Young Salvation Army musicians polish skills at Gardner-Webb University
By: Major Frank Duracher
With an average age of 17, some 34 budding musicians were treated to a weekend of music instruction and performance when the Carolinas Divisional Youth Band visited the music department’s ministry partner, the School of Performing and Visual Arts at Gardner-Webb University.
The two-day event developed from an ongoing collaborative partnership between the CDYB and the Bible-based college located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
“This is our second collaborative event,” said Dr. Patricia Sparti, GWU chair of the Distinguished Artists Committee and professor of music. “Last summer, the division’s music groups and GWU presented a concert in uptown Shelby (North Carolina).”
The young musicians hit the ground running on Saturday morning, with intense practice that lasted well into the afternoon. Tim Hudson, principal trumpet with the world-renowned Carolina Brass, spent an hour working with the entire group.
Additional workshops were conducted by other Carolina Brass members, according to instrument sections: Trumpet/Cornet (Hudson); Horn (Bob Campbell); Trombone/Euphonium/Tuba (Dave Wulfeck); and Percussion (John R. Beck).
Tanner Shelton is principal trumpet/cornet for the CDYB, and a soldier of the Burlington, North Carolina, Corps. A sophomore at GWU, he is working towards a degree in music performance.
A free concert was offered Saturday night, showcasing the impressive progress of the young musicians and supported by Carolina Brass and members of the GWU Brass Choir. The program, held at the Dover Theater on campus, was the latest in GWU’s Distinguished Artists Series and The Alfred & Shirley Wampler Caudill Endowed Fund.
A massed band then filled the stage for the finale – Wagner’s Elsa’s Procession To The Cathedral – especially arranged for the occasion by Andrew Wainwright.
For Sunday morning worship, the CDYB was on duty at Dover Chapel on campus, with the message delivered by Pastor Tracy Jessup, GWU vice-president for Christian life and service.
Nathan Cole and Sam Mhasvi, CDYB leaders, came away from the weekend pleased with the instruction and performance of this talented group of young artists.
“The Salvation Army has a rich heritage in Christian music and the arts,” Cole said. “In the Carolinas, we provide a comprehensive program for youth and adults, where talents are nurtured for the glory of God.”
“This latest collaboration helped ‘raise the bar’ in what our young people can achieve and set a benchmark for future artistic outcomes,” Mhasvi said. “Our guys gained so much from performing and instruction with Carolina Brass and also being in and around the more experienced Gardner-Webb students.”
Brass banding is a developing genre in the South, and this weekend further enhanced and showcased the future music “all-stars” and leading citizens of North and South Carolina.
Major Frank Duracher, a former staff writer for The War Cry and the Southern Spirit, is a retired Salvation Army officer living in North Carolina.