The Netherlands – 3rd – 5th October 2003

Garry AmbroseReports

Bandmaster James Williams and the Enfield Citadel Band are used to participating in well-attended Musical Festivals, but in their latest visit to the Netherlands, they experienced additional activities that varied from the usual.

The Band was invited to help celebrate the 113th Anniversary of the founding of the ALMELO Corps in the extreme East of the country. Following the usual aeroplane flight and bus journey and the reception by the kind hosts and hostesses, they were off to a large Residential Home for an evening programme. Using music of an attractive and not overly demanding nature, the musicians kept the audience (and a good number of the Corps members) enthralled with both exciting and reflective contributions. That the residents chose to stay to the late finish and listened and participated in the most vociferous way (you should have seen them dancing to Gaelforce!), seemed to meet with the approval of the bandsmen.

Open-air meeting AlmeloThe following day’s activities saw the second meeting this year with members of The Amsterdam Staff Band (Bandmaster Howard Evans) with whom the British Band marched into the local town before engaging in an Open-air meeting in the market place which speedily attracted a couple of hundred onlookers. The purpose of the activity was quickly justified as the Gospel message was proclaimed in music – despite the sudden end caused by some thunderous rain

Massed bands AlmeloBut the crowds came in from miles around – both Germany and Holland were well represented in the Town Theatre to hear first the ASB programme and then the Enfield Citadel Band offering “Sound of the Gospel”, “The Force of Destiny”, the Euphonium Solo “Better World” played by Bandsman Andrew Hicks and Eric Ball’s 1931 Classic “The King of Kings” in a rapturously received 40 minute segment. The massed playing included “Gaelforce”, “In this quiet moment” and “Triumph of Peace”.

Open-air concert OverdinkelSunday’s effective Holiness meeting was followed by a drive to the neighbouring village of Overdinkel where, after lunch, a further open-air activity was presented in the sylvan setting of the newly re-opened grounds of the local church. Despite more rain a good crowd had travelled to share in a fine programme of music and praise to God. The thanks of the priest expressed joy at the “bridge that has been constructed” to enable people who were reluctant to attend church to find the Gospel in such delightful surroundings.

See the Picture gallery for photographs of this visit.