Southern Territorial Band enjoys ministry, fellowship in Oklahoma
By: Brad Rowland
The Salvation Army’s USA Southern Territorial Band traditionally meets three times annually for rehearsal and ministry in locations across the Southeast. From Jan. 19-23, the ensemble visited the Arkansas and Oklahoma (AOK) Division, first at The Salvation Army’s Camp Heart O’ Hills before a trip across the state of Oklahoma to its capital of Oklahoma City.
The band, featuring more than two dozen brass players and percussionists from the 15 states included in the Southern Territory, arrived on Wednesday evening before a full slate of rehearsals on Thursday. Those preparations continued Friday, with the Divisional Band from the AOK Division arriving at Camp Heart O’Hills that evening. Deep into the night, the two groups mixed together, enjoying a time of fellowship, reading prominent pieces for the experience of playing them, and engaging in sectional rehearsals led by members of the Southern Territorial Band.
“I cannot overstate the importance of the Southern Territorial Band’s ministry of encouragement and support of local Salvation Army musicians throughout the territory,” said Andrew Barrington, divisional music director for Arkansas and Oklahoma. “This was on full display at Camp Heart O’ Hills in how the band ministered to the AOK Divisional Band.”
Following a late night and a period of rest, the two groups reassembled Saturday morning for a festival of praise. Both bands performed multiple pieces, with words of inspiration from Lt. Colonel Dean Hinson, divisional commander for Arkansas and Oklahoma. This gathering was meaningful, both for individuals and for the collective, with a spiritual emphasis and the opportunity to listen, perform and worship.
“The Territorial Band was blown away by the AOK Divisional Band,” said Nick Simmons-Smith, territorial music secretary. “They played exceptionally well – with 90% of the band coming through the Divisional Music Conservatory program.”
“Not only did the AOK Divisional Band get the opportunity to be instructed by musicians like Bandmaster Nick Simmons-Smith, Dr. Steve Kellner, and Captain Lars-Otto Ljungholm, simple words of encouragement from members of the STB made such an enormous impact that will challenge all of us to be better,” Barrington said. “We all see the incredible ministry of the Southern Territorial Band in performance and live worship, but it is often these ‘behind the scenes’ moments that make the most impact – similar to feet washing in other expressions of ministry.”
At the conclusion of the Saturday morning festival, the Southern Territorial Band traveled to Oklahoma City for a concert at Herrick Auditorium on the campus of Southern Nazarene University. With kudos to local promotion, the concert was brimming with energy and observers took a liking to the band’s repertoire.
“The Saturday night concert was well attended,” said Simmons-Smith. “Many folks were not familiar with The Salvation Army or brass banding, but there was a wonderful spirit throughout the program.”
The band performed several selections, highlighted by soloist work from Connie Barrington (Offering), Dr. Steve Kellner (The Ransomed Host) and Aaron Jackson (Tico Tico). The concert concluded a busy Saturday, but the weekend’s highlight was still to come with the band accompanying worship at the Oklahoma City Citadel Corps.
Andrew Barrington delivered the morning’s message on Psalm 23, with the band supporting congregational singing, praise and worship, offertory, and other special music. As is the case for any ministry weekend of the Southern Territorial Band, the overarching focus was on worship and the objective to win souls for the Lord.
“The pinnacle of the weekend was Sunday morning worship at Oklahoma City Citadel Corps,” Simmons-Smith said. “I believe the local corps were encouraged by the band’s ministry, and the band went home with a renewed sense of mission and ministry.”
The band’s next collective ministry opportunity will be in support of the USA Southern Territory’s Commissioning Weekend in Atlanta from June 3-5.