The Salvation Army in Nijverdal, a small town near Almelo and Enschede in the eastern part of the Netherlands, celebrated its 125th anniversary on 3 May 2014 with a concert featuring the Amsterdam Staff Band (Bandmaster Olaf Ritman) and the local gospel choir Shine.
The venue was filled to capacity as the Staff Band opened the program with Call of the Gospel (Martin Cordner). The opening notes took some people by surprise, but they quickly recovered to discover that the band was in fine form. After words of welcome, a prayer and a congregational song, Michel Arnoldus and Arend Pietersen played the cornet duet Synergy. Although the piece was well-played, the acoustics of the church made the soloists seem ’drowned” in the sound of band at times.
The local gospel choir Shine, accompanied and conducted by André Bijleveld, contributed eight songs during the evening which added a lot of variety to the concert. The Staff Band presented a classic by Eric Ball, Exodus. Published 80 years ago, this showed that the music of the past is still alive and able to tell its story.
There were a lot of new compositions on the stands during the evening as well. Mark Ontswedder played the trombone solo Jesus Shall Conquer (Kevin Larsson) and then the band offered the audience a chance to stretch their legs and dance along to a samba-like piece, Telling It (Sam Creamer). They were brought back to their seats with Edward Mylechreest’s arrangement of He Is Exalted, after which principal cornet Steef Klepke played Fantasia for Cornet (Martin Cordner). In this rarely played and difficult solo, Klepke showed again his capabilities as a soloist.
After the band played Philip Sparke’s Letter from Home, the gospel choir sang two songs in Dutch. The last major item of the evening, Variations on a Celestial Theme (Kenneth Downie), gave the audience a chance to listen to a fine reading of a work by one of the leading brass band composers.
Another congregational song led into the final item of the evening, with the Staff Band and Shine uniting. The words, based on John 3:16, created a fresh realization that God loves so much that He gave his only Son. The well-deserved applause showed how much the audience had appreciated the evening. Those in the audience who wanted to hear a good march got their wish with the encore, some singing along with “Tulpen uit Amsterdam” as the band played Amsterdam Festival March as an encore.
Amsterdam Staff Band Facebook page, original report by Herman Haverkate, posted by Steef Klepke