From August 27 to September 3, 153 students attended the 43rd annual National Music Camp held at Jackson's Point, Ont. Under the leadership of Major Kevin Metcalf, territorial secretary for music and gospel arts, and supported by 52 faculty members, the camp provided five primary streams: brass band, women's chorus, worship team, media and drama. In addition to these activities, campers also chose an elective for the week, such as conducting, creative writing, hip-hop dancing, social justice and timbrels.

The special guests were Tom and Heather Hanton. Tom is music director for the Eastern Michigan Division, U.S.A. Eastern Territory, and led the A Band in their presentation of Steven Ponsford's Kerygma at the Wednesday evening program and Leslie Condon's The Present Age at the Saturday evening program. Heather is the community director for The Salvation Army in Detroit. During the “meet the guest” program on the Monday night, she shared her vocal talent by singing Marty Mikles' Search Me.

Majors Len and Heather Ballantine, corps officers, Toronto's Yorkminster Citadel, also served on the faculty. Major Len Ballantine conducted the A Chorus and one of the brass bands and used his own compositions for both groups. The band performed Since Jesus on Wednesday evening and Go Down Moses at the final program on Saturday. The A Chorus presented a new arrangement of Lead Me to the Rock, Make His Praise Glorious and More Than Wonderful. Major Heather Ballantine led a spiritual discernment elective entitled “Penetrating the Darkness.”

The Bible leaders for the week were Majors Jamie and Ann Braund, assistant principal and training officer, CFOT, with the theme “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say… The Sayings of Jesus.” Majors Braund shared deep insight into Jesus' teachings, often highlighting aspects of Scripture that are overlooked. Following the daily Bible teaching, students met in small groups to discuss what they'd learned.

During the Thursday evening worship program, Major Jamie Braund challenged the campers and faculty members to donate to Salvation Army social justice causes, such as buying fair trade T-shirts that help women escape the sex trade, supporting a school in the Philippines or writing words of encouragement to people serving overseas. One of the students, Heidi Adams, collected shoes to send to African mission programs. Captain Curtis Plante, divisional youth secretary, Quebec Division, set up a computer so that students could donate money online to The Salvation Army's drought relief effort in East Africa.

Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle, territorial leaders, spoke at the Sunday morning service. Commissioner Brian Peddle challenged the young people to wholly commit to Christ and to dare to imagine what can result when they do.

One noticeable feature of the camp this year was the number of former students who had graduated to being faculty members. Leah Antle, now songster leader at St. John's Temple, N.L., led one of the mixed choruses. Matt Osmond, assistant corps sergeant-major at St. John's Citadel, N.L., ran the media stream. Kathryn Higgins and her husband, Kyle, Yorkminster Citadel, ran the drama stream. Jonathan Rowsell, St. John's Temple, and Cameron Rawlins, Newmarket's Northridge Community Church, Ont., co-led a lower brass elective. Serena Doars, London, Ont., led the timbrel elective. Melanie Reid, St. John's Temple, led the popular hip-hop elective, and Greg Colley, Yorkminister Citadel, conducted one of the brass bands.

Other key faculty included Len Marshall and Valerie Moreton, for the worship stream; Canadian Staff Bandmaster John Lam, who led a brass band; and Cathie Koehnen and Jane Lam, who led the women's chorus.

While music is a binding thread at the National Music Camp, it is the spiritual hunger and life-transforming presence of the Holy Spirit that draws campers and faculty back year after year.

Kim Garreffa is the contemporary music consultant, THQ.

Campers Speak Out

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the National Music Camp. Whether we go for banding, vocal or even hip-hip, we are united by our need for the spiritual aspect of the camp.

This year I found that God spoke to me at camp through music and his Word. As a member of the A Band, I had the opportunity to rehearse and perform Leslie Condon's The Present Age. The tone poem centres on a young evangelist who is eager and excited to win the world for God. But along the way we hear through the music that there are many times he stumbles and gets distracted by Satan and the things of this world. Sitting in the trombone section, I couldn't help but relate to this young person. It's so hard as a young adult to witness and to be an example of Christ in our lives and there are so many distractions that hinder our relationship with God. Between school and finding a career, we sometimes feel too busy to set aside time for God. The music reinforced what we learned in Bible class earlier that week, when we discussed the Parable of the Rich Young Ruler and how we was unable to give up his lifestyle. I was challenged to always follow God because he will direct my path.

—Martha Ewing, Peterborough Temple, Ont.

Whenever I'm asked, “What's your favourite place in the world?” I always respond by saying “Jackson's Point” or “National Music Camp,” for it is there that I truly experience the presence of the Lord.

Sitting on the patio is truly divine, but so is grace after dinner. I love sitting at a table decorated with empty plates and cups while singing “Be present at our table Lord” in six-part harmony with my friends.

Giving thanks is godly, and so are mainstream rehearsals. I love bringing a monologue to life on stage through the drama elective, playing the part of my character, but also acting as a messenger of what God wants to say.

And while acting is spiritual, so is worship night. Every year, I delight in crossing the road to the auditorium and just getting drenched with God's grace, dancing and singing and becoming absolutely lost in the Spirit, experiencing genuine and glorious joy.

There in the simplicity of a collection of cabins, surrounding a conference centre, filled with amazing musicians, God is alive, and I'm so thankful that he proves that to me every year.

—Kimberly Ivany, Georgetown, Ont.

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