Windows of the World

Commissioning 2006

Gospel arts celebration presents diversity of worship in the West.

by Jeff Curnow – 

The Carcamo family is greeted by Commissioners Philip and Patricia Swyers during the Service of Appointments. Mark Hood and Jenny Wallace of PraiseWorks lead contemporary worship

The Territorial Music and Worship Development Department has been under the direction of Neil Smith for about a year. Saturday evening’s Windows of the World celebration gave Smith a prime opportunity to present the diversity of the West to the entire territory.

A lineup of varied participants—from traditional Salvation Army music, ably offered by the Seattle Temple Band and a massed songster brigade, to more culturally significant performances such as Alaskan Tlingit dance and song—demonstrated the many ways Salvationists worship in the West.

Many added to the atmosphere of praise, including the Pasadena Tabernacle Youth Chorus, Irene Lewis, PraiseWorks, The Tournament of Roses Timbrelists, Halua Hula and the Golden State drama team.

Of particular note in the service was the re-commissioning of the Western Territorial Band. Disbanded in 1927 due to the budget constraints of the Great Depression, the band is the first in a series of territorial music initiatives being implemented by Smith.
Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers commissioned the band and its officers with solemnity. Said Swyers, “You are not to be an exclusive club or a band of note; you are to be a band that exalts Christ. You will be used across the territory, in places where people have never heard Army brass music.”

The band then sounded its first note of praise, joining the massed songsters to accompany Barbara Allen’s brilliant rendition of “They Could Not.” The band’s inaugural concert will be at the Pasadena Tabernacle Corps on Saturday, October 14, 2006.

The evening included recognizing summer mission teams and the presentation of $6.1 million raised across the West for World Services. Commissioner Earle Maxwell accepted the offering on behalf of International Headquarters.

The missions emphasis led naturally to the climactic performance of Peter Graham’s “Windows of the World.” The evening’s entire cast took part, taking listeners around the world with varied musical styles.

A fitting conclusion to the evening, Southwest Divisional Music Director Ralph Pearce’s fine arrangement of “Total Praise,” included all who took part in the event, even the congregation. Confetti and streamers brought the evening of worship, praise and thanksgiving to an exciting—and explosive—conclusion.

Thanks are due to many in the Program department who helped produce the celebration professionally. Windows of the World offered the West an intriguing glimpse into the future of music and worship under Smith’s leadership. All who attended are eager to see what’s next!

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