Celebration weekend for Salvation Army to mark centenary of Cardiff Canton Songsters

published on 18 Nov 2016

The Cardiff Canton Songsters Brigade of the Canton Salvation Army Corps is preparing to mark its centenary of worship through song and dance in Cardiff with a weekend of celebration this weekend (19th and 20th of November 2016).

Current Songster Leader is Christine Saunders. Christine, who is only the ninth leader that the brigade has had since it was commissioned in 1916, said: “It’s wonderful that the Songsters are celebrating 100 years of music making together; sharing the love of Jesus through song. We are more than a singing group, we are like a family, caring for each other through the highs and lows of life. The younger members keep us relevant to an ever changing world and the more senior members share their knowledge and experience of life.

“It has been a privilege to be part of this choir for 33 years and leader for the past 10 years. I would like to pay tribute to all those who have gone before us and look forward to many years of singing ahead.”

The Salvation Army, which is an evangelical mission of the Christian Church, was founded in 1865 by William and Catherine Booth and spread rapidly in the late 19th century. Cardiff Canton Corps commenced its ministry in 1879.

Songster brigades form an integral part of the church and worship, with the Cardiff Canton Songsters being officially commissioned on the third of December 1916.

In 1935, Cardiff Canton Songsters were invited to sing at a meeting at Greyfriars Hall, led by General Evangeline Booth, daughter of General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. The Songsters were without an accompanist at the time and one of the Corps’youngest soldiers, Violetta Tunbridge (nee Griffin) was invited to play.

Violetta was subsequently commissioned as Songster Organist, and accompanied the brigade for over 55 years. Violetta is now nearly 96 and as a Songster Reservist, says:  “From a height of approximately five feet, I was six feet tall before she started playing the pedal organ all those years ago!”.

Special guests for the anniversary weekend to be held on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th of November are Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Main, Secretary for Personnel at the Headquarters for the Salvation Army UK and Ireland Territory and Barbara and Steve Allen from the Salvation Army USA Western Territory Songsters.

The Saturday evening celebration is a festival for all featuring Barbara and Steve Allen of the USA Western Territory Songsters and the Cardiff Canton Songsters, and the Cardiff Canton Young People’s Band.

The festival will begin at 7pm on Saturday 19th of November 2016 and will be held at Cardiff Canton Corps, Grosvenor Street, Canton, Cardiff CF5 1JG. Tickets for the festival are ٣each and can be purchased on the door.

At 10am on Sunday 20th of November 2016, there will be a special Worship Meeting at the Cardiff Canton Corps hall led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Main, Secretary for Personnel for the Salvation Army UK and Ireland Territory Headquarters.  At 5pm an evening of music will be held with Barbara and Steve Allen, Lt Col. Paul Main and the music sections of Cardiff Canton Corps.

For more than 150 years The Salvation Army has been transforming lives and continues to do so today in communities across the UK and throughout the world.

For more information about the events being held, please contact Christine Saunders at cantonsongsters@gmail.com