The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) began its 2018–2019 season in traditional fashion with a retreat held at Camp Happyland in central Virginia. As usual, the retreat served as both a musical and spiritual foundation for the season. Spiritual matters were covered in breakout sessions, with attendees divided into three groups. Prepared by Band Sergeant Major Jim Shiels, the materials this year centered on the book Christ at the Door by Commissioner Phil Needham. The band also had a number of rehearsal sessions, reading through the new repertoire for the upcoming season. The retreat ended with a service of consecration led by the band’s Executive Officer, Major Chris Flanagan.
The band was happy to welcome a couple of visitors for the retreat. Tim Burleigh is a key member of the Divisional Youth Band who unfortunately is located too far from Divisional Headquarters to attend NCB rehearsals. The Band also welcomed former member Ruth Hayes for the retreat.
The band also welcomes several new members as the season begins. Kathleen Jensen returns to the band as principal horn after a few years’ absence. Three others join as they are “called up” from the Divisional Youth Band. Yadhira Ramirez comes in on first horn, Julie Flores on first baritone, and Hansam Jang on bass trombone. The new additions require some adjustments to their sections. Jason Collier moves from solo horn to first horn, Major Leisa Hall from first horn to second horn, Sarah Bryk from first baritone to second baritone, and John Adams from bass trombone to E♭ bass.
Sadly, a new season also means that some members of the band cannot return for various reasons. The band acknowledges the service of Wilber Hernandez (enlisted in the United States Marine Corps), Captain Karl Dahlin (appointed to the Salisbury, North Carolina Corps), and Jeff Schultz (relocated to Florida).