Before sharing this first band story, I should say that I’m SO glad I’m a part of the family of God! The Salvation Army truly is an international family, and I found that out very quickly after a very warm welcome from all the corps members here. They accepted me into the corps with arms wide open. And when they found out I was a musician, the band director, Omar Perez, was quick to recruit me to band and choir, where I received another warm welcome, especially from my fellow percussionists, who were happy to have the percussion section filled. These people are amazing and I definitely feel like part of the family here.
Besides band rehearsals and playing for Sunday morning worship, my first outing with the band was a sort of open air. The band is made up mostly of young people (from ages 15-20someting) and last weekend about 15 of us youth went to the corner of two avenues here in Buenos Aires to play and raise money to send to the Salvation Army corps in Pakistan. In all, we played for two and a half hours and raised a little over 1200 pesos, which is about US$85. Every peso counted and we were grateful for what we earned!
As for my experience playing, I thought I would be nervous, and not to mention distracted, playing with my feet on the curb of a busy intersection. But it turned out to be pretty fun, and lots of people stopped to listen and even clapped for us at the end of the piece. After we finished playing, we all met up at the corps for ‘merienda,’ or tea time, as we have here in Argentina, and to watch a movie with some of the other young people. In all, it was a day well spent with the band and the other youth.