"Hosea" was the second musical to be written.
It was first performed at Bognor Regis in October 1969 and then fully presented at Lewisham Town Hall on 12th November 1969
The following is taken from General Gowans autobiography:
Other musicals followed. By November 1967 the Gowans family had moved on to Bromley Corps and in May 1968 the newly married Larssons were appointed to Ealing. There was some pressure from Commissioner Cooper to write another musical and produce it. He suggested that perhaps one of the prophets of the Old Testament might inspire us. We settled for Hosea and set to work. The story of the faithfulness of the prophet to his faithless wife and the way in which he used it as a mirror of God's attitude to a people who had broken their promises provided a truly powerful subject. We were moved in the writing of it. We placed the Bible story in a modern setting to stress its relevance to the world we know best.
The idea of stealing Shakespeare's habit of setting a play within the play appealed to me enormously, and we wrote a 25-minute mini-musical into Hosea to underline its major message. It was a simple ruse. The fictitious youth group upon which the main body of the musical's story depends decides to make the production of a stage show a major project for their club. They choose the Bible story as their project, don suitable costumes and begin to sing more or less non-stop for almost half an hour.
The mini-musical did all that we hoped it might, but, to our horror, at the first performance we discovered we had written a three-hour show. It was a case of taking the scissors and discarding songs and whole sections of text. It was a tearful business. We were like parents ruthlessly pushing their children out into the street. In fact a much better musical was the result. Some of the songs that have endured are from the mini-musical. Two or three of them have found their way into the present Salvation Army song book - 'If human hearts are often tender' and 'Don't assume that God's dismissed you from his mind' among them. Again, the Youth Department had to publish Hosea itself, as there was no 'official' interest in the idea. Fortunately all copies were quickly sold to a now international market, and reprinting was necessary.
There's A Rumour
From now on.
What shall I ask for you,
I nearly forgot to say thank you.
You can't stop God
You've got to conform to belong
Down the street
When God Came Down To Bethlehem
I came to Him
To a God like this