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CROYDON CITADEL BAND
Croydon Citadel Band has provided music accompaniment for the worship at the Sunday services at Croydon Citadel and played in a variety of venues – indoors and out – across the United Kingdom and beyond, for 122 years – ever since it was formed in 1883, the year Croydon was incorporated as a town by charter.
When the band visited the USA for a 10-day tour in 2005 its publicity brochure declared: ‘In common with all Salvation Army bands, the members are not paid musicians and are active in all areas of their church - as lay leaders, teaching in the Sunday school, helping in the youth club, and participating in the choirs. Despite this amateur status, and the time demands of work, family and church, Croydon Citadel Band is one of The Salvation Army’s most accomplished brass bands, with a wealth of musicians of consummate ability, including a number of highly talented soloists. Its members strive for the highest level of excellence, believing their ability to make music is a gift from God, for whom only the best is good enough.’ Proud words … and true.
Croydon Citadel Band has a unique heritage, having been formed under the leadership of a Salvation Army pioneer – Bandmaster William Quick, whose father served in the Royal Navy alongside one of Britain’s greatest heroes, Admiral Lord Nelson. Within months of the band’s inception, its bandmaster was arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace with its music. When he came up for trial, the presiding magistrate was the town’s mayor. It was therefore a poignant and proud moment for the band 100 years later when the town council asked it to play in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen when she visited Croydon to mark the town’s centenary. For many years now, Croydon Citadel Band has been regarded as a jewel in the town’s crown, occupying an honoured place at such civic ceremonies as the annual Remembrance Day service at the Fairfield Halls.
When Bandmaster Quick retired, the band continued to flourish under the skilled leadership of a succession of distinguished bandmasters – most notably Major Leslie Condon, a noted composer and musician, whose leadership coincided with the band’s centenary in 1983. Sadly, the memorable year concluded with the band – together with the whole Salvation Army world – being shattered by the death of Major Condon, who died of a heart attack while conducting the band as it played carols in the town centre on Christmas Eve.
Croydon Citadel Band has made many recordings, and taken part in a number of radio and television broadcasts including Paul O’Grady Christmas Show broadcast live to an audience of 5 million viewers. Its international music campaigns have included two tours of Scandinavia – Finland in 1960 and Norway in 2002 and more recently the Green Bay area of Wisconsin, USA.
Now, well into its second century, Croydon Citadel Band faces the future with high hopes and great faith that it will continue to carry out the work that The Salvation Army’s Founder, William Booth, said was the primary task of all Salvation Army bands – proclaiming the gospel of Christ to a needy world.
The current members of the band are proud to carry on the traditions put in place by former members, and we are delighted to welcome visitors to our web site.