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Lift-Off Percussion and Entertainment 2011. Marcel Falize
Lift - Off is a percussion group formed by Marcel Falize in 2010.  Marcel, his wife Nicole and their three sons (Glenn, Dean and Colin) all play percussion instruments. What started as a one time performance during a New Year’s party has evolved into a unique percussion band. Not only Marcel and his family participate in this percussion group. Sander Frissen, Ward Vlasveld, Ruud Merx and Lin Jong are also members of this group. During this concert Franco and Sanne played along and Emmely and Zoë joined the group. Below an impression of the December 2011 performance, followed by three videos of the 2010 performance and an interview with Marcel and Ward for Limburg TV. Thank you John, for your assistance with the translation. For more information click here. December 28th, 2011
Video clip of the performance in the Cornelius House in Heerlerheide on 27 and 28 December 2011. Lift-Off percussion and entertainment is on Facebook: Click HERE. You can find the website of Lift-Off: www.liftoffentertainment.nl .
Left: Colin Right: Glenn
2010 performance and interviews
Father and sons Falize performed for the first time together in the Flying Dutchman concert in Kerkrade, Limburg, the Netherlands. Below you can see how it all started. In 2004, with VOLARE.
MARCEL FALIZE Percussionist in André Rieu’s Johann Strauss Orchestra.  Conductor. Biography. Born on March 19th 1966. Since 1990 first percussionist with André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra and conductor of the Hunters Horn and Trumpet Band “Edelweiss”, in the city of Heerlen. As a youngster of seven, I started to make music and I went everywhere with my dad, as he is also a conductor. Such was my passion for music that I later studied Percussion at the Conservatory. During my studies I taught at various organizations/clubs. I'm still very active with one organization and that's my greatest hobby: The Hunters Horn and Trumpet Band “Edelweiss”. I also performed with several other orchestras: i.e. the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, the Aachen Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra, the European Youth Wind Orchestra, the Radio Symphony Orchestra and André Rieu’s Johann Strauss Orchestra, of which I’m still a member.   As a small boy I had a dream to have my own orchestra, or to play in an orchestra similar to that of James Last. My dream became reality when Andre Rieu asked me to play in his orchestra. As a classically trained percussionist, my role in this orchestra can be called “unique”. The versatility of instruments we play every night is unprecedented. The manner in which we entertain the crowd is fantastic, and we in turn receive great appreciation.   My children have grown up with music and have now found their own destiny. All three play the drums, which gave me an idea. During the 2010 New Year’s reception (organized by the Edelweiss Hunters Horn and Trumpet Band of Heerlen for their 50th anniversary) in the district of Heksenberg, my sons and I held a concert, which was greatly appreciated by the audience. This lead to several requests to perform elsewhere and all my years of experience with the Johann Strauss Orchestra got me thinking and we spent several months searching for a repertoire with which to start a percussion group. It had to be more than a mere percussion group, but a totally new product with many possibilities.  With Lift-Off, I was able to make the second half of my dream (having my own orchestra) a reality, with a unique composition. The versatility of Lift-Off offers a lot of possibilities. I would like to give people a special evening/afternoon with Lift-Off. Music is my passion and my life.
GLENN FALIZE Percussion (text by André Rieu, from his official website). Glenn has a familiar surname because he’s Marcel Falize's son. Imagine having such a meticulous musician as your father – even when on holiday, Marcel takes time to study music pieces. Even as a toddler, Glenn wanted to join in with the drumming and had his first percussion lessons from his father. It soon became evident that Glenn was unusually talented. So much so, that at the age of seven, I invited him to play a solo at a concert in Berlin. The rehearsals all went well, but a minute before he had to appear, the little boy looked into the concert hall and saw tens of thousands of people... He was afraid to go on stage. Finally his father was able to bring him around and he played the stars from the sky. And he still does! Just like his father, Glenn is a fantastic percussionist who loves to fool his colleagues, but then in the nicest way. When at home he likes to play soccer, but with all his studies and concert trips he doesn't find much time for that these days.
DEAN FALIZE Biography   My name is Dean Falize and I was born on 28 Jun 1993. From an early age I have been involved with music as my father is a musician. Therefore I  grew up with music. When I was 6 years old I became a member of the hunting-horn and trumpet corps “Edelweiss” in Heerlen-Heksenberg, where I am currently an active member. I perform as a percussionist playing on everything from snare drums to percussion instruments, and even the marimba. In 2004, my father asked me and my two brothers if we would like to play the marimba with André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra. We played the song “Volare”. That was a huge, wonderful opportunity for me. We performed this song in Berlin (Waldbühne, 20,000 attendees) and Kerkrade (Parkstad Stadium, 18,000 attendees). Since then I have been asked many more times to play along with the orchestra at the Vrijthof, the Amsterdam Arena, the Gelredome, in Toronto, Tokyo, etc. In 2010, my father came up with a great idea: he wanted me and my brother Glenn, to perform a piece of music called “Trio per Uno”, as a special performance during Edelweiss’ coffee concert. That was a huge success and later he asked us whether we would like to form a percussion band. My brothers and I immediately agreed.   It is incredible that I have already experienced so much in my young life and that I have been accorded such unique opportunities to showcase my musical skills in our own band. I would like to pursue percussion studies at the Conservatory, but am currently very busy with my studies in order to achieve that goal. In Lift- Off I am active as a percussionist and hopefully this dream will last for a long time.
COLIN FALIZE Biography   My name is Colin Falize. I was born on 10 September 1996. I used to accompany my father, mother and brothers, to the rehearsals of the "Hunters Horn and Trumpet Band Edelweiss" on Tuesday evenings. When I finally turned 7, I was allowed to play along on the drums in this club. My father taught me to play the drums and I loved it. I have been doing this for seven years and I still think it's great. In 2004, after a year’s experience, my father asked my brothers and me if we would like to perform the song "Volare" with André Rieu, on a marimba. We did and played in two concerts, one at the Parkstad Limburg Stadium and the other at the Waldbühne in Berlin. It was rather intimidating, but once I was on stage I thought it was super fun. It was of course a pity when the concert ended. Since then I have been busy making music with the "Hunters Horn and Trumpet Band Edelweiss". In addition I have also worked on melodic expansion. This year, I received notification that there were too few percussionists for a TV appearance in London. Actually, I was too young to be allowed to perform on stage. A lot happened before I was allowed to go along. After numerous hassles, everything turned out fine and I was allowed to participate in London. Of course this was also super fun. Later on my father and brothers played a piece at the New Year's concert of the "Hunters Horn and Trumpet Band Edelweiss". I had often attended the rehearsals and  thought it was a super cool piece. The audience’s favourable response to this performance led to my father’s crazy idea to form his own band, which he asked me to join. At first I thought it was all a joke.....but no, NOT AT ALL!!! He also accorded me the opportunity to play with LIFT-OFF, and that sounds like a lot of fun……
RUUD MERX Trombonist Johann Strauss Orchestra, Andre Rieu. Composer / Arranger. Biography   Ruud Merx, the composer of such pieces like "Il Monstro", is no stranger to music. He is a versatile musician, hailing from Limburg, with multiple talents. In addition to being a composer, he is also an excellent trumpet/trombone player in André Rieu’s JSO. Ruud is also the director of Merx Music Productions: www.merxmusicproductions.eu. He regards the writing of music as an expression of emotions, which, in everyday life, you will not soon experience. For instance, who would ever meet a monster? His first work dates from 2008 and is an Intrada for Brass Ensemble, which is regularly successfully performed by the wind players of André Rieu. For a young trumpet talent (Melissa Venema), he composed "Romance for Trumpet", of which a CD has been released. In 2008 a musical piece together with John Diederen from Schintaler (Band) was composed, which produces a totally different sound from that of the band. His latest achievement is a composition of an aria for the world famous tenor Béla Mavrák, which will be released on CD worldwide. The Cuban musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club recorded this song.   The tours with André Rieu provide a wealth of impressions from different cultures from around the world. His next compositions will definitely reflect these experiences.
ALINA-LIN MERX-JONG (Lin Jong) Violinist with André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra. Biography   The world renowned violinist, Alina-Lin Merx-Jong (Lin Jong), is one of the musicians from André Rieu’s Orchestra. She has been touring the world with this illustrious company since 1991. When, as a child, she heard a violin concerto by Beethoven, she immediately fell in love with the violin. She has developed a special relationship with this magnificent instrument and wherever she plays, people are touched by her beautiful tone. In 1993 she graduated “Cum Laude” from the Maastricht Conservatory. As a result of her warm personality, she can really let her violin sing and you'll be amazed by her phenomenal technique. "Playing the violin is my passion", is her motto and you'll undoubtedly hear that. In 2004 Sonja Harper posted an interview with Ruud and Lin on her Translations Website. Read it by clicking HERE.
WARD VLASVELD Synthesizer (text by André Rieu, from his official website). If synthesizers had been around in Mozart's time, Ward would have written music for them. I only really got to know synthesizers when I listened to Ward during his final examination at the music academy. I was blown away by the variety of sounds Ward could conjure out of that instrument. Ward is a real star at that. In the Johann Strauss Orchestra he is the link between the past and present, meaning that he can adapt the music from past centuries to fit our modern ears. On tour Ward is always the last person in the hotel bar, often after heated discussions. But in the morning he’s always the first one back on the bus! In the studio he is my rock and salvation as sound engineer and recording technician for all the rehearsals and CD recordings.
FRANCO VULCANO Double bass (text by André Rieu, from his official website). Our remarkably named double bass player comes from Calabria, in the far south of Italy. He had played in just about all of Italy’s large orchestras by the time he met his great love in Milan – a Dutch girl whom he then married and came to live with in the Netherlands. He feels very much at home here, but in his heart he remains a proud Italian, firmly rooted in his own culture. In our buses we have an electrical socket for every seat so that anyone who wants to can work on a laptop or watch a film. So what do you think Franco brought along on his first trip? One small stove – so that he could hand out freshly made Italian espresso to everyone on the bus! Franco is a very sociable person and he has started a real craze for games in the orchestra – like the exciting card game ‘Scopa’, which is a typically Neapolitan card game that you play with a sort of Tarot cards. By now half the orchestra seems to be addicted to it! On stage Franco is a real charmer, and he seems to get a lot of attention from women in the audience. I don’t always know exactly what he’s up to behind my back, but I certainly notice a lot of smiles in his direction from the audience! SANNE MESTROM Saxophone/ Bassoon (text by André Rieu, from his official website). Here in Limburg everyone is a musician – every town and every village has its own choir or a brass band. Sanne grew up in Brachterbeek, one of the smallest villages in Limburg. There’s a school, a church, a bakery and of course… a brass band. And not just any brass band, but one of the biggest in the country, and thrice World Champion at the famous World Music Contest in Kerkrade, no less! Everyone in the village plays something; music wafts out of every house and on Sunday mornings that brass band sound can be heard all over the village. Sanne too learned the piano and the saxophone from the age of 5. She practiced hard and so it was natural that she should go on to play the saxophone in the village band. Jean Sassen, my double bass player was the band’s conductor back then. And when Sanne was still a little girl, she saw him on the television with the Johann Strauss Orchestra. From then on she dreamed of one day playing with me herself, up there on the stage in one of those gorgeous dresses! After studying piano and saxophone at the Maastricht Conservatory, her dream has finally come true. She plays soprano and alto saxophone, fabulously, in my orchestra and with her cheeky smile she is always a lively, happy presence on the stage. The first time Sanne came on tour with us, it turned out she had another talent as well. She surprised everyone with her amazing ability to fall asleep, if she wants to, at any time and in any position… and stay asleep! It’s a trick that comes in handy at times with the long plane journeys. Whenever we’re on tour the children back in the village school start their day by asking ‘Where is Sanne today?’ Then the teacher tells the children where Sanne and the orchestra are on tour that day, and they learn about different places in Europe, America, Australia or Asia. They count the kilometres, learn some words in French, German or English, and of course work out how many days have to go by before Sanne will be back in the village!
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