Victor Morales: Territorial Troubadour

by Colonel Richard Munn

If you have had the delight of hearing the USA East contemporary worship band Unbound over the years, you likely will have picked up on some exceptional guitar playing, often in the background, occasionally at the fore. Whether at a Youth Councils, the Old Orchard Beach outdoor Pier Ministry, or a territorial commissioning weekend, the virtuosity never wavers. The sheer talent shines through.

“Wow! Who is this guy?” is a natural response. Answer: Victor Morales from the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Division.

Fast forward to last fall, and Victor has now assumed leadership of the group in his role as the new USA East director of contemporary music. Naturally, this involves change—leading, not just performing; relocating to the USA mainland; and a new responsibility to envision and strategize.

The SAconnects team had a chance to catch up with Victor recently, to give our Good News readers the story behind the story.

You come from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. What was your Salvation Army involvement there?

I recently served as the divisional music director. At the San Juan Corps, I was the worship group leader. I also played in the corps band. 

Can you tell us your experience and highlights with our territorial contemporary band Unbound?

Being able to be part of Unbound has been a blessing for me. Every event we have been able to participate in has had something special, but I particularly remember my first time as the group’s director, at a young adult retreat. I was very nervous, so it was moving to experience how God takes care of ministering to people even with our limitations. The Unbound group has been very supportive of me, and the reality is that it is a conglomerate of very talented and exceptionally good people.

Your guitar playing is legendary, quite amazing. What is your story with that instrument? 

I am the youngest of three brothers, with my sister as the oldest. She began taking piano lessons at an early age. As I listened to her practicing every day, little by little I began to understand music on a deeper level. So, when it was my turn to choose an instrument, I already had a sense of what music is and how it could sound. I chose the guitar. I have been playing since I was 5 years old and started taking formal classes when I was 7. The reality is that I have been blessed to always have a space in the corps to develop as a musician. I started participating in the worship group very early, and that always served as motivation for me.

Your new role in the USA East music department is many a young musician’s dream. What is at the forefront of your heart and mind these days?

Being here is something I didn’t previously consider at all. My wife and I never imagined moving from Puerto Rico. But life has many unpredictable paths. Now I would like to create an inclusive environment where both beginner and more advanced musicians can be part of a community of artists, where they can find support and access forums to continue developing their ideas.

Do you have any concluding words of insight or encouragement for our readers?

The Bible says that humans make plans, but God is the one who directs our steps. I think something crucial is to give our passion to the Lord and be open to the opportunities he presents to us along the way. Throughout life I always try to rest in God, and he has always proven to be faithful. So, when we put him first, he then will direct us and present opportunities for our growth. It is something like Psalm 37:4 [NKJV], “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Thank you, Victor. You are God’s troubadour in our territory, and we look forward to what the future holds and hearing again those remarkable riffs.