Why Should We Still Support Brass Bands?

To some, having a brass band may seem like an anachronism. I would whole heartedly disagree with that sentiment. To me, a brass band is a modern musical tool that does far more than just entertain. Let me identify for you, in no particular order, some of the specific benefits that a brass band brings to individuals, your church/corps and The Salvation Army corporately:

  • Outreach – Music can grab people like words seldom do. As we step outside of our churches, we see that music can entertain, can draw attention, and can even bridge the gap between the often insular language of the church and the world beyond our doors. It is also flexible in style and genre; adaptable to speak to diverse crowds in their own musical interest. Mark 16:15 “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.” (MSG) 
  • Community – A brass band is a place to belong…a family. In today’s world of technology, where faces are stuck in electronic devices, isolated people working from home etc., we are more alone than ever before. A band can be a vibrant small group that actively engages in both worship and service together. Romans 12:4-5 “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (NIV) 
  • Discipleship – Every week, musicians gather in both rehearsal and worship, where they are exposed to the Word of God and challenged to grow in their faith and witness. Whether it’s through the weekly group devotions, understanding the words and meaning of the music they are playing, there is a huge opportunity to grow disciples. 1 Peter 1:12 “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (NIV)
  • Mentorship – We have few ministries in the church that are as cross-generational and welcoming of new Christians as our brass bands. How many of our young people have been mentored by that ‘seasoned’ musician sitting beside them in the band? They've been taught everything from musical skills, deportment, discipline, team work, commitment etc. Valuable skills that are transferable into so many areas of life. Proverbs 22:6 “Point your kids in the right direction - when they’re old they won’t be lost.” (MSG)
  • Worship – Making music in this setting is an active expression of worship. God made us to be musical beings. It is one of the many ways that He communicates with us. Corporate and participatory worship brings us closer to both God and our fellow man. Ephesians 5:19-20 “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
  • Public Relations – Brass bands are a distinct part of the brand of The Salvation Army. This is most visible at Christmas when our ministry engages in fund-raising within our communities. It is a well-known fact that having live brass playing at your kettles has a positive impact on the donations received. If you were running a business and revenue growth could be attributed to a particular factor, you would invest time and energy in sustaining and growing that component. Likewise, if brass bands do so much for the organization at Christmas, then it would be prudent to invest in them all year round to ensure they were thriving in the peak months. Proverbs 21:5 “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” (MSG)
  • Diversity/Inclusiveness – Age, race, gender…none of these things matter in a brass band. Instead, we become one. One in mission, one in ministry. Romans 12:6-8 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (NIV)

I’m sure that you could come up with your own reasons in addition to mine. I leave you with this quote from Martin Luther: “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” 

Now what are you waiting for? Get to band practice!

Craig Lewis