by Martyn Thomas
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so
we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Eph. 2:10 NLT)
When I was a child, I had no idea about God’s plan for my life. How could I possibly imagine all that he had in store for me? I’d safely say that no one around me had much of an idea either.
Although I was a multi-generational Salvationist with a strong musical heritage, it didn’t seem that that was a likely path for me. I have the distinct honor of having been in the Oswego (beginner’s) band at Long Point Music Camp for three consecutive years. I think that may still be a record. But between playing
in the junior band at the corps, playing in the school band, and practicing, I made progress – the next year I was in the Oswego (C) Band, then the Seneca (B) Band, and finally, in my last summer at music camp, I made the Long Point (A) Band.
By this point, I enjoyed playing my cornet and wanted to play whenever I could. However, our corps band was small; my older brother, me, my younger sister (who really didn’t want to play), my dad (the CO), and one other player. Fortunately, the high school had a good music program, and I was also able to play in the divisional youth band. Thanks to a school band director and a divisional music director who saw potential, I was encouraged to keep developing as a player and a musician.
I decided to pursue music as a career and studied music education, planning to become a high school band director. But once again, God had something different in store for me. Upon graduation, I was hired as the divisional music director for the Western Pennsylvania division – the same job as one of the mentors who had encouraged me.
I’ve now worked for The Salvation Army in music for over 30 years, been part of the
Chicago Staff Band for over 20, and have traveled to South Korea, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, England (3 times), and Jamaica. I’ve been privileged to have played for the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 and with several orchestras while with the CSB. I’ve also been a corps bandmaster, led my corps youth band, and am currently the songster leader. Not bad for a snotty little kid who couldn’t make it out of the beginner band at music camp.
All that to say, don’t be discouraged about where you are now. God has plans for you that go far beyond what you can imagine. Your part is to just be faithful to Him and trust the path that he has clearly marked for you. It will be a journey like no other.
Marty Thomas joined the Territorial Music & Creative Arts Ministries Department in 1999 after serving eleven years as the Divisional Music Director in the Metropolitan and Western Pennsylvania Divisions. His work responsibilities include arranging and typesetting for the Hallelujah Choruses series as well as the creation of drama resources for worship services. Marty is passionate about music camps and youth music within The Salvation Army and recently completed a Master's program in wind band conducting at Messiah University. Read more...