Western Territorial Youth Chorus debuts

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San Francisco welcomes Territorial Youth Chorus and Band.

by Paul Williams –

The Western Territorial Youth Chorus

Over 250 people gathered at the San Francisco Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on a recent Saturday evening to witness the inaugural concert of the Territorial Youth Chorus, led by Marjory Watson.

Supported by the Territorial Youth Band, led by Bandmaster Stuart Watson, the concert started with the chorus marching into the Kroc Center’s gymnasium to “Goldcrest” (James Anderson). They then joined with the band in “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,” a chorus featured in the final section of the march.

Territorial Youth Secretary Major Ivan Wild officially received the youth chorus on behalf of the Territorial Commander, and Territorial Music Secretary Bandmaster Neil Smith offered a dedicatory prayer.

The cleverly devised program consisted of five segments. The opening segment stated the Youth Chorus’s mission with such numbers as “Let There Be Praise” and “The Reason We Sing.” A patriotic segment followed, featuring a rendition of “God Bless America” by the chorus, and Stanley Ditmer’s “Battle Cry of Freedom” by the band.

The congregation joined the chorus in the African rhythm song, “We are Marching in the Light of God.”

The program continued with a section highlighting the rich musical heritage of The Salvation Army. The chorus rendered a medley of songster gems compiled by Stuart Watson. The group enjoyed performing these classics (including “In the Secret of Thy Presence”), although they were unfamiliar to most before rehearsals started.

Wild, executive officer for the youth band, shared a devotional thought on Psalm 91. The band’s controlled rendition of “Psalm 91” (Stuart Watson) complemented his thoughts.

The band and chorus joined for the evening’s finale—a performance of Andrew Mackereth’s Hillsong Praise, in an arrangement incorporating several contemporary worship songs. It presented many challenges for both chorus and band, especially in maintaining a proper balance between the groups.

Many commented on the quality of the chorus’s performance—especially since it had only started rehearsing the previous day. The band also exhibited a high level of musical maturity.

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