The Household Troops Band
The Household Troops Band
No salary was offered and no guarantee was given apart from food and clothing. On June 1, 1887, the pioneer 25 members of the Household Troops Band left Clapton Congress Hall to march into Salvation Army history. Their first tour lasted six months. The next year, in October, the band left for Canada as the first British Salvation Army band to cross the Atlantic.
The tour was a tremendous success and led to Canada's own Household Troops Band being formed. Whilst they were away a second group of players was inaugurated under the leadership of Samuel Webber and the tradition continued. On October 14 1889 in the country village of Whitchurch in Hampshire, it is reported that the Household Troops Band lead a march of over 1000 Salvationists in a great march for liberty. The local Salvationists had suffered persecution and injury in the Whitchurch Riots and over 800 had been imprisoned for conducting open-air services. As a result of this demonstration and others led by the local Corps, The Salvation Army won a landmark legal case and with it, the right to play and preach in the open-air. The first Troops band returned home to Britain in 1891 and later members of both bands amalgamated.
Then six years after it all started, in 1893, the band was dissolved to make way for a new band, and it was from the ashes of the Household Troops Band that the International Headquarters Staff Band (now known as the International Staff Band) was formed. The Troops Today Over a century later, in 1985, the then National Bandmaster, Captain John Mott, formed a new Household Troops Band with members drawn from the "A" Band at the National School of Music, at Cobham Hall. The band you see today is drawn from many different Salvation Army centres. The members are selected for their Salvationism, stamina, flexibility... and their musical skills of course! Major John Mott is still the Bandmaster. The band hold just a few rehearsals in preparation for the Summer Tour which is the backbone of the work undertaken. Hence the need for a high degree of skill.
The tours, which usually take place during the last week of August, are conducted mainly in coastal resorts where the holiday crowds are largest and the local Corps resources are sometimes stretched because of the holidays. One of the features of the band is that they march every day to the afternoon open-air venue. This is sometimes difficult because of traffic, but with good organisation and the co-operation of the local police, is usually achieved. Then, in the evening, a Festival is held in the local Citadel. The band's tours to date have been: 1985 South Coast; 1991 Bournemouth area; 1996 East Coast; 1997 Essex, Kent & Dorset; 1998 Devon & Cornwall; 1999 Major Cities of England & Wales; 2000 the South Coast of England, 2001 Scotland; 2002 USA & Canada; 2003 Eastbourne and the South Coast of England and 2004 East Midlands Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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