When Edith Bennett was 18, her friends introduced her to The Salvation Army, and what followed was a lifetime of music ministry. As a young woman, Bennett was captivated by the dynamic sound of the songsters and knew that she had to join. Now 93, Bennett looks back at her songster career, remembering the time she spent performing solos in nursing homes, leading a children's singing company and praising God with her fellow chorale of songsters.

After a dedicated 74 years of service, Bennett recently celebrated her retirement from the songster brigade at London Citadel, Ont. Though she has stepped away from the group, this soprano continues to use her voice for God.

“I try to sing as much as I can and join in on the hymns on Sunday,” says Bennett.

“If I know the songster piece, I am tempted to sing along with them,” she laughs.

As a singer, Bennett is known for her joy and composure.

“She always has a twinkle in her eye,” says Jane Lam, leader of the London Citadel songsters. “If I looked up at the songsters, Edith was looking back at me.”

“You have to give your whole heart to the ministry you're involved in and that's what I did with the songsters,” Bennett says. “Whenever they went somewhere, I would go with them. You have to take part in all areas of the ministry.”

Lam says that Bennett's approach to musical outreach has been an inspiration to her fellow songsters.

“Edith led by example. Younger people love her because she's energetic, involved, prepared, loyal and fully devoted to God's word,” says Lam. “She sincerely believes that the songster ministry has value in the corps and community.”

“If you could write a book about what it means to be a songster, you would write it about Edith,” she continues. “Her unwavering service and her love of the Lord are evident in everything she does, and they are obvious in her witness and song.”

With a happy retirement ahead, Bennett salutes her brigade and continues to show her support by listening to them on Sunday mornings.

“We've had fun together, we've gone on trips together, and I have made friendships that have lasted a lifetime,” recalls Bennett. “The years I have spent singing with them have been the happiest years. I've enjoyed every minute.”

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