Royal Oak celebrates 90 years

by Captain Catherine Mount

“Come Home…for the music, the spirit, the fellowship” was the focus of Royal Oak Citadel’s 90th Anniversary celebration. The four-day event exemplified the power of the grace of Jesus Christ at work within a community. Guests included former corps officers Commissioners Barry C. and Sue Swanson, Bandmaster William Himes, Captain Sally Broughton and Bandmaster James Curnow.

The weekend began with the inaugural Army of Stars Celebration. Detroit radio legend Dick Purtan and his daughter, Emmy award-winning WXYZ news anchor Joanne Purtan, emceed this event highlighting The Salvation Army’s civic partners. The corps’ youth band and singing company selections wowed the crowd of 250. Community partners were honored for their work with The Salvation Army in service to the people of Southeast Oakland County, Mich. Commissioner Barry Swanson challenged those gathered to consider the influence of God on their lives and the power of The Salvation Army to impact the lives of others.

Festivities continued Saturday with an early morning golf outing and a community pancake breakfast hosted by former corps officers. Many enjoyed the selection of buttermilk and Swedish pancakes and perused hundreds of photos documenting the ministry of the Royal Oak Citadel in the last 90 years.

Later that day National Chief Secretary Colonel Bill Harfoot welcomed a crowd to a banquet featuring testimonies of impact by the guests and honoring several congregation members. The Royal Oak Citadel 2013 Salvationist of the Year award was presented to Young People’s Sergeant-Major Charol McDonald, and a long service award was presented to Corps Sergeant-Major Mark Burg for 25 years of ministry in this position. A new Central Music Institute scholarship in the name of retired songster leader, Ian McNeil, was announced.

The Royal Oak Citadel Band and Songsters provided a thrilling evening of music to glorify God. This included honoring the service of retired Bandmaster Max Wood. James Curnow shared how Bandmaster Wood mentored both him and Bandmaster Himes. For the first time in their careers, they composed a piece together titled “Legacy: Mr. Wood’s Opus” to honor him. Commissioner Barry Swanson presented Bandmaster Wood with a Certificate in Recognition of Exceptional Service on behalf of the National Commander. The concert also highlighted special musical guests who had been young people at the corps and credit its significant influence on their musicianship. The concert included a prestigious alumni band and songsters.

The weekend concluded in glorious praise to God. With the theme Grace Alone, the music and message focused on the reason to celebrate: God’s grace! The Royal Oak Citadel community has been blessed by God’s grace and love and looks forward to continued service and impact in the name of Christ.


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