Salvation Army Brass Band Information.The history of Salvation Army brass Bands started almost by accident. Firstly I would like to go into a little bit about William Booth, who was the founder of the salvation Army.
William Booth was initially a minister in the Methodist New Connection. He eventually moved to London with his family and wanted to continue his work for God. He came across a tent mission in Whitechapel London. When a call went out for somebody to give their ‘word’, he stepped up. The tent mission where so impressed that they invited him to become their leader – this is when it all started in 1865 as The East London Christian Mission and finally adopting the name The Salvation Army in 1878.
Salvation Army Brass Bands came into play as they held the majority of their meeting in the open air as they did not have any premises of there own. Sometimes things could become a little rowdy as other churches tended not to agree with the way the Salvation Army were willing to help those that were considered most needy – the homeless and the poor. This led to a group calling themselves the ‘Skeleton Army’ who were determined to disrupt as much of the Salvation Army’s work.
In Salisbury the Salvation Army made an appeal for protection or bodyguards to protect the mainly female missioners. The Fry family answered their request and just so happened that Charles Fry who was the father, used to play cornet with the first Wiltshire Volunteer Rifle Corps. Charles Fry’s three sons also had been taught to play from a very young age. So not only did the Fry’s offer protection against attack they also eventually started to play their instruments to accompany the missioners. This could almost be classified as the first ever Salvation Army Brass Band. However, the title of the first ever Salvation Army Brass Band goes to Consett in County Durham. This is mainly because the Fry’s were attached to the Salvation Army Head quarters and as such were not an individual ‘Corps’ band. The first Corps Salvation Army Brass Band was set up in Consett in 1879. There was even a board of inquiry set up in 1906 to decide this fact.
Now within the Salvation Army almost every Corp has their own band. Some of the most notable bands would be: ISB (The International Staff Band), The House Hold Troops Band and obviously the individual corps bands, such as: Sunderland Monkwearmouth Band, Chalk Farm Band, and many many more.
Within the world of Brass Banding the influence of the Salvation Army is felt far and wide, with many of the top players originating from Salvation Army roots or being taught by somebody that was/is connected with the Salvation Army. It is also the case that the Salvation Army have been instrumental with scoring and instrument supplies. I will go into this in more detail at a later time.
So there we have a quick history of The Salvation Army Brass Bands and the origins.