The mission of the Eastern Territory Staff Songsters is to glorify God and share the gospel of Jesus Christ through song. Our goal is to lead people into the presence of God through singing and to encourage others to use their voices to sing praise to the Lord.
The Eastern Territory Staff Songsters (ETSS) is a choir of pastors and members from The Salvation Army church community. Members are drawn from choirs in Puerto Rico, Kentucky, Ohio and along the eastern seaboard from Delaware to Maine. The choir is 30 men’s and women’s voices strong, with rhythm combo accompaniment, who sing in a variety of musical styles. The singers are volunteer Salvation Army soldiers with diverse vocal backgrounds, a conviction for teaching and leading church ensemble singing and a long-term commitment to ministering in The Salvation Army.
Appointed to service by Eastern Territory leader Commissioner Lawrence R. Moretz in 2005, as the Eastern Territorial Songsters, the songsters have accompanied many well-known preachers as they traveled in the Army’s USA northeast region including The Salvation Army’s former international leaders General Linda Bond and General Shaw Clifton. The choir has shared programming with The Salvation Army’s International Staff Band, New York Staff Band and Canadian Staff Band, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, trumpeter Chris Jaudes, Christian pop song-writer Ken Medema and many regionally known church artists.
The songsters have enjoyed instruction and retreat under the pastoring of S/L William Rollins (ETS director/conductor 2005-2012), Salvation Army International Staff Songster conductor Captain Len Ballantine, Salvation Army International Staff Band and Staff Songster conductor Lieutenant-Colonel Norman Bearcroft, worship leaders Colonels Robert and Gwenyth Redhead and Asbury College choral professor Dr. Beatrice Holz. The songsters have presented a varied and diverse vocal repertory. It is not unusual to find the choir sing hymn tune arrangements, gospel stylings, patriotic tunes or masterworks of the liturgical genre. ETS released their first CD, We Feel Like Praisin’ Him, in the summer of 2007 and their second It Is Good in the summer of 2010. The group’s latest CD is entitled As Bread that Is Broken, released in 2015 to celebrate 10 years of ministry.
At Commissioning 2018, the group’s name was changed to Eastern Territory Staff Songsters by Commissioner William Bamford. Its mission remains the same.
In its brief existence, ETSS has spent time ministering with many diverse corps songster groups, divisional youth choirs and Eastern Territory vocal workshops. The ETSS has been able to demonstrate vocal repertory, workshop vocal technique, present and worship with choral music. In every exposure with Salvation Army Corps songster brigades, ETSS has witnessed vital and effective corps ministry regardless of the size and ability of those groups. ETSS has had wonderful personal fellowship with each choir member with which they have shared and witnessed a wonderful ownership and support by corps for their songster brigades. ETSS has witnessed effective God honoring worship led by even the smallest of Salvation Army choirs.