Where the Spirit of the Lord is... National Camp 2012

September 17, 2012 Add comment

It was a full camp this year as 174 students (ages 16-29) and 56 faculty gathered at Jackson’s Point Ontario for National Music Camp, August 25th to Sept. 1st 2012.  Special guest faculty members included Olaf Ritman, Bandmaster for the Amsterdam Staff Band; Janice Rees, corps officer from Rockdale Australia (Eastern Territory); Nicholas Simmons-Smith, the Territorial Music Secretary for USA Southern Territory (Atlanta, Georgia), and Roberta Simmons-Smith, the Territorial Creative Arts Director for USA Southern Territory. There were also a couple of students attending this year from the USA, as well as a few from France and Argentina.

It was a record number of first-time attendees this year, and their initiation to camp life on Saturday night included the traditional dancing of “The Grand Old Duke of York”.  This year our very own Territorial Commanders, Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, happened to be on hand to demonstrate it for the students, much to the students’  delight.

Sunday morning our Chief Secretary, Colonel Floyd Tidd, shared with the students from Ephesians 2:1-5…

“In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn’t obey God. Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else. But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you.”

Floyd challenged the students by asking “How tight is your grasp?  How tight do you cling to wealth, the past, comforts, etc.  If we cling to life on our terms we will lose it.  Belonging to Christ means letting go of position, possessions, plans, passions and pride.”  Floyd then shared a moving story about a Christian he met from Eritrea named Aaron, and of Aaron’s intention to go back to his home country to evangelize even though it could cost him his very life for doing so.

Sunday night the students were inspired musically in a concert presented by The Canadian Staff Band. In interviewing students later on in the week, several expressed how it was one of the week’s highlights, motivating them to work towards becoming better musicians. It was especially impressive to see Cameron Rawlins share a difficult euphonium solo called “Harlequin”. His fingers moved like the wind and it seemed that he didn’t miss a note.  It wasn’t so long ago that Cameron was a National Camp student himself. Rob Brown, Steve Brown, Andrew Burditt and Kevin Metcalf were also featured soloists that night. Colonel Floyd Tidd then shared a devotional from Isaiah 6:1-8.

Monday to Friday mornings began with a Bible time led by Captain Janice Rees. Throughout the week we explored the theme of freedom in the Spirit as it relates to the Christian walk, as Janice led us through the book of Galatians. Our focus verse seemed to be Galatians 5:1… “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Following the corporate Bible lesson, the camp broke into small groups to explore questions pertaining to the day’s teaching, and how it can apply to everyday life.  Janice’s eloquent way of sharing made an impression on a lot of students, who were still able to quote at the end of the week the Bible lessons they learned and the impact that it had on them spiritually.  The students also appreciated Janice sharing her own story of drug addiction, and freedom in Christ found through one of The Salvation Army’s own rehab programs, that gradually led her to a life-commitment as an officer in The Salvation Army.

Each evening had a different feature.  Monday night was the traditional “Meet the Guest” night, always a fun night where we find out a bit of our guests’ life stories and love stories (how they met their spouses), how they became involved with The Salvation Army and what they are up to in their daily lives. It is also a time for our guests to present special musical numbers. Olaf Ritman conducted the “A” band in a couple of brass pieces he arranged, “Copenhagen Temple” and “O That Place”. Olaf also joined Kevin Metcalf in a cornet duet called “Quicksilver”, based on the old tune “Hand me down my silver trumpet”. Roberta Simmons-Smith, who was leading the drama stream for the week, sang a piece from the musical “Wicked”.  Andrew Poirier, another former camp student who was on staff for the week, played a trombone solo by Kevin Larsson entitled “Jesus Shall Conquer”.  Andrew is an accomplished arranger as well as a performer, and he was leading the National Brass Elective for the week.

Tuesday night was Talent Night, and the kids didn’t disappoint, presenting a variety of numbers, both serious and funny, with some original compositions. Some of the highlights included Elisha Moretz (from Pennsylvania) whistling the William Tell Overture, Paul Vos presenting his “Three Hit Medley”, a brass arrangement of contemporary secular pop/dance hits, Grace Barnhart’s East Coast fiddle jig entitled “Toss the Feathers”, and the sextet of Nadan Kang, Alex Way, John Rawlins, Robert Rawlins, Liam Murray and TJ McInnes presenting a barbershop version of the One Direction secular hit “What Makes You Beautiful”.

Wednesday night was the midweek program, where it was standing-room-only inside and outside the auditorium for the many outsiders who came to hear the concert. This prompted Kevin Metcalf to make an appeal for an auditorium fund, to address the dire need the Territory has for a new larger facility to be built. Pieces presented at this program included “Horizons” (John Lam Band), “Just as I Am” and “Marching Along” (Nicholas Simmons-Smith Band), “Superstar” (Keith Haggett Band), “How He Loves Us” and “All My Fountains” (Worship Stream), “This Day”, “Amani”, The Answer” and “Jonah” (Women’s Chorus), “William Tell Overture” and “Distant Land” (“A” Chorus”), but the hit of the night seemed to be “A” Band’s presentation of Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s “Wall of Sound”, which they repeated as a postlude on Saturday night. This catchy, rhythmic piece featured several soloists, including Jeremy Smith, Emily Ewing, Barrington Venables, Harrison Venables, and Nick Robson.

On Thursday night our Territorial Music Secretary, Major Kevin Metcalf, and our Territorial Youth Secretary, Major Keith Pike, led the camp in a night of devotion and recommitment that featured several musical presentations, testimonies from students Robert Rawlins and Margot Antle, and an invitation to the mercy seat for a rededications to Christ, following which students lit candles to visually symbolize that commitment.
Friday night was Electives Night, where elective groups such as Timbrels, Hip Hop, Mixed Choruses, National Brass, Percussion, Camp TV, Creative Writing and the Chamber Ensemble made presentations. This is always a fun night with a lot of variety.  Both the Media Stream and Camp TV showed video/media presentations throughout the week that kept us laughing.

The Saturday night final program, held at Scarborough Citadel in Toronto on September 1st, featured the band pieces Canadian Folk Song Suite, Worthy is the Lamb, Christus Victor, and Turris Fortisima. The Drama Stream did a choreodrama (mime set to music) to the famous Queen piece “Somebody to Love”. The Women’s Chorus, conducted by both Cathie Koehnen and Andrea Donais, presented “Send Up Your Praise”, “In the Secret of Thy Presence”, Psalm 8”, and “This is the Day”.  The “A” Chorus (Jane Lam, conductor) presented “God Will Close the Door” and Eric Whitacre’s famous “Lux Aurumque”, the latter whose roots began as a youtube sensation featuring a “virtual choir” made up of 12 countries around the world. Commissioner Brian Peddle also shared a devotional to the 500+ crowd.

Camp is always an amazing, transformational experience, not only rejuvenating staff and students spiritually and musically, but also creating friendships that extend far beyond camp, motivating kids to return year after year after year. – Kim Garreffa

To view more camp performances, click here.
Quotes from Camp Students

 “I love it here. I love the environment, the community that’s created here. I love the worship. I loved the midweek program. There was a great energy in the room, and all the pieces presented were well done and glorifying to God. I’ve learned about a new type of drama called choreodrama which is movement set to music but you’re acting and performing as well. I can try to take that and implement it at my corps in whatever ministry I do. This camp has helped me grow spiritually so much, in accepting who I am, and accepting God’s grace and not relying on my own strength and my own piety to be a Christian. National has made me a stronger Christian and every year I go back to school uplifted and so recommitted to God. I know you have to do that every day, but camp is like spiritual boot camp for the rest of your life. I really appreciated Janice Rees and her Bible teaching. It was founded in the Bible and it was so revolutionary to me, and I think to a lot of people. Even though it seems so simple, the way she presented it was so heartwarming and fresh and new.” 
- Jonathan Cameron, Scarborough Citadel, Toronto (drama stream major), 5th year at National, age 21 

 “A mission team from Richmond Hill (Toronto) went to Argentina in March, and I was translating for them. They encouraged me to come to National.  I really liked the Bible stuff here, learning about freedom and grace. I learned we have to work in community [with each other], and I will take that back to my home corps. I took conducting class with John Lam, and it’s pretty good how he teaches. He sets a good example for us. My favorite performance in the week was “A” Band’s “Wall of Sound”, with all the soloists. Our teachers teach in such a humble way. They don’t think that they are superior. I really enjoyed this week. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’ve grown in my relationship with others, and with God.”   - Loreley Bono, Buenos Aires, Argentina (brass stream major), first time to National, age 19 

“I loved waking up at six in the morning and going and watching the waves at the water. It was beautiful. So peaceful. Being able to sing in the worship stream this year has actually been super-challenging to me, to step back from a leadership position, and to be led by someone else. It was very humbling, but I’ve learned a lot from it. Also, to learn about freedom has been really refreshing as well, just cause we’ve been thinking about that, and praying about that all summer at camp (in New Brunswick). I learned [in this week’s Bible program] that you can find freedom in anything as long as you can change your perspective.  Even in trials and when conflict happens, we tend to feel bounded down by those things, but we can find freedom in those moments.  We can find freedom in finding resolutions to conflict and giving our conflict and pain over to Christ.  My favorite performance was singing in the worship team that one song we did, “All my fountains”… we changed the genre of the song altogether and made it super-reggae, like we were on the Hawaiian Islands.  We kind of built it up from scratch and made it our own, and it was very creative. Whenever we go to practice worship stream now that’s the first song we ever want to sing – that’s so much fun.  Camp is a good experience.  I’ve met tons of people.  I now can say that I know people from across the country, which is nice, too.  I appreciated the patience of our leaders, ‘cause we could be rowdy or talk a lot or just not want to listen, and they had lots of patience this week which was respectful.  I would definitely suggest for people to come here.  It’s beautiful here, and the Spirit of the Lord really is here as well. God really likes to come when we ask Him to.  And I’ve just found a sense of peace this week, just a sense of being able to relax and not really worry about anything, and just take it easy. God’s really come along side me and helped me out with that, too, which is awesome.  I’m tense all the time, and I never can just relax and have a good time with God, but this week’s been nice.” - Mitchell Caissie, Sussex NB (majored in worship stream), first time to National, age 19 

"I thought camp would be more intense, but everyone’s really nice.  The age gaps don’t feel intimidating at all. The highlight of camp for me was when the Canadian Staff Band played on Sunday night. We had front row seats and it was amazing. Talent night was funny. There was a whole array of different talents.  John Lam’s helped my playing a lot, and I can take that back to my home corps. I learned [from the Bible time at camp] that God’s grace outruns the law.  The law is just the boundaries that show us that we are free.  If we were lawless we wouldn’t have the same freedom. Thursday night was a moment… you could really feel it.  I really appreciated the patience and kindness of our leaders.  They’re good people. They’re good Christians.  You can tell. I’d recommend to people to come to camp and challenge yourself, musically, if you want that.  If you want to go for drama or arts, you can do that. But come to challenge yourself in your faith. There were hard questions that we had answered this week." - Ben Coles, Kitchener CC, 1st time to National, (majored in brass), age 18 

"The highlight of camp for me was the relationships I made with other people. I really liked the testimonies that some of the campers gave.  They were really inspiring and encouraging. I liked how relatable our leaders were. If you come to camp, you won’t walk away the same person you came." - Christine Findlay, Toronto Lakeshore CC, 1st time to National, (majored in brass), age 16 

"Roberta (Simmons-Smith) was an excellent leader.  She is really passionate about what she does, and her ministry. She likes to take the drama stream and turn it into a new avenue of ministry to present the love of Christ to people that wouldn’t normally get the traditional way of presenting the message. Roberta taught us a lot of techniques, but the main thing she taught us was patience, and to pray over everything you do, because that’s the success behind anything, is constant faith in God for anything.  The Bible program this week was amazing.  The biggest thing I took away is that God’s grace, we don’t deserve it, and it’s sufficient for anything. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or what you think, God’s grace is sufficient for me, for everyone.  He loves us so much.  I’ve been contemplating a call to Salvation Army officership for the past year, and coming to camp has really confirmed it (I took the Officership elective led by Major Fred Waters). It’s really put me in a spot where I can see where God wants me to be, and it just gives me the encouragement to trust Him more, for Him to reveal what He wants. I appreciated the kindness, compassion and the patience of our leaders, and their devotion to what they’re doing, to the kids and to their faith. I had Cathie Koehnen as a choir instructor. She doesn’t just lead the music.  She tells us to stop and think about the words.  She always challenges us, like every other instructor here.  There’s been many laughs here at camp.  I haven’t stopped laughing since I got here. The funniest part was the talent show, but also spending time with friends and meeting new ones and sharing laughs with them. In one of the programs the Nick Simmons-Smith band played “Just as I am”, and it really takes you back and makes you think how Christ gives us an opportunity to be free from sin, and we can come just as we are:  “Just as I am without one plea”.  I recommend strongly for people to come to National.  Camp changes lives. It’s fun.  You meet new friends. You build relationships that will last for eternity. You get to learn more about music, and most importantly, when we come here, Jesus is here."
 - Jonathan Sturge, Torbay NL, St. John’s Citadel Corps, 1st time at National (majored in drama), age 16 

"I came back to camp this year because I love seeing all the people again and being surrounded by amazing musicians.  I can see the love of God present in the lives of my leaders.  I loved playing “Pony” late at night with everyone.  I improved my timpani skills this week.  Spiritually I now understand grace better.  I learned that the law can only get you so far, that grace leads to freedom.  Grace plus nothing equals freedom.  The most memorable performance for me was the Canadian Staff Band concert Sunday night.  The funniest moment was the One Direction performance at Talent Night."
- Mariah Atkinson, Glenmore Temple, Calgary AB, 2nd time at National (majored in brass/percussion), age 19 

I loved meeting the people at camp.  I appreciated my leaders’ hospitality and friendliness.  I learned how to create better presentations.  I had fun filming our media group getting hit by a car.  It was funny.  Camp has made me more sociable.
- Ryan Martin, Wiarton ON, 1st time to National (majored in worship stream), age 17 

"I come to camp for friends and spiritual growth.  I loved everything.  My leaders were informative, had spiritual savvy, and you could tell they really care.  Spiritually I learned the true meaning of freedom, the purpose of the church, and it re-ignited and refueled my spirit for Jesus and evangelism.  Thursday night helped me change the way I make decisions, and Friday’s small group helped me change my personal philosophy.   The most memorable performance for me was my own performance on Talent Night.  I can’t believe I felt confident enough to do that in front of everyone.  Camp has given me confidence, comfort, hope, support and a renewed feeling to start a new year in schooling."
- Jeremy Hennessy, St. Catherines ON, 3rd time to National (majored in drama stream), age 20 

"National refreshes me.  The people here are amazing.  Camp lets me connect with other young people and it restores my spirituality.  One of my favorite sayings is “It’s not how you do it, but why”, and the leaders here are doing it for the right reason.  Highlights for me was the Canadian Staff Band concert, when Jeremy Hennessy sang “Arby’s Girl” (it was funny), and I was inspired by Robert Rawlins when he sang “Artist of my soul” and shared his testimony.  I learned this week that I have a voice, and that I can make an impact on anybody, regardless of age and gender." - David Boone, St. Catharines ON, 3rd time to National (majored in brass stream), age 18