July 23, 2019.The party is over! Everything has an end. Yes!! No!! Yes!!For the 15th year in a row André Rieu performed on the Vrijthof Square. 12 concerts and the 100th concert at the end of the series. It is finished now and it feels so empty.We noticed a brand new stage with two carillons and amazing new dresses for JSO members and sopranos, an extraordinary pan flute solo by Teun. New and old music pieces and new and old speeches. A tribute to the Notre Dame which was on fire, 300 couples of professional dancers, 105 year old Sister Leona, the mayor of Maastricht honoring André by revealing a plaque which will be placed in the pavement of the Vrijthof square forever. And….. no rain at all during any of the concerts, which was a present from Heaven.
In April 2019 we read in the newspapers that one of the medieval city walls of Maastricht had collapsed. It was the wall near Bastion "the five heads", opposite our fan picnic place. During our stay it was stabilized and the restauration had started. The view from our fan picnic place looked quite different now!
But let's start at the beginning. Ruud and I also celebrated our 15th year in a row and 100th concert here!! As usual Ruud hung up the banners on the hotel façade, assisted by John. That's the sign that we have arrived. After 15 years the hotel staff feels like a family and our room like a living room annex AR administration center for all of our website updates. The communication with the Harmony Parlor on Facebook also continued like if we were at home. So we might call this a "working holiday".
The first few days there is a lot of kissing and hugging our fan friends from all over the world, who we see only once a year in Maastricht. In advance we had prepared and published on our website, a calendar (click: HERE) with all events to see and to do during all of these concert days, so you would not miss out anything. I won't mention these events here again, because we created separate pages for the several events. The first weekend is for us the busiest, with the fan dinner and one fan picnic and then we need our hotel room to withdraw and take a rest. The second and third weekends are more relaxed.
In between the concerts, we visited a few new tourist attractions: A guided tour through the Sfinx area and the wild nature of the "Frontenpark". The so called "Green Carpet" which is a park on the roof of the new tunnel which replaced the former highway. On the roundabout is a statue of the (female) Maastricht angel and the children's playground is in the shape of a Mosasaurus. We also visited an art exposition in Lanaken, Belgium, named GLO'ART. Very beautiful and very special. Inside, but also outside in a part of a forest.
In the meantime we celebrated birthdays, wedding anniversaries, had dinners with friends, took fans to the doctor…. Everything... Ruud, together with the receptionist of the hotel, freed a lady who was locked in the bathroom of the hotel. Never a dull moment!
By chance, exploring the Wyck area and checking the failed plans of the "Wyck Bazaar", we suddenly discovered André's bronze sculpture at an inner court with empty little shops!! In 2014 we had posted an article on our website about the history of the sculpture (click HERE), but since 2017 we had lost sight of where the sculpture was. And……. Here it was! We were happy to see that the sculpture was still there, but it has been neglected, dirty, full of cobwebs and dust. We were there with Linda and Richard Oswick and we cleaned him, dusted off the cobwebs and cheered him up, because he was there lonely during his glorious concerts, in a forgotten corner on an inner court with empty shops. How sad!! When other fans went there, they found the door closed. Only Kerstin Lundberg from Sweden was a lucky duck to find the door open for a while, so she could also take a picture!!
Like last year, our grandson Thomas (9) had asked us to stay with us in the hotel again for one night on Sunday and watch the concert from our room. In the western part of the Netherlands the summer holidays had not yet started, so he had to ask for special permission to be excused from school on Monday (when we would bring him back home (to The Hague) again. He is not the kind of a party animal, and when Ruud and him were able to join the concert by getting uncollected tickets, he was totally overwhelmed by seeing all the waltzing couples. But at the end he did his best to do the YMCA movements.
La Chine, with Lily.
Kenny and Connie Toong
Every year on July 17th we think of Susan and Howard Horder who perished with the plane MH17 on their way home to Australia, having enjoyed the concerts and fan contacts so much. Five years ago. It is still hard to believe. We all feel the sadness again, year after year.Another special fan who was in our minds, is Joke Breedijk. She started the mime group of André and the JSO, the "Golden oldies at full speed". The senior orchestra performed in care centers, bringing joy to the elderly. Much to our sadness she passed away last year and her last words to me were: "Be sure that I shall watch the Maastricht concerts from up above". The mime group continues now with a new André Rieu and they will perform in the Pathé cinema in The Hague, 30 minutes prior to the movie "Shall we dance?" (Maastricht 2019 concert). If you like to know more about this senior entertainment group, click HERE.
Oh yes… and we had the attention of the media again! Glossy Limburg Magazine Chapeau asked us for a short interview and I think that The Hague area has also discovered us by now. Ruud gave a radio interview in the early morning and a few days later a journalist with camera and microphone from the same local TV channel "The Hague FM" asked us to make a short video. You can see and hear the result on our “media” page.
So the three weeks flew by. We removed the banners, packed cardboard André in the box (he welcomes the fan dinner guests every year, and afterwards he is allowed to welcome the hotel guests in the entrance hall of Hotel DuCasque. We said goodbye to our friends, the hotel staff, and left. See you again next year!And yes, we'll watch the 13th concert in the cinema on July 28th! And we'll take our neighbor who took care of our plants at home, with us, followed by a “Thank You Very Much Dinner”!And yes, at home we are going to watch all 10 episodes of the roadsoap “Welcome to your world II”.Ineke.
Ruth and Jim Morgan
Fireworks at the end, bye bye André until next year,there goes the stage and André said on Facebook: “Back to normal”!
The celebration of Ruth’s birthday and the 57th wedding anniversary of John and Bobbie, and our 100th concert on the Vrijthof.
On July 28, 2019, we attended the Live Maastricht 2019 concert (named: Shall we dance?) in the Pathé cinema in The Hague. Prior to the film the cinema staff handed out a glass of Prosecco (or orange juice), and the Hague senior mime orchestra “The Golden Oldies at full Speed” put the audience in the right mood.