Musicians form partnership in Shelby, North Carolina
By: Major Frank Duracher
A three-way partnership in Shelby, North Carolina, between The Salvation Army, Gardner-Webb University and local government received considerable fanfare in the form of a march of witness through downtown, and a public concert at the Shelby Pavilion. The event’s purpose was twofold: to raise awareness of The Salvation Army’s presence in Shelby; and, to announce plans to establish a performing arts school in Shelby – the sixth in the North-South Carolina Division.
“We look forward to this collaboration between Gardner-Webb and The Salvation Army in the coming year,” said Dr. Patricia Sparti, GWU professor of music.
The praise concert began with performance by the GWU Brass Choir (led by Dr. Sparti), followed by a full concert by the Carolinas Conservatory, including all aspects of what the campers are learning: namely brass, chorus, praise and worship and drama.
“The Carolinas Conservatory is here today to support the officers and soldiers of the Shelby Corps in their effort to make this community aware of the coming School of Performing Arts,” said Nathan Cole, divisional music director. “We’ll be working in tandem with Gardner-Webb’s music department, whose students generally go on to become music instructors, with hopes that they will go on to associate their respective music programs with local Salvation Army corps.”
Cole explains that the Army will be providing tuition for young musicians who otherwise would not be able to access quality music education elsewhere. Shelby Mayor Stan Anthony and other civic leaders are on board with this venture and are working closely with The Salvation Army to determine a suitable location.
Over 90 conservatory students and staff, along with Shelby soldiers and Carolinas officers, participated in the march through the historic downtown.
“Our intent today is also to show our community that The Salvation Army is a church, in addition to a social service agency,” said Sergeant Les Ashby, corps administrator. “We are very excited about the future growth of our corps because of the School of Performing Arts that will greatly enhance the ministry of the Shelby Salvation Army.”
Major Frank Duracher, a former writer for The War Cry and Southern Spirit, is a retired Salvation Army officer living in North Carolina.