Marching Onward!

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Well I promised you all an update and here it is! It’s been a great weekend here in my neck of the woods. On Friday I went to my first post-hardcore rock show of the new year: Mega Fest Detroit! This awesome event was held at the Compuware Arena in Plymouth and featured seven great bands: Northlane, Attila, Wilson, Issues, Of Mice & Men, We Came as Romans (they were my favorite, of course), and Bring Me the Horizon. An entire album of pictures from that event can be found on my FB page. Collin and I had a great time. All seven bands were on a mission that night: one great rock show could change the world…and it did! It was a spectacular night…culminating in going over to help tear down from our annual RadioThon event that DHQ runs at the mall. About $1.2 million was raised in a single day! Awesome!

I was home alone this weekend while the rest of my family ventured out to Kentucky for a meeting of the “Sound of Africa” band retreat with B/M Rick Potter (I first met him in 2012 at the NACF) in charge. They returned around an hour ago and a wonderful weekend was had. I spent the entire Saturday I had to myself by myself with Netflix and my computer writing/composing. It was fun :).

Sunday (today) was a very good day, I felt. We were treated to the Royal Oak Citadel YP Band (B/M Matt Coakley) and their first live performance of Andrew Mackereth’s “Dance Like David,” (T.S. 1180) a piece of music that was very popular back when it was published around 2008. It’s still a fine contribution to any concert/festival, famous for its four-bar drum solo section. The YP Band’s performance featured Noah Roberts on the trapset, and a fine job he did. Bill Roberts and Dick VanderWeele, eat your heart out! I also got to see people I haven’t seen in quite some time, such as my grandparents Max & Ruth Wood (having been snowed in for the past couple of weeks) and Byron Simmons, a great friend/mentor in my life. We were also treated to a great message by Capt. Catherine Mount on Hosea 14, a book I don’t read too often. There’s a lot of good material in there. After some food & fellowship with some good friends, we were back at the Corps for a United Holiness meeting. Now if you thought the attendance at our Corps on a regular Sunday morning was good, you should’ve seen the congregation at this afternoon service. It was literally a full house! The meeting definitely harkened back to the Salvation meetings of the old days and much of the band’s repertoire reflected that (featuring marches such as Collaroy, Amsterdam Congress, Cairo Red Shield, Marching Onward, and Charles Skinner’s “Songs of the Soldier” medley) while also giving praise and glory to God with the repertoire of the Songsters (A Jubilant Song!, Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord). The special guests for the meeting were Lt. Col. Dan & Rebecca Sjogren, who are famous in my life for being the very officers who dedicated me in that very chapel around twenty years ago! Lt. Col. Dan brought a powerful message complete with some Elvis-style singing and you could tell that the Holy Spirit was totally working in that place.

In the realm of composing, I have really been cracking down hard on the song setting requested by B/M Jerome Astwood. Since I have school off this week (Hallelujah!), it could very well be finished sometime soon! Two sections down and two to go! After that is finished and edited, I think my next priority would be to write a bit of my own volition and finish the arrangement on “10,000 Reasons” I started not too long ago. I do think this little hiatus I’ve taken from it will give me a fresh mind when I come back and revisit it. While doing that, I’ll also continue to come up with ideas for both my march for the Eastern Michigan Divisional Band (B/M Tom Hanton) and my “six minutes & splashy” piece for Nick Simmons-Smith and the Southern Territorial Band. The song “Mighty to Save” has been in my head recently, so that may be a part of this new piece of music that will probably be along the same lines as “Amazing Grace!” and “Whom Shall I Fear?“. Only time will tell, though. I will say that writing music to praise and give glory to God is a huge passion of mine. I love watching the progression as my pieces begin to get better and better…not saying they’re all great, but how far I’ve come in skill and how much farther I still have to progress. Praise God!

This upcoming weekend marks the very first meeting of the Territorial Youth Band & Chorus of the Central Territory. Following an extensive audition period, the roster for the band/chorus has been finalized and we begin our retreat of rehearsals out at Camp Wonderland this weekend. A lot of great pieces of music are on the repertoire list as we prepare for our premiere performance at this year’s Commissioning Congress. Pray for our leaders (Bill Himes, Peggy Thomas, Joe Caddy, Meghan Pierson), the staff, and the students that we all get something out of this weekend more than just advancing our musical prowess, but the true reason why those pieces of music were written: to give glory to God. It will also be a great time of fellowship as we see our CMI-brethren again.

Thank you for those who still remain interested in these updates! Hopefully another one will come soon!

F.M.

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