The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) officially began its 2013 – 2014 season in its traditional fashion with a retreat at Camp Happyland. The members of the band gathered on the evening of Friday, 6 September 2013 for a time of musical and spiritual preparation for the upcoming season.
This year’s retreat was exceptionally well-attended, with only three members of the group unable to attend. The format was the same as that used in previous years, with five rehearsal sessions (one on Friday night and four on Saturday) interspersed with meals and with three breakout devotional sections, ending with a consecration service on Saturday afternoon. This format was introduced by Bandmaster Kellner at the first retreat held under his leadership (2010) and has proved to be very effective at preparing the band for their season of ministry.
During the breakout sessions, members of the band were divided into four groups for a time of sharing and prayer. Devotional materials for the sessions, prepared by Major Rob Reardon (Band Chaplain), centered around the Bramwell Coles song Here at the Cross. James Curnow’s meditation on this song is one of the band’s primary devotional selections for this season. Each session looked at a verse of the song and the consecration service wrapped up the theme with an emphasis on the last line of the chorus, “Lord, for Thy service, fit me I plead”.
The rehearsal sessions, each one hour in length, were intense as usual. They serve to introduce new repertoire and to allow the band to begin coming together as a unit, particularly for members who have changed seats or are joining the band.