Greater New York Music Department Visit’s South America West Territory’s Music & Creative Arts Camp
On the evening of January 10, 2013, the Greater New York Music Department consisting of Gordon Ward, Gavin Whitehouse, Chris Ward, Tim Ward (not a member of the department), Simon Morton, Lily Finikin and Adam Fyn left JFK airport headed for Santiago, Chile. The purpose of the visit was to participate in the South America West Territory’s Music and Creative Arts Camp. After an overnight flight the group from the US were transported to Camp Angostura which is just south of Santiago and lies in the valley between the Andes and Coastal mountains of Chile. The Campers and staff came from the countries of Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia. It was interesting to note that even though the group from the US had travelled 11 hours to be there, some of the students and staff had travelled over 20 hours on buses to participate in the camp.
After lunch, it was straight into the business of the camp, with brass and vocal auditions (auditions for theory and other majors had been conducted before lunch.) The first rehearsal of the camp was the leader’s band, made up of staff and some of the top campers led by B/M Gordon Ward. The first pieces rehearsed were the march “Danforth Citadel” (Bramwell Coles) and the selection “To God Be The Glory” (Dean Goffin). After working through these pieces, it was obvious that there were some very good players who could be challenged by a more difficult repertoire.
Each camper participated in a Major Class twice a day. Major classes for the camp were Brass (Band A led by Chris Ward, Band B led by Adam Fyn), Vocal (led by Gavin Whitehouse), Worship Band, Timbrels and Dance. The two levels of bands were very distinct. Band A worked on a variety of repertoire that included: “Mighty God” (Dean Jones), “Concerto Grosso” (arr. Thomas Mack), “King of Kings, Majesty” (Dean Jones) and “Arise My Soul, Arise” (Dean Goffin). Band B worked on repertoire that was a much simpler nature, but never the less challenged the players: “How Sweet The Name” (Curnow), “Ratchie” (Dean Jones) & “King of Kings (Timothy Campbell). The small group of vocal majors (5 students) worked on a variety of vocal techniques as well as sight singing each day. They also sang as a vocal ensemble and worked on some solo pieces as well.
Campers also participated in elective classes once a day of Leadership (Gordon Ward & Gavin Whitehouse), Keyboard (Lily Finikin), Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar (Simon Morton), Percussion, Dance and Timbrels. There were so many students in the leadership class that the class needed to be split into two groups after the first class, those interested in brass leadership and choral / contemporary leadership. Those in the brass group were able to work on their score reading skills as well as conduct a staff quartet through various pieces. A number of the more advanced students from the class were given time to practice conducting the Leader’s Band.
All students sang in the massed chorus, (Gavin Whitehouse) as well as taking classes in music theory. Tuesday night was the first time campers displayed what they had been working on to the rest of the camp. All major classes shared pieces that they had been working on. A highlight of this evening was when one of the leadership students from Bolivia was asked to conduct the Leader’s Band in "Danforth Citadel". Wednesday night was an opportunity for the elective classes to do the same. Wednesday afternoon was a chance for students to display their talents in the solo competition. There were a number of brass and vocal soloists, as well as two timbrel soloists and a dance solo. The winners of the brass and vocal categories shared their solos in the Camp finale program.
After regular classes in the morning on Thursday, the camp travelled into Santiago Central Corps for the Finale program. Again, each major group contributed items. Some highlights were Band A playing Dean Goffin's "Arise My Soul Arise" and the leaders band playing "The Triumph Of Peace" (Eric Ball). After a short devotional by Gordon Ward and a time of reflection using the song "The Potters Hand", the evening was brought to a close by the entire camp singing "Dios Descendio (Heaven Came Down)”(Gavin Whitehouse).
The camp concluded on Friday morning with a moving time of worship lead by the Chief Secretary, Lt Colonel William Bamford. After an extended altar call, the meeting was finished with the singing of "I'll Go In The Strength Of The Lord", followed by the singing of the benediction, "The Lord Bless You And Keep You" (Bosanko).
After a day of Sightseeing on Saturday in Santiago and Valparaiso, the team from the US attended the Sunday morning meeting at the Central Corps. They joined with the local corps band as well as playing as a sextet. Simon Morton also gave his testimony during the meeting. At the end of the meeting, the congregation once again sang "The Lord Bless You And Keep You" as a blessing on the team from the US.
A number of important relationships were built during the week and the New Yorkers got to witness first hand the sincerity and commitment of our new friends from South America. It was good to see a number of the leaders from a leadership camp held two years prior stepping up in leadership positions.
After a long 45 hour trip back to New York with an unexpected stop in Lima, Peru the group arrived home tired but with a sense of great satisfaction reflecting all the great accomplishments of the camp.
For more information on Greater New York music events, please visit their website at Greater New York Music.
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