National Capital Band Retreat and Personnel Changes

The National Capital Band (Bandmaster Dr. Steve Kellner) began their 2016 – 2017 season in their traditional fashion, with a spiritual and musical retreat held at Camp Happyland in Central Virginia. Members of the band gathered at camp on the evening of Friday, 9 September, for the retreat, which featured five rehearsal sessions, four small-group devotional breakout sessions, and concluded with a consecration service on Saturday afternoon.

Musically, the purpose of the retreat is to introduce the band to new repertoire and to allow new members and those who may have changed parts get a feeling for their new roles. Over the summer, the band’s executive officer, Major Andrew Kelly, left for a new appointment in Texas, so this was the first official National Capital Band engagement for the new executive officer, Major Chris Flanagan. In addition to Major Flanagan, the band also welcomed new members Jessica Merritt (solo cornet), Major Leisa Hall (first horn), Sarah Moyer (first baritone), Captain Karl Dahlin (second baritone), and Captain Lee Wilson (percussion). Also, Lieutenant Trey Jones, who has assisted the band several times over the past few years, officially joins as a full member on E♭ bass.

The National Capital and Virginia Division has a strong music and arts program, and two members of the divisional youth band have been invited to sit in on rehearsals with the National Capital Band this season (an arrangement which often leads to an appointment int the band). These are Jerrilyn Flores, sitting in with the back row cornets, and Reggie Terry, in the percussion section.

Unfortunately, as with most seasons, the band also had some members who could not, for various reasons, continue their service with the band. In addition to Major Kelly, who played first trombone as well as serving as executive officer, two long-time members of the band have taken leave of absence at the beginning of this season, Brandon Morris (percussion) and Matt Sims (bass trombone). Sims has also resigned his position as deputy bandmaster.

In addition to the new members, Sangjung Lee, one of the younger members of the band, moves from second baritone to euphonium. In the trombone section, John Adams moves from second to bass trombone.

The devotional elements of the retreat, prepared by Captain Jim Shiels, were centered around General Albert Orsborn’s song “All My Work Is for the Master”. The band was divided into three groups for breakout sessions which were interspersed with the rehearsals.

The five rehearsal sessions (one Friday evening and four on Saturday) were all one hour in length. With the band’s first engagement of the season, a soldier’s rally for the National Capital Area Command, scheduled for less than a month after the retreat, the band read through a large part of the repertoire planned for the year. Pieces included:

Rehearsal 1

  • Deep and Wide (Sidney E. Cox, arr. Andrew Mackereth)
  • Share Your Faith (Norman Bearcroft
  • Mighty Fortress (Steve Kellner)

Rehearsal 2

  • Now I Belong to Jesus (Steven Ponsford)
  • Life’s Consecration (James Curnow)
  • Shadowed (Dorothy Gates), Dr. Joel Collier, euphonium soloist
  • O Church Arise (Steve Kellner)

Rehearsal 3

  • Didn’t Willie Ramble (Steve Kellner)
  • Crusaders (Dean Goffin)
  • Turris Fortissima (Steven Ponsford)

Rehearsal 4

  • Allegro Spiritoso (J. B. Senaille, arr. William Himes), Dr. Kate Wohlman, tuba soloist
  • The High Council (Ray Steadman-Allen)
  • Standing on the Promises (Douglas Court), David Delaney, trumpet/flügelhorn soloist

Rehearsal 5

  • Danforth Citadel (Bramwell Coles)
  • I’ll Stand for Christ (Lloyd Scott)
  • The Blood-Washed Army (Stanley Ditmer)

Brass Crest Staff Report