The founder of The Salvation Army, General William Booth, saw music as a means to an end. He felt Christian music should attract people and speak a message of salvation to their hearts.
'You must sing good tunes. Let it be a good tune to begin with. I don't care much whether you call it secular or sacred. I rather enjoy robbing the devil of his choicest tunes, and, after his subjects themselves, music is about the best commodity he processes. It is like taking the enemy's guns and turning them against him'. William Booth.
At its fourth International Congress (1914), held two years after the Promotion To Glory of General William Booth, The Salvation Army had 1,674 brass bands (26,000 players) and 13,000 songsters (choir members) in 56 countries. The brass and vocal music published by The Salvation Army has been and continues to be unmatched by any other Protestant denomination. Today, many Army musicians and composers hold professional status at the top of their respective fields and many brass players in orchestras and bands around the world started their 'musical education' in their local Salvation Army Corps (Church).
Richard Slater (1854 -1939)
Known as the father of Salvation Army music.
Slater became a Salvationist at the age of 28 at Regent Hall on London's Oxford Street. Already a capable musician and composer, he became the principal Salvationist composer, arranger and musical editor of the period in the Salvation Army's Musical Department from 1883 until his retirement in 1913, producing over 500 songs.
International Music Department
Based in London, UK.
William Booth appointed Richard Slater to head up the first International Music Department with Fred Fry and Edward Hill. Since
then, many famous composers have followed in their footsteps: Bramwell Coles, Eric Ball, Ray Bowes, Ray Steadman-Allen, Robert
Redhead, Richard Phillips. The current head of the department is Andrew Blyth.