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Salvation Army Quirks #1 – The Paused Hand Clap

Every church seems to have their own silly quirks.  These are things that most people in that church find to be normal, but in reality, they are just plain funny.

One quirk that I have noticed in The Salvation Army is what I call the “Paused Hand Clap”.  If you grow up in The Salvation Army, this quirk is bound to become habit at least by the time you are a Jr. Soldier.  It is quite contagious.

The paused hand clap occurs most especially during a rousing tune such as a march.  It is guaranteed during any song that talks about The Salvation Army (i.e. – There is Joy in The Salvation Army, or Storm the Forts of Darkness).  Usually on the chorus of the song, the congregation will begin clapping.  Now, to use musical terminology, the clapping occurs on the “macro beats” (1, 2, 3, 4).  But then it happens – the paused hand clap.  Usually on beats 2 or 4, the individual will pause their hand clapping.  One hand will usually rest upon the other as they anticipate the next beat.  The effect is stunning.  It reminds the congregation of a bass drum beating in the street and calling people to hear the Good News.

Now, when and how often the paused hand clap occurs is really up to each person, but usually a unified intuition occurs where people “just know” when to pause.  One thing is guaranteed, there will always be a pause on beat 4 of the last measure of the chorus.  Most of these songs are concluded with a “hallelujah” (usually of Scandinavian type).  For an example of the paused hand clap, see the video below from General John Larsson’s Farewell.

What are some other Salvation Army quirks you have noticed?  Comment below!

About the author
Blake Fewell
Blake Fewell is a Salvation Army Lieutenant serving as the Corps Officer in Marion, IN. He grew up in Rockford, IL attending The Salvation Army all his life. Blake is passionate about Salvation Army theology and ministry. Other passions include running, brass band music, social media, reading, writing, and preaching. He holds a Bachelor's degree in systematic theology from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL and is working towards his Master's degree at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.