Joy! Joy! Joy! there is joy in The Salvation Army
Joy! Joy! Joy! in the Army of the Lord.
Sing to God, sing to God, with loud joyful songs of praise!
Beat the drums, beat the drums, while salvation music plays.
Play the music, play, sing a happy song,
Loud hosannas shout with the happy throng.
To the happy land we’ll march along,
And the joyful all the way.
– William James Pearson
The Salvation Army Songbook #807
My love of music was birthed at home, my music education birthed in The Salvation Army. I’ve blogged about the rich musical history of the Salvation Army. But I haven’t talked about the rich music programs offered today. Many local units have ongoing music instruction but the highlight each year are the music camp programs.
There are Salvation Army music camps held all over the country every summer. I attended my first music camp in Oklahoma at the Salvation Army’s Camp Heart ‘O Hills. My dad attended the same camp as a kid. He’d even left his mark in a few cabins as so many names were scrawled all over the cabin walls. (Too bad we didn’t have digital cameras in those days!)
There was plenty of music instruction but the evenings held traditional camp fun with skits, camp songs and vespers at the cross.
These days most regions have music conservatories lasting two and three weeks where more intense studies are done with weekend outings to visit nearby Salvation Army units giving the young musicians an opportunity to perform.
There are many people who connect music with the SA. I received a call during Christmas season one year from someone in the community wanting to know if our band could go play Christmas carols somewhere. We didn’t have a band. When I told them this they seemed taken aback assuming we all had bands. I guess they also assumed the band members were sitting around just waiting for a phone call to go play somewhere 😉
There is that iconic image of a Salvation Army band playing around a red kettle at Christmas. I’m glad to say we are so much more. Here’s a funny video illustrating that.
(computer issues; if link doesn’t work check out Mr. Bean conducts Salvation Army band on YouTube)
My kids both had the opportunity to go to Jamaica with the Florida Youth Band. More than that, they have benefitted from the music education. That extra language they can now speak and understand.
I haven’t picked up my horn in years. My choice. But I have no regrets for all I’ve learned. It has only added to my appreciation of music and my understanding of how God uses it in the lives of so many.