In spite of the Covid-19 Virus and the restrictions in place to limit exposure, the NCB was able to hold its annual fall retreat in accordance with state and local guidelines. The retreat is normally held on a Friday night and Saturday at Camp Happyland in Richardsville, Virginia, but because of the virus restrictions it was reduced to a one-day event held at the Alexandria (Virginia) Citadel Corps on Saturday, September 12, 2020.
A number of measures were instituted by the NCB band board to ensure the safety of band members, including temperature taking, mask wearing when not playing, “socially distant” band seating, and moving at least every hour to a different room (or rooms) to give each room time to exchange air. Rehearsals were held in the fellowship hall (a former gymnasium), with the devotionals given in the chapel, while the breakout groups met in various classrooms.
As always, the retreat was a mix of spiritual and musical preparation for the upcoming season. Newly appointed NCB Executive Officer, Major Bobby Westmoreland, gave the devotionals on the theme of “The river that flows from the throne of God”, in keeping with the upcoming inauguration of the new Potomac Division, formed by the merger of the Maryland & West Virginia and National Capital & Virginia divisions.
In addition to reading through the new repertoire for the season, the musical challenges were learning how to play together with six feet of distance on all sides around each player, and adjusting to the acoustic (ha!) of the fellowship hall, the band’s rehearsal home for the foreseeable future.