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Maastricht 2015, Our own story Part 1
July 15th 2015. Our own story. Written by Ineke, edited by Entia from South Africa. The party is over! We spent (again, for the 11th consecutive time!) a wonderful 12 days in Maastricht. Over the years it has become our major annual holiday. Seven concerts over two weekends in André's hometown, Maastricht, that is very special and a huge reunion of fans from all across the world. From our second holiday home (the roof apartment of Hotel DuCasque), we had a bird’s eye view of everything that happened on the Square. But of course we also had tickets for the Square on several days, together with family and/or friends. During the concert days there was a lot to do in Maastricht. On our list was: 1. Marc Rieu's exhibition of his paintings. We were happy to see that he sold many of his beautiful works. 2. Exhibition in the Museum on the Vrijthof: "Love of Detail". 3. The new "Walk of fame" on the Vrijthof Square, with stars for André, soloists, and guest performers. During the first weekend (July 3-5,) the Netherlands suffered a heat wave. Maastricht recorded the hottest day ever: 38 degrees Celsius (101 Fahrenheit). André Rieu Productions tried to keep the audience comfortable by providing bottles of cooled water (of which part of the profit goes to various charities) and white fans. Thursday July 2. After a 2.5 hour drive from The Hague, we arrived in Maastricht on Thursday, one day before the first concert, hoping there would be a dress rehearsal. After having seen so many concerts, we are very much interested in observing the Maestro at work: delivering his speeches in German and English for ZDF- and CinemaLive recordings. (Soon this concert will be streamed to a huge number of cinemas all over the world). After our arrival we affixed the banners to the Hotel façade and had dinner with the fan friends who were already there. Before the dress rehearsal we were very lucky to spot Mr. Gheorge Zamfir. No one recognized him, but because we had attended the Bucharest concerts in June, we recognized him immediately. Hence I was the first to ask for a picture and he is a real gentleman.
The dress rehearsal is always very spontaneous and informal. Some images were shown of Mirusia in a wedding gown. We know that Mirusia and Yourie will be getting married this year, but these images were meant for certain recordings. We don't know for which recordings – we'll wait for the surprise. We saw a pregnant Giedre on stage and after the rehearsal she left the stage with her husband, cameraman Jozef. We asked permission to post our photo and they agreed. They were so proud and told us they are expecting the baby in August. We missed Johan, André's bodyguard. He has left the Rieu company after having worked for them for 17 years. This is André's new bodyguard.
Friday July 3. In the morning we went to visit Marc's exhibition; beautiful paintings as usual. Marc was not there (he had to attend a meeting) but we enjoyed his art works. Ruud talked to the lady playing the piano in the theater and the aircon was  marvelous. In the afternoon there was a sound check. It was heartwarming to see one of André's four grandchildren who loves being in her opa’s (grandfather's) company so much that Pierre at times had to keep her away to allow André to continue his work. The 2015 Maastricht concert series pleasantly surprised us by having so many new musical pieces. The soloists – Donij, Carmen, Mirusia, the Platin Tenors, and Gheorge Zamfir – provided outstanding performances. The Romanian music, pan flute players and folklore dancers were brilliant. And the Berlin Comedian Harmonists performed songs that keep on whirling through my head and will probably do so for several weeks after the concerts! After hearing them in Bucharest, I often woke up with "Veronika der Lenz ist da.... Die Mädchen singen tralala..." , a naughty German song, echoing in my mind! Ha ha…..
Saturday July 4. The first fan picnic of this year took place in the Stadspark (City Park) between 12 and 2 PM. We did not expect many fans because of the heat. "Our" meeting place was fortunately in the shade of huge trees, so we were happy to receive a total of 35 fans, which is not bad, considering the circumstances. Gary Bennett and Laura Engel joined us. They were always happy to meet the fans due to ongoing interest in Gary's CDs (for more information, click HERE) and Laura's mini concert series, "A Latin Breeze", which was held in between André's concerts. (for a review click HERE). Mirusia had announced a signing session in the department store, V&D, so after the picnic we went there. That night we received a message that a SD-card (memory card of a camera) was found in the department store, so we guessed the owner must be a Mirusia/André fan. We checked the SD card and thought it could belong to a British lady because it included photos of the Wembley Stadium. But.... there had been at least 60 British buses in Maastricht on that Saturday!! We posted the message and a photo that was on the SD card, on the Facebook pages of both the AR fan site, Harmony Parlor, and the AR fans British chat group, as well as our AR fans movies website. And yes... Bingo!!! After several days she messaged us!! She had already returned to England, but would be back in Maastricht the next weekend!!! My goodness!!! Do the British travel to Maastricht twice? Well... she got her SD card back the next weekend and she was very happy about that! That's the advantage of being in contact with André fans on Facebook and fan websites!!!
Video of Marc’s exhibition
Sunday, July 5. The day of the third concert. We saw many André masks in the audience, being used (waved) as fans. They seemed to belong to a group of Spanish fans; to be more specific, Catalonian fans! After the concert, one person from the group gave the wooden mask “fan” to Ruth Morgan and Ruth, in turn, gave it to us. What a masterpiece! We'll cherish it! Monday July 6. Time to attend the exhibition "Love of Detail" in the Museum on the Vrijthof. As an exception to the rule, the Museum was open on Monday!  Please click HERE to read our report on the exhibition. Tuesday July 7. A day to work on the website in the hotel room, have drinks and food at the Gauchos terrace, which nowadays functions as a "hang-out" for André fans – always a good chance of meeting fan friends over there! In the evening we gathered a group of fans to take bus # 6 to an area on the outskirts of Maastricht to attend Laura Engel's first mini concert of her "Latin Breeze" program. What a voice, what a volume! Click HERE for the Latin Breeze concert.
Wednesday July 8. Another quiet day. Fortunately, the weather reverted back to normal. The exceptional heat was gone. Time was spent on the computer, on Facebook, and doing a German translation, with the English edited by Jim Morgan, our American neighbor in the hotel. John is on vacation with his family in the Netherlands and without equipment, so Jim took his place. Today, nine people from Howard and Susan Horder's family and friends arrived at the DuCasque Hotel in Maastricht. Howard and Susan died a year ago on the way back to their native Australia from the Maastricht concerts, when flight MH 17 was shot down over the Ukraine. This year their three sons with wives and children made a trip through Europe to visit their parents’ favorite cities. They ended their journey in Maastricht in order to experience the Maastricht Magic their parents had loved so much.They wished to attend the fan dinner, the fan picnic and a concert.
Alice Leung expressed her feelings in a photo compilation. Susan and Howard will never be forgotten.
Click here to go to page 2 for the continuing story
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