75 Years as Bandmaster

By Captain Terry Camsey – 

As long as I can ever remember, my father-in law, Bill Snape, has been a Young People’s Bandleader.

I first met him at Sheffield, in the UK, where he had been the principal cornet soloist of that band for many years. Recently, I had the privilege of conducting a band practice at that corps (Sheffield Citadel) and there were several bandsmen who had been in Bill’s YP Band and who have now, for many years, been senior bandsmen at that corps. What a tribute to his dedication to the cause of reproducing himself through the training of young people.

There are, in fact, many parts of the Army world where–during my travels–I have, with my wife Beryl (Bill’s only daughter), met musicians who pay tribute to Bill’s patient teaching.

Despite the fact that he was retired, that teaching did not stop when he, with Beryl’s Mom, Elsie, emigrated to the USA with us in 1972. He carried right on teaching…at Hollywood Tabernacle, San Francisco Citadel, Hempstead N.Y., Sacramento and many, many music camps where he–with extreme patience–taught the “beginner’s groups” and managed, somehow, to make music.

I would guess that one of his most recent “beginners” was his wife, Marie, who, a few years ago, was so keen to play Christmas carols with the band. She was a young 65 then and, sure enough, one year after asking was playing with the Sacramento Citadel Band.

Now he has notched up 75 years as a soldier in The Salvation Army, and is every bit as dedicated as he has ever been. What an example to others.

This was recognized, recently, by the presentation of a medal in his home by the chief secretary, divisional commander and corps officer.

I visited him with Beryl recently and he was so proud to be able to show me that medal, together with a number of citations. They are a tangible reminder of that which he freely gave, but the real fruits of his labor are to be seen in those taught by him who have also given years of faithful service to the Army and its music program.

I salute Bill Snape and add my congratulations to the many he has justly deserved.

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