Maidenhead Citadel Band Tour of Finland and Estonia


Evangelism AND music! From a beautiful, iconic church to a tent!

Maidenhead Citadel Band  has completed yet another successful overseas tour, this time to Finland and Estonia. On assembling at London Heathrow the Salvation Army chaplain to the airport, Major Fred Thompson, prayed with the band that their tour would not only bless those that came into contact but also that the band would experience a blessing themselves on tour. That prayer was to stay with them for next six days, and become more evident with each day and each opportunity.

On arriving in Helsinki, Finland the band immediately travelled 180 miles north, arriving four hours later at Jyväskylä just before 10:00pm. Even though it seemed like mid afternoon, for some bandsmen, this was to be their first taste of the midnight sun.

The first full day started brightly in Jyväskylä with a two hour open air concert at a local supermarket. The store manager, seeing it as a privilege to have the band play outside his store, enthusiastically set up a BBQ area to serve sausages and ice cream to the public standing watching and passing by, whilst the local Salvationists handed out publicity material. This was to be our first “taste” of a different culture in attracting people to the message of Jesus Christ.

Later in the day, another two hour concert was held in the early evening where the youth of the Corps set up their own BBQ area as soldiers of the Corps took the opportunity again to meet and greet those listening, serving free food and drinks and 'making contacts'. It was really enjoyable and enlightening to see such interaction taking place as the band were used as an initial attraction to engage people with The Salvation Army.

Sunday saw the band travel another 50 miles further north to Saarijärvi for a mid-day concert in the community theatre, before returning back to Jyväskylä to take part in the Corps 110th anniversary celebrations at the local Pentecostal Church. A Finnish Salvationist, Osmo Halonen, had organised every detail of the tour, gaining sponsors from companies and individuals as well as support from local churches to make sure the home territory did not incur any costs at all!

Throughout the tour the band soloists included Andrew Gray (soprano cornet), Adam Hall (vocal), Bram Harris (cornet & post horn), Matt King (percussion), David Woodcock (piano) and Eve Woodrow (tenor horn). On Monday morning the band travelled back to Helsinki, once again holding an open air concert in the market square whilst friends of the Army, along with officers from THQ, offered free soup and drinks to anyone passing by.

The Mayor of Helsinki, Mr. Jussi Pajunen, presented the band with a copy of the seal of the city in a private meeting before the band went on to perform in the famous Rock Church. The British Ambassador Mr Matthew Lodge and the TC for Finland and Estonia, Colonel Johnny Kleman, were both present as the band presented the National Anthems of Finland and England. Other items included, 'Canadian Folk Song Suite' 'Faith Reborn' as well as the band singing 'Rock of Ages' which delighted the audience.

Following another day of open air activity in Helsinki the band then boarded the ferry to Tallin, Estonia. Here the band met Major Daniel Henderson at the rehabilitation centre, on what was his second day of a highly focused evangelical campaign. The previous day 408 people had arrived at the meeting tent to hear the good news from the Gospel. Many turned up again on this day to hear the band. Most of those attending had drug or alcohol addictions and it was evident that this is where God was using the Maidenhead Band’s ministry to its fullest. The day before the band had played in the beautiful surroundings of the Rock Church, and on this day they went back to 1865 and the beginning of the Christian Mission as men and women rejected by society sat on hard wooden benches listening to personal testimonies, music and were pleased to receive a friendly handshake from the band.....such a humbling experience for all those privileged to make the Journey from Maidenhead to Estonia.

Before their final concert in Tallin, The Salvation Army had been granted special permission to perform for 30 minutes in the new salubrious Solais shopping centre. The Salvationists from England and Estonia took every opportunity to raise the profile of the work of the rehabilitation centre and The Salvation Army when Maidenhead Band presented a donation of €2,300 to Major Henderson in the presence of the Deputy Mayor of Tallin.

The final concert of the tour took place in a recital room at the Tallin Opera House. Whilst this was the smallest of audiences the band had played to on their tour, it had a significant impact on the band as everyone combined together at the end to sing the Founders song 'O Boundless Salvation' in Russian, Estonian and English. What a privilege for the Maidenhead Citadel Band to be used as an evangelical tool of encouragement to those in need where The Salvation Army is contributing so much to the physical and spiritual needs of that very special Community. We thank God for what we have and what we have been able to give.


Gallery for Maidenhead Citadel Band Tour of Finland and Estonia

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