“I thought this day would never happen,” said Lt. Colonel Timothy Raines, Eastern Territory Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) commander. More than three years in the making, the first ARC weekend in the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meeting’s 122–year history was finally underway.
On Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4, Raines spoke to a congregation representing ARCs from around the territory and beyond. After a long pause, he said with a voice almost breaking, “This is a great group of people!”
The second weekend of camp meetings had actually begun Friday evening. Golden rays of sunshine illuminated the Pavilion’s flawless hardwood stage and made it difficult to imagine that earlier this year the amphitheater’s roof had been severely damaged by a Nor’easter.
That night, vocalists and instrumentalists filled the air with music. Even a nest of young doves singing high in the rafters seemed to celebrate this historic occasion.
At each meeting, Salvationists from as far away as Canada and California heard testimonies of praise and thanksgiving to God. They also heard stirring holiness messages delivered with passion and purpose by special guest Corps Sergeant–Major (CSM) Cotton Presley from the Springdale, Ark., Corps.
On Friday evening, Crossfire Brass, under the direction of Bandmaster Ronald Waiksnoris, set the tone for worship. Outstanding among the band’s many pieces was “Onward Christian Soldiers” featuring trumpet soloist Chris Jaudes.
Jaudes, a guest for the weekend, demonstrated why he is sought after as a lead trumpet player for Broadway overtures. The New York Times says, “[Jaudes] sings the lyrics to the song … except he does it with his trumpet rather than his vocal cords.”
The Detroit ARC Singers from the Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center, accompanied by their own dynamic four–piece band, shared traditional and contemporary Gospel music—with a touch of the “Motown sound” that significantly influenced R&B music during the 60s and 70s. The Southeast Michigan ARC is the largest such Army program in the United States. (See Priority!, Spring 2007.)
Led by Director Elbert Cook, the group sang three soul–stirring songs that featured unforgettable solo performances by Marian Champion, Evans Clark, and Loren Harper (who recently landed a recording contract with legendary Aretha Franklin). Included among the songs was “On–time God,” whose title some echoed in shouts of praise.