Salvation Army band sets visit

Published 8:13 pm Friday, April 3, 2015

The Salvation Army National Capital Band performs at a recent event. The band will visit Suffolk next Saturday.

The Salvation Army National Capital Band performs at a recent event. The band will visit Suffolk next Saturday.

The Salvation Army’s renowned National Capital Band will visit Suffolk next week for two days of music, worship and other ministry events.

The 30-person brass band, which also includes a couple of percussion players, will give a concert on Saturday, April 11. It will be open to the public and start with meet and greet at 5:15 p.m. and a free concert at 6 p.m.

The concept of a Salvation Army band originated about the same time as the organization did, in 1865 in England.

Email newsletter signup

“That’s sort of during the golden age of brass banding in England,” Kellner said. “The two sort of got married up very early on in the Salvation Army’s history.”

Brass instruments are convenient to the Salvation Army’s mission, too. They’re mobile and are well suited for outdoor play because they are loud and resistant to a little bit of moisture such as rain or humidity.

“That was the whole idea when the Salvation Army started and was having meetings outside and all that sort of thing,” Kellner said.

The National Capital Band is one of several regional bands of the Salvation Army. It is turning 90 years old this year.

“It’s kind of a big birthday year for us,” he said.

Suffolk Salvation Army Corps Capt. Jim Shiels plays the euphonium in the National Capital Band.

“He’s definitely sort of a cut above as a musician,” said Kellner, who also plays the euphonium when he’s not conducting. He added that the trip to Suffolk has been planned “since Jim has been down there.” Shiels took over the Suffolk corps in June 2013.

Kellner said the band covers a range of styles and types of music.

“We draw from a bunch of different traditions,” he said, adding the band plays “typical band things like marches and overtures” as well as hymns and religious songs.

Planned especially for the Suffolk trip is a trombone solo based on the song “Down to the River to Pray” from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

“That’s one of the things brass bands can do,” Kellner said. “It’s pretty versatile in covering lots of different styles.”

He said the band receives a warm reception wherever it goes. People are often surprised at the professional sound coming from a group of people who mostly do other jobs for a living.

“Most people are a little bit shocked at the quality of it and just the sound of a brass band,” he said. “Lots of people haven’t heard that sound before.”

Following Saturday evening’s concert, the band will participate in worship at the regular Sunday service beginning at 10:45 a.m. All of the events take place at 400 Bank St.