variety of musical expressions, a music festival, and a Sunday morning worship service—conducted by the band’s executive officer, Lt. Colonel Terry Griffin.

Local Salvationists and musicians immersed themselves in all that was presented. The Saturday afternoon public rehearsal demonstrated the enthusiasm and commitment of the band under the leadership of Bandmaster Neil Smith. The breakout workshops for brass, vocal and praise and worship that followed attracted interested local musical leaders and helped to show them how to develop and improve their own specific talents and enhance musical and worship arts at their local corps.

Braving ice and snow, over 140 people enjoyed the Saturday evening concert where the musical choices ensured something for everyone.

“Fanfare to Worship” (Stephen Ponsford) appropriately opened the Saturday evening festival. Right at the beginning the band, using the words of the song, stated “Come, now is the time to worship. Come, now is the time to give your heart.”

Compositions by Western Territory composers were included during the evening—“Salvation’s Song” (William Gordon) and “Sing Praise” (Ralph Pearce). Pearce is a member of the band’s trombone section.

The band’s soloists were highlighted. Kevin Larsson, trombone, featured “Fiesta!” (Peter Graham) and then was joined by the rest of his section in “From that Sacred Hill” (Dick Krommenhoek). The spotlight was then turned on the cornet section who heralded the start of the second half of the concert with “The King’s Trumpeters” (Norman Bearcroft).

After his devotional thought, Griffin introduced the band’s major work—“Purcell Variations” (Kenneth Downie) which is based on the tune “Westminster Abbey”—the associated words, translated by John M. Kneale—“Christ is made the sure foundation, Christ the Head and Cornerstone.”

The evening concluded with a spirited performance of “Toccata in D Minor” (J.S.Bach arr. Farr), which brought the congregation to its feet!

During the evening, the Divisional Commander, Lt. Colonel Raymond Peacock, installed Bandmaster Erik Dabis as the divisional music director for the Intermountain Division. His parents, Majors Warren and Dixie Dabis, held the flags for this occasion (Warren plays in the band’s tuba section).

The band’s final meeting of the weekend was the morning worship service at Denver Citadel. Members of the band shared their testimonies, proving food for thought and encouragement for the congregation and their fellow band members alike.

During the morning the band played “How Great Thou Art” (Peter Graham), “The Wonder of it All” (Ken Smith), and “He Giveth More Grace” (James Curnow). The band is a versatile group, and their praise team led a time of corporate singing. Percussionist Susan Pierce was also featured in a vocal solo, ably backed by members of the band.

The mission had been achieved—sharing the gospel, in our unique way, through music. The visit of the band inspired and encouraged local leaders and musicians to attain new heights and renewed commitments.

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