31 August 2022

William Booth College welcomes new-look Territorial Music School

Captain Jo Moir

Musical theatre performance
Musical theatre performance at Territorial Music School (Credit: Donald Montgomery)
New venue, new subjects, new delegates, new music, but Territorial Music School (TMS) 2022 had the same mission and vision, reports Territorial Communications Officer Captain Jo Moir.

Held for the first time at William Booth College – the territory’s home of learning – young adults aged from 16 to 30 gathered for the first time in person since 2019 for a week of music, creativity, Bible teaching, worship and fellowship. Director of Music and Creative Arts Dr Stephen Cobb shared that it was a privilege for a new generation of young people to be in this historic Salvation Army site.

Regular TMS attendees studying brass and vocal main options were joined by delegates attending for the first time, who were warmly welcomed and included into the community through a new musical theatre option.

‘They made me feel so welcome. I was scared being new at first but quickly knew that this was a place I could be myself and belong,’ said 19-year-old Mia.

A photo of all students and staff
Whole school photo (Credit: Martin Davis)

Theatre is nothing new to The Salvation Army, with some of its earliest hymns adapted from music hall tunes. General Evangeline Booth used drama as an evangelistic tool and the legacy of the Gowans and Larsson musicals continues to this day.

Assistant Director of Music and Creative Arts (Creative Arts) Stephanie Lamplough explained that she saw a generation of young people with a passion for theatre and a passion for Jesus with no outlet to express themselves. At TMS they learnt together how to use this medium to challenge and inspire people and glorify God.

‘New’ blended with the ‘established’ throughout the week with subjects ranging from brass masterclasses to dance and multimedia. However, discipleship remained the focus of the week, as delegates were encouraged to deepen relationships with their chosen subjects. Cell groups also enabled conversations to flourish around the theme Love God, Love Others.

Student Joe Pearson shares highlights from the week

‘This year’s venue was a good change’, says Joe Pearson (Cannock). 'The sense of community from going to TMS is brilliant as you are able to go, not knowing anyone, and find new connections. This stems from all the members of staff as they are all for encouraging young people to explore their faith and are passionate about The Salvation Army.

‘I chose brass band as my main study, which included three rehearsals a day with three influential leaders of music: Gavin Lamplough (Birmingham Citadel), Assistant Director of Music and Creative Arts (Brass and Choral) Paul Sharman and Director of Music and Creative Arts Dr Stephen Cobb. We explored a variety of music and words associated with a message of God and becoming better players.

‘As my option I chose SATB choir with Music Editorial Manager Andrew Blyth (THQ), who helped with emphasis on the words and the meaning behind them to explore the connection we have with God.

Joe Pearson

‘In free time, all students were able to have fellowship and share faith together in the main central hub, where there was plenty of seating, drinks and a pool table.

‘As the eldest Bible study group (25-plus) we discussed different aspects of our world, day-to-day lives and how we could show God’s love through encouragement to the younger delegates.

‘I led Vespers (prayers) on Tuesday night, using the theme of the week, God’s Love. We used the song ‘Jesus Loves Me! This I Know’ (SASB 807) and this affirmation kept appearing throughout the week – including singing it at the top of the William Booth College tower to all of London.

‘If I could ask anything from the people who are reading this, I would ask you to carry on encouraging young people in The Salvation Army and carry on praying for people’s different situations in this ever-changing world.’

Final festival offers ‘something for everyone’

A capacity crowd packed into the Assembly Hall at the end of the week for the newly formatted final festival. Integrating an interval complete with tea and cake outside, the evening of worship in two acts had something for everyone.

In a departure from previous years there was just one brass band who worked with different conductors throughout the week to bring a range of challenging pieces including Sam Creamer’s ‘Happy Song!’ and Martin Cordner’s powerful ‘Boundless Spirit’. The Founder’s words from ‘Send the Fire’ resonated through the building as the band presented ‘Truth Aflame’ by Kevin Norbury. The band embraced different genres and their message was enhanced by the use of multimedia created during the week by TMS delegates.

A congregational song led by a brass band
Congregational singing during the final festival (Credit: Donald Montgomery)

The vocal main study group – under the leadership of Sue Blyth – brought together musicianship and clarity in their renditions of classics, including ‘Part the Waters’, ‘Take My Hand’ by Alan Williams, and the premiere of ‘Just Let God Love You’, a new song by TMS staff member Andrew Wicker, with words by Keith Banks. The SATB choir presented Andrew Blyth’s rousing ‘My Father’s House’ and Joy Webb’s ‘The Candle of the Lord’.

The musical theatre ensemble – who were accompanied by the house band – explored the concept of belonging using contemporary show tunes, including ‘You Will Be Found’ from Dear Evan Hansen and ‘Reflection’ from Mulan. Their section concluded with the application of Scripture to express the power of Jesus to bring true belonging.

Territorial Youth and Children’s Secretary Major Helen Schofield challenged everyone present to pray for their young adults, to include them in every aspect of their corps life, to ask them about their walk with Jesus and, importantly, to then listen.

As the evening concluded with a whole-school benediction written by Andrew Blyth, there was the sense that something established and significant – and yet new and pioneering – was emerging in this historic Army space.

Written by

A photo of Jo Moir.

Captain Jo Moir

Territorial Communications Officer, THQ

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