In January, 2005, Melinda Ryan assumed the responsibilities of Divisional Music Director for the Maryland - West Virginia Division of the Southern Territory, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. Melinda replaces Bandmaster Ron Smith, who moved to Tampa in August 2004 to become the Assistant Divisional Music Director for the Florida Division.
Melinda comes to Baltimore from St. John’s, Newfoundland where she was Bandmaster for St. John’s Citadel for four years and the Newfoundland and Labrador East Divisional Youth Bandmaster for seven years. She was also in the songster brigade and a former member of the Praise Team (drums and trombone). For the past two summers, Melinda was given the prestigious honor of being a band leader at the Canada and Bermuda Territorial School of Music and Gospel Arts.
Melinda studied euphonium and received her B.Mus. and B.Mus.Ed degrees from the Memorial University of Newfoundland. There were no school music programs or private music lessons when she was growing up in La Scie, a small fishing community. Her parents are Salvationists and it was only through the Salvation Army banding program that she got an early introduction to music.
Many Southern Territory bandsmen will recognize Melinda from her involvement with several Southern Territory music conservatories, including those in Florida in 2004 and in Texas in 2002 and 2003.
One of Melinda’s plans while here is to encourage young people to become involved in the various music programs the Division has to offer. She feels that the Music and Arts programs in the Salvation Army are ultimately used to Worship and give Praise to God, in addition to being a great source for outreach ministry. She also believes it has a huge affect on the spiritual growth of our youth.
While the Maryland and West Virginia Division was searching for a new Divisional Music Director, Capain Chuck Whiten, Corps Officer at Annapolis, Maryland, and Rommel Crabtree shared the duties of directing the Baltimore Area Band, culminating in a very fine concert in November 2004.
Merle Bodycomb, Baltimore Area Band