“Where are you going, Grandpa?”
“I’m going to a house where they all play guitar and everyone loves guitar music.”
“Are they going to dance there too, Grandpa?”
“Soon grandma and I will eat nice French Fries.”
“And I am on my way to the soup with bread.”
Granddaughter Iris observes sharply, has a lot of attention, and wants to know exactly how the matter stands. She is with us for a day and stays overnight because our daughter has to go on a training course. So I will have to climb the stairs very quietly tonight when I get home.
I get in the car and wave goodbye to grandma and grandchild. The car radio wakes up and spreads intense sounds from Victor Villandangos’ guitar.
Velando al Angelito, Vigil for a Little Angel …
An old Argentinian tradition, an evening vigil for a deceased child where the people that are present all are dancing. No crying is allowed, because then the little angel’s wings become too heavy because of the tears and she cannot fly to heaven. I hope that my granddaughter can stay on earth as a little angel for a very long time.
Victor Villandangos. Nordhorn 2016 was that, I am thinking, time flies …
The ancient Romans, Vergilius to be precise, said Tempus Fugit. We translate that with Time Flies. Not entirely good, if you look closely at the meaning of this Latin, it is The Time is Escaping.
Indeed, the time has fled me this year, I was constantly chased by tight deadlines. Deadline met, sprint to the next. That is called Agile working, breathing prohibited because you have to ask yourself every day what did I do yesterday? What am I going to do today? and What is stopping me from doing this? All this against the flashy background of issues, topics, epics and stories and the notorious stand-up meetings where you will not encounter a comedian at all. Seems to be a success in the software industry.
Chaotically hectic and exhausting on the long run. That is why this year the week of the Guitar Festival Nordhorn comes as a surprise to me. That’s a shame indeed, because then I miss the anticipation.
Nordhorn, that means the old route on the N342 from Hengelo via Oldenzaal and Denekamp to the destination Kulturhaus Niet In Het Zwart in the Mittelstrasse in Wasserstadt Nordhorn. A nice drive through the Twente countryside, although formally Denekamp is on the wrong side of the Dinkel, if you can believe JJ van Deinse’s hymn on Twente (There is a country between Regge and Dinkel / Our clean and industrious Twente ...)
Spring shows its pleasant side, the green shades on the trees, blossom brightens the branches and the forest is light because the young foliage does not filter out all the light yet. The meadows are full of dandelions and daisies, at least the ones that have not been sprayed away with a production-enhancing herbicide, as a result of which biodiversity has disappeared.
I think ahead and keep the flight of time at a distance. Guitar Festival Nordhorn, the ninth edition in the meantime, means meeting people, friends and the music itself. I think of the encounters from the past, people that return there more often, friends that cannot be there due to circumstances, even if they wanted to, and the ones that can no longer be there with the best will in the world. And who would be new this year?
I will have to be patient. There is a traffic jam just before Nordhorn. Builders are quite busy with the road and we are slowly allowed to pass a mobile traffic light. I feel for my bag. Check it out, do I have everything with me? The notebook and pen are there. As a result, you can now read what has happened at this edition of the GFN.
I turn right in Nordhorn, pass a church with solar cells on the tower (a good initiative) and turn onto a railway crossing of the Bentheimer Eisenbahn. Once there was a bare plain here due to the demolition of the production halls of the Nino textile factory. Gradually I see a ‘construction spring’ here, an elderly apartment complex has sprung up like a mushroom and they are driving piles further down the road. Excellent investment, more than 4.8 percent, welcomes a sign. My regular parking space at the school is free.
I strap my backpack on my shoulders and take a deep breath. Slowly hurrying I walk towards Kulturhaus NIHZ.
Four days and an evenings of guitar, with music, musicians, friends and cheerfulness.
The ninth Guitar Festival Nordhorn.
The Ninth sometimes forms a special feature in classical music. The Ninth Symphony of Beethoven is seen as the high point of the Classical period, Schubert’s Ninth Symphony is in the annals as The Great, the Ninth Symphony of Mahler is known among music scientists as the completion of Romanticism.
How things proceeded? Bobby Rootveld and Sanna Rootveld-Van Elst founded the Kulturhaus Niet In Het Zwart in 2011 in a former shop on Mittelstrasse 13 in Nordhorn. Enough space for a concert hall, rehearsal rooms, recreation room, sleeping accommodation for guests and their own home upstairs. In 2011, the very first Guitar Festival Nordhorn took place there, which later became known as GFN.
In the early years, in addition to masterclasses and workshops (stage presentation, improvisation and jazz, for example), the festival offered a competition for soloists: professionals and amateurs. As time went on, the competitive element became increasingly prominent. This is how we find competitions for soloists, ensembles, jazz musicians, composers and multimedia players this year.
There are three competitions for soloists: professionals of all ages, amateurs under the age of sixteen and amateurs over the age of sixteen. The professional competition in particular has become a high-level event. This has changed the structure of the competition, the single preliminary round has been extended with a second chance round for players who, based on their jury assessment in the preliminary round, qualify for a second attempt.
The ensemble competition offers space for ensembles for guitar and melody instruments in various combinations. Among the participants were guitar duos, trios and quartets, and mixed ensembles with flute, mandolin and so on. In the jazz competition (acoustic) jazz musicians work together with a combo and perform in a live situation. The composition competition takes place behind the scenes, but winners are performed and receive a CD recording of their work.
New this year is the multimedia competition. Participants hand in a multimedia presentation on the theme of the guitar. The nicest and / or most creative video wins.
In the years so far I notice a shift in emphasis. Workshops have apparently received a much smaller share, the emphasis has shifted to competitions. I would have liked to visit the workshop “Artist exposure on social media” (because of my YouTube channel), but unfortunately my schedule did not permit so.
When I look at the program and count the number of participants, it seems that interest in masterclasses is declining, especially now that participation in the masterclasses is no longer compulsory for the professionals at the competition, and that the offer in competitions is overwhelming. This trend has everything to do with the way in which professionals operate in the competition circuit today. The range of festivals is considerable, and the need to build on the road through competitions has only grown (unfortunately, as I myself say). As a result, participants will already leave after the preliminary rounds if they have not reached the final. A kind of hit and run attitude.
In the early years all concerts took place at the Kulturhaus NIHZ in Nordhorn. The result was a pleasant bustle during and also after the concert and of course hard work at the bar during breaks. Partnerships with stages in the area have increased the number of concerts and also expanded the choice for visitors. More theaters are now taking advantage of the offer, but it has become almost impossible for visitors to follow everything during the festival. The master visitor then shows himself in limitation.
The GFN thus moves flexibly with the economic and cultural tide, a clear signal is that we will also see a Tenth next year after this Ninth.
A festival stands or falls with the people who support it. Organization, that is the start, Bobby and Sanna guarantee that. Part of this is networking towards other festivals, for example during the tours. Musicians often participate in each other’s festivals.
Then the implementation work begins. Processing applications, administration, catering, the bar, collecting and bringing artists and so on. The main players here are Fred and Angie Rootveld, Thomas Peperkamp and his girlfriend Marian, Samuel Klemke, Julian Restropo, Gergely Pázmándi and Alexei Belousov. Annette Kruisbrink, Arlette Ruelens, Jim and Ine ten Boske, Cokkie van Elst and the undersigned also joined hands where necessary. Levi also came to cheer us up regularly.
All this in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere, one of the trademarks of this festival. Team, thank you!
This year I noticed something remarkable about the program booklet. It was so thin! I leaf through it with my journalistic interest and yes, I can already see it. The concert programs were missing.
Promptly I got visions of Guess This Melody, something that I am not very good at with all that contemporary music. Would this year’s report be a musicological disaster?
Fortunately, I found a QRG code that led to a site www.concertprogramme.me. A great idea if you have a Smartphone and Internet. Saves a lot of paper and environmentally harmful material.
Wait a minute … I have a Smartphone. Just got a new one from the boss. Internet … Mobile data Netherlands 4G, that doesn’t cost the boss that much. But Germany … Then you have to switch on roaming. With the warning for extra costs. Ai, I suddenly have to think about our company rules for Internet use. Use as much WiFi as possible and as little roaming as possible abroad, otherwise our collective data quota will be used up in no time.
As a consequence: No concert program during the recitals, so …
I followed the QRG code on WiFi at home, and made screen dumps from all the concerts relevant to me. Yes, tricky method,; -) there was no print function on www.concertprogramme.me. If you want to save paper, you should not be able to print either, that was probably the thought, otherwise the rainforest will not benefit either.
Good, I made my concert reports by number and I kept a good track of whether the artist also changed the program. With the screen dumps I could relate song to music work.
Indeed, the QRG code program is an innovative idea. Now that I think about it …; -) how much environmental impact do all those Smartphone operations generate to read the program compared to a piece of paper?
Calculate it …
And a small warning at the end: the site has since disappeared and if you go there, you will immediately be bombarded with a commercial purpose. I was glad that I made some screendumps, because the programme disappears after a while. Not so journalist-friendly!