Paul shares his hidden talent at the Royal Easter Show
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Paul van Zantvoort

A simple quest to satisfy a cultural craving has inadvertently landed Paul van Zantvoort in the hot seat of not one, but two of Sydney’s most acclaimed bands – and suddenly catapulted his musical hobby into a semi-professional craft.

By day, Paul is Rabobank Australia and New Zealand’s Head of Value Chain Finance, and it seems this Dutch native is as skilled in music as he is with numbers.

Having transferred across from the Netherlands for his role August 2019, Paul admits music took a back seat as he settled into the demands of his new job, and new life, in Australia, which was very soon followed by the unprecedented disruption of Covid-19.

Yet with a fresh calendar, Paul decided 2021 was the year to start exploring Sydney’s cultural scene and indulge his musical appetite, joining both the Willoughby Brass Band and The Salvation Army Sydney Congress Hall Band, playing the tuba (bass).

Little did he realise what a big deal this was.

“During my second rehearsal with the Sydney Congress Hall Band we began practicing for an Easter event, I happened to mention this to a colleague and putting two and two together he said, ‘mate, I think that means you’re playing at the Royal Easter Show!’”

Paul van Zantvoort

With just four weeks to rehearse, Paul confirmed with the band that yes, it was the Royal Easter Show at Sydney Olympic Park which means performing to crowds totalling up to 900,000 people over the multiple day events during previous years.

“I did start thinking what have I got myself into? Particularly on top of a job that is busy enough! However I’m absolutely loving it and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to combine two of my great loves, music and culture, at such a high level – now I just need to make sure I play well!” he laughed.

Paul has worked with Rabobank for over 12 years, starting as a corporate management trainee in head office in 2008.

Since then his role has afforded him the opportunity to live and work in cultures across the globe, with stints in Singapore, Ireland and Nairobi.

“Rabobank gives me the opportunity to grow and broaden my experience, and for that I am very grateful.”

Having worked in Trade & Commodity Finance (TCF) for the past 11 years, most recently as the Head TCF A&NZ, Paul was very recently announced as the Head Value Chain Finance Australia and New Zealand – a newly established department resulting from the internal restructure merging Asset Based Finance and Structured Inventory Products.

Value Chain Finance services clients globally regarding their working capital requirements and Paul said “It’s a terrific development and locally we have a very enthusiastic, positive team of eight helping lead us into the future.

“I’m a very lucky guy, while we are all drivers of our own success, but companies like Rabobank recognises people who are up for a challenge, and gives them the platform.”

And while Paul has worked in Rabobank offices around the world, he said the foundations of the bank remain firm.

“People contribute to a culture, and so every office is different, but there’s very much a ‘family’ feel that is consistent – from camaraderie amongst staff to working with family farms – there are real family values within the bank.”

Paul van Zantvoort

Having played music since the age of eight-years-old, first the trumpet, followed by the baritone and euphonium and now tuba for the past 13 years, Paul played in orchestras of different levels ranging up to just below a professional level back home in Holland.

And his first step into the instrument room of the Willoughby Brass Band immediately transported him home. “The smell and atmosphere of the room brought an instant smile to my face, music is just so universal with such a strong potential to transcend where ever you are in the world.”

While it wasn’t always ‘cool’ to be in brass, Paul said music afforded him opportunities outside of work that he is forever grateful for.

Paul’s zest to throw himself wholeheartedly into his music is reflective of his move to Australia, the decision to apply for his Rabobank role swift and adventurous.

“Once I found out I got the job, I had only two months to pack up my life and say goodbye to my family and friends. I had some anxiety around the fact I was going to the other end of the world, but if you’re going to jump in the deep end, just do it!”

Paul will be playing at the Royal Easter Show on Saturday April 3rd with the Willoughby Brass Band at 3pm on the Intersection stage, and on Sunday April 4th with the Sydney Congress Hall Brass Band at 11:30am at the Amphitheatre and 2pm on the Main Street stage.

Shows are approximately 30 to 45 minutes, and further information can be found at facebook.com/The Salvation Army Sydney Congress Hall and facebook.com/willoughbyband

 

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