Last Saturday in Middelburg I had the chance to be present to the first judged performance of the Showband Axel (Axel, The Netherlands) inside the SoundSport/IMG circuit. After some years of inactivity, in 2014 a group of music fans have decided to refound the band, following the simple rule to have fun with quality. In a year a complete group was field for the parade's activity, and two years later they decided to take part in this adventure. For this reason we've decided to interview Marco van Ham, brass & show instructor of Showband Axel, in order to know better this new Dutch ensemble.

Hi Marco: congratulations for the impressive performance you've field on SoundSport Middelburg.
Thank you Nicola for the opportunity that Soundsport gave us to compete in this competition.

Marco, would you like to tell us the circumstances that moved a group of passionate musicians to refound the Showband Axel?
In September 2013, we’ve organized a reunion in Axel because the city existed 800 years. We’ve thought that we could bring on 40 old members to perform once more….but we had that number after 1 ! week. We’ve ended with almost 80 members (from all over the country and Belgium) and it was one big party from the beginning till the night we’ve performed. After that we’ve talked with a few people why not try to restart Showband Axel. So we did…with some of my contacts in the DCE field we bought instruments from bands who stopped or bands that bought new instruments and we arranged some instructors and started practising on the property of the soccer club of Axel which allowed us to use their buildings and fields.

What kind of performance activity did you choose to follow after the refoundation? And what kind of philosophy is driving the group?
First of all we didn’t start as a group with a show.. we want to do some street performances. We practised once per two weeks but after a few month we were grown to 30 members which was amazing considering all the groups who stopped in this activity. After 1 year we had 40 ! Members. After that first year we evaluated with the group what to do to ensure the future. We decided to change the overall instructor and made the decision to make a show. With new music of a higher level and start training every week.

How and why did you choose to participate into the SoundSport / IMG circuit?
This Soundsport-event was close to Axel and is a low level activity to start with clear reports to improve the whole organisation of the Showband.

How was this experience for the members?
They were excited! It was so much better than expected to present our show for the first time. We just finished our show 2 weeks earlier and it was our third full run. And it was our first performance in front of a stand with spectators who know what it takes to bring a good show.

And for the staff?
I think the staff was more nervous than the members..not about the contest..but for the members. But we were so proud of the members and how they performed.

Do you think that the SoundSport experience has been an enrichment for the Showband Axel? If yes, how? And could it be possible to repeat it in future?
Definitely! If you start in this activity and don’t have much experience you definitely want to start in Soundsport. The feedback we’ve got was amazing and constructive to build a secure future for our organisation. Next step is to take this show outside on a field. But we definitely will return to Soundsport.

Last thing: if I was a musician (or want to become one) based around Axel's area, and I wanted to march with you or just to have more information about Showband Axel, who do I have to contact?
Please contact Machteld Heerspink:

Where on internet can I find info, news, photos and videos about you?
We have an internet site: and on facebook: showbandaxel

Thank you so much Marco and best wishes for a brilliant future.