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The Brass Band: More Than Just a Christmas Caroling Ensemble

Beyond the Kettles: Expanding the Role of Brass Bands in Ministry

When I speak to various Salvation Army corps about their need for caroling at their kettles, the response is overwhelmingly positive. Numerous corps are eager to have our brass quartet play. However, this enthusiasm often leads me to wonder: why is the brass band mostly recognized for its Christmas caroling? Is there not a more extensive role for brass bands in supporting the corps' mission to bring people closer to Christ and serve the community? Brass bands are an invaluable resource, not just during the holiday season, but throughout the entire year.



  • The Brass Band as a Consistent Ministry

One of the most significant advantages of having a brass band is its consistency as a ministry. Unlike some other programs that may come and go based on resources or interest, a brass band, like the Women’s Ministry, often remains a stable, ongoing presence within a corps. This continuity not only fosters a sense of community and belonging among band members but also provides a reliable point of engagement for the wider congregation and community.


  • Brass Bands as Small Group Ministries

Brass bands also function as their own form of small group ministry. They create a unique space where members can connect, grow, and explore their faith together through music. This aspect of fellowship and collective spiritual growth is a vital component of the brass band’s role within the corps.


  • Encouraging Youth Participation

Another compelling reason to maintain a brass band in your corps is the potential for youth engagement. Many young people participate in marching or concert bands at their schools. Having a corps band provides them an opportunity to integrate their musical interests with their faith community. Being part of a structured group like a brass band teaches valuable life skills such as discipline, commitment, and leadership. It also gives young musicians a sense of belonging and purpose within their church community.



  • Overcoming the Challenges of Starting a Band

Now, I can almost hear your concerns: "Bandmaster Marlon, I don’t have the resources to start a band!" My response is simple: let's begin with small steps. It's essential to have a conversation first, to assess what you have and what you need. From there, we can develop a plan to gradually build your band. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and this is no different. The key is to start somewhere and grow from there.


  • Embracing a Broader Worship Arts Vision

While we advocate for a more dynamic, year-round role for our brass bands, it's also essential to highlight the importance of other Worship Arts and Praise Bands in our corps. These diverse forms of worship offer varied avenues for congregational participation and spiritual expression. From contemporary praise bands to choirs and dance, each element adds depth and richness to our worship experiences. Embracing this diversity ensures our ministry remains relevant and engaging for all members of our community, catering to a range of preferences and talents.



  • Conclusion: A Symphony of Worship Arts

Our brass bands should not be pigeonholed as mere Christmas attractions. Their potential to enrich worship, foster community, and enhance ministry is vast and largely untapped. By expanding our view of what a brass band can contribute and integrating other forms of worship arts, we open up new avenues for ministry and outreach. Let's envision a ministry where brass bands, praise bands, and other worship arts collectively create a vibrant, inclusive, and spiritually enriching environment, not just during the holiday season but throughout the entire year.

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