The Texas Divisional Band has a rich history and experienced a relaunch this season after a short hiatus. Excitement has been building throughout the year after the band’s debut at Family Camp in August. Most recently, TDB supported a vibrant ministry weekend in Central Texas on April 24-26.
38 bandsmen participated in this tour, representing 13 corps from across the division. One of the highlights occurred at the start of the weekend as TDB accompanied Michael W. Smith in a joint performance at the Austin Annual Luncheon. Smith was humble and gracious in rehearsal and performance, and greeted the band with special words of encouragement. The two kicked off the concert with an instrumental arrangement of “The Blessing” and Smith continued with a collection of hits spanning his vast career. TDB demonstrated the quality that can be achieved in Salvation Army music programs to donors and supporters alike.
Saturday provided an opportunity for outreach ministry at multiple locations. The first stop was the VA Medical Center Domiciliary in Temple, TX. TDB was able to honor the veterans in concert, while Capt. Bill Shafer fostered relationships in the community and shared how TSA provides service to these brave men and women. The veterans were very receptive and it was a pleasure to shake each of their hands following the concert.
The remaining engagements were back in Austin, the “live music capital of the world.” TDB played on the final weekend of the tenth annual Texas Community Music Festival. Throughout this 10-day festival, over 70 groups performed on the main stage at Central Market. It was a great outdoor venue bustling with families, food, and fellowship. Band Secretary, Manny Muñoz, was featured on the trumpet solo, “Virtuosity,” TDB’s only secular item on the program. Perhaps the only Christian group performing at TCMF, TDB brazenly shared the gospel through music and testimony to an unsuspecting audience. The crowd was mostly welcoming and responsive, and TDB was privileged to minister in this non-traditional community.
On Saturday evening, TDB performed a joint concert with the Austin Brass Band led by John Caputo, former euphonium with the US Air Force Band of the West. While both groups performed sets on their own, they joined together for two selections, taking up a unique band formation with nearly 70 musicians on the stage. ABB opened the program with “Horizons” and TDB later played “Vitae Aeternum,” both by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, a highly sought-after composer whose early music development is attributed to TSA. It was a unique experience to hear TSA selections performed by a secular group, and TDB enjoyed the opportunity to share the message behind the music. A special bond was formed by the bandsmen of both groups; relationships that we pray continue to grow and benefit the ministry in Austin for months and years to come.
Sunday was not quite a day of rest. TDB supported three different services, beginning with the Austin ARC at 8:30 am. The men were so excited and appreciative of our visit, and the worship was genuine and heartfelt. Band Sergeant, Raul Muñoz, shared a testimony about God our shepherd, relating well to the guidance these men were seeking. To close the service, TDB used a special arrangement of “Amazing Grace” by Richard Phillips to accompany the final song. The voices around the center were a near match for the volume of the band throughout, as the men shared their testimony through song.
Our final weekend participation was at Tarrytown United Methodist Church. A quintet from TDB supported the TUMC choir and traditional service, while the remainder of the group provided worship for the contemporary service that took place simultaneously at a separate location. It was a treat to observe the traditions of another church and participate in worship with the larger body of Christ. TUMC did not know what to expect incorporating a brass band into their worship, but were thrilled and engaged from the first note. The partnership between TSA and TUMC was strengthened even more, and we look forward to how these two churches can help and support each other in the future.
TDB was kept busy in Central Texas and we were reminded of so many unique ways that a band can minister and serve. Even with so many engagements, the quality of music remained at a high standard, and the food and fellowship was second to none! Many thanks to Majors Winters and Manny for your planning and hospitality. We look forward to keeping TDB busy in the years to come and increasing its ministry potential.