The Voice of The Salvation Army in Canada and BermudaView RSS Feed
Mar26ThuFor 20 years, a Salvation Army radio program has been delighting listeners around the world. March 26, 2020 by Major Jim Hann
(Above) Tom Quick shares the music of The Salvation Army with the world every Wednesday night
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It’s Wednesday night in Kitchener, Ont., and as 7:30 approaches, Tom Quick dons his headphones, straightens his stack of CDs and cues up his theme music. Quick notes the time in the corner of his screen and turns to tap the key, starting the CD playing. As on most Wednesdays these days, the band starts to play. “Let there be praise, let there be joy in our hearts…. Forevermore, let his love fill the air, and let there be praise.”
And so begins Let There Be Praise, a two-hour show of Salvation Army music on FaithFM.
For almost 20 years, Quick and his wife, Betty Ann, along with a few friends and volunteers, have spent their Wednesdays in the studio, letting the world hear the music that God has gifted to The Salvation Army. Bands, songster brigades, international soloists and various other groups from near and far have filled the hours. Salvationists and other music lovers from around the world listen in, both live and after the broadcast.
Let There Be Praise
The origin of the show was humble. As Christmas 2000 approached, Quick, who ran a weekly Monday evening classical music radio show on CKWR, realized that he would be broadcasting on Christmas Eve. A devoted Salvationist, Quick went to his corps officer, Major Sterling Snelgrove, with an idea. Rather than simply playing a list of Christmas favourites, why not allow the Army to use the time to thank the community for their support of the Christmas kettle appeal? Major George Patterson, then in charge of public relations for the Ontario South Division, loved the idea, and made arrangements for greetings to be sent from various Salvation Army units in the area. Quick interspersed them with Christmas music by Salvation Army bands, for a program entitled, “CHRISTmas With The Salvation Army.”
The program was a great success. Betty Ann answered a deluge of phone calls that came in during the show while Quick ran the board. When the radio station approached Quick about filling a 30-minute space on Sunday nights, he returned to Major Patterson, who arranged for the public relations department to sponsor the show, and Let There Be Praise was born. It was so popular that Quick arranged with the radio station to add a two-hour show of Salvation Army music on a weeknight, contacting ministry units in Ontario South to support the show. Though it eventually became a monthly feature, the music continued to play.
Around the World in Music
In the early days, the show was enjoyed only by those in the immediate area, but with the rise of the Internet, Quick found himself blessed with a much larger audience. He was able to promote his show not only across Canada, but around the world. Steef Klepke created a website for Quick (salvos.com/tomquick), which was eventually picked up by Pieter Van Horssen in Amsterdam. Van Horssen has recorded every broadcast for the past 15 years, and they are now available on John Bannister’s website in Australia (salvoaudio.com) and Stuart Hall’s site in the United Kingdom (citadelpromotions.co.uk).
Quick has had a longstanding association with the local Christian radio station, FaithFM 93.7, stretching back 17 years. A decade ago, the president of FaithFM told Quick that if there were ever an opportunity for the Christian channel to take on the show, he would be interested. About six years ago, Quick took him up on his offer, and Let There Be Praise became a monthly Wednesday program. Since then, Quick has spent many hours in the studio, usually broadcasting live with the help of his wife, a volunteer timekeeper and the guest host, who provides a couple of short devotionals and introduces music or talks about music groups and composers who are featured on the show.
Quick has been astounded by the growing popularity of the show. Five years ago, the show had only enough sponsors to air once a month, with the occasional extra broadcast. In 2018, Quick had to be intentional about leaving a break in the fall, to allow time for a short vacation. Every other week of the year was booked by sponsors from all around the globe. The most popular broadcasts of the year remain true to their origin: CHRISTmas with The Salvation Army broadcasts, on Wednesdays in December, always book up as soon as they are made available.
Let There Be Praise is far more than just two hours a week in front of the microphone. Quick draws on his massive collection of Salvation Army music to prepare the show, which may focus on a theme or feature a particular composer or musical group. Canadian broadcast standards require a certain percentage of Canadian content in each show; this allows Quick to feature local groups that usually would not be heard outside their immediate area. He also takes great pleasure in introducing Salvationists from every territory to his audience. He has received music from around the Army world—recently, additions to his collection have come from Japan, Australia, South America, Iceland, Hong Kong and many other corps from around the world. He feels that this variety adds interest for his listeners, who hear both the Army’s premiere groups, as well as musicians from smaller settings. This is an encouragement to those who provide music to their local congregations week in and week out.
A Ministry Milestone
The little studio on Belmont Avenue in Kitchener has seen many faces over the past 19 years. Quick has hosted guests great and small, including Commissioner Susan McMillan, former territorial commander for Canada and Bermuda; Lt-Colonel John Murray, territorial secretary for communications; guests from the International Staff Band, the Canadian Staff Band and the Canadian Staff Songsters; composers and musicians from across Canada and the United States; and the weekly sponsors who pay the $200 cost for the show. Sponsorships come from around the world, with some groups sponsoring shows to promote their latest recordings or upcoming concerts, others in memory of loved ones and still others simply for the love of the Lord, the Army and the music.
Quick, a proud Cornishman who was born and raised in St. Ives, England, has been involved with music in The Salvation Army all his life. A world traveller, Quick has played with various musical groups in Britain, Australia, the United States and Canada. He and Betty Ann support their local corps, The Salvation Army Hespeler Community Church in Cambridge, Ont., with Quick on his beloved trombone and Betty Ann at the piano. He recently celebrated his 79th birthday, but that doesn’t mean he’s giving up his ministry. Yes, ministry. A highlight of Quick’s life is receiving emails from around the world, telling him how much of a blessing listening to Army music is. The Lord has used the hours in the studio to touch the lives of thousands of people, many of whom Quick will never meet this side of heaven.
This year, the Quicks celebrate 20 years of musical offerings, and thank God for this special ministry he has given them.
Tune in to Let There Be Praise on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. (EST/ EDT) at kitchener.faithfm.org. Tom Quick can be contacted for requests and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Major Jim Hann is the corps officer at The Salvation Army’s Essex Community Church in the Ontario Great Lakes Division.