Oct24TueRetrospective #37 October 24, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
My sisters are eight plus years older than me so I don’t remember much (zilch, nada, nothing - to be exact) about attending the Army with them when we were growing up, therefore I can’t say whether or not they played one of these. Some of my girl “friends” played it; and yes, a “girlfriend” played it: some of my friends’ sisters played it; my mom and my friends moms played it; my grandmother and their grandmothers played it, and growing up in the sexist world of the sixties, I was shocked to later learn, that some boys and men played it too! Confession time: I tried to play it but my sense of rhythm prevented my achieving success. (I think there is a Biblical explanation – “The left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing!”)
I always think of this tool whenever I hear Psalm 98:4 (KJV)
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”
Do I hear a Hallelujah?
Some of the more modern English translations of scripture don’t use the words “noise” or “loud” in this verse and so you wouldn’t necessarily think about this gadget. You see, noise is what this apparatus is all about. One uses it to make a noise, and of course one hopes it to be a pleasant and/or joyful one. It’s actually almost impossible to have one of these in your hands and not make a noise. I know that I could never be quiet holding it. A hypothetical situation: If, when walking from “Point A” to “Point B” while carrying this mechanism one was to remain completely silent or face death, meaning the slightest sound would kill me – I’d be a dead man!
The Bible tells us that Miriam, the sister of Moses, played this utensil and led the Hebrew women in doing the same during their forty year open-air march across the desert. It’s true; we have her device here at the archives. Just kidding! But some of those we do possess have been around for over a century and like the bonnets, there’s no shortage in our collection as you will see later in the snaps below.
Depending on the corps you grew up in you may or may not be familiar with this appliance. While very common in the early years it’s not so today, or, if present, it appears in groups at special musical functions, or parades, often accompanying the band. It might not be seen or heard on regular Sundays. I am always pleasantly amused however when some brave soul, like a sniper, plays the contraption unexpectantly! You should see the heads snap around! Some folk end up suffering from whiplash the rest of the week! I love it!
The dictionary calls it a small drum consisting of a circular frame with a skin stretched over it and several pairs of jingles attached to the frame, played by striking with the knuckles, shaking, and the like - if you have not figured out what this is by now, maybe someone tapping you with the knuckles and shaking could help. (LOL! Again, just kidding!)
It’s the Tambourine!
A well trained Timbrel Brigade is indeed a sight to see and hear. Precision, timing, graceful movement, synchronization, uniforms, ribbons (often yellow, red and blue) smiling players are just a few descriptors that immediately come to mind. They provide a worship format that enhances the moment and causes folk to give God thanks - especially for those presenting this offering of a “Joyful Noise!” Outside of The Salvation Army I don’t know of any other Celebratory Christian expression to have developed this art as we have. (Please note that the brigade presentations do not in any way take from the importance of the general use of these instruments in accompanying any suitable Salvation Army songs and choruses in a meeting).
A big thank you to the Leaders and Timbrels of the past!
A big thank you to the Leaders and Timbrels of today!
And a big thank you to all who will take this into the future!
“Make A Joyful Noise!”