Olaf Ritman leaves ASB

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After 14 years of musical leadership as bandmaster of the Amsterdam Staff Band, Olaf Ritman announced that he will resign from these duties at the end of 2024. He then held this position for 15 years.

Olaf is grateful for a wonderful time as bandmaster of the ASB, but feels that it is now time to have more time for himself and his family.

Olaf joined the ASB on solo cornet in 2000 when the band was conducted by Howard Evans. During that period, more and more of his compositions were added to the band’s repertoire, which also allowed him to develop further as a composer.

When Thijs Musch took over, Olaf was appointed deputy bandmaster and regularly conducted rehearsals and concerts, including half of the tour to Finland in 2009.

Bandmaster Olaf Ritman (2017)

After Thijs’ departure at the end of the 2008/2009 season, Olaf was asked to take over the position of bandmaster. That was a question he didn’t have to think about for long. So that’s how it happened.

In the years in which Olaf was bandmaster, the band has led countless (open-air) concerts and Sunday morning services. 12 CDs were recorded, and 8 trips abroad have been made, including to Canada (2013) and the USA (2018). Under his leadership, the ASB opened the afternoon program of ISB 120 in the Royal Albert Hall in London (2011), which made a great impression.

During this period, the Premier Brass concerts were brought to live again, the music of the ASB has become available on all popular streaming services and the number of videos that can be listened to on the band’s YouTube channel has increased enormously. Olaf was also the initiator of the biennial Brass Weekend and under his leadership the ‘Open Rehearsal’ was created, where brass players are given the opportunity to play with the ASB for an evening.

Through everything, Olaf has tried to contribute in his own way to the expansion of God’s kingdom. Through his way of leading the band, the choice of repertoire, the structure of the concert programs and the profiling of the band within the Salvation Army in the Netherlands and abroad.

The Dutch territory is very grateful to Olaf for the inspiring way in which he has faithfully fulfilled his role as bandmaster for such a long period. He will be missed by the band members, but also by many others.

Captain Anita Kamperman, Field Secretary

A farewell concert will be planned towards the end of 2024. The exact date will be communicated via the band’s Facebook page.