“Hope through music” best describes the mission of the new Red Shield Brass Band led by Dr. Jonathan Corry, Metropolitan divisional music and gospel arts director. Uniquely composed of high-caliber musicians, both professionals from across Chicagoland and current and past Salvationists, the band allows for fellowship, promotes quality music making and increases awareness of Salvation Army ministry.
Rehearsals are scheduled primarily around projects throughout the year which support and bring hope through music. For instance a Halloween-themed concert, “Creepy Classics,” at the Chicago Harbor Light Center featured narrative by Commissioners Barry C. and Sue Swanson who gave relevant insight into the music, its meaning and the journey from darkness to light. This journey was mirrored programmatically with music from horror films sandwiched between music of light and hope, culminating in a presentation of Peter Graham’s Shine as the Light.
For a second year, the group led an evening of meditations during Holy Week, titled “Music of the Cross,” held at the Chicago Central Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC). Creatively designed by Major John Aren, ARC administrator, this event had several powerful missional and ministry objectives. It sought to connect with musicians from outside an Army context so they could experience the wealth of wonderful meditative Army music. It aimed to share the power of the marriage of music and words with the listener. It allowed the musicians to react personally to their ministry through music and brought hope through the performance—allowing for reflection on the cross by an audience largely composed of the ARC beneficiaries.
The Swansons again provided insightful narrative which complemented the music and visuals. The program included “Lamb of God” by Twila Paris (arr. Terry Camsey), For Our Transgressions by Morley Calvert, The Shadow of the Cross, The Challenge of the Cross and The Road to Emmaus by Dean Goffin, Silent Vigil by Ken Downie, God So Loved the World by Stainer (trs. George Marshall) and The King of Kings by Eric Ball.
The evening proved to be deeply impactful with many people in the audience moved to come pray at the altar. Many of the band members also expressed an emotional reaction when the Holy Spirit moved through their music.
Professionals taking time out of busy schedules to invest in the lives of others with timeless, descriptive music of resurrection and hope perfectly reflects the Red Shield Brass Band’s desire and motto.