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Music Exams

Three BBJ quintets were examined by officials from the London-based Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) in Medan on Sept 5. Two brass quintets were examined in the intermediate category and one in the primary category. All passed. Read about it here. 

Performance at Sun Plaza

On Indonesia's Independence Day, August 17, 2014 BBJ gave a special performance at Medan's Sun Plaza.

North Sumatra Music Camp

BBJ members attended a special music camp in Brastagi organised by the Salvation Army's North Sumatra division from July 29 to August 3, 2014. Apart from about 60 brass players, there were also 20 choir members and about 10 others learning to play the timbrel. Read about it here.

BBJ Cirebon tour

In December 2013 BBJ travelled to Cirebon in Java to participate in the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Salvation Army's work in the city. 

BBJ sends band trainer to Bekasi

BBJ sent band trainer Ganda Sinaga to Bekasi corps to help establish a Salvation Army band in this satellite city of Jakarta in early December 2013. The move came only a few months after BBJ sent two band trainers to Surabaya in July 2013. 

Second hand instruments were provided from Singapore on loan. Should the project be successful, these will then be donated. 

BBJ tuba player Lasnointer Marbun is already in the process of establishing an SA band in Yogyakarta. Read about it here.  

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Members

Current Members
The pioneers


Current Members

There are currently (July 2011) 33 members in the Brass Band Jenderal (BBJ), with ages ranging from 12 to 32. All come from very poor backgrounds or single parent families. Until very recently, all the players were also current or former members of the William Booth Salvation Army boys home in Medan, Indonesia.  However, in February 2010 we admitted our first female member (Friska) after she passed the entrance test. In July 2011 Friska left for Jakarta to enter the Salvation Army's Training college for officers (pastors).

There is also a 17-member junior band.

No-one gets special privileges.
There very few formal rules. However, failure to attend band practice without an acceptable reason can result in (usually temporary!) loss of membership.  The band also maintains a philosophy of strict equality of rights. No one gets special treatment or privileges because of his age or ability, not even the leaders!

The membership of the band has varied over the years as new members come in and older ones leave. Here is a list of members as of July 2011:

Corps Officer: Major Pastika

Music Director: Dr Bruce Gale

Bandmaster: Danias Karosekali


Soprano: Yunus Marbun %

Solo Cornet: Putra Imanta Karosekali #, Jastis Bago, Ganda Sinaga, Nobuala Halawa +

1st Cornet: Esron Tumaggangor, Pekni Eli Warae, .Iuventius Telambanua, Esron Tumanggor

2nd Cornet: Tommy Laia, Yasahati Laia

Flugel Horn: Nogarisno Laia

1st Horn: Doddy Sutanto Tampubolon #

2nd Horn: Friska Weni, Karlinus Laia

1st Baritone: David Hartawan #, Dedi Agusta Purba

2nd Baritone: Alman Marbun, Irfan

1st Trombone: Yudhykana Laia, Yohannes Morry #

2nd Trombone: Sekhi Athur Halawa, Eko Saputra Simbolon

Euphonium: Erjoin Marbun @, Berri Saptian Purba

Bass Eb: Lasnointer Marbun #, Rokky Tarigan, Fernando Kaloko, Manatar Sigalingging

Bass Bb: Semro Manatap Sirait, William Stefi Waruhu
Percussion: Charles Kaloko #, Sabarman Laia

 

@ = Deputy Bandmaster

# = Section Leader
+ = Band Sargeant
% = Librarian

The photograph below was taken in Medan in early November 2005, a couple of weeks before the band began the Malaysia/Singapore tour. I am in the front row (centre). On my right is the superintendent of the Boys Home at the time (Major Spener). His wife is on my left.

 
 
 

The Pioneers

Things were quite different when we first began. Here is a photograph taken around 1987, showing the pioneer members of the band. At that time the band had only been in existence for a few months, so we could only play a few simple hymn tunes. Notice the absence of a tuba. I hadn't been able to obtain one at that point, so I got the euphonium player (extreme right) to play the tuba part instead.

The band relies heavily on donations. 
The arrangement served our needs for about a year until the Kuala Lumpur Salvation Army in Malaysia donated an old one. In fact, almost all the band's first instruments were provided by the Malaysians. Since then, most of our instruments (all second hand) have been donated by well-wishers in the Salvation Army in Singapore and Australia. Over the years, I have also bought quite a lot myself. I am on the left of the photograph holding the baton.

Our first bandmaster (remember, I live in Singapore and can only travel to Medan every three or four months) was Posma Hutabarat. He was later sponsored to a local university by Michael Hall (a Briton who also had an interest in the band). Posma is now a fully qualified medical doctor living in Java. Did I mention that these boys were smart? Here is an early photograph of him:

For more pictures, go to the BBJ photo album.

 

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