Julia McCarthy-Fox shared the wedding photos and wrote the report. We received permission to post this love story here, which also appeared on the Facebook page of the “André Rieu fans Harmony Parlor.” The Harmony Parlor is a big André Rieu fan group in English language, started on Facebook in 2010 by Sue Berry from California, USA. The site grew to approx. 24.000 members in 2020. “At a very quiet time for André news, we like to share our story which shows that even in these strange times there is still much love and joy in the world.Kathy (Prater) and I met very briefly at the end of an André concert in Sacramento (California, USA) on 27th October 2017. I am English, she is a Kiwi, and we had both traveled a long way for the concert tour. There was a group of Harmony Parlor members together at the concert, and although I knew them from seeing them on André Rieu fans Harmony Parlor, I had only met one of them previously, in Maastricht.On our return home Kathy and I became friends on Facebook and started chatting regularly online with the occasional phone call as we got to know each other better.In March 2018, at which point we had become very good friends and were talking several times daily, I made a very short surprise visit to New Zealand - deciding to go, booking, and catching my flight in the space of 12 hours.We had a wonderful time together, and during this trip the whole balance of our friendship changed without us really noticing, and when I left we were both distraught. I very quickly booked a return trip for 6 months for shortly after Maastricht 2018 where we were meeting up to attend all the concerts - which we had booked separately before meeting.Spending 2 hours a day talking on video each morning and then the same each evening gave us plenty of time to decide about our feeling for each other, and by the time we met up in Maastricht we were sure that we wanted to be together for real, and on July 9th we made it official - we were in love and were now a couple. Our time together in Maastricht was magical and we will remember it forever.At the end of the time in Maastricht Kathy flew home alone while I returned to the UK for a week to pack and explain the situation to those who needed to know before following her.We have been together constantly since then - and on Tuesday 27th October, 1099 days after our first meeting, we were married.We were originally due to have a small family wedding in June, but COVID19 put paid to that, and as we have no idea when we will be able to get all the right people together for that we decided to have a totally different wedding.And we did - as André and the JSO have been such an important part of our story we decided to continue the link with our wedding, which took place during the interval of a private screening of Magical Maastricht in our local cinema (in Te Awamutu, New Zealand) and was wonderful. We have had so much love and support from friends across the world that we decided to share our day with them by live streaming the ceremony, and were joined by people from all time zones dressed beautifully for the occasion and happy to be sharing it with us.Imagine our surprise and delight when at the beginning of the screening André appeared on the screen with a specially recorded message for us - how lucky we were.The ceremony itself was simple but beautiful and we danced our first dance to The Blue Danube alongside André and Sister Leona. At the end we waved our André flashlights during Falling In Love and played maracas for Marina, before returning home in our vintage car for wedding cake and champagne.Later in the evening our special guests joined us again online for a private concert by VerrasSing, live from Maastricht, to end a perfect day with their perfect voices. (Note: VerrasSing means “surprise” and is an intimate concert in Maastricht in Corona time, presented by Frank Steijns (piano), Madieke Marjon, Joline Soomers, Christina Petrou (sopranos of the JSO). Click HERE to get a photo impression).If it were not for André Rieu we would never have met - when he says at his concerts that "music brings people together" he is not wrong. Thank you André, for the music, and for my lovely Kathy.Thank you to friends for photos used”.
Congratulations to Julia and Kathy. Ruud and I wish you a wonderful future together in New Zealand.Isn’t this special?? A UK fan meets a New Zealand fan during an André Rieu concert in the USA, they kept in touch, lived alternately in England, Maastricht (during the July concerts) and New Zealand. Three years later they decided to spend the rest of their lives together, were married in New Zealand and now live there permanently. Yes, it is very special! A love story to brighten up your day during these long lasting depressive corona 2020 months…..Note: Ruud and I were also in the USA in 2017. Our thoughts go back to our holiday in the United States and Canada, combined with an André Rieu concert in San José and meeting friends from all over the world.We now realize that the San José concert was a few days before the Sacramento concert and that our holiday pictures show Kathy, who was still unaware as to what would happen to her within the next few days! It is really amazing!Ineke: “Kathy, do you still remember that we were running from our hotel back to the park where I left my camera on a bench?? My God, how fast you could run!! We ran through red lights….. and I was so grateful that my camera was still there and be able to retrieve my vacation photos”.
October 24th 2017, André’s concert in the SAP Center in San José, California. Friends meet from Australia, New Zealand, USA and the Netherlands. Music unites!Kathy is right in the center.