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Cameron Pearce
Posted June 22, 2019

It was a warm ‘welcome home’ to The Salvation Army for Cameron Pearce, who composed the arrangement for ‘Amazing Grace’ on the Offering project. But despite his international reputation in the music industry, Cameron is very down to earth about his faith.

I was born in Christchurch and raised in a Christian family. For the first 20 years of my life I attended The Salvation Army Christchurch City Corps. Like most young people of the time, I had a brass instrument placed in my hands when I was 10. I was taught to play the cornet from scratch by Martin Robertson who was a tireless servant of young brass players in those days (and still is).

Faith has always been part of my life. In the very best possible sense, I grew up around people with strong Christian values both at home and at church. As a young person, there were always people praying for me and taking an interest. I felt all the better for it—grounded. I’m inspired to be that sort of man for younger people in the future.

Playing in the brass band as a young person was the springboard into my love for music, and my career in the industry. I gained a Bachelor of Musical Arts from CPIT (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology), where I stayed on as a teacher for a decade. Then I went to New York and completed a Master of Arts degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music. I returned to New Zealand and ran the music department at CPIT (now Ara)—I’m back to hands-on trumpet teaching, which I love.

Music spans so many spheres of life. Let’s face it, everyone has some sort of special connection and sense of personal ownership to music. That’s the beauty of music. As a musician I get to perform, teach, compose and arrange, as well as be part of the worship team at my local church. I love it, but it’s not all about me—making music is for the enjoyment of the listener which is why I work hard.

One of the things about playing the trumpet is that it fits into a bunch of different styles. While jazz is my speciality, I’ve ended up playing with people in the rock and pop world I never would have expected. At the end of the day, even famous people are just people—so, as a Christian, I try to work as hard as I can for whoever I’m working for. If I’m doing my job well, my actions support the integrity of my faith. I try and be a decent human being as much as possible and show my faith through action.

Having worked with Dave Dobbyn in the past, it was this connection and not my Salvation Army background that initiated my involvement in Offering. But it wasn’t long before people put two-and-two together! It was great coming back and working with the brass band—I was thrilled to be asked to do the brass band arrangement for ‘Amazing Grace’. I owe a lot to the Army and have nothing but good things to say and think about the Sallies.

Life doesn’t always work out the way you planned. If you do anything long enough there are always ups and downs, but faith has remained a significant and solid part of my life. Despite challenges, I’ve never questioned it. God has been my constant.

By Cameron Pearce (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 15 June 2019, p11.  You can read 'War Cry' at your nearest Salvation Army church or centre, or subscribe through Salvationist Resources.