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In early 1900 Sister Florrie Mulley rejoiced, declaring that "the drum has at last arrived!". This added to the three instruments already in service at Hurstville.
The Hurstville Citadel Band was officially formed in 1920 with Bandmaster Wilfred Graham at the baton. The Bandmaster started the band with "an old instrument out of a cupboard" and had a complement of four bandsmen.
By early 1922 there were 12 players, with "a fine set of instruments secured and paid for".
The sense of humour and comradeship displayed by the bandsmen was well known at the time. One rare surviving example of this is "The H.S.A.C.B. Triumphonic Journal" ("published monthly"), produced in the days before word processors and photocopiers. One example of the wit and humour displayed is on Page Five: "It just shows you the thoughts our lads entertain whilst on duty as bandsmen. Frank Huggett quoted during bombardment "Where I 'ham' there ye may be also". Ron Stewart, evidently having eats foremost on his mind replied promptly to this statement "no mustard thankyou!"
Select the image of the 'Triumphonic Journal' (left), or select here to be transported back to the 'golden days' of the Hurstville Salvation Army Citadel Band in 1935!
The Hurstville Band made many trips into country NSW (and beyond) after World War II: Grenfell in October 1948, Junee in 1949, Singleton in October 1950 (where the Band was given a Civic Reception), Queanbeyan in 1951 and then back to Grenfell in 1952.
Hurstville Band was part of a history making event which occurred in the Sydney Town Hall during the 1953 Congress (a gathering of 2,500 Salvationists). Seven bands marched onto the platform, followed by the Congress Chorus. 200 bandsmen and 180 songsters (choristers) gathered on this momentous occasion.
In 1954 the band paid a visit to Lithgow NSW, broadcasting over Radio Station 2LT on three separate occasions.
Hurstville Band toured the Armidale (NSW) Division in 1960, visiting the three centres of Tamworth, Armidale and Inverell. In Tamworth, the Band headed a march of witness, which was held in conjunction with the local churches and concluded at the Tamworth Town Hall where 1,400 people had gathered.
The first 'Carols on the Roof Top' was conducted on top of the Hurstville Railway Station (the Super Centre) in 1966. 500 people attended this service with the Band and a combined choir (consisting of the Hurstville Songsters, Young People's Singing Company and a school choir) assisting with the musical support for the evening. This 'Roof Top' tradition continued for many years. One exceptional year, 1974, over 1,000 people gathered to hear the Christmas message as well as participating in carol singing.
In October 1970 the Band took part in a venture that was billed as "Service with a difference". This was the opportunity to take part in an 'open-air' campaign with the Paddington Corps in the Kings Cross district of Sydney. This was enthusiastically received by the crowds in the area and a number attended the meetings which followed the outdoor appeal.
On their first history-making overseas trip the Band, under the direction of Bandmaster Frank Lucas, visited Papua New Guinea from 27August to 6September 1971 (the link with New Guinea started in 1957 when Hurstville Bandsman Richard Bernicle transferred there). Hurstville Corps assisted New Guinea by donating instruments for their newly formed band. The Hurstville Band was officially welcomed at Koki, Port Moresby, by an action show of native warriors. Without warning a shrill cry was heard and within seconds the dais was surrounded by a wall of green-leaved warriors with menacing spears. A number of bandsmen were caught 'unawares' and thought the loss of the Bandmaster was imminent. This was followed by welcome dances including a performance by the Kerema people of the gulf district, who were recipients of the donated 'Motor Vessel Hurstville' (a small, much-needed fishing boat).
The Band participated in the Congress ( a gathering of Salvationists) meetings where representatives from 15 Corps were present, with some travelling up to 140 kilometres. A march through Boroko preceded an open-air meeting in Talbari Place, the local market area. People swarmed from everywhere as soon as the Band was heard. The Band continued onto Lae. This visit was the first by a Salvation Army Band and the only visit by a brass band for 20 years.
After returning to Port Moresby, the Band proceeded to Boregaina village, about 100 kilometres east. This journey was endured in a bus, with the Bandsmen travelling 'side saddle' for three hours on wooden seats. This trip also made history as this was the first bus to travel to this area. During this visit, Corps Treasurer Gordon Wasson presented $1,000 on behalf of the Hurstville Salvationists to the Officer of the Boregaina Corps for the new Quarters, replacing a hut made of pit-pit grass (Miscanthus floridulus), and bamboo.
This was the first of many successful overseas/missionary trips made by the Hurstville Salvation Army Band.
On 4February 1973, discussions were held with Captain Brian McStay (who had visited Hurstville en-route to establishing The Salvation Army activities in Fiji) for a proposed visit of Hurstville Band to Tonga and possibly Fiji in August 1974. The Band, with Frank Lucas as Bandmaster, made Salvation Army history when they accepted an invitation from King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga to visit his country from 23August to 3September 1974.
The warmth and hospitality of the Tongan people was unsurpassed. A huge crowd greeted the Band at Tongatapu Airport. This sea of eager faces set the pattern for the rest of this unforgettable tour. Wherever the Band played, people appeared - not because of an obligation, but through a genuine interest in the Band's music and message.
One of the highlights of the tour came on the Sunday morning when the huge Centenary church, which seated 3,000, was filled to capacity, with children on the floor and an estimated 2,000 more souls spilling out on to the verandahs and lawn for a broadcast service. The singing of the 400 member choir brought inspiration and blessing to all those present, especially with their rendition of 'The Hallelujah Chorus'.
After leaving Tonga, the Band landed in Fiji for a short visit. During this stopover the Band presented instruments and money to The Salvation Army in Suva. During the visit the Band marched in the Hibiscus Festival of Suva, where the streets were filled with over 15,000 people.
The Band made a return visit to Tonga and Fiji from 26August to 7September 1976, again under the leadership of Bandmaster Frank Lucas. For the second time the Band participated in the Hibiscus Festival, this time around marching for almost 5 kilometres in the rain!
Another overseas mission by the Hurstville Citadel Band was to Indonesia and Singapore during May 1979. They visited the Bandung Boys' Home in Indonesia, and handed over funds donated by the Hurstville Corps to help with major repairs for the buildings there. Financial assistance was also given to the Pasir Panjang project in Singapore.
The Band made its fifth overseas tour during May 1984 to the Philippines and Korea, under the leadership of Dr Ron Smart. Those who were privileged to join this missionary outreach were blessed by the experiences and challenged by the different cultures encountered. On 11May 1984 the Band held a concert at the Yoo Kwan Soon Auditorium in Seoul, Korea. During this concert presented the piece 'Faith Reborn'. This musical work had a marked effect of the people of Seoul, particularly the Salvationists, for many of them had relatives still in South Korea, of whom nothing had been heard for over 30 years.
The next missionary venture by the Band was in April 1995 under the leadership of Bandmaster Grant Sandercock-Brown. This saw the Band, with the Timbrels, travel to the continent of Africa. This was the sixth overseas tour by the Band, with Bandsmen Jim Edge and Harold Gallagher travelling as members of the Band on all six tours.
The first 'contingent' of the tour travelled ahead of the remainder of the Band to conduct a Music Camp at Harare, Zimbabwe. This was an awe-inspiring experience for those who participated, all being overcome with the enthusiasm and talent of these young people who yearned for musical and spiritual knowledge.
Upon the arrival of the additional 'entourage', the Band and Timbrels led the people of Harare during an Easter Festival of Sacred Music. Whilst in Harare, a visit to an AIDS hospital for children was arranged. This was a heart-wrenching experience for the group, who could only admire the care and devotion of the staff caring daily for the precious tiny babies afflicted with the disease.
Hurstville Band marked this significant milestone with a range of events during 2010. These included a 90th Anniversary Celebration Weekend on the weekend of Saturday 12 June and Sunday 13 June with special guests, the Ingle Farm Salvation Army Band from Adelaide.
The band also travelled north to Forster/Tuncurry on the mid-north coast over the weekend of Saturday 31 July to Sunday 1 August 2010. The report on the band's mission trip to Forster/Tuncurry read: "On Saturday 31 July 2010 our band and some family members arrived to be greeted by sunny skies in this beautiful mid-North Coast holiday location. The greeting from the local Salvationists was warm and friendly. The band presented a Saturday evening concert and participated in the Corps' Sunday morning meeting before concluding with a very pleasant afternoon festival of music. Our leaders, Lt. Colonels Peter and Jan Laws, were indeed familiar faces and were well received by all. Our guest Eupho soloist, David Allen, let his lips and fingers do the talking and thrilled all with his great musical expertise. Ashlee Sheppard also provided variety to our offering with some special vocal items. The seats were full, the interest and appreciation high, the music was great and the message of God’s immense love shown at the cross compelling."
The final events to commemorate the band's 90th anniversary were a celebration concert on Saturday 20 November 2010 at Dulwich Hill Salvos, and a 'Pleasant Sunday Afternoon' concert on Sunday 21 November 2010 at Hurstville.
The Hurstville Citadel Band has been an integral part of the Corps' evangelical program from the early days of Hurstville Salvation Army, and, although the faces and musical styles have changed throughout its history, the Band continues to witness and win souls for God.