Territorial Band premieres in Pasadena

Special guest vocalist Marjory Watson wows audience at territorial band’s first concert.

by Jeff Curnow – 

Former Western Territorial Music Secretary Ivor Bosanko’s dream of reinstating the Western Territorial Band has been realized. Disbanded in 1927, due to the Great Depression, the band was re-created, under Bandmaster Neil Smith, early in 2006 by Commissioner Philip Swyers.

The band staged its first full concert at the Pasadena Tabernacle Corps on Saturday, October 14. The concert featured a good blend of Army classic band pieces and newer, more contemporary arrangements.

Highlights included the march, “Celebration,” written by Leslie Condon for the Army’s centennial in 1965. Kevin Larsson (Torrance Corps) was featured as trombone soloist on “Fiesta.” The band concluded the first half of the concert with “Cossack Wedding Dance” by Peter Graham.

Marjory Watson (Regent Hall Corps, UK), a professional vocalist from London and a member of the International Staff Songsters, was the guest vocalist for the evening. Accompanied by her husband, Stuart, she sang beautifully. From Broadway to traditional spirituals, jazz or contemporary Christian, her wonderfully lyric voice added immensely to the evening. Watson has an excellent CD available —The Spark of Creation—contact your trade department for ordering information.

Of her brief trip to the west Watson said, “The internationalism of The Salvation Army and the common bond of our Christian faith gave us an instant connection…The highlight of our trip was the inaugural concert of the Territorial Band…The power of music when it’s handed over to God is amazing—what an exciting time lies ahead for this group!”

Second half highlights included the world premiere of Bandmaster Ralph Pierce’s “Sing Praise,” a Salsa-style arrangement of “What the Lord has done.” David Ferguson (Tustin Ranch Corps) demonstrated beautiful tone and technique on the euphonium solo, “Traveling Along,” arranged by Chris Mallett.

Watson really entertained with an animated rendition of “The Alto’s Lament,” a comical look at the lot in life of the oft-overlooked alto. A soulful interpretation of “Wade on the Water” set the mood for the devotional portion of the program.

The band’s presentation of Bill Himes’ beautiful, yet deceptively simple, arrangement of “Amazing Grace” amplified the meditative mood.

“The Present Age,” by Leslie Condon—one of the most difficult pieces in the Army repertoire—was the band’s final selection for the evening. Many in the audience were surprised by the band’s performance of this challenging Army classic after only one day of rehearsal.

The territorial band has been reborn and is off to a promising start. It will have a great ministry throughout the territory. Take advantage of future opportunities you may have to hear them.

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