In June 2013, at the end of their season, the Amsterdam Staff Band (Bandmaster Olaf Ritman) said farewell to its longest-serving member, Jan Nieuwland. Nieuwland joined the Staff Band in 1973, a year in which thirteen of the current members (including Bandmaster Ritman) had not yet been born.
In addition to playing with the band on street corners, like so many Salvation Army band members around the world, Nieuwland also played in significant venues such as Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Royal Albert Hall in London and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He played before the Queen of the Netherlands, gave a concert in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, played before the President of the Czech Republic and played many times before many different Generals of the Salvation Army.
During his forty years of service Nieuwland played under eight different bandmasters, was given a new instrument five times, and saw three different designs of the band’s red festival tunics. He played both bass and baritone, and served for many years as the Band Secretary, Tour Manager and Executive Leader.
In addition to his service with the Amsterdam Staff Band, Nieuwland has served as bandmaster of his corps band and plays the piano. He “shocked” the Dutch Salvation Army by having his corps band play a manuscript item (written by himself) during a bi-annual Bandsmen Congress in the early 1980s, when such items were strictly forbidden. He also served as bandmaster of the East Netherlands Divisional Youth Band, one of four divisional youth bands set up by former Staff Bandmaster Lt.-Colonel Maurice Cooper.
With a very humble and modest personality, Nieuwland worked hard behind the scenes, making him even more valuable. He is a very punctual and disciplined person who often kept an eye on the younger band members with respect to these important qualities, having a reputation as one of the most reliable persons in the Staff Band.
He will continue to use his gifts and talents in the service of God at his home corps in Arnhem, in the east of the Netherlands.
Amsterdam Staff Band web site