photo by Laura Dake

Southern Territorial Band Represented at North American Brass Band Festival in Long Beach

By: Nick Simmons-Smith

The Southern Territorial Band joined four other pre-eminent bands in the North American Brass Band Festival in Long Beach, California, May 19–22, 2016.

The event was a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Western Territorial Staff Band and brought together all the Salvation Army staff bands from North America:  Canadian Staff Band (John Lam), Chicago Staff Band (Harold Burgmayer), New York Staff Band (Ronald Waiksnoris), Southern Territorial Band (Nick Simmons-Smith), and, of course, the host band Western Territorial Staff Band (Neil Smith.)

After arrival in Los Angeles and a rehearsal in the 3,000-seat Terrace Theater, the band settled into its accommodations at the Queen Mary – now a floating hotel and the best lodging bargain available in popular Long Beach.

After a day of rehearsal at nearby Tustin Ranch Corps, the band enjoyed a banquet with the other musicians.  A rich, unique fellowship exists between Salvation Army bands, evident as everyone greeted old friends and made new ones.

Friday’s massed band rehearsal featured all five bands as they played Eric Ball’s magnificent “The Kingdom Triumphant” and Gowans and Larsson’s hymn tune “Someone Cares.”

Saturday included outdoor concerts by the Western Territorial Youth Band and two local divisional youth bands.  An afternoon concert in five parts – featuring each band – followed.   The Southern Territorial Band played “Intrada: A Mighty Fortress!” (Kellner), “A prayer for Courage” (Andrew Barrington, soloist Jeffrey Barrington), “Trombone feature: Let there be peace on earth” (Simmons-Smith) and “The Great Salvation War” (Curnow) conducted by the composer.   All four pieces were written by members or former members of the territorial band.  All four pieces are also featured on the band’s latest recording, “War and Peace.”

The evening concert was a celebration of Christian brass band music. Each band marched into the auditorium to the march “Roll Call” (Broughton). Highlights included Dr. Philip Wilby’s, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” based on the Christian allegory written by John Bunyan; the band singing “Jesus Thou Art Everything to Me”; and a Hollywood-style opener by Kevin Larsson that featured each band on its own.  The Southern Territorial Band rose to play “When the Saints” with typical fervor.

On Sunday morning the band led worship at Riverside Corps. Lt. Colonel William Mockabee, STB executive officer, preached on the “Postures of Prayer.”  The band led worship through the playing of “Prayer for Courage,” “Cantad a Jehova” (Gates) featuring Manny Munoz on trumpet, a testimony by bandsman Jeremy Rowland and an altar call solo “I Surrender” played exquisitely on the flugelhorn by Darryl Crossland. Many people came forward to pray at the altar during the playing of this arrangement of Phil Laeger’s song.

After the traditional Southern Territorial postlude of “Celebration” (Condon), the band traveled to Disneyland to participate in a massed band march through the park! Thousands of people witnessed The Salvation Army lift the name of Jesus higher through the “happiest place on earth.”