Texas band brings music, renewal to Nova Scotia
The Texas Divisional Band has just completed an impactful ministry trip to Nova Scotia, Canada, with seven events that included two marches, a benefit concert for the local corps, master classes in three areas, community outreach at four nursing homes and an outdoor public concert.
When Matt Broome, divisional music director and bandmaster of the Texas Divisional Band, asked the board for ministry trip suggestions, their secretary for planning and promotion, Julia Dunn, knew right away where the band would have a meaningful impact and enhance the fellowship between her two homes, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and Texas.
Dunn and her husband, Cameron, grew up in Sydney, Cape Breton, and moved to Texas eight years ago. The Salvation Army in Cape Breton has a long history. The first corps opened in 1888. Over the next 100 years, the island would have six corps and additional services such as a harbor light center and a home for unwed mothers.
The Army thrived for many years before the island’s population began to dwindle. By the late 1990s the three main industries had closed, forcing many to leave and find work elsewhere or further their studies abroad, increasing the challenges to the local corps and the Army.
One of the visions of the band trip was to amplify in the local corps and community the message that The Salvation Army is alive and relevant and continues to be a part of a global movement, with the purpose of reaching out to their community and helping others find the living Christ.
Major Corey Vincent, Sydney corps officer, noted that the band’s ministry to his congregation was an inspiration. “I have been filled, my corps family has been filled and I thank God for this time of renewal,” he said.
This renewal included fellowship between the Texas bandsmen and the local Salvationists and community. All 37 bandsmen were hosted by local corps members as well as non-members. One of the many highlights for many was meeting General Linda Bond when she spent time with the band after the morning worship service in the Glace Bay Corps, where the General soldiers.
The band’s marching events highlighted its visit. It marched in the Halifax Natal Day Parade, a 5-kilometer route including crossing a 1,000-meter cable-stayed bridge. The band’s march of witness in Sydney was much shorter in length, but more spirited, ending at the bandshell with hundreds awaiting the band’s arrival for an open-air meeting.
Soldiers from all the local corps and local churches formed in marching formation for the first time in many years. Both officers and soldiers were filled with the Spirit and the hope of renewal and joy as the band declared The Salvation Army’s presence in the town.
The band also had the opportunity to take in local tourist attractions and local cuisine to complete the experience and help make some lasting memories.