Staff Band in Den Helder

On the weekend of 29 – 30 October 2016, the Amsterdam Staff Band (Bandmaster Olaf J. Ritman) visited the Den Helder Corps for the corps’ 125th anniversary celebrations. This weekend had been planned for some time, but it had been difficult to work out a suitable date, but finally the weekend hasd arrived. Every possible effort was used to make it a success, and this resulted in a fantastic weekend with many highlights, not only for the corps, but for the Staff Band as well.


Den Helder is a fisherman’s place in the far northwest of Holland, at the tip of the province. Except for the two staff bandsmen who ar soldiers at the corps, this is a long way. Most of the band had some hours to drive before arriving. After a friendly welcome, the Staff Band proudly marched from the corps hall straight into the center of the city. The provided some music for the shopping public, which was well-received and very much appreciated.

Returning to the corps hall, the Staff Band enjoyed a good meal and then headed off to the concert hall, an absolutely stunning building that had once belonged to the Dutch Navy and now has been rebuilt and commercialized as a theater. It was a big challenge to sell every ticket for the 700 seats available, but in the end all of the tickets were sold.


The concert was shared with Nieuwedieper Visserskoor (Conductor A. de Jong), a local male choir, so the concert was certain to be varied in nature. Also, the audience was very enthusiastic and appreciative, which is always a huge bonus for any performing group.

For many, the highlight of the evening was a new piece, Disciples at Sea, written by Staff Bandmaster Ritman at the request of the Den Helder Corps. The piece contains many references to the sea, including stormy sounds. The complete list of items offered by the Staff Band in the Saturday evening concert is:

  • Let There Be Light (Steven Ponsford)
  • The Invincible Army (Erik Leidzén)
  • Rhapsody for Cornet (Olaf Ritman), Steef Klepke, cornet soloist
  • Hold That Fort! (Sam Creamer)
  • Father, We Love You (arr. IJsendorn), with Nieuwedieper Visserskoor
  • The Power and the Glory (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
  • Conga (arr. Gates)
  • My Song of Songs (arr. Joseph Turrin), Michel Arnoldus, cornet soloist
  • Servants of God (Steven Ponsford)
  • Disciples at Sea (Olaf Ritman)
  • Temple 125 (Kevin Larsson)

On Sunday morning, the band is where it usually is on the Sunday morning of a ministry weekend, the corps hall. It was a fine meeting with, again, a full house. After a quick coffee, the band went outside for some photos before returning to the hall for a typical, well-appreciated Dutch meal: Chinese food!

As usual, Staff Band weekends are never relaxing, and immediately after the meal the band left the corps hall and went to a beautiful old church for the final engagement of the weekend. This was a concert with an interdenominational praise band. Although the musical styles of the two groups could not be further apart, they shared the same goals, bringing the message of Jesus Christ through their music.


Items presented by the Staff Band during the afternoon festival included:

  • Fanfare from “La Peri” (arr. Holz)
  • Amazed! (Paul Sharman)
  • The Cleansing Stream (Erik Leidzén), Daniel Rosenquist and Steef Klepke, cornet soloists
  • ... bought with Your blood (Olaf Ritman)
  • Alleluia, Amen! (Brian Hogg)
  • Prelude on “Lavenham’ (Geoffrey Nobes)
  • Disciples at Sea (Olaf Ritman)
  • Triumphant Prospect (Olaf Ritman)

The Staff Band expressed thanks to all of the hard-working people at Den Helder Corps, especially staff bandsmen Emanuel Bron and Gerard van der Staaij, who did double duty during the weekend as both members of the Staff Band and soldiers of the Den Helder Corps.

Amsterdam Staff Band, original report by Steef Klepke