The Netherlands: 9th – 11th May 2003

Garry AmbroseReports

The band’s fourth visit to the Netherlands came as a result of an invitation to take part in the Territorial Music Festival 2003. Held in Utrecht, in the centre of the country, this was the focus of three very enjoyable days of music making.

Travelling out on Friday 9th of May, through Heathrow and Schipol airports, the band found itself in the small town of Sleeuwijk where it presented a music festival to a good audience in an attractive, modern church. The local Brassband Oefening & Uitspanning provided a very creditable introductory programme, including Edward Gregson’s ‘Laudate Dominum’, before Enfield Band took the platform. The well received programme included ‘Rolling Along’, Sound out the Proclamation’, ‘Tallis Variations’, ‘Lightwalk’ and ‘Journey into Freedom’ as well as solo items ‘Clear Skies’ (Maurice Patterson), Fantasy on Spiritual for Trombone’ (Andrew Justice), ‘The Depths of His Love (Hilton Patterson), ‘So Glad!’ (Malcolm Hynd) and ‘Euphonium Fantasia’ (Keith Loxley).

Massed bands Utrecht

After recharging batteries billeted with local families, the band moved on to the outstanding, modern concert hall in Utrecht. Here we met up with the Amsterdam Staff Band before taking part in a worship session for musicians of the territory followed by rehearsals for the evening concert. The festival itself was an impressive presentation on the scale of our own Gospel Arts Festival and included massed bands (above), song and dance presentation (below) of Lord of the Dance (an adaptation of Peter Graham’s ‘Cry of the Celts’). Band solo items included ‘Polovtsian Dances’, Song of Exuberance (featuring trombone soloist, Andrew Justice) and ‘Song of Courage’. The Amsterdam Staff Band presented a very effective bible presentation around the song arrangement ‘In this quiet moment’. The programme also included several inspiring vocal solos from Bobby Irvine, another British participant.

Dance presentation Utrecht

Following a short night’s sleep at the Army’s own hotel in the Dutch countryside, the band moved on again to support the morning meeting at the small corps of Alkmaar, on the outskirts of Amsterdam. After a hearty meal provided by the corps folk, the band travelled to a local sports hall to take part in a music festival with the local fanfare band. This was a mixed brass and reed band with the lead taken by no less than seven – yes seven – flugel horns! Following an interesting programme by the local band (including ‘Buglers’ Holiday’ as a Flugel Horn trio!), the band set up to provide its contribution. Items included ‘Dance of the Comedians’, ‘Shall We Gather’ and ‘The Force of Destiny’ as well as solo items ‘Euphony’ (Andy Hicks), ‘Softly awakes my heart’ (Andrew Justice), ‘A Victor’s Palm’ (Simon Jenkins) and ‘A time for peace’ (Lloyd Hardwick).

Once the platform was cleared, there was just enough time for another meal before leaving for Schipol for the return journey home.