A psalm of thanks
Songster leader reflects on Pasadena Tabernacle’s Thanksgiving concert.
by Martin Hunt
“Give thanks to God for his abundant blessings!
Reflecting on the recent Thanksgiving Celebration of Brass and Voice presented by the Pasadena Tabernacle (Calif.) Band—a decades-long tradition—I am reminded of all that I have to be thankful for.
The 2010 concert included both the band and the songsters. The band, led by Bandmaster William B. Flinn, presented a variety of musical styles, including modern hymns and more contemporary music. The Tab has taken this approach for years; it is one that I know has helped map Army music making.
Over 90 people participated in the concert—reflecting their commitment as Salvationists to the Army’s mission. Not only do they give their time freely in rehearsal, they also serve the corps in other activities. Representing all walks of life and faith journeys, the musicians ranged in age from 14 to 80-plus.
The concert began with “South Shields Celebration,” a rousing march based on the Army song, “Yellow, Star, Red and Blue.” As flag bearers marched into the chapel with the Army flag, I considered The Salvation Army colors and their meaning.
The band music offered innovative harmony and sounds, challenging both the heart and mind. Freely giving their creative talents to the Army, the composers included Bill Gordon, William Himes, Kenneth Downie, Stephen Bulla, Paul Sharman, Len Ballantine, Ian Robinson and Martin Cordner.
Music ministry in the Army is only possible because of the commitment of leadership. Territorial leaders Commissioners James and Carolyn Knaggs were our guests, demonstrating their love and passion for music making in the Army; the territorial commander served as master of ceremonies. Soloists for the night included Barbara Allen (vocal) and John Docter (flugel). Both are internationally known for their skill and expertise, but the quiet manner in which they teach young people is what their legacy will be all about.
The 2010 Thanksgiving concert was dedicated to a former bandmaster, James Anderson, who served as leader of the Tab Band for several years. Although a prolific composer, he is perhaps best remembered for his Christian living and witness, and for his love of the Army and his family.
Every Sunday, the band and songsters faithfully present music at the corps, seeking ways to bring people closer to God through their ministry.
For all these things I give thanks to God.