A Tribute to Salvation Army Musicians, Music and Composers

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Simon Jenning's Castaway Tracks

Simon's Comment
I was born into a family of Salvationists (3rd Generation) in Grangetown, Cardiff, South Wales. My one grandmother was an envoy, one grandfather a Bb Bass player and the other a tenor horn player. My Father and Mother sung as a duet across the Corps & churches of South Wales. My father was Songster Leader at Grangetown Corps. When I was 3 we moved to the ‘posh’ end of Cardiff to its leafy suburb in Penarth. Dad was principal cornet player and Songster Leader, Mum was YP Singing Company leader…I played and sang, no choice really! I used to sing soprano at Songster practices as I preferred it to the baby sitter. I made my way through the ranks and played Solo Cornet for a number of years before I left the Army. I also played in the South Wales Youth Band. I was Deputy YP Band Leader and then Deputy Songster Leader to my Uncle when my Dad took over as Bandmaster. This music whether playing or singing feels as though it is literally in my blood, I can’t explain it other than it just feels part of who I am. I did not always appreciate it, but I am, at last, truly thankful and incredibly blessed.

Like the rest of you I consider this an almost impossible task to condense to just 8 pieces. Its been an agonizing couple of hours trying to decide. But here goes.

1 Festival March - Celebration – Leslie Condon - FSRC1351
Probably my favourite march to listen and to and play. Fun, bold and dynamic it pretty much does what it ‘says on the tin’. Loved playing along to this in my front room for a warm up to practice.

2 Light Walk - Barrie Gott - SPS056
This piece was the piece my generation had been waiting for… band suddenly became cool and this was top of the pops. Favourite moment playing this was actually with Pasadena Tabernacle Band under Barrie Gott. I snuck into the band on a visit…such fun!

3 Variations on Laudate Dominum – Edward Gregson - SPS028
Great memories of Dauntsey’s Music School in the Bristol Division in the 80’s and playing this piece. Memories of great times, great music and great friends.

4 Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral – Wagner Arr. William Hines KCB001
Definitely my most sensational playing experience was playing this piece with the South Wales Youth Band – spine tingle upon spine tingle upon spine tingle. I remember us having to work out a complicated shift pattern at the end of piece to make sure we didn’t all blow out or up!!

5 All for Thee – Havergal/Kellner - SPS031
Being a singer as much as a player this was a must have. One of the first songster pieces I learnt. I remember my cousin singing it as a solo at my Grandmother's thanksgiving service. The words speak for themselves and reflect what the Christian life is all about. I’m grateful to my Nan and my parents and for all those saints who are now cheering me on for being that example to me.

6 Precious Jesus – Bottome/Clarke - SPS013
Beautiful arrangement of some amazing words. Love this particular interpretation by Birmingham Citadel songsters. The rubato feel of the song is so important to express the sentiment in the lyric.

7 Become Aware of Him – Read/Redhead - BAB3515
For me, one of the most intimate worship songs I have ever sung, and I’ve done a lot of the new contemporary worship songs too. But I’m never far from this song in my mind and heart.

8 Resurgam – Eric Ball - CSB28211
I’m not quite sure that any words could adequately sum up what this piece means to me. Every time I listen to it I am transported somewhere ‘else’. My soul resonates with the light and shade, despair and hope. One almost feels as though the entire range of emotions of life have somehow been captured and interpreted into musical form. If I’m being totally honest Enfield’s version of this on the ‘Kaleidescope’ album is my all time favourite (some say Eric Ball’s too) but fair play to the Canadian Staff Band – this is stunning.