Salvation Army bands are not just part of our culture, they’re part of yours too. With references to the band in works by Bill Cosby, 80s’ folk group Dream Academy, and in dozens of films such as Seabiscuit, It’s a Wonderful Life and even Three Days of the Condor, the Army is almost as well known for its bands as it is anything else!

We’ve been big believers in the importance of music since the 1880s. Here’s a short video about the suprising origins of The Salvation Army band.

Just last week The Salvation Army here in the Western US held its annual music camp which brings together young people with a passion for playing.

Band campers worked all week to improve their technique in brass, vocal, piano, guitar or drums in an overall music literacy program. Many of these young musicians will go on to study music in college, play in a Salvation Army brass band, lead worship at their church, or play in a local orchestra or jazz band.

The largest group at camp last week came from Lancaster, California, an economically depressed area about 70 miles from Los Angeles. Forty-five kids from that community participate in the weekly music program and attended camp to brush up on their piano, guitar and drum skills.

Here’s an album of photos from last week’s music camp. They were snapped by John Docter, premier Salvation Army musician and music camp faculty.

If you’d like to read about a well-known Salvation Army musician who just retired from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (seriously!), please click here for a story about Phil Smith in The New Yorker.

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