On the weekend of 24 – 25 September 2016, the Amsterdam Staff Band (Bandmaster Olaf Ritman) were the guests of the Kennemerland Corps in Beverwijk, not far from Amsterdam. For quite a long time, the corps was looking forward to have the Staff Band as its guest and to attract people to the Army through the sound of the band. The weekend was more or less managed by former Staff Band cornetist Hedzer van der Giezen, an avid Salvationist and keen brass lover.
Saturday, 24 September 2016
As with most ministry weekends, the Staff Band gathered at the corps hall before heading off with a good march to the place for an open air concert. During the open air, it became clear that people in Beverwijk loved to hear the band, and the band experienced friendly and appreciative people during the whole weekend.
The Saturday concert was held in a beautiful church near the corps hall, which is too small for such an event. Occasionally, the Staff Band shares concerts with other groups, however, on this evening the band was on its own and had to fill the entire program. That means a lot of playing, which they did.
The Staff Band is fortunate to have several outstanding soloists in its ranks. Principal euphonium Michel Rosenquist was featured in an old and difficult, not often heard solo by Philip Catelinet, Call of the Seasons (which will be featured on the Staff Band’s upcoming recording). This 10-minute, multiple variation tour de force with many fast and high notes was definitely welcomed by the audience.
The other soloist for the evening was the “other” Michel, assistant principal cornet Michel Arnoldus. One of the most robust and reliable players in the band, he presented My Song of Songs (Joseph Turrin). This solo was originally composed for Philip Smith, then principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic, and on this night Arnoldus showed his impressive solo skills in this beautiful work. He announced the solo himself, as his testimony, quoting the words of the associated song:
My heart is filled with melody,
To Christ my Lord my very life belongs.
Since He came in I cannot help
But ever sing my Song of Songs.
My Song of Songs is Christ my Saviour,
Of Him my heart shall ever sing.
He fills my life with joyous melody,
My Song of Songs is Jesus.
To think that Jesus died for me,
My heart is filled with never ending praise.
I want my life to glorify
The Saviour’s name through all my days.
The next engagement for the Staff Band is at Den Helder Corps, for their 125th anniversary celebrations. For this occasion, the corps requested a new piece from Bandmaster Ritman, who responded with Disciples at Sea, referencing several melodies associated with sings referring to the sea (Den Helder is a fishermen’s place). The Staff Band played this item at Kennermerland as a “world pre-premiere”. The audience responded with a standing ovation.
The full repertoire from Saturday night was as follows:
- Fanfare pour precedr “La Peri” (Dukas, arr, Holz)
- Call of the Seasons (Philip Catelinet), Michel Rosenquist, euphonium soloist
- My Song of Songs (Joseph Turrin), Michel Arnoldus, cornet soloist
- He Can Break Every Fetter (Kenneth Downie)
- God gaf zijn Zoon voor mij, male chorus
- Romans 8 (Ray Steadman-Allen)
- Amani, cornet/percussion feature
- Servants of God (Steven Ponsford)
- Prelude on “Lavenham” (Geoffrey Nobes)
- Hold that Fort! (Sam Creamer)
- Disciples at Sea (Olaf Ritman)
- Temple 125 (Kevin Larsson)
Sunday, 25 September 2016
On Sunday morning, the Staff Band split into two groups. Approximately two-thirds of the band were at Kennermerland Corps, while the smaller group headed north to Alkmaar Corps, rejoining the larger contingent during lunch. The Staff Band was pleased to see, both at the concert and on Sunday morning, former staff bandsman Gabriël Hage, a long-time horn player in the Staff Band and one of the greatest afficianados of “music that speaks to the heart”. He requested In Perfect Peace (Kenneth Downie), which of course the band played for him (and everyone else).
After lunch, a short open air concert was held before the Staff Band headed to Haarlem for the final concert of the weekend. Here, they played in an old, yet beautiful church once again, for a very appreciative audience. The repertoire for the Sunday afternoon concert included:
- Let There Be Light (Steven Ponsford)
- The Wellingtonian (Harold Scotney)
- When I Survey (Olaf Ritman)
- Amazed (Paul Sharman)
- ... bought with Your Blood (Olaf Ritman)
- Temple 125 (Kevin Larsson)
- Blue Marble (Martin Cordner)
- Triumphant Prospect (Olaf Ritman)
Amsterdam Staff Band Facebook page, original report by Steef Klepke