Tag Archives: retreat

NCB Retreat 2018

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).

2013 - 2014 Season Gets Under Way

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.

Annual Retreat 2011

The National Capital Band of the Salvation Army, based in Washington, DC, began its 2011 – 2012 season with the Annual Band Retreat held at Camp Happyland in central Virginia. This was the second weekend in a row at camp for the band, who the weekend before supported the divisional Family Camp. The theme chosen by Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner for this year’s Band Retreat was “Unity”.

Continuing with the style established last season, the retreat alternated between rehearsal sessions and small group “breakout” sessions, which emphasized the spiritual and relational aspects of the band, focusing on the theme for the weekend. The culmination of the retreat was a service of consecration held on Saturday afternoon.

Attendance at the retreat this year was outstanding, with only two members of the band unable to participate because of other important commitments. The band read through much of the repertoire for the upcoming season in the five rehearsal sessions. As usual, the retreat was a time to allow new members and those with changed roles to become familiar with their positions.

For the breakout sessions, the band was divided into four groups, which met separately. Because of the number of new members, each group included at least one. The groups were also structured so that a range of experience was included in each. The sessions served both as means for the members to become more familiar with each other and also as a spiritual point of focus. The concept of the breakout groups, which was introduced in last year’s retreat, is regarded by many in the band as the most significant part of the rehearsal weekend.

Annual Band Retreat 2010

“New Beginnings” was the theme for the annual Family Camp for the National Capital & Virginia Division this year, and the same spirit carried through the following weekend (10 – 11 September 2010), when the National Capital Band gathered at Camp Happyland for their annual Band Retreat. With a new bandmaster, Dr. Steve Kellner at the helm and seven new players joining the band this season, the band is indeed experiencing “new beginnings”.

The Band Retreat has been the first official engagement of each season for the NCB for many years. It is intended as a time to perform organizational tasks, read through the upcoming repertoire, and set the band up both musically and spiritually for their mission. This year, Bandmaster Kellner instituted significant changes in the schedule of the retreat, with more emphasis on the spiritual and social aspects of the group.

Rehearsal sessions were reduced from 90 minutes to 60, but were increased in number from three to five. After each rehearsal session, the band broke into four groups, with each member (and family members who were in attendance for the retreat) participating through each group in a round-robin fashion. The groups, using materials provided by the Band Chaplain, Captain Rob Reardon, were so effective that the rehearsal sessions on Saturday were further shortened to allow more time for them. These devotional group sessions set the band on firm spiritual footing for the upcoming season. After the final rehearsal session on Saturday, Major James Allison, the band’s Executive Officer, led a short service of consecration which ended with most of those present kneeling in prayer at the recently-dedicated altars in the Happyland chapel.

Musically, the band was introduced to the new repertoire. Bandmaster Kellner has chosen a number of challenging items this year, and with only two items retained from the previous season, intense rehearsal is to be anticipated. Highlights of the repertoire include the prelude and fugue Arise, My Soul, Arise (Dean Goffin), Bruce Broughton’s The Good Old Way, the sublime and powerful meditation Serenity (Eric Ball), Variations on “O Worship the King” composed by Bandmaster Kellner, and Martin Cordner’s energetic Let Everything Praise!.

The National Capital Band is fortunate to have some outstanding young players, including principal cornet David Delaney, 27, and principal trombone Kevin Downing, 18. This season’s repertoire includes major solo items for both of them, with Bandmaster Kellner choosing two complementary works, based on spirituals, by Ray Steadman-Allen. These are the cornet solo Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals and Fantasy for Trombone on Spirituals.

As with most years, a few members of the band were unable to attend the retreat because of work or other commitments. Three former members of the band returned to help fill in these gaps: Sam and Stephanie Funkhouser, on euphonium and horn respectively, and Rick Potter on E♭ bass. Their participation in both the rehearsals and the group sessions enhanced the quality of the weekend.

Music by Moonlight

As has been their tradition for more than 20 years, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James Anderson) kicked off their season with a retreat at Camp Happyland in central Virginia, held 9 – 10 September 2005. This year, there was a bit of a twist to the retreat, as the band actually had an engagement on Saturday evening, instead of simply having a rehearsal weekend. The band played at Hurkamp Park in the historic city of Fredericksburg in support of a fund-raising event for the local Salvation Army corps. Although the band was reduced in number as several members were involved in relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, the event was still a good beginning to the season, which will feature a weekend celebrating the band’s 80 years of continuous service, to be held in November.

The band in action at Hurkamp Park

The band in action at Hurkamp Park, Fredericksburg, Virginia

The band gathered at the camp on Friday evening, with a light meal followed by a rehearsal session beginning at 8:30 pm. The retreat is used as a time to explore new repertoire, and also to welcome new and returning members to the band. Continuing on Saturday, there were a total of four rehearsal sessions (nearly nine hours all together). There was also spiritual instruction led by the band’s new Executive Officer, Captain Kelly Igleheart.

Bandmaster James Anderson

Bandmaster James Anderson

Following the conclusion of the rehearsal sessions on Saturday afternoon, the band adjourned to the Fredericksburg Salvation Army corps, about a half-hour drive from the camp. Captain Michael Harris, who with his wife Christy commands the Fredericksburg Corps, is a long-time member of the National Capital Band and is currently the band’s principal tuba.

Captains Mike and Christy Harris

Captains Mike and Christy Harris

The evening engagement was held in Hurkamp Park, in the old town area of Fredericksburg. Entitled “Music by Moonlight”, this is the seventeenth year for the annual event, which is organized by the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary of Fredericksburg. The feature ensemble was the Fredericksburg Big Band, a community group. The National Capital Band provided an opening mini-concert and played during the Big Band’s intermission. Proceeds from the outdoor event were to be used to send local underprivileged youth to summer camp and for disaster relief in the Gulf Coast area affected by Hurricane Katrina. Over 1,000 people were in attendance.

Cornet soloist Ian Anderson

Cornet soloist Ian Anderson

The band began the mini-concert with the march To Regions Fair (Norman Bearcroft), followed by Bandmaster Anderson’s simple arrangement of Jesus Loves Me. Keeping with a theme of melodies familiar to people of many denominations, the next item was Onward Christian Soldiers (arr. Gordon Langford), followed by Leonard Ballantine’s beautiful arrangement of the American folk song “Shenandoah”, associated with the words of the song ‘Mid All the Traffic. Two items from the pen of Chicago Staff Bandmaster William Himes were included, the exuberant Bringing in the Sheaves and the more refined cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus, played by Deputy Bandmaster Ian Anderson. The band’s set ended with another classic march, On the King’s Highway (Erik Leidzén).

Fredericksburg Big Band

Fredericksburg Big Band

The members of the National Capital Band then joined the audience as the Fredericksburg Big Band took the stage. This is a fine group of community musicians, and has a long history, being in operation for 39 years. They are regular contributors to the annual Music by Moonlight event.

As the Big Band concluded the first half of their concert, the National Capital Band members returned to their formation to provide music during the intermission. As one might determine from the name of the event, Music by Moonlight is held outdoors, in the evening. The National Capital Band had been assured that there would be lights, which was true, except that the lights were illuminating the band itself rather than illuminating the music for the band. Despite this handicap, the band was able to provide some items, after contorting into a rather strange configuration to allow the maximum number of players to see their parts.

Bandmaster James Anderson

Bandmaster James Anderson

By request of the organizers, most of the items played during the intermission had a patriotic flavor. Items included Land of Freedom (Stephen Bulla), Carmen Dragon&rsquos arrangement of America the Beautiful (transcribed for brass band by Bob Clemons), Armed Forces Salute (Stephen Bulla), and What a Friend (Erik Leidzén). The band concluded with William Gordon’s arrangement of God Bless America.