Faith in ActionMagazine

Profile Night 37

The Music of Major Thomas Mack

ProfileNight37_ins1Profile Night, now in its 37th year and hosted by the Salvation Army’s Greater New York Division, presents the music of the Army’s many outstanding composers. In the event’s long history, it takes on a different look each year as it involves various music groups or soloists. This year’s Profile Night featured the division’s own Major Thomas Mack who, along with his wife, Patricia, has been a member of the Army’s Hempstead (Citadel), N.Y., Corps (church) for 45 years.

Among other items on the program, Major Tom Mack led the Hempstead Citadel Songsters in singing “Through the Valleys,” a piece he wrote at a time of challenge after undergoing open–heart surgery. Since then, he’s sent the song to hundreds of people around the world to encourage them through their “valley” experiences (see ‘Through the Valleys’).

As song leader for the evening, Mack conducted the Hempstead Citadel Songsters and was accompanied by a band made of Hempstead Citadel and Spring Valley, N.Y., Corps instrumentalists. Also on the program were youth from the Queens (Temple), N.Y., Youth Band; White Plains, N.Y., Corps Singing Company; and the Westbury, Long Island, N.Y., Corps Timbrels. Philip Broome (on euphonium) and vocalist Danielle Beckvermit were soloists.

ProfileNight37_ins3Euphonium soloist Philip Broome, of the U.S. Army Band at West Point and a Spring Valley corps bandsman, presented “Tell the World.” Mack wrote this solo in 1985 for the New York Staff Band’s United Kingdom tour.

The more recently written cornet trio “As High as the Sky” featured soloists Christopher Ward, Charlie Knickerbocker, and Gordon Ward and was based on a popular Gowans and Larsson song. The combined bands conducted by Bandmaster Derek Lance and Bandmaster Christopher Ward included the marches “Shout Out” and “Hempstead Citadel” and the arrangement “More About Jesus.”

The White Plains Singing Company, led by Lily Finikin, and the Queens Temple Youth Band, led by Simon Morton, presented items written by Mack. Both groups displayed a confidence level that surpassed their ages.

…he’s sent the song to hundreds of people around the world.”
A highlight of the evening was Danielle Beckvermit’s singing of Mack’s arrangement of “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” A student at The New School’s Mannes School of Music’s graduate school in opera performance, Beckvermit’s vocalizations were clear and pure.

The tuba quartet “Russian Sailors Dance” was another challenging item arranged by Mack for low brass quartet. The tubists displayed their talents by playing extreme ranges with technique and articulation.

Mack presented a devotional based on Hebrews chapters 11 and 12. He also reflected on other “Profile” series guests who had positively influenced his life.

ProfileNight37_ins2Lt. Colonel Guy Klemanski, Greater New York divisional commander, presented a commemorative plaque to Major Mack. Joining him on the platform was his wife, Major Patricia Mack, daughter and son–in–law Brooke and Carlos, and granddaughter Sofia.

The evening ended with everyone singing Mack’s well–known song, “By His Hand,” set to the words of “He Leadeth Me.” Danielle Beckvermit, the combined bands, and the congregation filled the room with music.

The Lord has led Major Thomas Mack, and this night of celebration surely emphasized that fact.

— Thomas Scheibner is the
Assistant Territorial Music Secretary

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