Here in Limburg everyone’s a musician – every town and every village has its own choir or a brass band. Sanne grew up in Brachterbeek, one of the smallest villages in Limburg. There’s a school, a church, a bakery and of course… a brass band. And not just any brass band, but one of the biggest in the country, and thrice World Champion at the famous World Music Contest in Kerkrade, no less! Everyone in the village plays something; music wafts out of every house and on Sunday mornings that brass band sound can be heard all over the village. Sanne too learned the piano and the saxophone from the age of 5. She practised hard and so it was natural that she should go on to play the saxophone in the village band.
Jean Sassen, my double bass player was that band’s conductor back then. And when Sanne was still a little girl, she saw him on the television with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. From then on she dreamed of one day playing with me herself, up there on the stage in one of those gorgeous dresses! After studying piano and saxophone at the Maastricht Conservatory, her dream has finally come true. She plays soprano and alto saxophone, fabulously, in my orchestra and with her cheeky smile she is always a lively, happy presence on the stage.
The first time Sanne came on tour with us, it turned out she had another talent as well. She surprised everyone with her amazing ability to fall asleep, if she wants to, at any time and in any position… and stay asleep! It’s a trick that comes in handy at times with the long plane journeys.
Whenever we’re on tour the children back in the village school start their day by asking ‘Where is Sanne today?’ Then the teacher tells the children where Sanne and the orchestra are on tour that day, and they learn about different places in Europe, America or Asia. They count the kilometres, learn some words in French, German or English, and of course work out how many days have to go by before Sanne will be back in the village!