on the corner- Terry Camsey—a headliner

Robert Docter, Editor-In-Chief

Major Terry Camsey received his promotion to Glory on June 29 following a massive heart attack. His death deprives us of a significant, creative and committed voice—a voice full of energy and humor, packed with a vision for the future of the Army.

He and Beryl became auxiliary captains in 1984 and dropped the “auxiliary” to become captains in 1989. Ten years later they became majors during an appointment in the United Kingdom. Immediately on assuming officership, the Camseys began ministering to the health of the organization they loved so dearly. Terry spent the years of his officership steadfastly advocating strategies and tactics designed to ensure regular growth in Army programs. He was indefatigable in this quest.

For 22 years, Terry wrote a regular column for New Frontier, called “The Body Builder.” It was in this space and in workshops throughout the territory that he promulgated the ideas behind the church growth movement as a means to reach people for Christ. He gave each column a title—a headline. Using his highly creative sense of humor, these column titles either brought a chuckle or a mystery. Both got the reader into his material. Some, you might remember: “Insanity or Pipe Dreams,” or an instrumentalist’s nightmare “Out of breath.”

Terry loved the Army all his life. His thoughts always focused on how to make it better and bigger. His music, both his compositions and his performance, seemed always motivated to inspire and enlighten listeners. He had something to say through his cornet. His musicianship, his effortless artistry as a cornet soloist reached deep within souls and filled hearts with a soaring awe. His remarkable ability to synthesize vast quantities of information caused his colleague of many years, Jeanette Bosanko, to refer to him as “the great reductionist.”

During the recent celebration of the International Staff Band (ISB) 120th anniversary, Terry was celebrated as an ISB bandsman of 12 years, a soloist of exceptional talent and as a composer of close to 100 pieces. He sat on the end chair and could play anything. At concerts, he was the headliner—the soloist.

Recently, Terry completed a CD with his longtime friend, Ivor Bosanko, accompanying him. In it, he brings his unique, immediately identifiable style and tone to listeners. Time failed to work its worrisome way on his playing. The lyrical quality blends with intricacy as he performs a number of beautiful melodies along with several of his own cornet solos.

For several years, he and Bosanko served together in the Irish Guards—their preferred band due to the quality of musical leadership. Bosanko recalls a number of humorous circumstances regarding Terry due to his height. There was nothing short about his instrumentalism, however, and he completed his career in the Guards as the principal solo cornetist—a position he also held in the Army’s ISB, Hollywood Tabernacle Band, New York Staff Band and any other corps in which he soldiered.

The Army world will miss this Renaissance man—so brilliant, creative and good at everything.


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