Netherlands National Music Festival

The annual National Music Festival, held in Apeldoorn, in the center of the Netherlands, on 26 October 2013, was once again a huge success. During the day, several groups were in the center of Apeldoorn to provide music for anyone with a willing ear and at some points hundreds of people enjoyed the music of the Salvation Army on the street.

During the afternoon, the Amsterdam Staff Songsters presented the “Bosshardt Musical”, which drew the interest of many people and was enjoyed by all those who were present. The evening concert – which was sold out – was absolutely fantastic. Participants included the Amsterdam Staff Band, Amsterdam Staff Songsters, J-Unit (territorial youth chorus) and a massed songster brigade. The concert also saw the inauguration of the Nationale Jeugd Brass Band (National Youth Band), which is more or less a replacement for the regional youth bands. Special guests Emma and Nik Pears were in top form and delighted the audience with their singing.

As usual for this kind of concert, several significant works were performed. The Staff Band played At the Edge of Time (Ray Steadman-Allen) accompanied by an impressive multimedia presentation. This was the major work for the band’s recent tour (May 2013) of Canada and the presentation had proved very helpful in understanding this difficult (for listeners and players alike) music. Originally written for the Camberwell Citadel Band (Australia), the work is a tour de force for any band. A brilliant piece, it is included on the Amsterdam Staff Band’s latest recording, Live from Canada.

For the inauguration of the National Youth Band, Lt.-Colonel Maurice Cooper, a former member of the International Staff Band (euphonium) and former Bandmaster of the Amsterdam Staff Band (1976 – 1981), was invited. When Lt.-Col. Cooper was Staff Bandmaster, he set up four regional youth bands. Now in his eighties, he was therefore the right choice for this occasion. He conducted the Staff Band in Fighting for the Lord, and old but still fresh march, as the Youth Band entered the hall.

Staff Bandsman Daniel Rosenquist has been appointed bandmaster of the National Youth Band. Rosenquist has been the bandmaster of one of the regional youth bands for some time and now has the honor being the first leader of the National Youth Band, receiving his appointment from the Territorial Commander, Commissioner Hans van Vliet.

A piece which has become very popular is Kevin Larsson’s arrangement of They Shall Come from the East, which was featured as a combined item for the Youth Band and Staff Band. The work features a flügelhorn solo, which was played by Deborah Wolf (Youth Band) and Menno van der Woude (Staff Band), both giving a beautiful performance.

Another item from the pen of Kevin Larsson heard at the concert was a new composition for choir, Boundless, based on “O Boundless Salvation”. The song featured the Amsterdam Staff Songsters with support from Staff Bandsmen Daniel Rosenquist and Steef Klepke (trumpets) and Mark Ontswedder (trombone).

Amsterdam Staff Band Facebook bulletin 045, posted by Steef Klepke