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Dec 27, 2007

Toronto 2007


TORONTO December 2007
By Ineke Cornelissen


All of our fan friends knew……except me!! They kept the secret until November. Thank God, I still had some time to prepare! To my surprise Ruud had made arrangements for the Toronto trip half a year ago. So my Sinterklaas/Christmas present was that we took off for Toronto!!

What an experience. A seven hours flight, half an hour taxi and we checked in at the Renaissance Hotel and met our friends! The hotel is next to the Rogers Centre (former Skydome) and next to the famous CN-tower. We had a warm welcome in Toronto. Some parts of the USA were snowed under and some fans could not reach Toronto for flights were cancelled. We were very sad for them.

Later on we heard the André crew had so much misfortune in building up the décor, that the first concert almost had to be cancelled due to lack of power!! Three big generators went on fire. Ten minutes before the start of the show there was no light yet. At the very last moment it turned out well, what a relief! We did not attend the first concert on Friday, but we heard the stories. The décor was impressive, the show breathtaking. Some little mistakes were solved at Saturday.

On Saturday we had the fan dinner, attended by about sixty persons. It was great to meet new friends. Ruth and Jeanine Ann did a great job to organize the dinner. There were name tags, posters and fan stuff, made by different fans. Center pieces on every table, with violins. We had an introduction round and we laughed a lot! Annette said she once accompanied her friend Cathy to an André concert (long time ago) and got hooked. Cathy gave the hilarious answer: so, I am the hooker! People came from Canada, the USA, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia.
After the dinner, we went to the concert in the Rogers Center. Wow, how beautiful!! We have been in Vienna, we have seen the real palace of Schönbrunn. Pierre and 250 crew members worked on it. It looked great! What a hell of a job! The palace, a ballroom, two ice rinks, two fountains with dancing waters. Hundreds of golden chandeliers, balloons and "snow". André and the orchestra entered in horse drawn carriages. We saw Mirusia fly like an angel, Sisi and Franz Josef were there, the golden carriage with six white Lippizaner horses (from the Spanish riding school in Vienna), the three tenors gave a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti. The surprise at the encores were hundreds of bagpipers, from the army, police, and fire departments of Ontario. 35.000 people in the audience. We also spotted the mayor of Maastricht, Mr. Gerd Leers. The décor is so big, that even the cheaper seats in the rear will be perfect! There are eight big screens to look at, so you don't miss anything.

After the concert we had a few drinks in the hotel bar. The orchestra, the soloïsts, the Elmayer debutants and the Viennese ballet dancers, were in our hotel. They were willing to pose for pictures and having talks.

The only chance André showed up to give signatures, we were somewhere else! What a pity, it seems to be my fate never to meet André in person. Well, maybe it is better for my heart failure. We had a lot of fun with that, for André let lots of people hearts beat faster and thank God we had a cardiologist (Dimitri) among the fans to save us in an emergency case….

We talked to Béla, Mirusia, Carmen, Suzan, and Marcel Falize. His wife Nicole was with him and his second son Dean. They were part of the drummer team who accompanied him in the Bolero. (His wife is a drummer too!). Glenn (Marcel and Nicole's oldest son) had to finish his school, he was not in Toronto. I wondered what Marcel's neighbors thought about five drumming persons in his house!! He said he had made good arrangements with them, so they would not become crazy. We talked to Dean who appeared to be a very nice and polite 14 year old boy (he shook hands with us saying goodbye when he left home at Monday. Wow, did he leave behind a good impression!).

Sunday there was a blizzard. Even thunder and lightning every now and then. Most of the flights were cancelled, fans had to stay another day in the hotel (which they did not regret at all!!). André and the orchestra departed Sunday afternoon for a flight to Frankfurt in Germany. They had to do another recording for German Television. After that they could have their seasons holiday.

Our flight went Monday, we had thought about doing an excursion to the Niagara Falls, but everything was cancelled. We intended to have dinner in the CN-tower, but ….no sight at all!! In Holland we did not have had cold winters with frost and snow for about ten years, so I wanted to go out. Wonderful!! We made a few great pictures which can be used for our next year's Christmas cards!

The rest of the day we stayed in the hotel, looking at the dismantling of the enormous décor and scaffolding. We spoke to some Limburg workers and to Mr. Gilissen, chairman of a Maastricht dramatic club. He told us he helped sticking (for € 10.000) leaf gold on the chandeliers. Of course: André did not paint them yellow, it had to be real gold!! Wow! That explains why we saw Pierre in the construction works with a golden helmet on!! Guess his mates decorated his helmet with the leaf gold for a joke??

When Pierre showed up in the bar (without helmet) a spontaneous applause came up. Roos (stage manager) also got a warm and respectful applause. Well deserved, what a stress they must have had!!

André knows, women do like to gossip. You want to know the last rumors?? Pierre and Suzan split up. Suzan moved to a village outside Maastricht. Pierre seems to have a new girl friend, named Eefje.

Monday we went to visit the CN tower. It is one of the seven wonders of modern technique. Another one is the Dutch Storm surge barrier in the province of Zeeland. We had a wonderful view on snowy Toronto. Monday afternoon the bus with Viennese dancers and the Dutch drummers left. We had to go as well. The construction workers were still tearing down the décor. They will leave Wednesday.

Bye bye Toronto!! We had an unforgettable long weekend!
In the plane we told about our André Rieu concert and the cabin crew said there were seven of the Viennese horses in our plane, on their way back home!

1 comment:

Alice said...

Whow! 2 of my favourite girls with the banner! and our picture too??? What an honour!

Ineke, I won't forget your asking me "Are you content?" after we took a few pictures. You wanted to make sure I was satisfied with our picture. You're so sweet!! And Ruud, don't worry, I've deleted that picture before you had your shirt tucked in ^=^

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