Salvation Army Brass Band wraps up season as part of century-long tradition

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Though the weather outside is frightful, the Salvation Army Brass Band is still going strong, now with thousands of bands worldwide.

That just so happens to include Anchorage, where, each holiday season, shoppers and pedestrians can find the whole gang performing at local grocery stores around town.

Since its so-called "accidental founding" in the 19th century, the fundraising element has also been helped immensely by the band's performances.

"It’s not just to help us through Christmas," said Maj. Dwayne Patterson of the Salvation Army Anchorage Corps. "It helps us keep the lights on and pay employees throughout the year. So it’s huge for us."

The tradition has also been going for more than 100 years.

"I think tradition is important in itself," Patterson said. "It kind of reminds us of who we are, where we come from and why we do things."

The band lifts the spirits of shoppers, walkers and wanderers alike.

"It brings people in," said Jenni Ragland, also of the Anchorage Corps and a member of the brass band. "Connects them. Gives them a purpose and a place."

And it's all in the name of 'Doing Good' each and every day.

"This is just part of who we are," said Ragland, who is also the Alaska Salvation Army Service Extension and Emergency Services Director. "We look for opportunities to share that with our community."

Like many of Anchorage's musicians, Ragland has been part of the band for decades. In her case, she started playing for the Salvation Army before she was a teen.

"I actually started playing in the band when I was 12 years old," she said. "And a few years later, I still continue that. Just 'cause I love it."

Check out the video below to hear the Anchorage brass band's rendition of Jingle Bells.