Pasadena Tabernacle Band tours south
Band proclaims the gospel on 10-day tour.
by Jeff Curnow –
During a 10 day tour of the USA Southern territory that ended on April 6, the Pasadena Tabernacle (Tab) Band played six major concerts, three open-air concerts, one music-school clinic, two Holiness meetings and marched in a parade.
First stop: Pasadena
The tour began with a concert in Pasadena, Texas! The enthusiasm of the capacity crowd helped energize the band, which had arrived at the Houston airport only an hour earlier. Tab Bandmaster William B. Flinn remarked to the crowd that as a long time Pasadena, Calif. resident, he had always wanted to visit the “real Pasadena in Texas.”
After a noontime “open air” concert at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, it was off to Georgia. On the flight, the plane had to pass through a line of strong thunderstorms—several less-seasoned flyers were a bit jittery—but none in the band realized that this was a foreshadowing of things to come.
In Macon, Geo., the band—known for its long tradition of marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade—marched in the Cherry blossom Festival Parade. An open-air concert marked the start of the festivities.
The band had the privilege of leading Sunday morning worship at the Atlanta Temple Corps. This beautiful corps also hosted the band’s next concert. It was a real joy to be able to share the camaraderie unique to Army music with our fellow Salvationists from Atlanta.
Dr. Richard Holz, USA Southern territorial music secretary and our Atlanta host, commented, “The Tabernacle Band demonstrated to the USA Southern Territory a superb model of a successful, multi-generational corps band. High standards of programming, organization, and focus on ministry…have become hallmarks of the Tab Band.”
Composer James Curnow’s wrote Proclamation for the Tab band’s tour and 115th anniversary year. Proclamation of the gospel became the theme of the tour, and as the band moved on to Chattanooga, Tenn., the band was able to take proclamation to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, a public university that was the site for a brass band clinic.
Curnow, who accompanied the band on part of its tour, gave his impression saying, “I was struck by the ability of the band to communicate to all age levels, and all cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds. They demonstrated musical excellence and spiritual depth. These should be the goals of all Army musicians.”
Victory Christian Center, a real “mega-church” in Charlotte, No Car., gave up its normal Wednesday evening service, and more than 1500 people were on hand. While many present were not expecting a concert, church members graciously received the band. The Army in Charlotte has a strong relationship with this congregation and together we enjoyed an evening of praising God.
The home stretch
As we arrived in Orlando, we realized that we were nearing the end of the tour—the culmination of months of preparation. After visiting EPCOT center, we played an open-air concert at “Downtown Disney.” The Orlando Citadel corps hosted our visit, culminating in an evening concert at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. Composer Peter Graham was in the audience and we, coincidentally, played four of his pieces that evening.
The tour’s final weekend took place at the Clearwater Citadel corps. This vibrant corps welcomed us into their homes and enthusiastically supported our Saturday evening performance. The Sunday morning service—a time of reverence, joy and worship—marked the end of the band’s tour.
At the Tampa airport we waited to return while flights were delayed due to severe thunderstorms. Once our flight actually departed, our plane was struck by lightning. This could have been a bad thing, but in reality, it only delayed our return. It reminded the band that, although the tour might be over, God was still in control and our service to Him at the Tab is the most important ministry that the band can perform.