Why I love Army music
by Diane O’Brien, Lt. Colonel –
I love the music programs of the Army! That will be no surprise to anyone who knows me. Please allow me, however, a few moments to explain some of the reasons for my recent “joy in service.”
On Tuesday nights, I am part of the leadership for the youth programs at the corps where we soldier. We’re usually at other corps on Sunday, but the weeknights are when we give our service and gain our fellowship.
On a recent evening after my young people left—most of them to take their place in the youth band—I sat in the hallway between that somewhat skilled group and the raw learners. The march “Rejoice” was taking shape in one room and from the other came the strains of “Hot Cross Buns.” And “strains” accurately described the sound. Suddenly, it flowed like honey around my senses. Of course—the instructor was demonstrating how it could sound!
Every week after his regular workday preparing for his Ph.D. and teaching college students, he spends time with those wriggly beginners. The next night, he takes his place at the piano for songsters and end cornet chair for band. Three times a year he sits in the same place in the territorial band. That’s all good, but what is remarkable is that he does all those things—from the learner class to the huge, applauded celebration—with the same God-given grace and patience.
Other programs happen at the corps on Tuesdays—SAY (Salvation Army youth) programs—led by two officer soldiers of the corps. Both volunteers hold divisional headquarters (DHQ) appointments, but first of all they are willing and available soldiers.
Earlier this year the Singing Company leader was having trouble with some squirrelly young singers. She regularly led the group alone from the piano and was close to despair. She pleaded for another adult to sit in rehearsals and help with discipline or somebody to play so she could stand eye-to-eye with the kids. Who were the two who responded? The bandmaster—a capable but reluctant public pianist—and another officer from DHQ, who counts among the privileges of his week the time he sits between the two most currently wriggly.
Then there’s the recently retired divisional commander, who told me before his retirement he wanted to build the youth work in his local corps. Now—a year later—he has seven brand new young brass musicians registered for music camp. He is a man of his word and an example of a good Army musician indeed!
These stories of dedication do not stand alone, but are repeated throughout this territory and the Army world.
So, I love Army music. But more than that, I am honored to serve with these and other Army soldiers. May God continue to bless their dedicated time and talents.