Love of brass brings Salvos young and old together at camp

A weekend devoted to brass banding and fellowship with other Salvationists from Australia and New Zealand? Nothing sounds more Salvo, which is why the Future Brass Conference went off with a bang at Rutherford Park, Victoria, last month.

About 125 delegates, staff and volunteers came from as far as Perth, Darwin and New Zealand to collaborate with their contemporaries and learn something new at the camp, which featured the Melbourne Staff Band as well as some of the Army’s up and coming brass talent. 

This year’s Future Brass weekend combined the staff band’s decade-long Future Brass Conference with the Just BrassConference, enabling adults and teens from both territories to learn from each other and celebrate all things brass.

“It allowed adults to come from around the country to learn and inspire each other. We had members of the Territorial Youth Band attend, kids who have played for six months, as well as accomplished brass band players,” said Territorial Just Brass Consultant, John Collinson. 

“The Just Brass element allowed high-school aged kids and young adults to hear other kids play and be inspired by what’s possible, especially when they have just started out.”

The Just Brass program began at South Barwon Corps, Victoria, in 2010 and is now active in 16 corps and has reached 650 young people across the world. 

John said that some delegates attended to learn more about the program and how they could implement it in their corps, particularly from Palmerston North and Rangiora in New Zealand. 

“Future Brass allows people to play in different bands throughout the weekend. It’s especially important for those in more isolated corps and communities,” he said. 

Participating in different activities throughout the weekend, the highlight was the various devotion times led by special guest Captain Matt Reeve, Territorial Candidates Secretary, 

Teaching was also provided by Captain David Collinson, Britteny Ling, Ken Waterworth (Territorial Creative Arts Director), Brian Hogg (Salvo Bigband leader) and Captain Naomi Shelton. 

The conference finished with a performance at Moreland City Corps in Coburg and featured all three bands from the weekend.

“I spoke with a grandparent of one of our Just Brass students at the concert on Sunday afternoon. He has been playing tuba for six months – his grandpa said the program has changed his life,” John said. “He also said he has never seen so many teenagers having so much fun playing music together!”  

In the past eight months, Just Brass has begun at corps in Sunshine, Geelong, Warrnambool (all Victoria), Bundamba (Queensland) and Armadale (Western Australia), giving them the opportunity to engage with students and families at local schools.

The Future Brass Conference has proven to be a significant avenue in not only bringing these communities into the Army, but also unifying Salvationists across both Australian territories and New Zealand.

“We often take for granted the connectedness of The Salvation Army,” said John. “The opportunity to come together from various corps, territories and age groups is something we should never undervalue.” 

For another article about the Just Brass program, go HERE.