The third annual Territorial Youth Band and Chorus Retreat took place at the new Central Territorial Headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Il. Eighty-three of the territory’s best young musicians, ages 13-25, gathered to practice, perform and study God’s Word. In addition, mentors from the Chicago Staff Band (CSB), the Bill Booth Theater Company (BBTC) and divisional music directors provided guidance and leadership. Ten young musicians from the Eastern Territory also joined Centralites for this enriching event.

“One of the great things about the weekend was that we had representation from all of the divisions in the Central Territory,” said Meghan Pierson, Territorial Music Education, Ministry and Curriculum Specialist who was key in planning the event. “It was not only large corps that were represented, but youth from corps of all sizes were able to attend and be a part of the training and fellowship.”The first rehearsals of the Territorial Youth Band (TYB), led by Martyn Thomas, Peggy Thomas and Harold Burgmayer, and the Territorial Youth Chorus (TYC), led by Meghan Pierson and Joe Caddy and accompanied by Jennifer Herndon, were followed by a study of Psalm 139. Majors Monty and Angela Wandling,Tterritorial Youth Secretary and Assistant Youth Secretary, conducted three sessions during the weekend that focused on this scripture which so clearly shows God knows and loves us. Each devotional session concluded with prayer; thanking God and seeking to know Him better.Saturday held a full schedule of sectionals, rehearsals and devotions, capped off with an evening at the Blue Man Group in downtown Chicago. Seated in the “splash zone,” delegates donned ponchos to shield themselves from things like Jell-o, marshmallows and paint that might fly off the stage. It was a highlight for many.

Sunday morning the TYC and TYB went separate ways with the chorus singing at the Des Plaines, IL., Corps and the band playing at the Oak Brook Terrace, lL., Corps. In the afternoon the two groups, supported by the CSB and BBTC, united at the Oakbrook Terrace Corps to perform a concert titled, “Praise.” The band opened with “Raise the Song” by Simon Morton, followed by an a capella version of the “Star Wars Theme” by the chorus. Major John Pook, corps officer of the Oakbrook Terrace Corps, welcomed the audience of over 300 people and prayed that the music performed would be used for HIS honor and glory.  The chorus then performed the upbeat “Sing and Rejoice” by Gary Hallquist followed by the magnificent “How Beautiful Upon the Mountains;” combined with the Oakbrook Terrace Songsters.  It was the Territorial Youth Bands turn, playing the three movement work of “Here They Come” by Robert Redhead from the musical, “Glory!”  The scintillating first movement, featuring the 27 piece cornet section playing the tune, “When the Army Comes to Town.”  The second movement, a shuffle arrangement of “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” featuring the always impressive horn section, and the final movement, featuring the mighty trombone section, playing the tune, “When You’ve Got Salvation.”  The Bill Boothe Theater Company, the Central Territory’s drama troupe, presented a skit called, “Psalm 139” an imploring of God our Father to search our innermost thoughts and being.  It was the choruses turn, performing the uplifting Lecrae piece, “Messengers” featuring Alberto Rapley.  Rounding up their final package, they sang the beautiful “We Are Not Alone,” by Pepper Chopin, featuring Heidi Hurula exclaiming the phrases, “We Are Not Alone…God Is With Us.”  Other highlights included the band and chorus singing the prayerful “Known to you,” and an impressive rendition of Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s “Power and the Glory” by the youth band.

“At first I was thinking I wasn’t going to attend, but I changed my mind at the last minute,” said Moriah Hellstrom, soldier at the Omaha Citadel, Neb., Corps who was principal cornet of the TYB. “I’m glad I did as this weekend afforded me the opportunity of playing challenging music and helping me develop my musicianship and leadership.”

In addition to the retreat’s concentrated music focus, its strong spiritual component affirmed for delegates and mentors alike that God knows, loves and cares about them.

“One can’t help but feel that the musical training and the Christian fellowship will be of great encouragement to the young people, whether they are from a large or small corps,” said Territorial Commander Commissioner Paul R. Seiler. “No doubt, they had exciting stories to tell as they returned home to their corps and families.”

Tags: News, TYB&TYC