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Sep 3, 2014

André Rieu Fans Before The Year 2000

Our Earliest André Rieu Fans

Who are the fans that have known André the longest??? That's what Ineke wondered on a rainy day in August 2014. We know all about André, but what do we know about the earliest fans (before the year 2000) who are still fans today (almost 20 years later!)? A continuing story - Each week we will feature a new fan. Here is Part 1: Sonja Harper and Ruth Morgan.

SONJA HARPER is from Dutch origin who lives in Ohio (USA) and has been a fan since 1995. In 2002 she started her own André Rieu Fan Website in the US (which we all know now as "Translations").

From Sonja: In April 1995, I was in Holland on vacation and my Dad and I were watching the semifinal of the UEFA Cup soccer. Dad has always been a sports fanatic. When I was young, we always watched soccer and speed skating together and went to the games and events. The semifinal was between the Ajax from Amsterdam; and the Bayern Munich from Munich, Germany. The first game of the semifinal was played in Munich and ended in 0-0. The second game was played in the Ajax stadium in Amsterdam and it was an extremely exciting game ... before half time Holland was ahead 3 to 1. So the fans were already going crazy.

Then half time started and on walked this man with long hair and a violin. What in the world was that - during such an important and exciting game they had a violinist? And then he started to play! It did not take long before all those soccer fans were singing and swaying along - Dutch and German alike. I believe there were 65,000 soccer fans singing, swaying and waving flags to Andre's Second Waltz. I was sold and Dad loved it too. At home, we too were singing ............. Ajax won the game 5 to 2 and André scored a major hit with that performance. Holland was Waltzing! André became the Waltz King. Of course I had to go back to the USA, but after that experience, whenever I was in Holland I would hunt for his CDs and videos.
  
In 1996, André was on PBS (American television) for the first time with 'From Holland with Love". And in 1997 he did his first US Tour. On November 10, 1997 he came to Ohio (the state where I live) and played at the Battelle Hall at the Columbus Convention Center. I went with a group of Dutch friends and we had a blast. My first concert was Columbus 1997, but the first time I actually talked to André was again in Columbus, but in 2002. That conversation with him is what made me start my Website.

F
or the promotion of the 1997 concert tour, PBS showed a video clip of André playing the Second Waltz in Amsterdam and Kinderdijk (the 19 windmills area). The whole video was so wonderful, that it made me homesick. I decided that I would love to have that video tape, so I called PBS to see if there would be any reruns so I could tape it. I was told it was a onetime commercial for André and they could not play it again. I really wanted that clip badly. So I kept looking for it on the Internet. 

Finally I located the people who made the video for André. I figured I can ask - so I called the company and spoke to a very nice lady. I explained to her what I wanted and she said she would be happy to send me a copy. It was of course in PAL, but I have a special video player which does play PAL. A week later it was in the mail with a very nice note. It is still one of my favorite videos from Andre. She also told me that the video had been planned for a while and finally they had set a date. but suddenly the weather changed and it was going to warm up a lot and they had to get it done in a real hurry. Everyone had to drop everything they had planned and film it in that day, because the following day the ice would not be thick enough anymore.



RUTH MORGAN: At the time Ruth and her husband Jim discovered André Rieu, they lived in Buffalo, New York. (They now live near Lake Tahoe, Nevada) Ruth scored the first photo with André ever, from 1997!! This is her story and the earliest photos ...

From Ruth: I have been a fan since February 1997, when I first saw Andre on my PBS channel in Buffalo, New York. In August 1997 André came to my Buffalo PBS Station where Jim and I volunteered to take pledges. André played “Meditation” while he was standing right in front of me. I recorded the program while I was in the studio on my VCR and have made a DVD from the video tape of him there. That's when Jim took the photo of me with André and of course I was very excited to meet André in person. (André was then 47 years of age).

My first concert was in Toronto's, Maple Leaf  Hockey Stadium and my second concert was at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Both concerts were in November of 1997. Since then I have been to about 85 André Rieu concerts in many countries including the USA, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Australia. The photo of Jim and I with André was taken at a "Meet and Greet Dinner" in a Toronto restaurant before my first concert in Toronto. We are still fans in 2014 and we have traveled already 11 times in a row to Maastricht to visit friends and attend the hometown concerts there.


(We Will Feature Another Fan Next Week!)

4 comments:

Imbi said...

Thank You - Sonja and Ruth
it is so nice to read and see photos from long time fans !!

Looking for next articles...

Francine Chavanon said...

J'ai découvert André en 1997, lors d'une courte présentation de la valse No2 à la télévision française, j'adore sa musique et depuis ce moment je suis devenue une fan inconditionnelle. Je ne manque pas d'aller l'entendre en concert à chaque fois qu'il vient en France et j'ai eu le bonheur d'assister cette année 2014 à ses merveilleux concerts au Vrijthof.Merci cher André et bravo! Francine.

Alice said...

Thank Goodness! I am forever grateful that Sonja talked to Andre in 2002 or there wouldn't be a Translations website, and without this website, I wouldn't have known so much about Andre and made so many friends, and one of the very first fans I met was Ruth. It was 2007 when Ruth and Bobbie came to Vancouver for Andre's concert. The 2 girls also went to the Seattle concert that year, and I was going "WHOW!!!!" These fans are amazing!! But I wasn't so bad myself...haha...met them again in Toronto 2 months later...and then Maastricht!
Girls, it's about time we need to meet again!

Devoted Scottish Fan said...

Thank you so much for posting this - what a great idea!! The only thing is, these articles will make me INSANELY jealous of these soooooo lucky people who have actually met and had pics taken with The Maestro. I had a "high-5" in Maastricht this year and my continuing ambition is to meet Andre and have a photograph with him.............one day!
Moira x

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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

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

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