Territorial Youth Chorus Ministers in Oklahoma City
By: Gabriela Prieto
Forty-five young Salvationists, representing all nine divisions of the Southern Territory, traveled to Oklahoma City to be part of the first ministry weekend of the inaugural Southern Territorial Youth Chorus, held Sept. 15-18.
The special guest for the ministry weekend was esteemed conductor and composer Major Len Ballantine. Major Ballantine, who served as the leader of The Salvation Army’s premier vocal group, the International Staff Songsters, has also composed and arranged music that has been performed all over the world and in venues as prestigious as Royal Albert Hall. He brought with him a fresh perspective and new techniques for both new and familiar repertoire.
The extended weekend opened with a day of rehearsals, with the Territorial Youth Choir learning a repertoire of music to perform throughout the weekend. The first evening concluded with devotional time, where Major Heather Ballantine challenged the musicians to be unafraid, and to be loud about their love for Christ and others.
On Friday night, the Territorial Songsters and the Territorial Youth Chorus ministered to an exceptional group of men from the Oklahoma City Adult Rehabilitation Center and the 614 Corps by putting on a concert and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through their singing.
As the night went on, the Territorial Songsters sang in remembrance of the attacks on 9/11 and a moment of silence was shared to remember those whose lives were lost 15 years ago that week.
Downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the location of the featured concert of the weekend, held at Trinity Episcopal Church. The venue was filled with energy and praise as the Arkansas-Oklahoma Divisional Band, the Territorial Songsters and the Territorial Youth Chorus performed. Members from the surrounding corps and the local community poured in to listen as the songsters lifted their hearts to Christ.
The Territorial Songsters and the Territorial Youth Chorus joined together to perform “Let It Be Written,” which was deemed the theme song of the weekend, and for the first time the new Territorial Youth Chorus sang alongside the Territorial Songsters. It was a true celebration of intergenerational diversity.
“Let it be written for the next generation! Let it be sung for the ones yet to come! Let my whole being tell of His blessings. All that is in me praise His name.”
On Sunday morning, Majors Len and Heather Ballantine and Nick Simmons-Smith, in a meaningful and personalized way, anointed each member of the chorus with oil to as a reminder of God’s anointment for the musicians in their ministry.