The Salvation Army West End Community Church Gospel Arts Weekend was held on March 17 and 18th 2013, entitled "Time to be Holy." It was the Corps’ 22nd annual concert which began as a simple band concert on a Saturday night, but has now grown into an full Gospel Arts weekend. WECC is one of 5 corps in the Bermuda Division. Bermuda is a small island off of the coast of the Carolinas. It is a British Colony but comes under the SA Canada and Bermuda Territory. The WECC Corps is located at the western end of the 21 sq mile island in the Atlantic Ocean. Its band consists of nineteen-players from different walks of life, including business workers, Govt Officers, bankers and college students, all using their talents and abilities to honor God.
The guest for this year’s weekend was Bandsman Sheldon Fox II from the SA North Street Citadel in Bermuda. He recently graduated from University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. Sheldon has recently taken over the banding music program at a Government Middle School on the island. He is also developing his skills in brass band arranging and has written pieces for Army bands in Bermuda which he hopes to be published someday. Over the weekend Sheldon conducted the band and ministered on the piano.
The Saturday night concert was well attended. MC for the night was Divisional Bandmaster and Cedar Hill Citadel Bandmaster Warren Jones. Throughout the night, the band played several pieces from the Army's Unity Series, Scripture Based Songs and American Band Journal Publications. The concert kicked off with Dean Jones “Renewed”. This is a rousing high spirited piece featuring the songs “O Boundless Salvation”, “Be Thou my vision” and “The Power of Your love”. Then there was a welcome and opening prayer. There was a deliberate myriad of the Gospel Arts presented throughout the evening. Participants included a women’s Dance Ministry, the Praise & Worship Team from North Street Citadel, a ladies praise group from the Wesleyan Methodist Church, a Saxophone Soloist and a Trombone soloist from one of the corps YP Band members. Band Secretary Shonette Wilson and North Street Citadel CO Major Bruce Jennings united on the stage to sing an uplifting duet entitled ‘You are my Hiding Place’. The concert also featured soloists within the band. The first one was a new Horn Solo of ‘He Leadeth Me’ by Major George Twitchen, played by Tamiko Ramabuke. The other solo was a Flugelhorn Solo entitled ‘Through it All’ by Andrew Mackereth, featuring YP Bandmaster Jerome Astwood. Both these solos were accompanied by stirring Power Point Presentations.
The weekend was supported by the corps Mission Board and Corps Officers Majors Curtis and Cindy Butler. Major Curtis gave a stirring devotional on the subject of being Holy by using what we have in service to God. He illustrated this well by reflecting on the life of Moses and how he used his staff (rod).
The theme for the weekend was taken from Paul Sharman’s Song Arrangement “Time to be Holy”. The band did justice to the composer’s beautiful soul stirring interpretation of the song. The latter of the evening was occupied with familiar items as the band ‘worked out their Salvation in sound’. They played ‘Saints Alive’, ‘Heal the World’ and concluded the night with Lt Col. Dr Ray Steadman-Allen’s Unity Series March “Hands Across the Sea”. Those in attendance were heard saying that they received more than their monies worth and that they will be back again. There was a substantial donation made to the Corps by a local business during the Saturday night concert. All proceeds were given to support the Gospel Arts Ministries at the SA West End Community Church.
The Sunday morning service was also well attended. It was a glorious spring day, with the sun shining through the corps windows reflecting Gods radiance and love. The congregation celebrated and gave God thanks for the Gospel Arts ministers and ministries at the church.
The band led the congregation in welcoming the Holy Spirit into the sanctuary as they presented the worship song ‘When I look into You Holiness’ (arr Major Len Ballentine). This set the mood and spirit for the service. After prayer and a scripture reading by Major Cindy Butler, the Praise and Worship Team ushered the people into the Throne Room of God through lively and solemn choruses and testimonies.
During the tithes and offering Bandsman Sheldon Fox II warmed our hearts again with his elegant piano interpretations on old SA choruses. It is always good to remember where we have come from!
Part of that reflection was a Presentation Period in our worship. At this time the corps honored their longest serving Bandsman, 1st
cornet player Dwayne Bulford. After Dwayne’s birth doctors had said he would never be able to read nor write, let alone learn music or play an instrument. Our God is an awesome God and worked a miracle in Dwayne’s case. Bandsman Dennis Astwood and the WECC Band beautifully presented David Catherwood’s new cornet solo ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’. This was written at the request of the band for this special occasion as the song is one of Dwayne’s favorites. After the band played, Dwayne was presented with the Army’s 25 year Banding Long Service Award. He stood there proud as pictures were taken and the congregation congratulated him.
Major Curtis Butler spoke again on Gods Holiness and His plea to us as Christians in 2013 to use our Gospel Arts as an act of being Holy unto God. Afterwards there was a time of reflection in prayer.
In closing the band again accompanied the congregation in a rousing rendition of Commissioner Dick Krommenhoek’s song ‘I Dare to be Different’. Even after the benediction all were challenged to Be Holy and Different for Christ. The weekend culminated with a fellowship feast at the Salt Rock Grill with friends and family overlooking the pristine blue ocean.
The weekend was a huge success and we thank God for the opportunity to celebrate His Blessings and Praise His Name through the Arts. Submitted by : Jerome Astwood, Bermuda Division
to view pictures from the event.