Territorial Music Institute Develops Next Generation of Salvationist Artists, Musicians

By: Betty Hathorn

The 2017 Territorial Music Institute offered a beautiful gift to all who attended this year – a week to traverse a journey of refining their selected craft and deepening their relationship with Jesus Christ. More than 200 delegates gathered at Camp Hoblitzelle, Texas, to hone their musicianship and artistry. The theme for this year’s institute, “The Journey” was appropriate as each day brought challenges to meet and hard-sought victories to celebrate.

The Territorial Music and Creative Arts Department takes great care in selecting the staff and special guests for each TMI. This year was no exception. The special guest was world-renowned composer Stephen Bulla, a Salvationist who attends the Annapolis, Maryland, Corps with his wife, Randi, and their two sons. Steve could be seen everywhere. He led the Holz Band, played piano for the TMI Chorus, and participated in the many activities of the week. Our spiritual guests leading morning manna and vespers were Captains Andy and Abigail Miller. They offered great tools for the journey and were not afraid to dive into deep topics during morning manna. They also made themselves available to delegates to answer questions and pray with them.

The journey through the institute had many exciting stops along the way. All delegates participated in band, piano, worship team, dance, drama, musical theater or leadership seminars, depending on their major. Everyone participated in chorus. Master classes were held each afternoon, touching on various music and arts topics. The delegates were then offered many opportunities to laugh, relax and enjoy fun activities and night programs. Swimming in the pool and horseback riding were available most afternoons for those who wanted to soak up the sun – and there was plenty of sun. It was over 100 degrees most days. If that was too much, a cooler afternoon could be found in the rec hall, where table tennis and foosball were available. In the evenings, sports were offered, giving everyone an opportunity to engage in friendly competition. Basketball and volleyball tournaments, the annual staff versus delegate softball game, and again, futbol, were great ways to burn off energy after a day full of rehearsals.

The night programs finished each day on a high note. Some programs were fun, while others were more formal. The Battle of the Clans and the TMI Tonight Show were great ways to laugh, enjoy each other’s company and be a little silly. The Boston Brass concert, the preview and final concerts and the solo recital were nights to enjoy fantastic music and arts. Boston Brass got the week started with a top-notch performance. Their versatile display of talent was breathtaking, as they played pieces by J.S. Bach, Joaquín Turina, Arthur Pryor and others.

The preview and final concerts showcased all the groups at TMI. Various bands and choruses took everyone on a journey through many eras and genres of music, including an up-tempo rock version of “This Little Light of Mine” by the Kellner Chorus; the well-known contemporary  “Revelation Song” with Latin text performed by the Anderson Chorus; and a Salvation Army classic, “Song of Courage” by Eric Ball, played by the esteemed Holz Band. The creative artists combined forces during the preview concert to introduce the “Roman Road” to salvation. For the final concert, each creative arts group built individual pieces from “Roman Road.” It was magnificent and added to the overarching theme of the journey. So much happened at the institute that it is difficult to stop and pinpoint every detail that took place. Each person who attended no doubt left changed. God took everyone on a beautiful journey of music-making, soul-searching, friend-finding, artistry-elevating and self-worth affirmation. The journey was worth taking, and for many, the journey will continue as they travel home. “I am confident that the creator will not stop in mid-design, but will keep perfecting you.” – Philippians 1:6.