On the 29th / 30th of March 2014 the Salvation Army West End Community Church held its annual Gospel Arts Weekend in the Bermuda Division. This was the 21st annual weekend and the theme this year was ‘Practical Praise’.
The Saturday night concert was held at the corps. It was a wonderful spring night of worship unto the Lord. The guest compere for the night was former CO Major Wendy Broome
(present St Georges Corps Officer). Guest conductor for the weekend was Bandsman Sheldon Fox II
(North Street Citadel). After a chorus medley prelude by Sheldon and the WECC Worship Team
the band started the night with Andrew Mackereth’s US Festival March – Maidenhead 125. This newly published work featured the songs ‘I want to Sing it’ and ‘In Christ Alone’. Major Cindy Butler (CO) opened the concert in prayer unto the Lord. After this, The Cedar Hill Citadel Christian Sisters with voices sang two numbers Lord you are Worthy
11 yr old Jahmir Celestine
was up next and wowed the crowd ‘signing’ to Tamala Mann’s gospel anthem ‘Break Every Chain’. This was Jahmir’s first solo performance and she did well. It was very powerful and practical. The band
then played James Anderson’s AIES Horn solo Christ the Lord is Risen Today. This variation type solo featured Tamiko Ramabuke on alto horn. The solo was played with much vigor and control. Other contributions from the band included Paul Sharman’s ‘Rescue Me!’ and Capt Martin Cordner’s Hannover Variations – Variation II. Both were well read and received by the audience. Midway through the concert Sheldon Fox II led those in attendance into the inner temple as he shared his worshipful piano interpretations. This was followed by one of the bands tributes to Erik Silverberg. Dennis Astwood and the band shared their message in his cornet solo of ‘People Need the Lord’. Then WECC CO Major Curtis Butler and the Cross Zone Team brought forth a drama reminding us that our Praise of God can be practical and effective. After this the corps Blacklight Mime Ministry presented a powerful and evoking presentation to the music of the song ‘Who Am I’. The band then played one of Silverberg’s last pieces to be published, ‘Precious Lord, take my Hand’. B/M Silverberg’s works will be a miss in SA Band Journals. What a practical yet productive arranger / composer he was! After the closing prayer and Benediction the band closed the evening of Praise with Morgan Juel Stavik’s Hymn Tune Arr of Deep Harmony from the American Band Journal. What a night it was, an evening of true Practical Praise through expressions of the Gospel Arts. All for His Glory!
The Sunday worship service was a continuation of Saturday night. The band was in fine form and led the service along with other corps GA members. The worship team led a great time of singing and praising. Several band members were called upon to pray for Children & Youth, the Gospel Arts and our Partners in Mission. This was followed by a video presentation of one of our partnering countries Liberia. It was good to see and allow God to focus our attention on those in need and our brethren overseas. During the tithes and offering the Sheldon Fox II led the band in Nick Simmons-Smith’s new AIES arrangement Total Praise. This was enjoyed by the band and congregation. Major Curtis Butler presented the Word. After a time of reflection the service concluded with the band playing Sheldon’s Tribute : March – Ft Frances Centennial which features the choruses ‘In the name of Jesus’ and ‘What a Mighty God we serve’. The band will be travelling to Ft Frances, Ontario Canada the 3rd of April 2014 to be guests at the Army’s Centennial Celebrations there. After the service the band, family members and corps folk joined in a Fellowship meal together thanking God for a great weekend! - submitted by Jerome Astwood