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Western Territory musicians help celebrate the culture of Brazil salsa style.

by Joy Lee –

Bandmaster Neil Smith leads the Brasileirissimo band. [Photo by Isi Soares]

On Jan. 18-23, the Brazil Territory held Brasileiríssimo—its first territorial music camp in six years. Attending from the Western Territory—which sponsored the camp—were Territorial Music Director Neil Smith, Intermountain Divisional Music Director Erik Dabis, and Carl Darby and Joy Lee of Western Territorial Headquarters. The week fused traditional Salvation Army music with local music to celebrate Brazil’s culture. Each evening, different groups of students presented music and dance from their respective regions. All Salvation Army hymns were driven by Brazilian rhythms.

Thought-provoking sessions complemented the energy of worship and celebration. Morning and evening teachings expounded on worship philosophy from Scripture, as well as the Orders and Regulation for musicians—affectionately called “Stories from the Little Blue Book.”

“A transparency existed alongside pulsating rhythmic drive, some poignant educative reminders about the existence and purpose of worship [music] groups in The Salvation Army, the expected vibrant dance, song, brass, percussion, guitar, and above all, consecrated expressions typical of the culture,” Darby said.

The students’ willingness to learn equaled their energy. The bands, timbrels, vocal groups, contemporary worship team, dance, and drama students were always engaged in class and practiced during free time despite the hot weather.

The Brazil Territory exhibits tremendous musical and creative potential, which will hopefully continue to develop despite the lack of resources. In a letter to the West’s team, Major Paulo Soares, Brazil’s music director, wrote that many delegates said that this was “the best camp they had ever attended” and noted “the humbleness of your behavior, your simplicity and love for the Brazilian people,” along with the team’s musical knowledge and teaching skill.

“The spirit of Brazil, the excitement for the Army, and the love of Jesus is vibrant among the people that I had the opportunity to meet. The enthusiasm to further musical talents was outmatched only by the hunger to further relationships with Christ. I will not soon forget the friendships, blessings, and growth in Christ I experienced while in Brazil,” Dabis said.

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