The band came to play

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Territorial Band visits City by the Bay.

by Jennifer Byrd –

The Western Territorial Band marches through San Francisco.

Recently, on a glorious Indian summer weekend, the Western Territorial Band, under the leadership of Bandmaster Neil Smith, visited San Francisco to spread the gospel through the medium of music.

But every good band—even one so clearly fueled by the Holy Spirit—needs time for rehearsal. After arriving in the Bay Area on Thursday, they practiced for a full day on Friday. That evening they regaled the young people with their joyful music at the San Francisco Chinatown Corps’ Festival of Youth.

“The cultural diversity of San Francisco was displayed in the variety of presentations during the evening,” said Christine Dunmore, Golden State divisional music director. “This was also reflected in the versatility of the band when the Territorial Band Worship Team played an active part in the festival with their contemporary praise.”

After playing to the home team, the band was ready to bring their show on the road. Under blue skies, the band played on Saturday morning to a group of natives and tourists alike at San Francisco’s Pier 39. The band presented a varied and accomplished program of traditional and contemporary brass music, including “Toccata” (Bach), “Amazing Grace” (Himes), melodies from The Student Prince and Sister Act, “Sweetest Name” (Cordner) and more. Hundreds of people from all over the world gathered to enjoy the festivities.

The band crossed the bridge to perform for fellow Salvationists in the Del Oro Division. At the Saturday evening concert at the Concord Corps, the band performed such selections as “Purcell Variations” (Downie); a trombone solo, “Fiesta,” performed by Kevin Larsson; “Songs in Exile” (Ball); and a trombone feature from the movie Sister Act. All were presented with musical finesse and showed the various talents of this excellent band.

On Sunday morning, a small ensemble of band personnel visited the San Francisco ARC and presented music prior to and during the morning meeting.

But they saved the best performance for last.

On Sunday morning, members of the band also participated at the Chinatown Corps worship service and early that afternoon, the entire group reconvened for the 2007 Chinatown March of Witness. Major Eda Hokom, territorial program secretary, gave the morning address and took the salute at the parade. This spectacular vision of The Salvation Army’s finest wound its way through Chinatown, with a stop at Portsmouth Square for a witness service before returning to Chinatown Corps.

All the while, through the marching and laughter of the parade’s participants, the band’s music echoed through the streets of San Francisco, touching people’s hearts and reminding listeners about the promise of God’s love.


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