Norwich Easter with Amsterdam West Band

The Easter 2013 weekend at Norwich Citadel had an international flavor with a much-anticipated visit from the Amsterdam West Band (Bandmaster Henk Dijkstra). The Norwich Citadel Band (Bandmaster Richard Woodrow) visited the Netherlands in November 2012 where they enjoyed great hospitality as guests of the Amsterdam West Corps.

The weekend began on Good Friday afternoon with a light lunch provided by the Dereham Corps, where the visiting band was to perform that day. The Dutch influence was evident, as Dereham corps officer Major Loes Palmer is from the Netherlands. Following lunch, the band presented an open air mini-concert in the town center. Despite biting cold weather, a good turnout from the public and members of the Dereham Corps was evident.

The band returned to Dereham Corps for dinner, and then to the newly refurbished Memorial Hall, where they were greeted by a large audience. The program began with music suitable for the solemnness of the day. After the interval, the mood lightened, with a highlight being Tulips from Amsterdam, which included Dutch chocolates distributed among the delighted audience. Another special performance was by the band’s gifted principal cornet, Arend Pietersen, who played his own composition, Via Dolorosa.

Saturday morning began early with breakfast at the William Booth Centre in Norwich, provided by a group of volunteers from the Norwich Citadel Songsters. The visiting band then boarded a coach for a whistle-stop tour of the city, alighting at Norwich Cathedral for an informal visit.

The next performance venue for the Amsterdam West Band was on the steps of the Forum building, where they gave an open air mini-concert in the presence of the Lord Mayor, who was resplendent in his red and black robes with cocked hat and feathers. Greetings and gifts were exchanged between the Lord Mayor and the Burgomeister of Amsterdam, followed by a photo opportunity with Bandmaster Dijkstra, Major Derek Tyrell and the visiting band.

On Saturday evening, the Amsterdam West Band gave a robust yet sincere account of themselves with a program that included music such as the cornet solo Slavonic Fantasy, the cornet duet Quicksilver and Netherlands Rhapsody. Arend Pietersen presented a cornet solo which developed into a quartet with himself, playing four instruments on the screens - two cornets, trombone and tuba. The special feature Tulips from Amsterdam was also included, again with the distribution of Dutch chocolates throughout the audience.

Easter Sunday began with breakfast at Norwich Citadel followed by a wonderful morning service led by Major Jeanne van Hal and the Amsterdam West Band. The major acted as interpreter and announcer, sharing the introduction of musical pieces with Bandmaster Dijkstra throughout the weekend.

After a hearty Sunday lunch, heartfelt thanks were expressed by Major Tyrell, Bandmaster Woodrow and retired Bandmaster John Gibson. These were echoed in Bandmaster Dijkstra’s response. Special mention was made of Brandon and Susan Barron, who planned and executed all of the catering for the weekend.

Amsterdam West Band web site
Norwich Citadel Band web site, original report by Michael Whybrow