We Never Planned to be Pop Stars

Lifting the lid on the life of the Salvation Army Pop Group The Joystrings, former members Lt-Cols Peter and Sylvia Dalziel explained how the group came about and grew at the hand of the Holy Spirit. As Sylvia says in her new book The Joystrings – the Story of The Salvation Army Pop Group—the group was not engineered or planned, but came into being after an off-the-cuff answer to a journalist from the new General Coutts after his election.

Book signing
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Editor John Mitchinson and Lt Col Peter look on as Lt Col Sylvia signs a book

Peter explained that he and fellow cadet Bill Davidson were recruited to the group simply because they had a guitar under their respective beds at college. The story of how the group formed and developed under the auspices of the International Training College in London is not so much about the history of a pop band from 50 years ago, but how the God the Holy Spirit worked in that situation. ‘It’s not just about the past,’ says Sylvia, ‘but about what God is doing today and can do tomorrow.’

Sylvia signs a book
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Sylvia signs a book

The EMI record producer, the late Walter Ridley, claimed that The Joystrings would change the face of religious music for ever. Finding their names shoulder-to-shoulder with such names as The Hollies and The Beatles seemed to evidence this comment. Furthermore the group got itself invited to clubs and places that no other Salvation Army music group would ever countenance going. Their courage at declaring their faith in song is reported to have encouraged a famous singer who was newly converted to Christianity to be more bold about his faith.

Sylvia hands over a sale
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Sale completed!

Everything was not so positive though. They met quite a bit of resistance at times and what a snub they encounters when they appeared in a packed church to deliver their message and influencing 12 people to dedicate their lives to Christ as a result only to find that the vicar of that church would not let his parishioners back into the building until it had been reconsecrated by the bishop!

The stories came out when Peter and Sylvia visited Hadleigh Temple as part of their nationwide tour to launch the book. Interview sessions were facilitated by Dr. John Mitchinson of Southend Citadel, who edited the book in his capacity as a member of THQ Communications Department. Peter and Sylvia also sang some songs, including a couple of Joystrings favourites for which they were joined on stage by other former group members Ruth Howes (née Swainsbury) now at Harlow and Thelma Beecham (née Adams) of Leigh-on-Sea.

Four former Joystrings and their new book
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Thelma, Peter, Sylvia and Ruth with the book

The book was on sale at the event with the author and other members of The Joystrings who were present signing copies.

There is a lot of fascination to be had in reading the book (ISBN 978-0-85412-906-5) available from SP&S Ltd  for £14.95


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