Florida arts groups make a connection in Memphis
By: Brad Rowland
In late September, more than 40 young people from Florida arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, as the division’s music and arts groups embarked on a ministry and fellowship outreach. Groups included Florida Brass, led by Darryl Crossland, assistant divisional music director, the Florida Divisional Youth Chorus, led by Regan Love, the Florida Divisional Youth Timbrels, led by Cherika Gregory, and Illuminate, a creative arts Sabrina Borum, divisional creative arts director.
The journey included extensive participation at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Memphis, including the ensembles taking in a production from Stage Door Productions and post-show fellowship with the cast and crew. In addition, the groups from Florida performed in a variety of locations, including at the Memphis Adult Rehabilitation Center in a memorable Saturday evening gathering.
“I loved that our trip to Memphis gave us the chance to feel the spirit through our music in ways that I don’t think we have before,” said Briauna James, a member of the band from the Orlando Citadel Corps. “We were taken out of our comfort zones and routines and got to truly worship and connect with people we would’ve never gotten the chance to meet otherwise.”
As with any Salvation Army music and arts ensemble, the focus was on ministry. Members of the group received blessings while simultaneously inspiring others through the arts.
“I think all of the ensembles really got a sense that it wasn’t about us,” James said, “but about how God could move through us, and I think that’ll really impact the way we approach our music making in the future.”
Youth from the division helped lead workshop classes for those in the Memphis community, with a focus on dance, hip-hop, brass, piano and guitar. Also, the group toured the National Civil Rights Museum and, in keeping with the ministry focus of the weekend, finished the mini-tour by accompanying and participating in worship at the Kroc Center on Sunday morning.
“Throughout all its programs and services, The Salvation Army of Memphis is working towards meeting the needs of the city and acting as the true body of Christ,” said Crossland. “And we were blessed to come alongside in ministry.”