Overcoming Adversity

True Inspirational Stories


True Inspirational Stories Give Us Renewed Hope and Optimism

Once in a while the unexpected crosses our path. We witness events – true inspirational stories – which elevate us from the ordinary to the extraordinary, touching our souls at the very deepest level.

Earlier this week I experienced such an event, filling me with joy and strengthening my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.


In order to do justice to this inspiring story, allow me to briefly outline the context.

Being a lover of both traditional and popular classical music, I have developed a passion for the wonderful “Johann Strauss Orchestra”, led by its founder,  conductor and violist par excellence, Andre Rieu. He and his 60 member orchestra regularly perform at concerts across the globe, and follow a tradition of holding an annual concert in his home town of Maastricht in the Netherlands. This annual event – for some 5,000 people – is recorded on video, and released a day or two later to movie theatres around the world, for just two showings.

I attended the first of these earlier this week, and it was there  that I witnessed one of life’s most uplifting stories.

The Announcement

The three-hour performance was, for me, an absolutely magical experience, culminating (about 15 minutes before the end) in an announcement by Andre Rieu that he had invited another orchestra – called the Jostiband Orchestra – to join him on stage. This, he explained, was an orchestra with a difference, in that all the members were mentally challenged adults.

Under the loving and watchful eye of their conductor, approximately 25 of these individuals proceeded to join Andre and his Johann Strauss orchestra onstage.  Together they performed several pieces, the Jostiband members using a wide variety of musical instruments.

True Inspirational Stories

I cannot find words that accurately describe how I felt as the scene unfolded before me. Each with his or her own musical instrument, the members of Jostiband entertained the audience, as their conductor held up a series of large, coloured letters of the alphabet to provide some sort of guidance (the specifics of which I am unsure). The cameras zoomed in on individual members, showing –   to give just a few examples –  some playing with one finger on a keyboard with coloured notation, some using both hands, and others playing percussion instruments .

True Inspirational Stories

The audience members were, at this point, on their feet, most smiling broadly – some tearful – swaying to the beat of the music, their faces clearly enraptured. As the concert drew to a close, the Jostiband men and women put aside their musical instruments and stood together with Andre Rieu and some of his guest artists, dancing with abandon to the rhythm of the music, arms waving from side to side above their heads, clearly having the time of their lives. The music was loud and lively, in true celebration of an incredible performance.

The Impact

As I watched one of the world’s true inspirational stories from the comfort of my movie theater seat at the other end of the world, tears of joy filled my eyes. Thoughts swirled through my mind in response to the many emotions engendered by this experience.

I thought about

  • the amazing capacity of mentally challenged individuals to not just master the use of a musical instrument , but to play their music together with others – before an audience of 5,000
  • how enlightened and insightful Andre Rieu was to recognize the far-reaching  impact and influence that this would have on the worldwide audience
  • the pride and joy that the parents (those present in the audience) must have felt watching their offspring fulfil a dream they had never dared to dream
  • the special people (such as the conductor and others involved in this endeavor) who devote their lives to cultivating stories of hope … stories of faith … stories of love … stories of perseverance … and stories that inspire
  • the sense of quiet warmth that seemed to fill my entire being, and
  • how humbled I felt to have witnessed one of life’s most inspirational stories unfold

More About the Jostiband Orchestra

I came home and searched the internet to find out more about Jostiband, and found, on their Dutch website (translation details the bottom of the page) information about the origin and development of this orchestra, which includes a total of 180 members who live in Zwammerdam in Holland.  Some live together in a protected environment,  some live at home with their families, and others  with surrogate families or in social housing units.  They have performed internationally and have recorded CDs which are sold on their website.  Each Saturday they participate in a rehearsal for the entire orchestra – all 180 members (see below for the link to the video).

True Inspirational Stories

Each member is taught to play a musical instrument that matches his/her ability and interest, using a colour-coded method of instruction,

True Inspirational Stories

True Inspirational Stories

The impact that these men and women have on audiences everywhere is incredible.  “No one is able to put into words how and why the Jostiband orchestra manages to stir up so much enthusiasm and emotion”, it states on the website, and “Looking after the mentally handicapped involves more than just providing sheltered workshops, and adapted schooling”

One of those true inspirational stores. I couldn’t agree more.

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” Walt Disney Company, Mulan (Pictureback)

See  adelegould.com     and    About Adele Gould

 Jostiband – Website information:

Because the language on the website is Dutch, I used Google Chrome as the browser because it translates each page into English.  Go to  http://www.jostiband.nl/

To See a Full Rehearsal on video:   Jostiband Full Rehearsal

Jostiband – Other Videos on You Tube – Jostiband You Tube



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