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Jan 31, 2008

It's Carnival Time In Maastricht!

*Live Webcam on The Vrijthof


February 3~4~5 is carnival time. Andre and JSO are always home to participate in the celebrations. You can have a look at the Vrijthof Square by Webcam.

You can enlarge the size x 4. Let's party!! ~ Ineke

Jan 30, 2008

Interview With André on German Television

He's very funny and it's a Great interview!!

Thank you Ruud and Ineke for all these that you bring us!

Jan 29, 2008

News Article on Brisbane Australia's Second Concert

André Rieu's Second Night in Brisbane Announced

January 30, 2008

Sport Minister, Judy Spence, as Minister responsible for Queensland’s Stadiums, today announced The King of Waltz, André Rieu, will present his “Romantic Vienna Night” extravaganza at Suncorp Stadium for a second night.

Ms Spence said following the incredible public response to the first concert announced late last year, André Rieu had agreed to play a second night in Brisbane on Thursday 4 December. “André is ecstatic with the reaction from fans all over Australia and has agreed to the second Brisbane show because he didn’t want anyone to miss out on the chance to see this world class event,” Ms Spence said. “André is internationally acclaimed for his stellar performances and extravagant shows and I am delighted more Queenslanders will now have a chance to view the spectacle of his show at Suncorp Stadium. “As with previous concerts, strict noise levels on the night will be enforced and the 10.30pm finishing time will be adhered to."

Ms Spence said the concert would be the third of the three permitted at the Stadium in 2008. A spokesperson for André Rieu Productions said the Stadium would be transformed into a replica of the Castle of Schonbrunn complete with ballrooms, golden coaches, ice rinks, fountains and hundreds of dancers, musicians and artists. “André Rieu’s unique and exuberant style makes his shows one of the most talked about in the world of popular classics,” the spokesperson said.

Rieu’s popularity in Australia is growing at record proportions and surpassed more than half a million CD and DVD sales last year.

Tickets go on sale for the second Brisbane performance through Ticketek on Wednesday 6 February. Tickets via:

Jan 27, 2008

Alice's Toronto Video

" Video" of Toronto Concert "Highlights"

See *Alice's Toronto Video with all the Highlights of the concerts in
Toronto on December 14th and 15th ~ it's great!!!

Jan 25, 2008

Friends Help a Fan To Meet Carmen Monarcha in Brazil

A Story of Carmen in Brazil ~ From Arie

This story was not written by me, but by the persons involved in the story. I had to translate the letters from Portuguese into English. It is just something fun to read and it is full of lovely emotions.

The story consists of correspondance messages only. The name of the great Fan is Ivan and a Friend of all of us. The persons involved were; Carla Maffioletti, Carmen Monarcha and a young soprano Jean Pontes, pupil of Marina Monarcha, Carmen's mother. Bruno is a colleague of Carmen's and an artist of the opera Falstaff. He made it possible for Carmen to say to her surprised Fan, "You must be Ivan!".

Ivan always writes lovingly to his Friends. He is a popular man. He is married and has a daughter and a son.

Many friends help a Fan, "Ivan" to meet his Idol Carmen Monarcha in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

What your are about to read is a story about Carmen Monarcha and her acting in the opera Falstaff from Verdi, and a great Fan of hers in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Carmen and Carla both approved of me posting this story here. ~ Arie

Opera "Falstaff" in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Pic of Ivan and children

Once Ivan posted to me:
Hello Arie,
“I 'd like to challenge you as to who is a greater Fan of Carmen Monarcha,
You or I!"

I was surprised with this message ~ My answer was:

Hello Ivan, Well I met Carmen in person in Maastricht 2007 and she was very lovely to me. If you look at my picture on the right side you'll see long hair. That hair belongs to Carmen Monarcha.
In this way I feel her warmth with me wherever I go! I uploaded videos of her to Youtube and she appreciates that,
she wrote me. She didn't write so much, but she wrote lovely things on my picture. What do you have to tell me? ~

He gave me a strange answer:

Hello Mr. Bussemaker,
"Years ago I went to a soccer game in Belo Horizonte".
Suddenly the Police came and pushed us like criminals to a Police station.
I was so ashamed about this act, that I left Brazil!
But, when I bought the DVD Romantic Paradise from André Rieu, I saw Carmen and Carla singing sooo beautifully ... and they were born in Brazil. I decided to come back, because of these wonderful persons!!

I replied to him:
Hello Dear Ivan,
You came back for Carmen only, because Carla is still in my country Holland."
Carla writes me beautiful letters in Dutch! ~ Arie

Jeanne Pontes
Pupil of Marina Monarcha, Carmen's mother
Sep. 27, 2007
Hello Ivan!! Carmen will go to sing in Belo Horizonte at the Palácio das Artes on October 11, 13, 15, 17 and 21.
I hope you will be happy with this information ... I am preparing to go as well.
I hope to see your family.

Kisses and till then,
Jeanne Pontes

Carla Maffioletti
Oct. 7, 2007
Hello Dear Ivan! How beautiful ... Now you can see Carmen from near, her immense talent and her personality. Have a superb weekend for you and your family!!

PS. According to André Rieu I am a Sicilian, Hungarian and from Rio de Janeiro. He-he ...?

Carmen Monarcha
Oct 8, 2007
Hoi Dear Ivan, I forgot, that you live in Belo Horizonte.
We are preparing the opera Falstaff at the Palacio das Artes in Belo Horizonte.October 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21. I don’t know the opening times.You are welcome with your family. The opera is real funny.
A big embrace, Carmen

Oct. 12, 2007
(Bruno is in the Falstaff Opera with Carmen in Belo Horizonte)

Hello my friend Ivan, At the end of the opera, I'll make it possible for you to meet with Carmen. She is a fantastic person and very kind. ~ Embraces, Bruno

Carla Maffioletti Oct. 14, 2007
Dear Ivan,
How wonderful to see Carmen, I am also Carmen's fan.We will pray for André to come to Brazil.
It is in Andre's plans to visit Latin America ... A big embrace, Carla

Oct. 19, 2007 Ivan wrote in the Forum To Carmen Monarcha
“Friends I need not to be jealous of you anymore!”My lady friend brought me the best news of this year.Carmen Monarcha, the marvellous Carmen Monarcha, the talented Carmen Monarcha, the simpatico Carmen Monarcha, the Diva Carmen Monarcha comes here to Belo Horizonte!

Is it possible to fulfill the musical dream of my life, to see Carmen singing in our city of Belo Horizonte?
Or am I still dreaming? I want 11 seats in the first row. I'll pay the price whatever it costs.
I'm taking with me my daughter, my wife, my mother and my sister.
They have become Fans of Carmen due to the fact that I told them so much about her.

I have lent the DVD "Romantic Paradise" to several friends and there is not even one who is not enchanted with
Carmen and Carla Maffioletti!
"Oh my God!" This is an historical moment. It's so completely unexpected that I could not even utter a word. Carmen will give me the
performance of my life, "It will be my opportunity to see her. "She will like the opportunity, I think, to take a picture with my daughter, Isabela.
My daughter sings so well ... like her. She doesn’t sing like Bidu Sayão, but it will be the maximum for the heart of a father. "But first I have to go to the Cardiologist to know if my heart will resist all these emotions!"
My wife is coming with me, you see she is also a great Fan of Carmen!

Oct. 20 Ivan to Forum Carmen Monarcha
My dream was realized. Carmen moved me twice here in Belo Horizonte.In the first place by her magnificent performance, through Nannetta in the work Falstaff from Verdi.
I came to see her, but I saw 10 great other singers as well, a marvellous production. It was the most delightful night of my life!
After this, she moved me with her love to the audience. My daughter was moved like my mother, they couldn't say a word. In her eyes “Carmen is the maximum”. You can agree or not! Carmen is simply sensational! She was a pupil of Dona Marina Monarcha, her mother.
Moreover, she is a fantastic person and very special.I define her as a genius, a diva, a muse, an incommensurable talent!However, with all these attributes, the biggest impression of her was the magnificent human being.

Together with me, there was a group of charming ladies who wanted to have a meeting with Carmen. At the end of the opera we started a conversation. They went to Maastricht to attend a concert of André Rieu. They brought the Brazilian flag with them and they told about it.
They did not get to meet Carmen in Holland. They came to the city of Belo Horizonte to be able to see her. The emotion of these ladies was impressive!

What to say about my daughter. The other day I found her half dizzy.
She said suddenly to me: “I was dreaming of Carmen Monarcha”.When we went to the opera, she was still imagining that she belonged to a choir.
That God is praised and my lovely daughter will have the force to become a singer.Without worrying about the possibility to follow, or not the singing career (the decision is all hers), she will have all my support of my heart of a father. I find her as talented as Carmen.
She asked me :"Can I see the opera again?

When Carmen passed the separating frames close to me she said: “You must be Ivan!”, my heart and my daughter's were frozen!
I, a mediocre teacher of mathematics and chess, recognized by the diva!
This emotion will never leave me!

There is a legend that says, "the one who faces a fairy, will die!" This is legend!
I stood close to Carmen and I am still alive!!
My great dream now is to see my daughter singing with her. Before 2015, who knows? However, before this, my friends, we will be able to have the chance of seeing Carmen in action here in Brazil with André Rieu in 2010.
One lady went to Carmen and lamented: “In 2010 I will be dead!”. Funny, my mother said the same thing. My mother already has passed seventy, but she is still going to live many years and she will see, if God lets, an other presentation of Carmen.
Really, to have this type of emotion, “Life is worth living!"

Oct. 27, 2007 Ivan to Forum Carmen Monarcha
Beyond all, Carmen is pretty, talented and very popular.
It is therefore why Carmen is so successfull. She captures the public, showing affection and respect.
My mother, in her seventies had a strong emotion to receive an affectionate hug from the diva. If Carmen knew, that my mother speaks of her to everybody, she would feel herself immensely flattered. My daughter wanted to see the opera again, and said to me:
"It was not a matter of the opera, it was a matter of seeing Carmen again."

"The Final Dream"
A picture of Ivan, with Carmen and Isabela his daughter

I hope you like this "story", Arie

Jan 15, 2008

News On Maastricht 2008!

The Mastreechter Staar To Perform With Rieu on The Vrijthof

de Limburger Newspaper
January 15, 2008

Translations by John
The Royal Choir "Mastreechter Staar" ( will perform together with Andre Rieu on 4 & 5 (and possibly 6) July on the Vrijthof.

The Mastreechter Staar is 125 years old. The same holds true for its music school Kumulus.(Both are celebrating their 125th anniversary this year) Its students will also perform with Rieu on the Vrijthof. Staar president Jan Voorveld made the announcement Monday during their practice.

The singers consider it an honor to be performing with Rieu on the Vrijthof. "They do not mind the extra performances in an already very busy jubilee year". Last fall, Andre Rieu accepted the first copy of the Staars jubilee CD. In addition, the choir will conduct two performances on 6 & 7 June with the LSO (Limburg Salon Orchestra) in the Theatre at the Vrijthof.

Released Today January 16, The Mastreechter Staar Website

André Rieu And The Mastreechter Staar Together On The Vrijthof

The jubilent Royal Choir Society, Mastreechter Staar, will perform together with Andre Rieu this coming July 4th, 5th and 6th.
During the rehearsal on 14 January, President Jan Voorvelt released the big news.

The singers responded with approving applause to this news.
Despite the additional concerts to an already busy concert schedule, the singers consider it a big honor to perform together with "our" André on the Vrijthof.

January Newsletter From Mirusia's Fan Club

January 2008 Newsletter

Hello to all Mirusia Fans,

To all the fans in Australia – do you have your tickets for the concerts here at the end of this year? I am sure you are all extremely excited about Andre Rieu’s concert tour of several of our capital cities.
It is likely to be the best concert you have ever attended, and especially so because Mirusia will be appearing throughout. What a treat we are going to experience!

Mirusia very much enjoyed the last tour of the year 2007 on the west coast of the U.S.A. She was fortunate enough to have sufficient time to visit Alcatraz. Most times when visiting the many cities they perform in, there just isn’t time enough for sight-seeing.
The concert tour ended in Toronto, Canada, with the Romantic Viennese Night Concert. She really enjoyed being suspended as an Angel, and can’t wait to do it again!

Toronto put on quite a snow storm for the cast and crew , with temperatures as low as – 16C!! Now – that’s cold!

At present Mirusia, along with other JSO member’s, are busy rehearsing for the upcoming tours in Europe.
I hope you have all purchased your copies of Andre’s latest DVD – In Wonderland. It is simply fantastic, and how proud we are of Mirusia’s marvellous performance.

Unfortunately, the proudest of all of Mirusia’s fans, my darling husband Bert, passed away suddenly in November. It was due to this sad event that there hasn’t been a Newsletter for some time.

However, I will now endeavour to carry on with our fan club site in his honour. Bert and I launched this site, along with Mirusia, in the middle of 2007.
I will do my best to add new features as time progresses.

Until next letter, stay healthy and happy,
Best regards from Shirley

*Link To Mirusia's Fan Club

Jan 12, 2008

Eileen's Story of Her Weekend In Toronto

Eileen's Toronto Story

Actually my story begins in May 2005, at the concert in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, where I was fortunate enough to meet Andre at one of his last Meet and Greets there. Ardell, my daughter-in-law took my picture with him and also with many other orchestra members. Ever since then I have carried those pictures with me, along with all the others I have had taken with JSO members, to every concert I have been to, hoping for the opportunity to get signatures.

Almost a year prior to the concerts in Toronto I had purchased my tickets, and of course I couldn't help but think about what the weather could be in Western New York State and Southern Ontario at that time of year! Although it is only a two and one half hour drive for me, it can very treacherous if we are having a lake effect snow storm. But Ardell was going to drive and she did not seem in the least concerned and said "Don't worry, we will get there!" Bless her heart! She has driven me to every concert in Toronto, but most have been in the spring. All year I said to myself "If we can just get there, I don't care when we get home".

Friday December 14th finally arrived, and although there was a storm predicted for the week-end, the weather was fine and we had a very uneventful trip to Toronto. I breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived, and with much excitement, got checked into our room at the Renaissance. A very memorable week-end had begun! I immediately saw familiar faces of orchestra members, and fan friends I had met before; Sonja and her Mom, Maggie, Chris and Ziggy, Sue, Joan, Ellen Mak, Ellen Weber, Beate, but how disappointed I was to learn that Laurie would not be there because of the ice storms in New Jersey. I also met new friends Ineke and Ruud, John and Bobbie, Ruth and Jim, Cathy, Alice, Jeanine Ann and for the first time I also met little Cassandra. I will always treasure the time I spent with these people throughout the week-end. I had so much fun with them!
Entering the arena for the first time that night was breathtaking!! What had been accomplished there was almost unbelievable! The concerts were beautiful, and the music was beautiful, but I won't go into detail about that, as other fans have already done a very good job of that. The orchestra members were all over the place, before and after the concerts, with many opportunities to talk to them and have pictures taken. I was hoping for the opportunity to have Andre sign my picture. I actually had 3 encounters with Andre, well maybe not encounters, but sightings! The first was Saturday afternoon as I was sitting at the restaurant bar with Ardell and Joan having hot chocolate. I had decided to go back up to my room, but as I started to leave who should I come face to face with, but Andre with his bodyguards close behind him entering the restaurant. As he passed by, he smiled and I smiled back, but I kept right on going, I knew this was not the time to ask for an autograph! A few steps later, I did an about face and went back and joined Sonja, Chris and Sue who were having a bite to eat in the restaurant. From where we were sitting we could see that Andre was having a meeting in the far part of the restaurant, with his bodyguards keeping a close eye on every one there. Pierre also came in and joined them. The second sighting was after the concert that night when he came into the bar briefly at 2:30 A.M. But I could not have gotten past his bodyguards again.

I had been able to get all my pictures of JSO members signed, some at other concerts and many I got signed here in Toronto, except one - Andre's. Although I had that picture with me at all times in my bag, and had seen him twice, it just didn't happen. Then Mother Nature stepped in and we were all snowed in at the hotel for another day and night. We spent a lot of time in the lobby that day, and luckily I was there when Andre and the JSO were getting ready to leave. What a surprise when he turned to us and said "So, who would like an autograph!" Here's my chance, I thought! I whipped that picture out of my bag, and felt brave enough to ask him if he would sign that for me instead of the New York cards he was signing for everyone. He said "Oh sure" and here is my prize from a week-end I shall never forget!


Jan 9, 2008

André Signing Autographs in Toronto!

A 20 Second Video Clip Taken by Alice in The Hotel Lobby in Toronto!
It's short, but fun to watch. :)
You can see, he made sure Everyone got an autograph!

Jan 8, 2008

André Rieu Owns The Australian Charts

Andre Rieu Owns
The End Of Year DVD Chart
January 9, 2008

The ARIA DVD for 2007 might as well be named the Andre Rieu Chart. Rieu had 50% of the Top 10 and an amazing 14 titles in the Top at year's end.

Rieu was the star of the Australian charts in 2007, despite not being a pop star, a rock star or a rapper. His commercial airplay was almost zero.

Read The Full Article:

Photo from Dec. 2007 Christmas Tour

Combined Fans Pictures In A Photoshow of Toronto!

I have put a Photoshow together of my photos, plus the ones that
others who were there sent to me to add to the show.
I would have done this sooner, but have had computer problems that
wouldn't allow me to upload all the photos ... Computer is better and the
Photoshow is ready now ~ Enjoy!

Photos are by:
Sue, John, Bobbie, Al, Doug, Ineke, Ruud, Alice,
Vasilia, Virginia and Eileen

The Photoshow keeps getting Bigger!!
Anyone that has photos they want to add to this show,
email them to me and I will add them. :)

Jan 5, 2008

Remember To Vote For André!

André has only 120 votes for this week and is not even close in the top 10!
We want to remind everyone to VOTE for André!!
There are Links on the left of the page here to Vote for him.

So Remember to Vote Everyone!

Jan 3, 2008

January Newsletter From André

Happy New Year!
January 3rd Newsletter from Andre for those who didn't get it in email

What a start to the new year: a brand new world tour! With “Romantic Vienna Nights” André Rieu, his Johann Strauss Orchestra and his entire crew tour the globe. Never before has an artist taken such a gigantic stage set-up with him on his tour.

The kick-off of the World Stadium Tour was given in Toronto and it was a sweeping success! It met with nothing but praise! There is the life-size replica of Sissi’s castle in Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace, as a stage set-up, a golden coach drawn by 6 white horses, 80 Vienna Debutantes, the world-famous Vienna State Opera Ballet, and a lot more!

Waltzes by Strauss and Léhar and melodies by Stolz, performed by The Platinum Tenors, Carmen Monarcha, Carla Maffioletti, Mirusia Louwerse, Suzan Erens and the Johann Strauss Orchestra and Choir. And all that on a never-seen-before, super-size stage. Definitely something not to be missed!
So, for exact dates hurry to and straight away order tickets for any of the concerts in Düsseldorf (LTU Arena), Leipzig (Festwiese), Amsterdam (Amsterdam ArenA), Brussels (King Baudouin Stadium), Melbourne (Telstra Dome), Sydney (Telstra Stadium), Brisbane (Suncorp Stadium) or Adelaide (AAMI Stadium). We all hope to meet you at one of these concerts. Australia, already now, is wildly enthusiastic about “Romantic Vienna nights” coming. André Rieu is bringing Vienna to his admirers’ doorstep. After awarding his DVD’s platinum status, Australia is now falling for this world stadium tour.

And here’s a piece of hot news: there are plans to set up Schönbrunn Castle in New York CENTRAL PARK as well!!! Of course, you will be among the first to be informed via our newsletter and via if these plans become more substantial.

Again, it is with great pleasure that we look back on a marvellous and exciting musical year. Through our guestbook we have enjoyed all your messages and we hope you will continue to send them with the same degree of enthusiasm. Just one more task for us to perform:

We wish you a healthy, loving and musical year.

The Internet team

Jan 2, 2008

Ruud and Ineke's Day In Maastricht

By Ruud and Ineke

Sunday Dec. 9th we drove in 2 ½ hours from The Hague to Maastricht to visit the Minerva cinema. We wanted to see André's Wonderland show, on the big screen, in High Definition quality. In addition we wanted to buy Dutch wine from the "Nekum Hoeve", make arrangements for the fan dinner on July 4th 2008 at café/restaurant Charlemagne and visit the tourist office to buy a few more center city maps of Maastricht (which I use to send to fans). On the Vrijthof square was the yearly Winter Wonderland: a Christmas market, some fair attractions and an ice rink. We spent a wonderful day in Maastricht!

The movie started at 13.30 PM and was not sold out. The images on the big screen were outstanding!! We saw a lot more than on our DVD at home! Great images, great sound! It felt strange, not to sway and sing along and applaud!!! (Nobody did, it was a cinema!). Ruud is a technical man, he wondered how the movie was projected and he asked the cinema crew. To our surprise they were willing to show us everything!! We climbed a stairway and entered the projection room. Four or five projectors played movies for the different halls. André had the biggest hall, and thus the biggest screen (about 4 x 12 meters or 12 ft x 36 ft). André provided the theatre with a High Definition professional video projector. For those who like to know more about this device, have
That super projector was placed on six (empty) beer crates and had a cardboard box with pipe, to lead away the hot air. The cinema did not play the movie from the DVD, but used a broadcast quality High Definition video recorder (a Panasonic HD1700, see for more details. We had never been before: behind the scenes in a cinema! Ineke wrote in André's guestbook about the beer crates and the cardboard box, but they deleted that part of the message!!! Probably beer crates did not belong to the magic atmosphere! But I thought it very funny: a super projector on beer crates. Simple, but it works!

We really enjoyed the two hours in Wonderland!

The quiz on our website (about Pierre Rieu playing a rotary trumpet) was a big success. Having seen the Wonderland DVD we could make more quizzes ….. For instance we could ask the following questions:
1) Did Hänsel and Gretel really jump into the water or was that a studio trick??? 2) What do you think André is shouting (being small) with that Donald Duck voice??
3) Do you know who was the lady that received the bunch of tulips (given by André)?? That same lady for who he fell on his knees and he danced with!!
4) Do you know the story about the Dutch East India Company yacht (named the Half Moon), which is showed in the pirates scene? The history of that ship (from the 17th century) is connected to the USA!! That ship has really existed! The Efteling likes to build attractions, connected with Dutch historic stories/legends.

It is interesting, so we'll tell you .......
We don't know the answer of the first question, I think we have to leave that to the magic…. (I cannot imagine they really jumped into the water….)
André shouted: "Hey, I am small, do you hear me? Hey, I am small, turn me back, (did I also hear "fool" afterwards, or was that my imagination??)….
Vrouw Holle, or in English: Mrs. Holle. She is from a fairy-tale, written by the German brothers Grimm. She uses to shake her duvet out of the window and the feathers turn into snowflakes! Hänsel and Gretel (the English language adopted the German names completely!) started their song from her house and continued at the witch's candy-house. The lovely songs are in German language. In Holland we call this fairy tale: Hans en Grietje.
In 1609 the Half Moon ship sailed into the (what is now the) New York harbor, in search of a passage to the east. The ship was captained by Henri Hudson. Does that name sound familiar?? They sailed up the (what is now called) "Hudson river" as far as Albany, and back again. They called the natives over there "the Manahatans". Also sounds familiar, isn't it?? For more information, search google under the Dutch name "Halve Maen" (info also in English).
So André is not only teaching us classical music. Since we are André fans, we know more about bulb growing, carillons, trumpets, fairy tales, geography and history! And also we got a large number of wonderful friends!! Isn't that great??

Did you think there is no Dutch wine??? Oh, yes, there is!! The hilly landscape of Southern Limburg has some wineries. We visited the "Nekum Hoeve", a wonderful historic farm, run by two brothers: Math and Laurent Bollen. We once tasted their white Riesling wine (being on a family party in a restaurant which only serves Dutch products), and we loved it! Laurent guided us through the cellars and told us all about Dutch wine making. Of course we also tasted the wine. Next year we'll update the Maastricht Walks document on our website. We'll add a third "excursion" to the wine farm, just outside Maastricht, on the "other" side of the St. Pietersberg (from where André lives). The Bollen brothers love to guide you around!

FAN DINNER Maastricht July 4th 2008
Charlemagne is a small café at the "Onze Lieve Vrouwe plein" (square). We hired the first floor, for a maximum of 60 persons. I regret to mention that my list is already fully booked!! I have a waiting list, in case people cancel. Charlemagne crew will make a buffet with hot and cold plates. There are seats, but also tables to stand. Included three drinks (choice of coffee, tea, sodas, beer, wine), the price will be 25 Euro. In May/June you'll get more detailed information.

Was closed on Sunday! No city maps. We'll wait for another chance.

Jan 1, 2008

Alice In Toronto

Alice’s Toronto Diary
The breathtaking ANDRE RIEU concert. I need not describe how beautiful it was! I was sitting further back midway at level 200/300. The view of the whole stage set-up was spectacular (pic 04)! Just unbelievable! And the water fountains were not "Display Only". They worked!!

Dec 13
After checking in the Renaissance, my parents and I, together with my aunt and cousin, started to explore the "facilities" of the hotel. As we’re taking pictures in the lobby, a lady approached and kindly offered to take a picture for us. She asked if I was one of the "fans" (visiting the web often……) and I knew then she’s the mother (Cindie) with daughter Kori from Vancouver Island. Small world, we British Columbians meeting right at the lobby, right from the start. So I said we should take a picture all together!

There were more fans in the lobby then. I was happy to see Bobbie again and met her better half, John. Soon I saw Ruth and when I waved at her, there was some huge "screaming" from her. "Oh…!Oh…Oh…!" and we hugged each other. I met Bobbie and Ruth in October when they came to see André’s concert in Vancouver. It felt so good I could hug them again. I also recognized Sue and introduced myself, she remembered the last thing I wrote in the Parlor was "Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God! (huuuge laughter burst out …)
Soon, the hotel lobby was packed with fans and JSO members, the lovely Mirusia and Laura were among them. How nice to have 2 angels with me (Mirusia the "Angel" and Laura the "Engel", and we had a Charlie’s Angels picture taken (posted by Sue already) And there was Santa (Doug) who for some reason had mistaken me for another Alice. He thought he met me in Maastricht and insisted that someone was talking about an Alice (and it’s not Dan’s wife Alice). Oh! What the heck! What a great honour to have people thought they met me. Santa asked me to sit on his lap and so I happily sat down like a little girl and took a very nice picture (at least I thought so) without disclosing my double chin. What a nice Christmas gift from Santa! (pic 02). That same evening, Bela didn’t put on any new crocodile shoes, and I asked the beautiful Linda if she remembered me waving right in front of her at the Vancouver concert.
Although I had less than 2 hours of sleep the previous night, boy oh boy, I had the time of my life!
Dec 14
I had "dim-sum" for lunch with my relatives and when I went back to the hotel later, I saw someone just arrive at the hotel in her car! It’s Sonja!! I ran over to introduce myself and might have scared her a bit when I hugged her. So nice to see her with her healthy-looking mom and Cassandra. The little girl sitting at the back of the car waved at me gently like a lady.
Since my uncle had difficulty walking and might need a wheelchair when going to the Dec15th concert, I spent sometime exploring the best access to get into Rogers Centre. Most staff was helpful but they all gave me different suggestions. I was glad I found an indoor passage eventually, a bit complicated but no need to go outdoors at all. At 5pm, my parents and I went down to the restaurant to meet Lyndall and Robert from Australia, and Pat who invited the Aussies to the Toronto concerts. Pat and I were among the first 15 people to respond to Lyndall’s petition back in April. When Lyndall told me she’d be coming to Canada for the big concerts, we decided to have dinner, and that was about half a year ago. The lady who answered the phone at the Arriba Restaurant back then had no idea why I had to make reservations so early and asked me "What’s happening in December?" When we fans flocked to the city from all over the world, being right there at the hotel restaurant she had not a clue what kind of a humongous concert we’re talking about! When Lyndall and I finally met each other, we tried to hold our emotions and tears. Lyndall and I have the same birthday and we ordered the same entrée from the menu. I grabbed Ruth for a picture and I got a bagful of gifts from the Aussies.

After the concert, many fans and JSO crew members were having a good time in the lounge. I saw Courtney Woo, "the man with a cut on his leg". It’s easy for me to remember him as he’s the only Chinese I saw in JSO crew. We chat a little bit and when we were about to take a picture, Courtney joked about being not sure if he should tell his wife. I said "I don’t have a problem with that, it’s up to you", and so came the cute funny look on his face! Later in the night (or morning??), I said to Bobbie "Where else on earth would you find so many people (groupies) above 60 years old staying up so late in a lounge…Bobbie laughed so hard and suggested I post this on the guestbook, and Ruth said she must have broken her record (of staying up late past 2am). Just when I was leaving the lounge, someone "hello" me from behind. It was Laura Engel. How sweet of her to remember me. Laura was my favourite JSO choir girl (I especially like her part doing Blaze Away in New York Memories). Oh! What a nice final touch to the day!

Dec 15
I was introduced to Maggie in the lobby and was lucky that she got a spare of her well-known T-shirt for me. I joined the fans that were having fun taking pics with Suzan and Carla. They’re all so friendly. Later, as I went into the elevator, Suzan rushed in. I said "Come, Sisi, but I’m afraid your golden carriage won’t fit in." She laughed sweetly.

As Ruth, Jeannie and others started to get the dinner room set-up, I went up to my room to get the banner. My dad and I were in the elevator when Mr. Body Guard Johan came in. I said to him "Ahhh, you’re the most important person to André", and he replied with a smile and a humble tone "No!". He said goodbye to us when we’re walking out the elevator. He didn’t know we had to "transfer" to the same elevator at the side for our dinner, so I teased him by saying "We’re following you!!". Now, I got his attention. He asked curiously "Where are you going?" Still, he was so gentle by letting us enter the elevator first. I told him not to worry, we’re having a fans dinner in the meeting room level. We said goodbye again. When Johan needs not carry his "tough guy" image, he has his sweet side too.

At the fans dinner, we met more fans from different places. Cassandra was all dressed up like a little princess. We were having a great time but had to rush with our group photo before the concert began.
For months, I worried that my uncle would have hard time "staying fit" at the concert since he had a stroke earlier, had to carry a pouch for his prostate problem and still needed a walker, but everything turned out fine that night. He dressed up in suit with a pair of sneakers (pic 06) and we all had a marvelous memorable evening. (I found him already walking faster the next day!)
Dec 16
The snow was falling heavily the whole day and some 30 flights were cancelled. We were supposed to meet our relatives for dinner but thanks to the snow, most of us got stuck in the hotel, and that’s when I finally got a chance to take a picture with my all-time most favourite JSO member Tanja. (Yeaaahhhh!!).

Exciting but sad moments came! The JSO members were preparing to leave the hotel for the airport. So many friendly faces would be gone in a short while. We were watching every move of André and were trying to take a good picture of him (pic 07). He finally offered to give us his autograph (Boy! Do we thank the snow or what!!). All the time I wondered what I could say if I meet HIM one day…..I totally lost focus and only said "Thank you André" when he passed me the signed photo card. I didn’t even remember I have an "A RIEU" license plate back home (should have printed a picture and get his autograph). Although it wouldn’t hurt to ask if I could take a picture with him (and not just of him), but at that moment I couldn’t even thank him enough for the autograph and thought I should just leave the man alone, otherwise there’d be a whole chain of requests.

And so they’ve all left…..I couldn’t hold my emotions anymore. Tears came down like rain. Not only seeing the family-like JSO members leaving was a cruel thing, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the chance to see them again in 2008. Fortunately some fans were still in the hotel comforting me.
I know I’ve always loved watching André’s concerts, but since the trip to Toronto, I love them much more and they are the sweetest, most friendly people in the world. It’s hard for anyone not to remember their kindness. And of course, the fans from around the world, we’ve come together and became one family. André’s music brought us together and we would have many years of friendship to last.




Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht












Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013




"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André on The Theater Steps" by Bee

Maastricht 2012 ~ "André and Pierre on The Theater Steps" by Bee