The concerts in Maastricht,
14, 15, 16 July 2006 Ineke Cornellisen/Sonja
Soon after we returned home from Vienna (by plane), we took off on Thursday July 13th for the 2 ½ hour drive
from The Hague to Maastricht. Sonja and her Mom joined us on the drive. Our heads still filled with the fabulous
Viennese program. In Maastricht we went straight to Charlemagne, the café/restaurant where we would have our
fans dinner the next day. (check out inspired fan page for fan meetings) Just to check all the appointments that I
made by telephone. 32 fans from all over the world would join the dinner and they mailed me their meal preference
in advance. 5 courageous fans even dared to order the typical Maastricht meal “Zuurvlees” (“sour meat”, a kind
of stew). Bravo! The crew was expecting a hard weekend! If Rieu is in town, Maastricht is upside down! (I
invented that myself: rhyming in English, not bad, huh?....). Well everything seemed to be okay. All the terraces on
the Vrijthof had been sold out for a long time, so I chose for Charlemagne, a friendly café at the other famous
square: “Onze Lieve Vrouwenplein”. A simple plate-dinner for a reasonable price.
Every day from 5 to 6 pm is the sound check. Everybody can watch, standing behind the fences. Those fences
are removed after 6 pm when the entire Vrijthof square is closed. People can then only come to the restaurants, if
they show their dinner tickets. Marjorie helps, making sure the sound is good no matter where you sit at the
Venue. After the sound check, they go inside the theatre. The “Theater aan het Vrijthof” (next to our hotel) is the
place where André and the JSO stay before the show.
You can see the tension on André’s face! When he’s fed up with all the camera flashes, he turns around for a
while.“Theater aan het Vrijthof”
Fans get together in the city park next day at noon. (See inspired fan page for story)
In Vienna Frank told us that he would play the Carri lion all three days before the concerts in Maastricht. So from
Friday till Sunday at 8:00 P.M. we were treated to Frank playing the bells from the St. Servaas Basilica
Then like last year the Royal Harmonie Sainte Cecile from Eijsden paraded around the square before the
concerts started. Andre is an honorary committee member of the Harmonie.
It was fun to see Mireille's partner walk in step behind the parade with their little boy Miko. I later had a little talk
with her. I also made Miko a little shirt last year. She recognized me and at the end of the concerts came over,
Miko by then asleep on her back. She told me Miko still fit the little shirt, but that it is getting small, but it is one of
his favorite shirts.
Besides Olga and Otto the handsome help in the boutique looked very familiar.
Do you not think?
The concert included a few familiar acts. They started with Einzug der Gladiatoren.
Followed by the Wilhelm Tell overture, which was followed by Schwarze Augen
Then came Espana Cani with the bull and the running lady in red.
Andre: We are now going to play for you the song they play before the bull fights in Spain, for the matadors. You
are not afraid of bulls are you? It will be okay as long as you are not wearing red.
Oh, my that is a very red dress.
The bull is different, but I heard Pierre still is the head and I found out that Mario is the rear.
Next came Cielito lindo with the three tenors.
Followed by Carla Maffioletti singing
Heia in den Bergen. She was in the same beautiful dress she wore in Vienna.
Carla was followed by the Russian Trio St Petersburg (Sirtaki, hoppah!). In the past they traveled with Andre for
several years. Andre always jokingly describes how he heard them playing on a corner in Maastricht with the
snow knee deep. When he approaches them, they run away thinking Andre is from the KGB. The following year
he heard them again, this time the snow is up to his waist. But by then they knew Andre is not with the KGB and
they talked, signed a contract and went on tour with him.
Trio St Petersburg
After a rousing rendition of Kalinka the St Petersburg Trio left and up came the three tenors, they first sang
"Freunde das Leben in Lebenswert" (Friends, Life is worth living) then " Die Madis vom Chantant. (The girls from
Gary Bennett, Bela Mavrak and Thomas Grueul
The Platin Tenors
The three sopranos joined the tenors on stage for the last song before the intermission. Together they sang
the Gzardasfurstin Potpourri
After the intermission they started with only the girls on the stage. Andre moved to the back between the girls and
then the boys came up with colored umbrellas and they 'sang and danced' "I am singing in the rain".
We're are singing in the rain
It was a very funny sight. But not exactly the Rockettes
Next was Carmen Monarcha. I missed her last year and was happy to see her. She sang 'Spiel me das Lied von
Gluck and Treu' (Play me the song about happiness and Faithfulness) I loved the song and thought it very well
suited for her voice. During one of my little chats with her she told me she really likes the jewelery that she wears
with this dress and is considering to keep it for herself. She explained that the sopranos pick out and buy their own
jewelery to go with the dresses and then get reimbursed for it.
After Carmen came another old favorite. Feuerfest! They did this melody back in 1997 and brought it back last
season. (see Monique on a pink cloud for more pictures). In 1997 Roland Lafosse did the skit with Marc Doomen.
Marc was the French Horn player of the JSO for over 10 years. Noel Perdaens has replaced Marc on the Horn
and also in the skit. Josef Strauss actually wrote the score to the music to include an anvil. Of course Andre
made it into the funny skit. I heard that the Gold Gym shirt that Roland wore in 1997, had worn out, so they went
looking for another Gold Gym to find a new replacement. They must have found it one, because it is the same
shirt. I think it is great, that Roland 10 years later looks the same as in 1997. Look for yourself.
Mario bringing in the anvil I need to tune my instrument
Linda is flirting with Roland. Due to Linda's flirtations, Roland
misses a note, Noel laughs and
Roland goes after his horn.
. Noel can rescue his horn just
in the nick of time.
Okay, show us what
Muscle man Joined effort on the anvil Roland pulls Noel of the stage
Mario and John take the anvil of the stage and Andre requests an applause for them. They bow with flourish.
Andre then starts to talk about the Italians in his Orchestra. He says they almost did
not make it, they partied hardy because Italy won the World Cup soccer. A very big event in
Europe. I watched the final in a café in Vienna, and watched Italy win by penalty shots. Not
a good win but still a win, and they are number one. Franco, Vincenzo and Luca got up and
waved Italian flags and banners. Franco even draped the flag around his head like a scarf.
After the Italian antics, the three tenors came back on stage and they performed a
beautiful Italian song. 'Torna A Surriento'. This was followed by Funiculi Funicula.
Next was 'An der schonen blauen Donau'. André introduced Marcel and Nicole
Falize’s 16 year old son Glenn as a professional member of the JSO! Together with
his very proud father he helped all evening with the percussion. Glenn had his debut
with the JSO during 'La Vie est Belle' in 2000 As 10 year old he played a drummer
boy during the performance of 'Bolero'. On the DVD 'The flying Dutchman' in 2004
you can also see Glenn and his two younger brothers playing the xylophone. He is already quite an
accomplished young man, and his Dad is clearly proud of him
Many people get up to dance, and Andre goes through his regular routine and stops during playing, so the
dancers have some trouble following the music.
Then Andre introduces Suzan Erens as the girl from right here, from Maastricht!! He says it will be very hard to
find a soprano who can sing this song as well. Suzan sings 'Don't cry for me Argentina'! It gave me goose
After Suzan's fantastic rendition of Don't cry for me Argentina. Andre said: " We have been playing beneath these
churches all evening long, and in order to do this right we really need a church choir. We of course have a
church choir and what kind: The World famous Harlem Gospel Choir! They had arrived four days prior to the
concert and we all assumed it was a rehearsal for the taping at the Radio City Music Hall concert. What a
rehearsal it was. Andre and the JSO danced to their hearts content and so did the audience. We had a blast.
They started with 'Amen', and followed that with Oh, Happy Day'.
After the Harlem Gospel Choir left the stage. Andre, alone on a dark stage with only one single light on him said
they were now going to perform a song, that he thinks is one of the most beautiful and profound. He is convinced
that if everyone in the world made music the world would be a much better place. People would not have time to
fight. While he was talking the soprano's, tenors and Harlem Gospel Choir quietly joined him on stage.
Written by Ludwig von Beethoven and text by Friedrich Shiller. "Alle Menschen werden Brüder" translation: All
people shall become brothers. The English title for the song is 'Ode to Joy'.
After the standing ovation, Andre said all things must come to an end and we are slowly nearing the end of our
concert. They finished the official part of the concert with the Radetzky Mars. Confetti cannons blew glittering
confetti everywhere, Andre received flowers and said Goodbye.
Of course, anyone who has been to a life concert knows that now the encores start, the best part of the concert is
still to come, and it is time to party. As soon as the Radetzky Mars starts to play people go to the front and stand,
dance, sway and sing while standing right before the stage. The encores started with a Medley of many familiar
songs, including "Ich hab dich lieb" This was followed by the carnival song 'Mestreech is neet breid meh
Mestreech dat is laank' (This song is in the Maastricht's dialect and it means "Maastricht is not wide, but the
dialect of Maastricht is long', meaning they stretch their words out, while they speak) Of course almost everyone
knows the song and sing happily along. At one point Andre stops the music and directs the audience to keep
singing, while he conducts us. Of course we happily obliged.
The St Petersburg Trio returns to the stage with the Sirtaki. The horn section and the choir do the Sirtaki behind
Andre's back and the audience in front of the stage and in front of all the cafés dances along.
After the St Petersburg Trio leaves the stage, the Harlem Gospel choir return with a very energetic rendition of
'When the Saints come Marching in'. Andre, the girls from the orchestra, everyone got involved and danced up a
storm. What fun! What energy! Writing this I can still see the Vrijthof coming to life as it had never before.
After a long standing ovation the Harlem Gospel Singers left the stage and Andre said that the only thing he could
play after such a performance was the National Anthem of Maastricht. Carla, Suzan and Carmen came on stage
wearing a roman type of dress. They sang the Anthem written by Fons Olterdissen (1865-1923)
The concert was ended with everyone Andre, orchestra, sopranos, tenors and the Harlem Gospel Singers coming
back on stage for the last time singing and playing: 'Adieu, Mein Kleiner Gardeoffizier'.
By then it was already 12:30 and we had been treated to a wonderful concert which will be remembered for many
At the end of the concert we walked back to the Theater on the Vrijthof to say thank you to Andre and the
orchestra members. Carmen posed for us with the Kangaroo she got from Jack and Sylvia Morris from Sidney.
Franco came looking for me and gave me the picture of his sons. We said hello to several others and then the
fun was over. Time to make plans for the next time.
The show ended up at 12.30! Afterwards we could not sleep for hours to let the
adrenaline calm down….
Next days we explored Maastricht and surroundings. We saw old water mills
and found the statue of d’Artagnan in a park. You know him, he is the fourth
musketeer who ate his breakfast in André’s castle kitchen before he died in a
fight against the French in 1673! At least: that is what André told us! Of course
we visited a bakery and bought a Limburg “vlaai”, that cannot be missed!
In Maasticht you have to get a Limburg 'Vlaai' For more info go to Misc page
Nand, Ineke, Gemma and Ruud
View from Hotel Du Casque
Ruud and I had booked the hotel room facing
the Vrijthof Square again. You have to do that
at least a year in advance! Fans, it costs a lot
of money, but it is top of the bill, even with all
that noise at night! It is in the center of the city,
lots of noisy people coming from the café’s at
night and the Rieu crew building and cleaning
(big vacuum cleaners for the confetti cannons!)
all night long. But it sounded like music into my
ears! Gemma Korthoudt and her husband Nand
were in the room next to us, Laurie and Noel
Crowley at the other side next to us. In the rest
of the hotel: all André fans! We hung our
banners out of the
They have a meal there, André takes his nap
there, and half an hour before the start of the
show (9.30 pm), they appear outside, standing in
front of the theatre, laughing, chatting, tuning the
instruments. Fans can make pictures and talk to
the JSO members. Andre was nervous and he
did not pose for pictures with fans. He however
did make one exception and posed with a boy
with Down Syndrome. (I found that very endearing)
“Theater aan het Vrijthof”
Andre taking his nap on his red
couch, it travels the world with him.
My Mom playing queen from the
window of Ineke's hotel room.
Later we read in the paper about
the gray groupies who were
throwing kisses to Andre from the
Where are the boys??
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a young orchestra. A
very fertile orchestra and most of them have
children, who also make music, and their dream is
to play with Mommy or Daddy in the orchestra.
They are still too young, however one of them is
here with us, you have probably seen him. Marcel
Falize's 16 year old son Glenn Falize!
Give him an enormous applause.
Does he not look
like a proud father.
Lara's Theme, Poliushko Polic and
the finished with Kalinka
Okay, Goodbye, time to go home!
Oh, you want some more?
May I introduce you to the three Platin
tenors. The one on the left, the tall one, is
Gary Bennett from Tasmania, next to him
with the beard it Bela Mavrak from
Hungary, and here next to me with the
friendly face is Thomas Gruel from
Tuning with a file Strip-tease a la
The girls opened up their scarves and displayed the weapon of Maastricht flanked by two flags of Maastricht.
Adieu, adieu until we meet again!