Gathered together to praise the Lord

Western Territorial Staff Band Photo by Nikole Lim


Music and arts at The Gathering

By Neil Smith

From Alaska to San Diego, San Francisco to Albuquerque, Hawaii to the Republic of the Marshall Islands—and points in between—the Western Territory’s musicians and creative artists shared their talents with delegates at The Gathering.

With four separate concert venues plus the main meeting site there was something for everyone. Thirty groups participated, representing almost every division and command in the territory.

One high point was the enthusiastic and sincere singing of “Redeemed” by the men of the adult rehabilitation centers, which brought the congregation at Friday’s main meeting to its feet.

The newly renamed USA Western Territory Staff Band and Staff Songsters supported most meetings and participated in late night concerts. The Territorial Youth Band supported several events and the Territorial Youth Chorus gave impromptu concerts and sang at the Future Officers Fellowship breakfast.

The Territorial Creative Arts Ensemble gave thought-provoking dramatic presentations in each main meeting based upon the themes of the evening. Joy Lee and her five-member team will also be at this year’s Western Bible Conference.

Before General Bond’s final message, Major Denise Hawk performed a dramatic Scripture presentation of “One Holy People” at Sunday morning’s ordination service.


Western Territorial Youth Chorus Photo by John Docter


The young people from the Marshall Islands gave a lunchtime concert on Sunday and sang with the Pasadena Tabernacle Youth Chorus during an evening meeting. The Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division also sent its gospel choir and the Hula Halau.

From the Northwest Division, the Seattle Temple Band and Songsters took part in main meetings and several additionalconcerts, while the Cascade Division sent its fairly new gospel choir for two concerts.

The Del Oro Division’s 60-strong youth chorus participated, along with Larry Dayton on guitar and Chaya Galicia with her vocal and piano talent. Commissioner James Knaggs, territorial commander, invited Galicia to share an original song during the prelude of a main meeting.

Participating from the Golden State Division were hip-hop dancers from Sunnyvale, Calif., and dancers and drummers from the San Francisco Korean Corps.

The Southern California Division made a major contribution to the weekend with two showings of the original musical, “Spirit! II: Empire.” In addition, the Pasadena Youth Chorus; Captain Billy Francis on piano; and David Dunford, Sarah Koo and cellists from the Pioneer School of Music provided musical support at events including the women’s tea and pre-meeting concerts. Koo also performed a cello solo at the start of the cadets’ processional on Sunday morning. Written by Ivor Bosanko for the occasion, the Staff Band eventually joined Koo and Dunford (on piano) for “All There is of Me.”

The Sierra del Mar Division sent its timbrels and divisional band, while the Southwest Division sent the Phoenix Citadel Songsters, the Young People’s Band from Las Vegas Citadel and the praise team from Albuquerque Temple. The Alaska Division sent the Anchorage Korean Corps songsters.

Western Territorial Staff Songsters Photo by Nikole Lim

Throughout the weekend, the music of Bandmaster Ralph Pearce, from the Southwest Division, was heard: “Spirit of Salvationism” medley, Friends of Christ session song, singing company competition set song and the arrangement of the Congress Chorus for brass band.

ENCORE!, the first annual youth music and arts competition, similar to the Eastern Territory’s Starsearch program, had over 46 participants. Although the young people did compete, the real goal is for them to contribute regularly at their own corps. For the winners’ list, see

Musicians from around the territory supported events including the Officers’ Kids Breakfast, Future Officers’ Fellowship, Silver Star Banquet, Long Service Dinner, and the men’s rally and women’s tea.

Music was truly everywhere at The Gathering—around every corner Salvationists offered praises to the Lord.

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