Tag Archives: Rob Reardon

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 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.

Personnel News - September 2010

The National Capital Band begins the 2010 – 2011 season with several personnel changes and additions, including a new bandmaster and seven new players.

The most significant change is in the leadership of the band, because of the retirement of Bandmaster James Anderson at the end of last season. Dr. Steve Kellner has been appointed bandmaster, moving from the principal euphonium seat. As a result, Captain Amy Reardon moves into the principal euphonium chair and Ian Chaava moves from first baritone to euphonium.

The band also said farewell to band chaplain and principal tuba Captain Mike Harris at the end of last season as he and his wife were appointed to command the corps at Hickory, North Carolina. Moving into both of these roles is Captain Rob Reardon. Joining the band on E♭ bass is Tamar Murray, who is a student at Montgomery Blair High School, where she is a member of the marching band.

On the low end of the tuba section, John Reeves went on leave of absence for military service during last season and will be unavailable for about 18 months. Filling in for John is Scott Bedio, who was a member of the NCB in the early 1990’s. Scott has been active as an instructor with the Divisional Youth Band and is a member of the Fairfax Corps Band.

Kathleen Jensen and her family recently moved to the Washington area from Atlanta. She joins the National Capital Band as principal horn, with band sergeant Dave Downing moving to first horn (at his own request).

The trombone section, already one of the band’s strengths, has been fortified with the addition of Josh Sears. Josh was a member of the Divisional Youth Band for several years before leaving for studies at Louisiana State University. He has returned to the Washington area after two years at LSU and joins the NCB on first trombone. In addition to his brass band experience, Josh has spent the past few summers as a member of the world class Crossmen drum and bugle corps, based in San Antonio, Texas. The Crossmen are perennial contenders for the Drum Corps International championship, having qualified for the finals 22 times in the past 36 years.

The cornet section also welcomes additional members, on both the front and back row. Last season, the band operated with only three solo cornets for most of the year. Joining the front row this year is Demarr Woods. A graduate of the University of Maryland music program and now a music teacher in Baltimore, Demarr has been a staff member at the NCV Summer Music Conservatory and has played with the NCB on several engagements on a temporary basis in the past few seasons.

On the back row, Ruth Choi comes in on second cornet. Ruth, who is 14, is the youngest current member of the band. She joins her sister, Ellim Choi, and her cousins Esther and Sam Kim, who joined the group in previous seasons.

Finally, Emmanuel Gonzalez joins the percussion section. Emmanuel, who is originally from Venezuela, is an accomplished kit drummer. He is employed at the Arlington Citadel Corps.

Worship Service at Solomon G. Brown Corps

This is the third of three articles on the National Capital Band’s “Bravo Brass!” ministry weekend in the Washington, DC metro area, 10 – 11 April 2010.

The finale of the National Capital Band’s Bravo Brass! Weekend was a worship service on Sunday, 11 April 2010, at the Solomon G. Brown (Southeast) Corps in Washington, DC. Located in the heart of the Anacostia neighborhood in the Southeast quadrant of the city, this is the newest corps building in the metro area, with the corps occupying two floors of a five-story building, with the rest of the building occupied by paying business tenants, an innovative arrangement for a Salvation Army building.

The members of the band were greeted by the corps officer, Lieutenant Michal Chapman as they arrived for the Sunday holiness meeting. The platform area of the sanctuary is not large enough for a full-size brass band, so the NCB set up to one side. As with the rest of the weekend, Bandmaster James B. Anderson was unable to be present, being out of town for medical treatment. Conducting duties for the meeting were shared between Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims and principal euphonium Steve Kellner.

The band began with some preliminary items, including James Curnow’s Fanfare Prelude on “Lobe den Herren”. Following a welcome and announcements by Lieutenant Chapman, the Corps Sergeant-Major, George Beu, accepted the tithes and offerings. As an offertory, the band presented the trombone feature I Will Follow Him (arr. Goff Richards).

The National Capital Band is blessed with many versatile musicians, and the NCB Praise Team (Captain Amy Reardon, vocals; Captain Rob Reardon, keyboard; Deputy Bandmaster Matt Sims, bass guitar; Keith Morris, drum kit; David Delaney and David Mersiovsky, trumpet; and Kevin Downing, trombone) led the congregation in the contemporary worship songs Hosanna! (Paul Baloche/Benton Brown) and You Are My King (Billy James Foote). The congregation was also given the opportunity to sing with the full band using Charles Skinner’s arrangement of Crown Him with Many Crowns.

The program then took on a more devotional character, with a personal testimony given by David Mersiovsky, a prayer chorus (“Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus”) and prayer led by Noel Morris, the congregational song “And Can It Be” using the William Himes arrangement entitled Amazing Love, and a Scripture reading given by David Delaney.

The Scripture reading was followed by Delaney’s sensitive rendition of the cornet solo I’d Rather Have Jesus (William Himes), a fitting introduction to the message of the morning given by the band’s executive officer, Major James Allison. Major Allison, in his usual relaxed manner, was effective in presenting the Gospel message, as evidenced by the several seekers who came forward during the time of commitment.

Before the final congregational song, O Boundless Salvation (arr. William Himes), Major Allison called Bandmaster Anderson, who was in Houston, Texas, for medical treatment. In one of the most moving experiences in the recent history of the band, all present were privileged to have the bandmaster participate in the singing of the concluding song and give the benediction from a hospital thousands of miles away. We learned later that Bandmaster Anderson was in the day room, with several other patients present, during this time, and that he, in his usual bold fashion, sang along and prayed aloud without any sign of embarrassment or timidity. The meeting ended with a prayer for Bandmaster Anderson given by the band chaplain, Captain Mike Harris, and the postlude, Rolling Along (William Himes).

As the band concluded this special ministry weekend, contributions by several guest players were acknowledged, including Darryl Crossland and Steve Sutton on cornet and Dr. Richard Holz on Bb bass.

Warrenton/Culpeper Ministry Weekend

For the second successive year, the National Capital Band (Bandmaster James B. Anderson) traveled to Warrenton and Culpeper, Virginia, for a ministry weekend. The weekend included a joint concert with the Warrenton Chorale (Director Steve Aiello) on Saturday afternoon and Sunday services at the Culpeper United Methodist Church (Pastor Randy Orndorff).

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The NCB made the relatively short journey to Warrenton late Saturday morning, arriving around noon at the concert venue. As the band had performed a similar concert with the chorale at the same church last year, the setup was quick, allowing plenty of time to rehearse the joint items.

An estimated audience of 125 persons were in place at 3:00 pm when the “Almost Christmas” concert began with the NCB playing Kenneth Downie’s festival march The Joy-Bringer. The audience and chorale joined with the band in the hymn May Jesus Christ Be Praised (arr. Michael Kenyon), which was well-received despite Bandmaster Anderson’s inadvertent elimination of the link between the first and second verses. Larry Yeager, associate pastor of Heritage Presbyterian Church and a member of the Chorale, gave the invocation.

The band continued the program with Cause for Celebration (William Himes), followed by two items from the chorale, following the “almost Christmas” theme, Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella and Bethlehem, of Noblest Cities, both arranged by Howard Helvey. The festive atmosphere was sustained with the band’s performance of the ebullient Dance Like David (Andrew Mackereth).

The National Capital Band’s principal trombone, Kevin Downing, who at 17 years of age is an emerging virtuoso, gave a fine performance of Leslie Condon’s difficult solo Song of Exuberance. The first half of the concert concluded with the chorale joining the band in Bandmaster Anderson’s composition Our God Reigns and the band’s major work of the afternoon, Renaissance (Peter Graham).

Following the intermission, the band started off the second half with Andrew Mackereth’s march Cornerstone, conducted by the deputy bandmaster, Matt Sims. The chorale sang When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. John Rutter) before the band brought the concert to a more contemplative mood with James Curnow’s Pastorale (The King of Love My Shepherd Is. The band’s executive officer, Major James Allison, was unable to travel with the band for the weekend, so the band chaplain, Captain Mike Harris, gave a short devotional at this point in the concert.

The choral returned to Christmas music with two more carols, The First Noel (arr. Dan Forrest) and Carol of the Bells (arr. Peter Wilhousky), with the first verse of the latter presented with “doot” being used instead of the lyrics – an entertaining performance.

The concert concluded in triumphant fashion, with Dudley Bright’s Paean followed by the band and chorale again uniting with one of the most recognized of all musical items, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, conducted by Steve Aiello. To conclude the concert, the audience was again asked to join with the band and chorale in Crown Him with Many Crowns (arr. Charles Skinner).

Following the concert, the band shared an excellent meal with the chorale and then moved to Camp Happyland, where they spent the evening in rest and relaxation.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Again reprising last year’s trip, the band arose early on Sunday morning, arriving at Culpeper United Methodist Church at 7:00 am to set up, with the first of three services scheduled to begin at 8:00. Again, as the band had been to this church a year ago, the setup was relatively quick. The church has three services, of which the band participated in the first and the third. In the absence of Major Allison, Captain Rob Reardon graciously accepted the challenge of preaching in all three of the services, doing an admirable job speaking on the stewardship of family. Despite some issues with the church’s audio-visual system in the first service, the services were moving and effective, and the band was again blessed to be a part of the worship at this church.

Before each of the two services in which they participated, the band provided preliminary music with Fanfare and Allegro on the Doxology (Steve Kellner), ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine) and Endless Praise (William Himes). During the service, the band provided accompaniment for the congregational singing and played feature items, including God Bless America (William Gordon) in honor of Veterans’ Day and Wilfred Heaton’s masterful arrangement of Just As I Am. Following the services, the band “played out” the congregation with Cornerstone.

The most moving moment of the worship services was the playing of a new arrangement by Bandmaster Anderson of the contemporary Christian song, There Is a Savior, in memory of Kelsey Orndorff, the daughter of the pastor of Culpeper United Methodist Church. When the band visited the church last year, they learned that the pastor’s daughter had been killed in an automobile accident just a few weeks before, in fact, that weekend was the first time that the Pastor Orndorff had returned to the pulpit after the tragedy. The band had a profound impact during last year’s visit, and when he learned that the band would be returning this year, Bandmaster Anderson undertook to compose this arrangement.

Following the worship services, members of the band were treated to a lunch at a local Italian restaurant, arranged by former NCB member Joe DeMato.