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Amsterdam Staff Band

The Amsterdam Staff Band of The Salvation Army has been in the forefront of that church’s musical ministry since its formal launch in 1961. Prior to that date there had been multiple expressions of brass band service at the national level, such as the renowned Netherlands National Band (1948-1959), and even precursors to the current staff band that flourished back in the early decades of the 20th century.

The ASB draws its membership from Salvation Army churches all over the Netherlands, wherein many members also serve asmusical leaders in their local SA centers of worship. Every member of the band is a Salvationist and their musicianship is based on their personal belief in God. The band’s major goal is to spread the Christian message through music, and it aims for the highest standard.

On a yearly basis the band visits multiple Salvation Army church centers throughout the country to give concerts and lead Sunday meetings. It has also built an international reputation for its fine music making via frequent tours, including those to the USA, the UK (including Northern Ireland), Canada, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

Olaf Ritman, the current bandmaster of the ASB, first joined the band in 2000 on solo cornet, and then became deputy bandmaster in 2006. When accepting his position as staff bandmaster in 2009 he joined a distinguished array of musical directors that helped build the Netherland’s fine brass band tradition, including such well-known musicians as Bernard Verkaaik, Fokke Palstra, Cor Nieuwland, Dick Krommenhoek and Howard Evans.

In 2011 he led the ASB in their herald contributions to the International Staff Band’s 120th anniversary celebration. The ASB featured as one of the eight recognized staff bands drawn from around the world. Ritman has developed into a fine arranger and composer, with a growing number of his works published by the SA in its’ brass band journals, and as demonstrated by new works recorded on this disc.

In recent years he has been in demand as a guest conductor and teacher, including not only in Europe, but also in the USA at well-known summer camps like Star Lake Music camp and the Western Music Institute. He also serves at his local SA corps band as both bandmaster and pianist.