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Hendon Band Background

In 1878, when Charles Fry responded to the need to protect the early Salvationists who were taking the gospel message to the streets of England, little did he realize the impact that his resourcefulness would have upon the international image of The Salvation Army. At the time, his actions seemed simple—he recognized a need, evaluated his resources and responded. While providing bodyguard services to the preachers, Fry and his three sons took along their brass instruments, thus forming the first Salvation Army brass band. So began Salvation Army music making, designed to attract (and quell) a crowd and to provide support to the message of salvation.

In 2005—almost 130 years after its beginning with Fry—that purpose is still strong in Army music making. The Hendon Corps Band, from a suburb of North London, England, is a stellar example of excellence in music and message. During Easter week, the Western Territory hosted the Hendon Band, led by Bandmaster Stephen Cobb.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father, Cobb became bandmaster in 1978 and is known throughout the brass band world for his commitment to leadership and excellence in training. Continuing the tradition of the Fry family, Cobb is joined in the band by his brother, two sons and nephews.

From its early days, the Hendon Band, formed in 1885, set a high standard of commitment to music ministry and corps life. The present band of 50 members looks back to its heritage for encouragement and inspiration while seeking new and innovative ways to communicate the gospel message. The Hendon Corps’ commitment to youth development is evident—this band has 25 people under the age of 25, bringing fresh dynamism to the ministry and showing positive hope for the future.

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