Amsterdam Staff Band marches in Rose Parade

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To support and enhance The Salvation Army’s 2003 Rose Parade participation, the Amsterdam Staff Band of the Netherlands joined the 220 musicians who marched in this year’s world famous event.

Having arrived from Europe on Friday, December 27, the band participated early the next morning in a three-hour marching rehearsal at Edison Field, home of the Anaheim Angels.

In addition to the Rose Parade, Bandmaster Kevin Larsson and Jacqui Larsson, divisional music leaders for Southern California, arranged a varied itinerary for the band which commenced the first weekend with a Saturday evening festival at Pasadena Tabernacle.

Under the leadership of Bandmaster Howard Evans, the band presented a program with music to suit every taste and appetite–although in concert format, the evening was a total worship experience.

On Sunday morning the band’s executive officer Com-missioner Jan Van Boven reminded the congregation that the place where heaven and earth meet is where God at this very moment has placed us. The music reflected this theme with a sensitive rendering of Ivor Bosanko’s beautiful setting of his own prayer chorus “In This Quiet Moment.”

After another marching practice on Sunday afternoon the band headed to the Santa Ana Temple Corps, the largest in the Western territory and home to over 450 soldiers. The evening worship commenced with the corps praise band providing the visiting band with an authentic and vibrant flavor of Hispanic worship. The Amsterdam Staff Band responded by presenting their music in a very ‘user friendly’ way and before long the mainly Latino congregation was completely captivated by the outgoing approach of the European musicians.

On Monday, the band participated at the Festival of the Rose Bowl Bands at Pasadena Community College; the following day the band was again involved in outreach activities by being the only band to march in the Universal Studios 3:00 p.m. parade. To bring in the New Year in style, the band participated with Tustin Ranch Band (Ed Freeman) in their annual New Year’s Eve dinner concert.

New Year’s Day dawned bright and fair and the musicians were awake by 4 a.m. To participate with a band of over 200 players is a unique experience–and to march for five and a half miles with over one and a half million cheering and supportive spectators lining the parade route makes the adrenaline pump and weariness evaporate. To witness by playing “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus” in such a setting is utterly humbling yet truly exhilarating.

On January 2, the group set off for the final three days of their campaign. After enjoying a brief stop in San Francisco, they traveled to San Jose and Sacramento where enthusiastic congregations greeted and responded to their ministry.

Seattle was the last stop before heading home. By the time Seattle Temple Corps was reached, the band was at the peak of performance. One of their most popular musical items, Peter Graham’s “Gaelforce,” had been a winner every evening. The center section of this Celtic music includes an extended percussion solo. The bandmaster at this point had on some evenings attempted to do an Irish jig, calling also for the participation of the Scottish West-ern territorial music secretary.

However, at Seattle Temple the corps treasurer was so moved by the spirit that he rose to the challenge of the dance, followed promptly by his wife and eventually the whole band. What a joyful and happy atmosphere ensued.

The final paean of praise took place at 9:00 a.m. the following Sunday morning. As the congregation sang “Joy to the world, the Savior reigns,” hearts were full of praise and thanksgiving for the ministry of the band and the savior who inspires the music and musicians.

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