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Switzerland

Published on January 8th, 2017 | by Rinus Schuiling

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Apollo Steelband Wissenkerke – making sweet sounds on steel!

 

Wissenkerke is a small village in the south west of the Netherlands in the province of Zeeland with approximately 1200 inhabitants. Apollo is the Chosen name of the village’s music association, which consists of a concert wind orchestra; youth wind orchestra, a steel band and a recorder group.

Their current steel band used to be the association’s drum/percussion group that marched in the street and occasionally performed as a percussion group. They celebrated their 120th anniversary in 2009 and to celebrate this momentous milestone they organized numerous events.

Rinus Schuiling, their drum group musical instructor wanted the Royal Dutch Marines steel band to perform at their celebrations after hearing one of their CDs and was impressed by the sweet sounds of steel and was instantly hooked. His efforts paid off as they accepted his invitation played alongside the wind orchestra. From that moment they we were sure that they had to have a steelband in the association as the sounded magical.

A few years later through their liaison with Digna Mielard of the Steelband Shop Holland they acquired a set of steelpans comprising of tenor, cello, triple cello and double seconds which were added to the drums and percussion they already had and the Apollo Steel band was born.

As the instructor of the drum and percussion group, Rinus became bandleader of the steel band and score sheets for their first tunes were ordered over the Internet. As time progressed they added a set of six bass with their membership increasing to nine (9) players.

They have taught themselves how to play their steel pan instruments and are already quite well known in the region. In 2015, they had numerous gigs, playing 8 over six weekends in succession. Their Steelband bookings continue to roll in and they hope that their membership will grow so that they can expand their band. They continue their alliance with former players of the Royal Dutch Marines Steel band who kindly offer them advice and guidance when needed.

In 2015, they performed at the 4th International Dutch Steel band Festival in Utretch, Netherlands where they wooed the crowd with their varied repertoire and dexterity with the instrument having been self taught.

 


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