Salvation Army to harness power of music
Bandmaster Warren Jones has often witnessed the power of music.
He has led The Salvation Army’s youth band since 1989 and took over the Bermuda Divisional Band in 2007.
“For us, playing in The Salvation Army Bermuda Divisional Band is about more than just music,” Mr Jones explained.
“Before an instrument is even played at an event or in a Sunday service, after it has been bought, both the band member and the instrument are dedicated to God. That’s how we intend for this gift and musical talent to be used.”
The upcoming 22nd Annual Spring Festival on Saturday is considered the band’s number- one ministry event of the year. It will feature a wide range of music — from reggae, to Latin to traditional hymns.
Mr Jones promised that people would feel uplifted by the end.
Salvation Army church members around the world are typically surprised to hear that people from outside the church get excited to attend.
“In their churches overseas, when a concert is held it’s just members and friends of the church who come out,” Mr Jones said. “In Bermuda, our concerts are attended by mainly the outside community, so it’s quite different and that’s why it’s an excellent ministry opportunity.
“Our band members themselves are all regular people — teachers, detectives in the police force, plumbers, masons, delivery people and physical trainers. This event gives us a chance to invite our friends and workmates to come out.
“At first they come because they want to show their support but, after the first festival, we find they keep coming back and start encouraging us to tell them when the next one will be. We have some people who have come out to all 22 events over the years. It’s people of all walks of life in the community.”
Retired American conductor William Himes is a featured performer this year.
The music director of the Salvation Army’s Central Territory from 1977 to 2015 was also a conductor of the Chicago Staff Band, which he led on tours throughout the world.
He is, however, best known for pioneering crossover arrangements within The Salvation Army and establishing the church’s Hallelujah Choruses series.
His wife, Linda, will lead band members in a Bible study, Bermudian Serena Doars, a member of the Canadian band London Citadel Corps for more than 30 years, will also perform.
Mr Jones said it was an honour to have all three take part in the show at Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts. He’s hoping the 600-seat space will be packed, as the band members play some of the well-known pieces written by Mr Himes during his career.
“This is a very unique opportunity for any musician to get to play a song and have the person who wrote it in front of them, leading them,” he added. “We are playing quite a few of William’s pieces in the programme and believe it will be a special sight for all those in attendance.”
•The 22nd Annual Spring Festival starts at 7.30pm. At 1pm on Sunday, The Salvation Army Bermuda Divisional Band will march from the Hamilton Youth Centre and along Court, Front, Queen and North Streets. Tickets to the festival are $20 for adults and $15 for children. They are available at Caesar’s Pharmacy, Music Box, Salvation Army Church Divisional Headquarters, on 292-0601 and also from band members
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