Texas Youth Band Helps Mexico Celebrate 80 Years
By: Andrew Wainwright
For the last half century, the Texas Division has enjoyed a close relationship with The Salvation Army in Mexico, and during that time the division has sent numerous music and creative arts groups, staff and resources to support the Mexico Territory’s music program. Further strengthening the links, delegates from Mexico have often attended Texas’s summer camps, continuing to do so to this day. Although it has been a few years since a group last went south of the border, those links were rekindled as the Texas Division’s premier youth band, Texas Brass (Bandmaster Andrew Wainwright), and Creative Arts (Leader Chloe Hu), travelled to support The Salvation Army’s 80th Anniversary Congress celebrations in Mexico City.
The Salvation Army’s rich and vibrant history in Mexico was unfurled during the four-day Congress through spoken word, music, creative arts and multimedia. A welcome and celebration meeting held on Friday night heralded the official start of the Congress, which welcomed General André and Commissioner Silvia Cox. Texas Brass joined forces with the United Band of Mexico throughout the weekend.
Saturday morning featured simultaneous meetings for men, women and youth, with the Texas groups splitting up between all three venues, providing appropriate music and creative arts for each occasion.
The centerpiece of Saturday night’s Mexican Party Festival was a cantata telling the story of the Army’s 80 years in Mexico through song, dance, drama and no shortage of color. Texas Brass provided several musical items, including Mexico’s signature march, Zacatecas, and Mexico 70. General Cox challenged Mexican Salvationists to look to the future, asking, “What will Salvationists be saying about our generation in 80 years’ time?”
The Sunday morning holiness meeting provided poignant moments of reflection and contemplation, with dozens coming forward for the altar call which followed the General’s challenging message. Powerful testimonies told of lives changed through trust in God and how he had remained faithful through times of trials.
A march of witness, featuring both bands, Texas’s timbrels and numerous Mexican Salvationists, proceeded through the streets of Mexico City from territorial headquarters to De los Venados Park, where a crowd of several hundred gathered for an open-air meeting. Featured were the Mexican Territorial Timbrel Brigade, the Children’s Home Dance Group and Choir, a creative arts group from Puebla Corps, and Texas Brass.
Although the conclusion of the open-air saw the Congress officially draw to a close with many Salvationists going their separate ways, a number of meetings still presented the opportunity for The Salvation Army to proclaim the word to the public, the first being an inter-denominational meeting at La Santísima Trinidad, a Methodist Church in the heart of Mexico City. Texas Brass provided several musical items and accompanied the congregation in several hymns.
Later that day, Texas Brass and Creative Arts were featured in a special concert held at the National Anthropology Museum Concert Hall with a near-capacity audience in attendance.