By John Lam
The latest installment of the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ series is another fine addition to what has become a staple ‘go-to’ resource associated with the USA Central Territory’s canon of music publications. The combination of functionality and accessibility,
using a rich variety of genres for a wide range of instrumentation, remains at the core of what this series has been serving up for over two decades, and this latest edition does not disappoint.
The ten arrangements of volume 27, crafted by Eric Alexander, Leonard Ballantine, Stephen Bulla, Dr. Harold Burgmayer, Martin Cordner, Sam Creamer, William Himes, Roger Trigg and Andrew Wainwright, are drawn from carefully chosen and theologically sound songs that are guaranteed to resonate with multiple generations of worshipers. To sample just a few of the offerings takes you on a journey through styles and genres, from the most traditional I’m set apart for Jesus, to a power ballad, Build my life, a second line swing version of At the Cross and even a Christmas offering in All is well. All arrangements are universal in their appeal and memorable for the participants to
return to them again in future worship services.
From a congregational standpoint, their pure 'sing-ability' is equal to their flexibility in accommodating the wide range of instrumentation and abilities that our diverse ‘Army’ employs around the globe. Whilst extremely playable for praise bands with basic keyboards or piano, parts are also provided for vocal, punch brass, guitars and drum kit. If your corps has a brass band available, these accompaniments function perfectly with just five parts, yet sound magnificent with medium to larger ensembles, especially when supported by a full complement of diverse percussion parts. Concert winds parts are also available for even more flexibility.
From a corps/staff bandmaster’s perspective, these arrangements not only represent a vital approach to blended worship practices, but also provide an opportunity to teach unique ensemble techniques necessary for a wider variety of genres. From the 27 volumes now available, these enjoyable arrangements have done much to unite instrumentalists and vocalists of all generations in experiencing the joy inherent in all styles and expressions of praise and worship.
The Chicago Staff Band
Bandmaster: Dr. Harold Burgmayer
Carlos Navarro – guitar
Tom Hanton – bass guitar
Jennifer Herndon – piano
Chris Hofer – drums