Texas Brass takes musical outreach to Buenos Aires
By: Brad Rowland
For more than two decades, the USA Southern Territory and South America East Territory of The Salvation Army have enjoyed a fruitful relationship in music and arts. With that as the backdrop, 36 members of Texas Brass embarked on a rewarding journey in late May, visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a full schedule of musical ministry.
The ensemble, led by Matthew Broome, divisional music and arts director, performed a welcome concert just hours after landing in Buenos Aires. The gathering was well-attended and celebratory, with a worshipful and uplifting atmosphere.
From there, Texas Brass joined forces with an already established ensemble that included local musicians from Argentina, with Omar Perez, territorial music secretary for South America East, coordinating the effort. Those from Texas stood alongside Argentinians to form a massed band and massed chorus, performing multiple open-air concerts during the visit and coming together for a memorable march of witness through the streets of the city.
“The musical standard is very high in the South America East Territory, and that eased everything for us,” Broome said. “It’s encouraging and really speaks to Omar’s work and influence. … Omar has been the territorial music secretary for more than 20 years, and it was also great to highlight the impact being made locally.”
Sundays often represent the pinnacle of ministry weekends in Salvation Army music-making, and this journey was no different. Texas Brass split into four smaller ensembles, keying ministry at four local corps – Patricios, Colegiales, Villa de Parque and Central – with time for testimony and stirring musical worship.
“The sense of community in Buenos Aires was something that I’ve never felt before,” said Indy Pence, a percussionist and soldier of the Garland, Texas, Corps. “The relationships I made with some of the people there were impactful, and I treasure my new friends greatly.”
On the final full day of the trip, the group visited a Salvation Army nursing home, spending time with retired officers and other senior citizens. The visit included a concert. A short distance away, Texas Brass performed an outreach-driven concert at a local boarding school, Colegio San Jorge, including an inspiring devotional.
Despite the language barrier, the world of music provided natural communication, and the fellowship and worship under The Salvation Army umbrella was meaningful for all.
“One of the best things, in my opinion, is the opportunity to meet other Salvationists and the fellowship we can have,” said Broome. “This trip centered on our youth, and giving them that chance is something I think is great, and something that should be memorable and impactful for everyone involved.”