Salvation Army Bands

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by The Cornet King, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    I have to admit to feeling rather embarassed :oops: about my ignorance towards SA bands. I admit to knowing little about them or their policies.
    One thing i have always wondered is why they do not contest. I know that their policy is non-contesting but have never known why??

    Would be interesting to hear the ISB in say the Nationals to see how they'd get on (no doubt they'd do rather well :D )

    Anyway as i know we have some salvationists here on tMP i thought id ask and get the gaping hole of knowledge in my brain rectified! :?

  2. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member


    The primary function of The Salvation Army is a Christian Church, there are more than 1000 I would guess in the UK alone. Many of this individual churches traditionally have brass bands that are used to enhance (or not as the case may be :wink: ) worship services.

    The Salvation Army does, I believe, not actually have a written regulation on actually not contesting but it's irrelevant anyway because they were set up in the late 1800's to aid and support the work of the church. It has never been in it's make-up to contest, as that's not what they are about.

    The International Staff Band is the army's 'premier' band, who's members all attend an SA church and participate in their individual band.

    Loads of army bandsman compete with contesting bands as well as being part of their 'corps' band. I would be interested to see how the ISB would fare in a contesting environment. Being in the SA and having friends within the band, I would not want to comment publicly on where I think they would end up at a major contest.... ask me on Thursday Chris! They are very technically assured and Steve Cobb runs a tight ship, which goes some way to being up there with the best.

    Rothwell Temps
  3. BobRalston

    BobRalston Member

    I have no doubt that there will be a multitude of responses to this but I will post a brief reply to get things going.

    SA bands are established in order to be an expression of the members Christian faith and to support the work of the corps (church) to which they belong.

    Until recently the rules about bands have been very tight including only being allowed to use SA published music and if a Salvationist wanted to play in an 'outside' band, as we know non-SA bands, then you would have to leave the SA band.

    Flexibility has been brought in over the last few years and these rules have been relaxed.

    The reason that bands haven't contested is that it is not part of the mission of the SA band. However, I am sure that lots of people would be keen to see how the ISB, Enfield etc. would do.

    Other than the ISB, players join the band as a means of service and are not auditioned i.e. There are good bands around with some really duff players. These would probably be found out in contests. Also bands can be up to 40+ strong which would cause a problem. I guess in time there might be an entry into the contest arena but first it might be through some composite band being formed for particular contests.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    John and Bob have already covered the main points that I would have made. When the regulations were relaxed allowing bandsmen (other than professional musicians, who were always something of a special case) to play in bands not directly part of the Salvation Army it did pave the way for other groups to be set up. This included Egon Brass, put together primarily for a series of recordings of largely, but not exclusively, Salvation Army music, but which also made one or two live appearances, including the gala concert following the Open in Manchester in 1996.

    Similar groups have also been put together to take part in the Whit Walks contest and I suppose, in theory, you could enter as a full corps band, under a different name, but I can't quite see that happening. As has been said, an SA band is likely to include players of a wide range of abilities, and it is more likely that those who are particularly keen on contesting would find another band in their area to fulfil that need.

    Incidentally, there is sometimes confusion over what the old regulations used to say: if you were playing in an "outside" band you were not "drummed out" of the Salvation Army, but could remain a member, continuing to wear uniform if desired, but were not able to combine that with playing in an SA band. Trevor Groom, whilst playing with GUS, held the position of Young Person's Sergeant Major (Sunday School Superintendent), for example. I believe also that you were still able to belong to SA vocal groups, but maybe someone else can clarify that point.
  5. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    Being ex-SA, I believed (and still do) that the main purpose of SA bands is to aid in worship and spreading the gospel (however it is done). True, there might be some 'duff' players in top SA bands, but thats not why they are playing.
    I suppose it would be interesting to hear the top SA bands at a contest, similarly I think it would be interesting to hear more contesting bands play more SA major works more regularly.
  6. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    Many thanks to John, Bob (not his real name!) and Peter for their excellent responses to the initial posting from The Cornet King.
    The only thing that I feel I can add is an invitation to The Cornet King to go to hear a Salvation Army band live and get a first hand experience!

    Maybe a Saturday night concert (or festival as we still tend to call them) would be a good place to start. I'm happy to offer some suggestions as to what is coming up before and after Christmas. The ISB are in Warrington in January but I think that is the closest they are to Hull/Huddersfield for the foreseeable future.
  7. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    I'd recommend it, as they're on top form this season! I heard them at Birmingham and it was a good night out, one of the best SA festivals I've been to in a long while.
  8. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Thank you Carl. I may just have to do that. Any details of forthcoming concerts would be much appreciated. I've especially always wanted to hear the ISB live.

    Thanks for all the responses guys, have been most helpful. :wink:
  9. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    warrington... worth a listen then
  10. Dan

    Dan Member

    If SA bands don't want to enter existing brass contests then why don't they set up a contest of their own? It could be a further opportunity to spread the gospel and worship. You could have regionals with bands from different Corps, then finals! I am ex SA and I reckon it would be great!
  11. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    Here are the details for the ISB's visit to Warrington on Saturday & Sunday 17 & 18 January 2004.

    Warrington Citadel Corps
    Academy Street
    WA1 2BQ

    Tel; 01925 416645

    There is an email address for information regarding tickets for the Saturday evening concert (7pm);
    Des Keates (

    There will be a church service at 10am on Sunday.
    There will be another concert type gathering at 4pm.

    Hope to see some tMP members there!
  12. carlwoodman

    carlwoodman Member

    OK, I've checked Salvationist magazine and here are a few events for this Saturday. It then goes a bit quiet as most SA bands are busy in December with Christmas carolling.

    Hendon Band at Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Cheltenham @ 7pm. Box office telephone; 01242 258002.
    Boscombe Band at Nuneaton Citadel, Victoria Street, Nuneaton @ 7pm. Ticket line; 02476 350673.
    Chalk Farm Band at Christ Church, Mount Pleasant, Bradford-on-Avon @ 7pm. Ticket line; 01225 868679.
  13. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    It would certainly be very interesting! I wouldn't want to be the one who has to judge the 'hymn tune' section of the contest..... :shock:
  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Having said that Salvation Army bands don't get involved in contests, reading the coment above about the hymn tune section reminds me that there has been the occasional marching competition held at the annual Field Day - just for fun, of course :wink:
  15. Railybobs

    Railybobs Member

    I am always one of the first to admit that my background and foundations are set firmly in The Salvation Army. As an ex- Salvationist bandsman I have to admit that there is a stage that all Salvation Army Bandsmen and women get to and that is only going to the army to play in the band.
    I fell into that trap a good few years back and I had to make a decision about whether to stay in the band and be a hippocrit or leave. As a Christian there is another option and that is to commit your talents to God 100%.

    I stayed in the band with my 100% commitment until my Corps was closed due to reasons not related to banding so i'll not go into them. i came out of uniform and out of the army.

    I joined Tyldesley Band and found that the contesting world might as well as be in a different universe to army bandning. but i think i may have got the hand of it now.

    Bands in The Salvation Army do not contest. They do not perform concerts. The play in Festivals to Worship God.

    Next time you have an SA piece on your stand go and have a look at the score. there is usually some brief lines of a song in the conductors notes.

    Good Thread ! ! ! !
  16. BobRalston

    BobRalston Member


    The points that you made are mainly valid but I would make one exception. You say that everyone gets to the point of only going to Army to play in the band. Perhaps I have misunderstood what you are saying, but I have had spells out of the band but have continued to go to the corps with just as much regularity and enthusiasm as when I was in the band.
  17. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I think railybobs comment was perhaps a generalisation, but one that got the point accross. It is unfeasable to assume that all bandsmen in the SA go through such a phase surely.
  18. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    There are also instances where people will step out of the band, at least for a while, if they feel it is becoming too much of a priority, or is affecting their commitment to other church-based activities. Unfortunately, such decisions are occasionally misunderstood or resented, particularly if the person concerned is a key player.
  19. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    I enjoyed reading this thread, it provided me with mroe info about Salvation Army Band's that I didn't know before.
    Thanks guys.
  20. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    By the way I wasn't saying that sarcastically! Just in case anyone misinterprets it! :?

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