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The music-light and inviting

by Neil Smith –

The band purposely kept the music programming light. We featured our trombone section in Dick Krommenhoek’s “From That Scared Hill” and in music from the movie Sister Act. Captain Matt Madsen, DHQ Southern California, was featured as a trumpet soloist in Steve Bulla’s arrangement of “Joshua Swings the Battle” and John Docter, Pasadena Tabernacle Corps, dusted off his flugel horn for a stunning rendition of the William Himes classic “So Glad.” Our vocalist, Susan Pierce, brought prolonged applause every night when she sang “They Could Not,” arranged by Brian Bowen. Accompanying her, before the band joined in, was Hilary Lyons on the piano and Richard Bosanko on bass.

The band performed new works such as “Stars of the Morning” by Kenneth Downie, “Ascalon” by Ralph Pearce and “Wyndfield” by Ken Smith along with such Army classics as “Songs in Exile” by Eric Ball.

We featured pieces by composers in the band. Ralph Pearce’s “Heritage of Witness” and “Ascalon” have been mentioned already. Larsson’s “Just Like Juan,” a salsa version of Colonel Norman Bearcroft’s “Just Like John,” was well received everywhere.

The band also performed song accompaniments from the Hallelujah Chorus Series as well as American published works such as “Hallelujah!” and “Jubilation” by James Curnow, “In Good Company” by Dudley Bright and “Stars and Stripes” in the definitive version by my colleague Bandmaster William Himes.

Our major work for the trip was “Purcell Variations” by Kenneth Downie—not published by The Salvation Army but built around the hymn tune “Westminster Abbey”—the words of which say Christ is made the sure foundation, “Christ the head, the cornerstone.”

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