Saturday, 12 November 2016, saw the first-ever Autumn Concert by the Amsterdam Staff Band (Bandmaster Olaf Ritman) and Amsterdam Staff Songsters (Musical Director Roel van Kesteren). Special guest for the concert was the young, talented cornetist Thomas Fountain. The son of the soprano cornet for the International Staff Band, Gary Fountain, Thomas has won several awards and is currently the principal cornet of the famous Virtuosi GUS Band.
Despite the fact that both groups have been in existence for quite a long time, joint concerts are rare. The venue was a beautiful large church in the center of the country. An anticipatory and appreciative audience enjoyed everything performed by the two staff groups. One highlight was the newest piece from the Staff Bandmaster, Disciples at Sea, written for the 125th anniversary of the Den Helder Corps (read report). When the piece was played during this concert, the response was enormous; the last note had hardly ended before a standing ovation was received by the band and a humble bandmaster.
The Staff Band’s latest recording, Vain Resistance, was officially released during the evening. Even though Disciples at Sea was composed after the recording had already been completed, there are four items by Bandmaster Ritman featured on the disc.
The Staff Songsters also contributed greatly to the evening. The highlight of their performance was Richard Phillips’ Choral Symphony No. 2. Despite only having had three weeks of rehearsal on this work, their performance was breathtaking, and the performance seemed shorter than its actual length of a quarter-hour.
Also during this special night the Staff Band said farewell to one if its stalwart members, flügelhorn legend Menno van der Woude. Van der Woude joined the band in 1988 and formed an illustrious duo with his cousin, together forming an amazing first cornet section. After a short time on the front bench (which he never really enjoyed), he moved to flügelhorn when the opportunity arose, and soon became a featured soloist with the band. In 2009, he stepped down from the band, but returned two years later. He was awarded with a special gift during the concert, featuring a picture of the Staff Band, a picture of himself as a soloist, and the text of Romans 8.
Through all of this it was obvious that the love of Jesus was the reason for the concert, and that faith in God is what keeps the staff sections going. To quote the text on van der Woude’s gift, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God’ (Romans 8:14).
The complete program was as follows:
- Fanfare from “La Peri” (Dukas, arr. Holz), Staff Band
- O nata lux (Morten Lauridsen), Staff Songsters
- Levende Heer (Dean Jones), Staff Songsters
- Crossroad (Stephen Bulla), Thomas Fountain and Staff Band
- Come Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing (arr. Dorothy Gates), Staff Band and Songsters
- Geroepen door liefde (Andrew Blyth), Staff Songsters
- Don’t Doubt Him Now (Leonard Ballantine, arr. Craig Woodland), Thomas Fountain and Staff Band
- Romans 8 (Ray Steadman-Allen), Staff Band
- Boundless in Love (Richard Phillips), Staff Songsters
- Ballad from Flugel Concerto (William Himes), Thomas Fountain and Staff Band
- Servants of God (Steven Ponsford), Staff Band
- Choral Symphony No. 2 (Richard Phillips), Staff Songsters
- Glorious Ventures (arr. Andrew Blyth), Thomas Fountain and Staff Band
- Christus is mijn alles nu (Stephen Pelley), Staff Songsters
- Amsterdam Festival March (Norman Bearcroft), Staff Band
- Disciples at Sea (Olaf Ritman), Staff Band
- An Irish Blessing (arr. Jörgen IJssendorn), Staff Band and Songsters
- Triumphant Prospect (Olaf Ritman), Staff Band
Amsterdam Staff Band Facebook page, original report by Steef Klepke