Major Events in Salvation Army Music

1878: Publication of Songs of The Salvation Army, formerly known as “The Christian Mission”;, first brass bands formed

1879: The War Cry begins weekly publication and introduces songs

1880: Booth encourages development of brass bands in a General Order in The War Cry; publication of Salvation Army Music

1881: Second General Order on regulations and rules for brass bands; Fred Fry appointed to produce brass arrangements for Army bands

1882: Fry releases first band tune arrangements

1883: Publication of Salvation Music, Volume II, first music book with original material by Salvationist authors and composers; first music department formed under supervision of Herbert Booth

1884: First Band Journal (now General Series) is released

1885: General Order in War Cry states that “henceforth Army bands must use only music published by The Salvation Army”; four major songbooks published, including ones for soloists and young people

1886: The Musical Salvationist, the Army’s principal vocal publication, first released in magazine format

1887: Booth sponsors a song competition with eight prize winners published in The Musical Salvationist

1890: Songs of Peace and War, containing 86 songs by Herbert Booth, is published

1896: First music board formed to administer music publications and other musical activity

1898: Songster Brigades (choirs) formally recognized and commissioned

1899: Publication of Salvation Army Songs, first congregational songbook with significant proportion of songs written by Salvationists; first Bandsmen’s Councils held

1900: Band Music #1, the brass “companion” volume, is released; The Local Officer magazine, forerunner of The Bandsman and Songster, begins publication

1901: Booth decides to permit band music for which no words had been composed or intended

1902: First true band selection and full-scale march published for brass bands are issued in General Series

1903: First Bandmaster’s Councils

1904: By Third International Congress, Army boasts 17,099 commissioned brass bandsmen; Bramwell Booth announces that exams may be instituted to determine proficiency of Army music leaders

1905: “Original March” composition contest held

1906: Second Band Competition; first Bandmasters’ training classes

1907: The Bandsman and Songster begins weekly publication; a band inspector appointed for British Territory

1910: First “descriptive music” allowed to be published

1912: William Booth dies, August 20

By Ronald W. Holz

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #26 in 1990]

Dr. Ronald W. Holz is chair of the division of fine arts at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, and author of several studies of Salvation Army music.
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