Growth spurt hits Southwest youth bands

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Young musicians carry on legacy of music in The Salvation Army.

by Ralph Pearce –

Corps Officers Captains Stephanie (left) and Robyn Bridgeo (right) with band leader Mark Michaud (top center) and Tempe Corps Youth Band [Photo by Ralph Pearce]

When summer music camps were over, so was the playing of the instruments. They were returned to the corps and locked away until the next year…in the past, that is!

In the Southwest Division, corps youth bands are thriving thanks to dedicated Salvationists who pass their musical skills on to the younger generation.

At the recent installation of the territorial commander and Welcome of Cadets, the 30-piece Las Vegas Young People’s Band performed. Under the leadership of Peter Cooper, the group includes youth who are new to the Army. Assisting Cooper are other corps members along with some area brass musicians who help with lessons and—because of this exposure—are now showing interest in The Salvation Army.

Meanwhile, at the Mesa Citadel Corps, Marlon Jones and Holly White lead a group of over 20 players, and Terron Craig leads a beginners’ class of 22 at the Phoenix Citadel Corps. And while the Sun Cities Corps serves a senior community, Major Federico Craig teaches a group of more than 14 players.

Twenty-seven brass players form the Chandler Corps Youth Band, and other instruments are also taught. A thriving music program is in place at the Tucson Amphi Corps.

The Tempe Corps’ youth band recently performed for the first time during a morning service. Mark Michaud leads the band with assistance from his wife Mareika. Again, many of these young people are new to the Army.

These leaders are proving that bands still have the power to attract and keep youngsters in the Army.

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