The Volunteer Band of the Dutch Engineer Regiment


In 1888 NCO's of the Dutch Engineer Corps established the Corps' own volunteer brass band. They kept the Band until the Second World War. After WWII conscript musicians re-established the Engineer band. Today former conscript musicians voluntarily keep the Engineer Music alive, with great enthusiasm and commitment. The nowadays Volunteer Band of the Dutch Engineer Regiment is proud to represent its own Regiment in a musical way, in the Netherlands as well as all over Europe.

The start of the Engineer music in 1888
The Engineer Regiment is the oldest and largest Regiment of the modern Dutch Army. It was established in 1748 as part of the Army of the Dutch Republic during the last stage of the Austrian Succession War (1740 - 1748). Unfortunately, the young Regiment could not prevent the French troops to occupy the Dutch Republic's south but from that time on it was clear to the Dutch Leadership that a strong engineer capability was essential for the Dutch Army. Therefore, the Regiment evolved into an Engineer Corps.

In 1888 the Corps got its own Band. This band, commonly called Engineer music, was established in Utrecht, where the Regiment was located at the time. The band was made up of NCO's who played their instruments in their free time. The Commander of the Engineer Corps enabled them to rehearse under the condition that they would play at all festive occasions and ceremonies of the Regiment. This practical solution, typical for Engineers, worked well until the beginning of the Second World War, when the band had to be dissolved due to mobilisation. The band's last performance was at 30 April 1940 in Rotterdam, on the eve of WWII. The concert in front of the town hall was concluded with the national anthem. Thousands of spectators sang along. Few days later Rotterdam was heavily bombed and destroyed.

The Engineer music after World War II
After the war the Engineer music was re-established. In April 1953, the conscript Engineer Band had a rehearsal for the first time in their new barracks in Den Bosch. Many generations of conscript musicians played in the Band, which was well-known at home and abroad. In 1995 the musical heydays came to an end. The Band was dissolved because of budget cuts and the suspension of conscription. It was combined with the Band of the Infantry Regiment Limburg Rifle-men, leading to the new Band of the Royal Dutch Army. Although this band continued to maintain the traditions of the

Limburg Rifle-men as well as the Dutch Engineers the Engineer Regiment felt the lack of its own Engineer music. However, that feeling was swiped away in 1996 by a terrible event when the plane transporting the Band of the Royal Dutch Army returning from a performance in Italy, crashed at Eindhoven airbase. Twenty seven members of the Army Band, one musician of the Royal Military Band, one civilian musician of the Heineken Band, one employee of the Defence Traffic- and Transport Organisation and four crew- members of the Belgian C-130 died in this fatal accident. Young lives were destroyed. The Regiment was in mourning. But, in spite of this severe loss, life went on and in 1997 the Band of the Royal Dutch Army was again sufficiently filled with military professional musicians.

Former musicians feel the need to join
The terrible accident made many former musicians of the former conscript Engineer Band realize again how much they enjoyed the bonds of friendship during their time of service. In 1997 this awareness resulted in the establishment of the Former members of the Engineer Band. In May 1998 the new Band had its first performance. It was suitable that this performance took place during the 250 - year anniversary of the Engineer Regiment. From that moment onwards the Band developed again into a much appreciated part of the Engineer Regiment. Nowadays, the Band performs under the name Volunteer Band of the Engineer Regiment, dressed in magnificent replicas of the 1888 uniform of the Engineers and accompanied by sutlers in authentic uniform.

The Engineer music has now existed for more than125 years. The Volunteer Band of the Engineer Regiment has 'only' filled the last 17 years. But just as in the first years in Utrecht, some 125 years ago, the Band consists of volunteers all closely connected to the tight Engineer family which is so characteristic for military Engineers all over the world. These volunteers give expression to the contemporary engineer music with lots of energy and pleasure.

The repertoire and the marching music of the Band
Naturally, the Volunteer Band of the Engineer Regiment plays in the first place military marching music by a number of well-known composers. From James Ord Hume to John Philip Sousa, from Thomas James Powell to the Dutch composer Geert Flik. Besides, the Band plays a great diversity of styles of music. Such as music from musicals and movies, e.g. Miss Saigon, Band of Brothers, the Pirates of the Caribbean and James Bond. The work of composers as George Gershwin, Johann Strauss, Joaquin Rodrigo and Glenn Miller is also part of the repertoire, which, by the way, is renewed and added to every year. Every concert or show is traditionally closed off with the march-pass music of the Engineer Corps: 'The Colonel Van Heemskerck van Beest March'. A performance by the Volunteer Band of the Engineer

Regiment guarantees a cheerful, entertaining and high quality contribution to your event.

Musical Leadership
Brevet Captain Peter Poel has the musical leadership of the Volunteer Band of the Engineer Regiment. Peter Poel was born on 21st May, 1944 in Harderwijk and studied at the Utrecht College of Music. In 1964, during his military service he played with the conscript Engineer Band. In 1965, he started with the Dutch Ballet Orchestra as first trombonist. Amongst others, he also played with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metropool Orchestra. In 1980 he switched to the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of the Netherlands Broadcasting Authority. Peter Poel retired in 2004. He is conductor of the Volunteer Band of the Engineer Regiment since 2008.
Brevet Sergeant=major Corne Pas is Drum-Major of the Volunteer Band of the Engineer Regiment. Corne Pas was born in 1968 and studied at the Brabant College of Music. There he got a degree as Teacher Musician. During his military service, batch 87-6, he played as percussionist with the conscript Engineer Band. In 1991, after his military service, he got his drum-major certificate with Jan Peeters. Corne has his own percussion school 'Lapas percussion training'. Besides he is teacher of percussion and trainer with various musical societies and musical schools. From the establishment of the Volunteer Band of the Engineer Regiment in 1997 Corne has been drummer in the Band. In 2004 he was appointed instructor of the drummer section. In 2005 he also became Drum-Major.

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