50 years of music ministry: The Pendel Brass & Singers
One of the hallmarks of this 50th anniversary season has been a series of concerts celebrating God’s faithfulness in the past, present, and future. On March 8, at the East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church, the PBS presented “We’ve Come This Far by Faith,” using music from past PBS generations including “The High Council” march, the cornet trio The Victors, the scintillating euphonium solo “Euphony,” featuring soloist Adam Fyn, and the Evergreen Festival Finale, “The Call of the Righteous.” Vocal selections included favorites such as “We’ve Come This Far by Faith,” “Morning Prayer,” and “Stranger.”
In celebrating the past, the PBS gave a preconcert on March 29 at the Philadelphia (Citadel), Pa., Corps, followed by a look to the future by the Pendel Prep and Youth Music Forces. The Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division’s (PENDEL) seven regional music schools joined in a United Brass & Vocal performance that included dance, timbrels, and drama groups. Among the 110 youthful brass players were 70 cornet players! While the Youth Band and Chorus members look to someday become members of PBS, they already represent a standard to which the division’s newest musicians aspire.
Another 50th anniversary offering is a double CD release, which includes solos by alumnus Rachael Gulley, Andrew Garcia, David LaBossiere, and Bram Rader, the current accompanist. Recorded over two weekends during this season at Camp Ladore, among eleven brass tracks is the cornet duet “Quicksilver,” played by Derek Lance and Caleb Laidlaw, Martin Cordner’s exciting “Escape Velocity,” as well as the vocal presence of Major Margaret Davis in “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” The singers’ disc has 12 tracks, which include a medley of Ivor Bosanko songs entitled “Set My Singing Free,” as well as Lloyd Scott’s compelling “Room for Jesus.”
Fifty years ago, PBS had its first rehearsals under Bandmaster Ken Strehle. In March of 1964, the band played its first concert, and by the summer, it had made appearances at the New York World’s Fair. As many as 500 musicians and timbrelists have participated in PBS.
Today, there continues to be an opportunity to play God–honoring music alongside like–minded Salvationists, where faith and friendships are nurtured for a lifetime. Five bandmasters, 16 recordings, 10 tours, and 50 seasons later, PBS continues to serve faithfully at a consistently high level.
“As we engage in the events of this anniversary season, we look back on a marvelous heritage with deep respect,” said Harold Burgmayer. “Its past, present, and future are much more than the music. However, we are challenged, by God’s hand, to walk humbly forward, mindful of the generations to come. Long after the notes fade, the sound of our Father’s calling continues to seek sinners to His throne, and we pray that He continues to use us as His willing servants. We’ve come this far by faith! To God be the glory!”