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A Gowans Legacy

A Gowans Legacy

7 February 2017

By Kimberley Douglass

The International Staff Songsters are the premier choir of The Salvation Army, with a mission to portray the gospel of Jesus Christ and communicate his love through song. Their latest album, A Gowans Legacy, is a compilation of much-loved songs penned by John Gowans, the 16th General of The Salvation Army, and is a must-have addition to any choral music collection.

The majority of the music included in this album has been composed by General John Larsson (Ret). Old favourites such as They Need Christ and To Be Like Jesus demonstrate the repertoire of the renowned musical duo, Gowans and Larsson. In addition, the album includes previously published songs in new musical settings by Gavin Whitehouse (Adoration, Praise and Thanksgiving) and Mark Hayes (You Can’t Stop God from Loving You).

The initial suggestion for the album came from Commissioner Arthur Thompson (Ret.), the former Executive Officer of the International Staff Band, and was met with excitement by Dorothy Nancekievill, the International Staff Songster Leader. This passion for the work of General Gowans is evident throughout the recording as the songsters sing these much-loved lyrics with great care and precision, along with outstanding accompaniment.

In her introduction to the album, Dorothy remarks that the purpose of the album is to encourage the listener to reflect on their spiritual experience; to be inspired to make a difference in the lives of others and through singing these words become part of the “Gowans Legacy”.

As a young Salvationist, I have been blessed by sublime musicality of the International Staff Songsters, paired with the never-fading biblical truths contained in the songs of General Gowans. I was particularly struck by You Can’t Stop God from Loving You, based on Romans 8:38-39; a wonderful reminder of God’s unfailing love for his people.

A Gowans Legacy is available from Salvationist Supplies in Sydney (thetrade.salvos.org.au or phone 02 9466 3257) and Salvation Army Supplies in Melbourne (commerce.salvationarmy.org.au or phone 1800 100 018).

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