The Drumbeat of Diversity


Marleen Mallory’s involvement at the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center affords her the opportunity to indulge two of her passions: music instruction and The Salvation Army.

“Both sides of my family are Salvationists,” Marleen explains. “My father is from the Eastern Territory (Ohio), and my mother is from the Southern Territory (Virginia).”

It turns out that the family’s common denominator with the Army has been through music. And it started a long, long time ago.

“When my uncle was a little boy, my great-grandmother was walking down a street in Norfolk when they heard the call of the Salvation Army drum during an open-air meeting,” she goes on.

“He was so enamored with that drum that my great-grandmother had to take him to an Army meeting to find out what the music was all about.

“Members of my family have attended The Salvation Army ever since!”

There can be no doubt that Salvation Army music has played a huge role in Mallory’s life. From Meadowbook High School (Richmond, VA), Mallory entered Virginia Commonwealth University for her Bachelor’s degree (Music Education); and later to Old Dominion University where she earned her Master’s degree in Music Education/Conducting.

She’s been a band director since 2000 for Norfolk Public Schools, and now works as Assistant Program Director for the Hampton Roads Kroc.

“I don’t recall one specific day that I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” Mallory says. “There have been multiple instances in my life that caused me to rededicate myself to Him. I see my walk as a journey of multiple landmarks. No single landmark has been the most influential—however, when I see the journey as a whole, it is an amazing view!”

Each “landmark” was a staccato note for Mallory to follow as she progressed to where she is today at the Hampton Roads Kroc.

“What I love most about the Army—and this Kroc Corps Center—is our compassion for all people,” Mallory exclaims. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.’

“This has not been my experience with The Salvation Army.”

Mallory found a full diversity in all three corps she grew up in from childhood.

“Divisional, Territorial, and International (Army) events spark my love for all God’s people even more when I can literally see so many cultures coming together to worship the same God,” she marvels.

She points to her opportunity to witness this first-hand on a global scale at the Boundless International Congress in London.

“It was invigorating to see Salvationists from six of our seven continents praising God together!”

Back home there’s something equally invigorating for Mallory: watching young Kroc members blossom because of high-quality programs the Army offers.

“I was given spiritual and leadership education opportunities that I would never have experienced anywhere else,” she says, adding that her desire is to pass such opportunities onto kids and teens at the Hampton Roads Kroc.

“My desire to show all others compassion coupled with my love of music led me to my God-given calling to be a teacher.”

Marleen quickly acknowledges that a unique facility like a Salvation Army Kroc gives to her an opportunity to shape lives—an opportunity she would not likely find anywhere else.

“Making a positive difference in the lives of my community is truly a passion,” she says, “and I am very excited to be able to continue making a difference in this community with an organization that has given so much to me and my family for generations!”

Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor