West Musicians on the Move
Tabernacle Songsters Triumph in Australia
By Paul Jennings –
The end of the three-week long Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters’ “Almighty” tour to Australia–like many other tours–was a study in contrasts. For many, Australia was a hard place to leave. For others, returning home to family and friends was warm and appealing. But for all the Songsters and those to whom they ministered, the tour represented another kind of coming home–a coming home to the Lord. The Gospel message in music was made clear, and people responded to it.
“An air of expectancy stirred the different audiences that greeted the Songster Brigade as they introduced their special and stimulating approach to the communication of the Gospel,” stated Commissioner John Gowans, Australia Eastern Territorial commander.
“The evident desire of every Songster to personally communicate their own experience of Christ through their singing was deeply appreciated by the capacity crowds which greeted the Brigade in every center. The always relevant Bible messages from Major Chick Yuill were particularly appreciated and especially effective.”
“The whole tour experience went beyond our expectations,” Songster Leader Bill Flinn said. “The Holy Spirit was present in each concert and meeting.”
The tour began at Brisbane City Temple, where the Tab Songsters performed a Saturday evening concert to a capacity crowd. The crowds returned Sunday to hear Majors Chick and Margaret Yuill, Pasadena Tabernacle corps officers, lead the worship services. All present experienced the power of the Holy Spirit when seekers met the Lord at the mercy seat.
After leaving Brisbane, they brought their special style of musical ministry to mainly non-Salvationist crowds. Traveling south for midweek concerts at Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, and Penrith, three hardworking and enthusiastic corps, they again performed to capacity crowds who were touched by the presentation of the Gospel.
During the second weekend of the tour, the group was hosted by the Hurstville Corps and was again given a warm welcome. On Saturday night, they performed at Sydney Congress Hall before their largest audience. Returning to Hurstville for the rest of the weekend meetings, the Songsters and Hurstville Corps were joined in worship by corps from surrounding areas, again led by the Yuills.
“The highlights of the tour were the Sunday services at Brisbane, Hurstville and Wollongong,” Flinn said. “Lives were changed as people came forward, some for the first time and some in re-dedication of their lives to God.”
After a fantastic weekend at Hurstville, the Songsters continued their tour with a midweek concert at the Shoalhaven Corps. The small corps prepared for a large crowd of 300 by planning for the concert to be held at a larger facility, but all were amazed as nearly 500 townspeople and soldiers packed into the building. Again, they witnessed to a largely non-Salvationist crowd and made an impact for the Lord and The Salvation Army in that community.
Moving inland to Canberra, The Australian capital city, the Songsters were greeted by the Canberra South Corps. They were treated to a “Australiana” night, sang at the Australian Parliament house, and presented their concert.
They entered their final weekend hosted by the Wollongong Corps. With
one of the most unique corps buildings in The Salvation Army world, Wollongong gave the opportunity for the Songsters to perform a cabaret night in a Christian nightclub setting.
The weekend was marked by one high point after another, as the Songsters participated in a musical workshop with fellow Salvationists and members of local church choirs, and later that evening performed their tour program.