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Canterbury SA Songsters Celebrate 100 Years

The Salvation Army turned 150 last year, and one way that we marked it here in Canterbury was with a huge timeline banner on the outside of our building celebrating key points across that long history. As part of the research for that banner, we realised that 2016 marks 100 years since the first recorded mention of a Salvation Army choir (or Songsters!) here in the city. Naturally, we wanted to celebrate this!

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You can listen to the whole Saturday evening concert – here on the page, or by downloading it to keep forever.

Download MP3 file (121.4MB)

For our Saturday evening festival, we joined forces with the Songster brigade from Margate Salvation Army. Following a rehearsal in the afternoon we were able to share a tea together, with sandwiches, sausage rolls and homemade lemonade. As the image at the top of this article shows we marked the big occasion with a big cake, which Songster Leader Chris Neeve and his deputy Chris Ward cut together. Carry on reading »

Visit of Boston Salvation Army Songsters

It was many months in the planning, but the preparations for the visit of Boston Salvation Army Songsters to Canterbury were well worth the effort! Much was packed into two days, with a concert, two Sunday meetings and an open-air and much great music, inspiring testimony and helpful prayer-times.

After a long journey and a welcome meal following the arrival of the choir, it was time for the Saturday evening festival. The Songsters kicked off with the upbeat ‘There’s Never Been a Mountain, before we moved into the more peaceful ‘I Lift My Hands’ and ‘My Simple Prayer.’

Other highlights of the evening included the pieces ‘The King’s Highway,’ ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘Under His Wings,’ plus a wonderful item from the Boston Timbrelists and some poetry. Canterbury’s own Young People’s Band played Dorothy Gates arrangement ‘Jesus Paid It All.’

Photo of SongstersParticularly good to hear were moments of personal testimony from Duncan and Tina, who both spoke of time spent away from God and from church. God still found ways to speak to them, however. Duncan talked about his experience going to the final festival at The Salvation Army summer camp his daughter had attended and feeling God speaking to him; Tina shared how God spoke to her and made her less cynical and got her involved in the Army once more.

Sunday morning arrived and members of the Songsters returned to our hall from their overnight hosts ready for a meeting themed around ‘Rest’ – indeed, this is the piece of music they opened with. Prayers were centred around the unknown worries of those around us.

More testimonies from the Songsters focussed on the need to make time for God, as those who spoke shared their experiences of how the day-to-day routines of life (work, hobbies, family) can get in the way of reflection, prayer and church.

Other musical highlights of the service included ‘In This Quiet Moment’ and ‘O Rest in the Lord’ (a vocal solo from Emma), whilst our Bible reading came from Luke 5.

Photo of WendyCanterbury Salvation Army holds an open-air service most Sundays in the High Street, and our visiting musical group gave an opportunity for something a little different.

Our band’s music was added to by some vocal pieces from the Songsters and leader Wendy compared Christians to a packet of M&Ms! She pointed out the marking on each (Christians are marked as saved by God’s son), the variety of colours (we are all unique) and we all have something great on the inside (Jesus is with us)!

Lunch offered a chance to get to know each other a little better, as some of Canterbury Salvation Army stayed at the hall to help with the cooking and serving of a roast dinner to the visiting Songsters. Through conversation we discovered many more links between our two churches – family, friends, former leaders and more!

Photo of Songster at open-air service

3.30pm saw the start of our final event of the weekend. Canterbury SA Band played the piece ‘Rejoice,’ and we all enjoyed a monologue from Sue entitled ‘If I Could Sing Like Katherine’! Sue used to be a member of Boston Salvation Army Songsters before moving to Canterbury recently. The Songsters featured music included ‘Everywhere’ and ‘The Wonder of his Grace,’ as well as ‘Jesus, What a Saviour.’

‘Total Praise’ was Boston’s final piece of the two days, reminding us that all of our efforts were for God. Canterbury Salvation Army is so grateful to Boston Songsters for their work in making the weekend happen – both logistical and in their preparations for our services and the Saturday concert. The theming was helpful and varied, and everybody got something from the two days.

All of the photos from the weekend are on our Facebook page
All of the videos are on our YouTube page

Audience appreciate Music for a Summer’s Evening

A good-sized audience came to our hall to listen to a concert of ‘Music for a Summer’s Evening.’ We promoted the event across the city, including posters in the High Street, and were rewarded with a crowd ready to hear what the Band and Songsters had to offer.

The Band’s latest repertoire – including pieces such as ‘Soli, Deo Gloria’, ‘Cairo Red Shield’, ‘Joshua, Fit the Battle’ and ‘Guardian of my Soul’ – was broken up by contributions from the Songsters who presented ‘The Pilgrim Song’, ‘Hymn to the Conqueror’ and ‘The Wonder of his Grace’, the latter two of which Carry on reading »

Christmas music in Canterbury in 2014

Our musical groups have been busy across Canterbury this Christmas, as every Christmas. We take part in tens of events – carol services, our own Sunday worship, plus playing carols for the public in the High Street during December.

As we pack away our festive repertoire for another year, here we take a chance to look at a few pieces of music that our brass bands have used over the last few weeks. Hundreds of people will have heard us playing this music, and it is our prayer that something of the message of Jesus and of the hope that he brought to the world will have been felt. Carry on reading »