This was the first Coventry Choir Retreat, with Ray Egan as Director of Music. (There may have been retreats in earlier years, though I’ve never heard of any.)
This 1983 retreat was the first of three overnight retreats at retreat centers in the San Gabriel mountains. For whatever reason, we soon grew tired of sleeping in sleeping bags for these events. This first year, we were all in one big room!
The next two years were at a Methodist camp, which was slightly more comfortable, with cots and communal showers. I remember the Methodists had a no alcohol policy. Coventry Choir brought brown paper bags for Friday night, post-rehearsal.
When I became Director of Music in 1991, we went to St. Matthew’s Parish in Pacific Palisades, for 12 hours. Not so far and not overnight!
Over the years the retreats have evolved into what I consider the most efficient use of time — what we have called in the last five years “Fall Intensive” Saturday mornings — four hours of rehearsal, community building and worship.
It has always been a cherished and important time to kick-start fall repertoire and to get to know each other better.
In the photo at the back, left to right: Jonathan Burke, Marilyn Stalder-Burke, Bill Lenz, Susan Craig, Gloria Pitzer, Gary Nixon, Jodi Kingdon, then the tree, Gary Clinebell, Mark Benson
Back row on ground: Jack LeVan, Terry Moore, John Dick, Diana Palmer
Next row towards the front: Shauna Pickett-Gordon, Wes Aiken, Ralph Perry, Virginia Salley, Betty Cole, Carol Moore, Margaret Powell, who remembers the blonde woman, Bill Owen, Michael Reynolds, Robin Buck (with red cap)
Then: Martha Lenz, Barbara Downey, Tom Schultz, who remembers the woman with tan pants?, Jill Perkins, Edla Scharre, Ellen Duncan (peeping behind Edla), Lois Thom, Betsy Hoover, Diane Thomas, Cheryl Wysocki, James Walker, and the last woman who remembers her name?
On knees: Ray Egan, Mark Riebs, Milli Penner, who remembers the name of next woman, then Peggy Sears, Susan Houser, who remembers this person, Kathy Nixon, Carol Spencer, Barbara Haines