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Oct 22, 2014

Three More of Our Earliest André Rieu Fans






Cathy Camarda, Boston, Massachusetts

I saw Andre for the first time on PBS one Saturday morning in 1997. I thought WOW, this guy is nice looking and I love the music too!! I knew in advance he was coming to Boston PBS station to promote his upcoming Boston concert since I was a volunteer at the station and I was able to be there that night. 

I know that many fans always want something from celebrities. So I thought instead, I would bring him a present! I wanted something that would remind him of his trip to Boston, so I brought him a print of a painting that hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts called Boston Common at Twilight (photo attached). I put it in an 8x12 frame and I took it with me to the studio.

When he arrived, I said Hello and he said Hello and when I had an opportunity during a break I said to him: "I have something I think you will like" and he said: "You do???".  And I showed him the picture. He immediately took it from my hands and while he was intently looking at it I explained that it was a picture of Boston Common where Strauss held his first American concert. He said: "Yes, it was called the $100,000 concert because 100,000 people attended and they paid $1 to attend".

He thanked me and I asked him if he wanted me to put

it in the green room and he said yes since he had to go back on air. I took it back there and placed it right on his violin case.

He stayed at the studio for 3 hours. At the end of the evening he brought along programs that he signed for all the volunteers and in mine he wrote "To Cathy, thank you for the picture". I asked if I could take a picture with him and he said yes. I have attached the photo (in a frame).

That was the first time and I had spoken with him, there were other times and with a picture taken, but that's story for another time!




Inge Cosette, from Germany, lives in Montréal, Canada

When did I meet André for the first time? I was in Baden-Baden (Germany). My mother was dying and my friend invited me on a Sunday afternoon in May 1997 for coffee, she said I would have to see that André Rieu. All of Germany would stand on its head because of him. He was at the time on TV every 4 weeks and I watched with her.

What impressed me most, was that he played finally something for my age group and music I loved since I was a child and my mother took me to the first Operetta "Land of smiles" from Léhar. I also liked that he was good looking and his whole ambiance. He was then still a little shy. After I buried my mother I went back to Canada and saw him advertised for Montréal. My daughter was supposed to get tickets and she forgot. When she finally went, it was sold out. It was his first concert here because Quebecers love Johann Strauss and all the Viennese music, so he was a hit with the French Canadians right away.

From then on I booked my flights around open air concerts in Germany and also through PBS here we got tickets in Montréal. At the beginning he came every 2 years and then every year until 2011. After that PBS forgot about him. I think it had something to do with the Gold Membership. Before they always said that he was their biggest money maker. That station is strictly dependent on donations.

I have never been photographed with André, but I took my first picture from him in 2OO2 at a music store here in Montréal, where he signed books, CDs and whatever people put under his pen. For me it was the book from Marjorie. Later, when I sent pictures to the lady that was in charge of the tickets from Mountain PBS, (Television Station) to show her what I did in miniature, she never said a word. Then one day I got a call from Paul Larson who interviewed André in Maastricht and he told me he had a surprise for me, he wanted to come and film my Mini JSO. I said yes and he brought me an Album from André signed. 




Virginia Baker, Portland, Maine


One night in 1995 I turned on the TV and there he was playing "Meditation". It was a close up of his face and I went... "who is that." I was mesmerized. The next morning I went to the largest music store in New York and liking to do things myself I looked under Andre Rieu, JSO, European Orchestras, etc. before I finally broke down and went to the clerk. He said: "Yes, look under violin". And there it was. From Holland with Love! In another record store I found the VHS tape. I was obsessed. There was a woman named Julia who started a site which she eventually gave up. But I followed that.

In 1997 André made his first tour of North America. He was not coming near me in NYC, so I went to Montreal, Canada. My niece was going to college at McGill in Montreal. As in the USA, there was nothing anywhere announcing that he was coming. I called the booking office in Montreal and was assured he was coming. Sent my niece to the box office early and she said there was no sign anywhere, but there were some "old ladies" standing there. She got front row tickets and was worried that it would be a show for elderly people. Nothing showed up in print anywhere, but the arena was fairly full. There was a review the next day in the paper. I don't know if it was that one, or another one where it said, "The women's dresses were a cross of Cinderella and Salome." (Remember these were the first ones). It was essentially the "From Holland with Love" concert.

Since 1997 I have been to at least one concert every year, sometimes more, but I lost count. I only went to one Meet and Greet in Manchester, NH. I guess by now I have spoken to just about every orchestra member. Had a long conversation with Frank at a concert in NH. Some years I go only once because there is nothing near us and can't keep spending to travel.

I have been to Maastricht 5 or 6 times, can't even remember. Stayed at a little hotel down the street from the square, same room every year except this year because I had my niece with me and needed a larger room. My neighbors in NYC heard me the day I got the first CD playing it over and over and two came to my door: "What is that music?" And that got them started. We went together a few times in NY.

Worst moment: Standing in the basement of the hotel in Toronto (Canada) in a too-tight bathing suit waiting for the elevator. The door opened and ... yes, there he was). And so it continues ...

4 comments:

Francine Chavanon said...

André est un immense musicien dont le talent et la notoriété ont fait le tour du monde. J'adore sa musique depuis toujours et j'espère qu'il continuera encore très longtemps à charmer son nombreux public. GOD BLESS YOU, cher Maestro, tu es le meilleur ! Francine.

Anonymous said...

Very nice stories, I enjoy them! Cathy I also volunteer with WGBH (although not back then). I think there are other reasons why Andre is no longer on Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations in the U.S. I don't think it is related to the Gold Membership, but rather that they rotate through different artists that they use for fundraising, and the TV stations are also supposed to help sell concert tickets. I remember when Yanni was big on PBS too (yecchhh) although Andre was definitely their biggest "fundraiser". Now it's Downton Abbey, a British soap opera type program. I think people are getting sick of Downton Abbey now (I know I am) and I still hope PBS might show Andre again, as that was his biggest exposure in the U.S. I have mentioned it to people I know at WGBH but so far no luck. Anyway thanks for the stories, I am enjoying them! :-) Jennifer D.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy....from Perth WA. I remember you telling me stories in Maastricht 2009 when I met you. I loved reading all the stories about you all meeting Andre. Love it.

liz

Alice said...

For us who were also staying at that hotel and used those elevators in Toronto, I felt like I could see Virginia in her bathing suit too! What an experience! :D

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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

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

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