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Brass bands attract youngsters to faith communities

Monday 11 June 2012  I  For immediate release

A vibrant musical tradition – focused on its well known brass bands – plays a large part in attracting a high proportion of young people to join The Salvation Army. Recent statistics indicate that just over half of The Salvation Army’s membership is under the age of 45 years.

Children from as young as seven years are brought into The Salvation Army through singing and tambourine groups, junior brass bands and, more recently, dance groups. Musical tuition is combined with evangelising to encourage the young people to stay involved in the Church.

Many well known musicians have started their careers as members of junior brass bands of The Salvation Army.

They include music legend Hugh Masekela, who began his career with music lessons from a Salvation Army trumpeter, leading South African composer, Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo, who played the euphonium in a Salvation Army band as a youngster, and the Director of Naval Music of South Africa’s Naval Band, Commander Kenny Leibbrandt, who was playing the euphonium in a Salvation Army Junior Band by the age of seven years.

Large numbers of young Salvationists are to reach out to their fellow young South Africans during June – Youth Month – and July in an effort to address social challenges such as drug addiction and teenage pregnancies.

The outreach is part of the annual youth campaigns of The Salvation Army. This year, the young Salvationists (Church members) are undergoing specific training to enable them to do home, prison and hospital visits to other young South Africans.

The weekend-long campaigns, to be held in all of the Church’s eight divisions around South Africa – will include the Salvationists taking to the streets of their cities and towns to bring a message of hope to other young people.

The Salvation Army’s Territorial Youth Secretary, Captain Enos Mabada says that the young people will be trained in “faith-based facilitation” to give them the skills to build relationships with other young people and visit them in homes, hospitals and prisons.

This technique will be used to discover what needs exist in communities, and then assist communities to devise their own solutions to problems. Problems can be as wide ranging as alcoholism, drug addiction and teenage pregnancies, to name a few.

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination.

The Southern Africa Territory of The Salvation Army encompasses four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland – and the island of St Helena. Its officers, soldiers and full-time employees provide their spiritual and community services through approximately 230 corps (churches), societies and outposts, as well as through schools, hospitals, institutions for children, street children, the elderly, men and abused women, and daycare, goodwill, rehabilitation and social centres.


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