Amsterdam Staff Band Weekend in Almelo

On the weekend of 26 – 27 September 2014, the Amsterdam Staff Band (Bandmaster Olaf Ritman) visited Almelo Corps in the east of Holland, near the German border. For most of the members of the band it was a very long ride (according to Dutch standards) but, in the end, it was worth every effort.

The weekend was roughly divided into four parts: Saturday open air, Saturday night concert, Sunday morning service and Sunday afternoon concert. On Saturday afternoon, the band played in the shopping center of Almelo. Because of the great weather, despite it being autumn already, many people listened and enjoyed the band. Star flügelhorn player (and local Almelo boy) Menno van der Woude awed the listeners with his always flawless rendition of Children of Sanchez.

Amsterdam Staff Band, outdoor concert, Almelo, 27 September 2014. Photo Credit: Peter Schokkenbroek

The Saturday evening concert was shared with Gospelkoor (Gospel Choir) Benediction (Director André Bijleveld), on of the best gospel choirs in the Netherlands. The choir was really fantastic and the items where the choir and band joined together were appreciated by the large audience. The old church where the concert was held had enormous acoustics with a “10-second echo”, making it quite difficult for the band in some cases. During the concert, the band gave the Dutch premiere of a new major work by Bandmaster Ritman, Vain Resistance.

The band’s items on Saturday evening included the following:

  1. Trading My Sorrows (arr. Olaf Ritman), with the choir
  2. South Shields Celebration (Martin Cordner)
  3. Lux Auremque (arr. Andrew Poirier)
  4. Fantasia for Cornet (Martin Cordner)
  5. Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (Kenneth Downie)
  6. Telling It! (Sam Creamer)
  7. Fighting for the Lord (Emil Söderstrom), conducted by retired Bandmaster Menno van der Woude Sr.
  8. Wonderful Healer (Dean Goffin)
  9. Vain Resistance (Olaf Ritman), Dutch premiere
  10. John 3:16 (arr. Olaf Ritman), with the choir
  11. Trading My Sorrows, reprise with the choir
Photo Credit: Peter Schokkenbroek

On Sunday morning, the band, among other items, featured a “golden oldie” which is considered by many to be one of the greatest works in Salvation Army brass band literature, Eric Ball’s Songs in Exile. This very significant piece of music reminds every believer that they are “the child of a King”. Bandsman Leslie Stastra shared his testimony and told about what music means to him.

The final activity for the weekend, on Sunday afternoon, saw the Staff Band joined with Fanfare Wilhelmina Almelo (Directors Stefan and Martijn Blaak). The fanfare band, which uses trumpets, flügelhorns, French horns, saxophones and other instruments, is well known in Almelo and several of the Almelo Corps Band members also play in the fanfare band. Once again, Menno van der Woude presented Children of Sanchez, which was fitting as fanfare bands have an entire section of flügelhorns (or “bugels” in fanfare band terminology). After a short break, the bands joined together and performed four items from Salvation Army repertoire, concluding a successful weekend during which the Amsterdam Staff Band had many opportunities to share the Gospel.

Amsterdam Staff Band Facebook page, original report by Steef Klepke,
Photo Credit: Peter Schokkenbroek