Chinatown Hosts Tab Band

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Annual March of Witness

Chinatown Parade
ANNUAL MARCH of Witness through the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown attracts the attention of shoppers and tourists thronging the busy streets.

by Judy Vaughn – 

When Majors Robin and Tereasa Hu and their Advisory Board started planning for this year’s Annual March of Witness in San Francisco, they dreamed of a longer march than usual and a band of Salvation Army renown. They built the Pasadena Tabernacle band into their plans, and with it a Saturday afternoon concert that would show off the musicians’ skills in an acoustically appropriate setting.

In many ways, the afternoon’s concert set the pace for a strong Salvation Army weekend in San Francisco. From classical selections to “Swingtime Religion,” the music led by Bandmaster Lambert Bittinger was rich and mellow. This was brass music well known in the Army world. The audience was very appreciative. Compact discs produced by the Pasadena Corps were sold in the lobby and later delivered to local radio stations.

Trombone soloist Clarence White was a spellbinder as he reached dramatically for notes at the very bottom of the scale. Soloist Barbara Allen brought down the house with a version of “Rock-A-My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham” that simply would not stop. Ten timbrelists performed with the precision that has gained them so much popularity in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The concert was sponsored by PG&E and held in the company’s downtown auditorium.

From there, the celebration moved to the Holiday Inn in the Financial District near Chinatown, where the corps hosted its annual civic meeting. The band was highlighted again and, as part of the evening’s program, PG&E, Bank of America and the San Francisco Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary were honored.

Climaxing the weekend, of course, was the March of Witness. The march has been a standard event in the Chinatown Corps for more than 25 years. This was the first time, however, that it started in Union Square in the middle of downtown San Francisco, surrounded by Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Not only members of the Chinatown Corps, but also all San Francisco corps and the Adult Rehabilitation Center were out in force. In addition to the Tabernacle Band, the San Francisco City Band performed.

The newly purchased canteen served soft drinks on the square and followed the procession, which was escorted by more than a dozen San Francisco police on motorcycles, bicycles, and patrol cars, led by Station Captain John Goldberg.

Five hundred people marched from Union Square through the Chinatown Gate and up the crowded streets of Chinatown. The mass band played “The Founder’s Song” in front of the corps building and were reviewed by divisional leaders Lt. Colonels Richard and Bettie Love.

KEAR Family Radio interviewed War Cry editor Lt. Colonel Marlene Chase, New Frontier editor Robert Docter and Hu for a show which ran with national exposure the following week.

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