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Andre Rieu, a man with compassion

We all know about the benefit concerts Andre and his JSO play at times.   These include the Jose Carrera's Cancer
benefit concert, the big concert in Germany for the flood victims in 2003 , that concert was Andre's brainchild.   All
the profits from 'Please, don't go' went to the children in Iraq, Andre tells about the charity in Africa he supports in his
book, and I am sure there are more that we do not know about.







On September 14, 2006 Erik Buch, (
see the inspired fans page, tribute) a special Andre fan, (he drove a taxi named "the
Straussmobile"  in Copenhagen)  passed away.  I felt so bad for his wife that I wanted to do what little I could and
decided to write to the fans and also to the helpdesk to ask if they could sent her a note.   I thought maybe notes
from Andre fans, but above all a note from Andre would help her just a little bit in her time of grief.   I was very
hesitant about writing the helpdesk, because it is clear Andre cannot write to fans personally, but I thought this was a
special fan and Andre knew about 'the Straussmobile'. (
They had asked permission to name the taxi)
I received a very nice note back from the helpdesk:

Dear Sonja,

I was shocked by the news about Mr Erik Buch. I knew him for some years through the helpdesk as well. I will send
my condolences to Anne and already planned to inform Andre about this. Thank you for your consideration.
With kind regards,
Helpdesk André Rieu

Andre was in Japan at the time, but he did take the  time to write to Anne soon after and this is what Anne wrote me
about it.

"I received a personal signed and handwritten note from André, with his condolences, written in silver, and with a
picture from Songs from my heart. Even on the envelope it was his handwriting".

I had done this one other time when Linda Stinner, another very special fan (see inspired fans, Linda's sweatshirts) lost
her 22 year old son Christian in a tragic car accident on New Year's day, 2005.  I called on the fans to write her
letters to make her feel that she was in many people'  thoughts.   She too  had asked permission to make the
sweatshirts, so Andre knew about this fan also.  I wrote Kerstin, Andre's manager that time.  And Linda too, received
a personal note of condolences from Andre.
 Linda wrote me:

"Andre send his heartfelt sympathy to me after Christian's accident.  I also received dozens  of dear cards and
notes from Andre's fans all over the world.

Andre is a kind and compassionate man who cares about his fans and will reach out when he thinks it may help.






Here I would like to share a story about Andre I was fortunate enough be a small part of and to witness myself.    

In 2004, when I asked fans around our country to help spread the word of Andre's tour, I had fans in almost every
city helping.  In Atlanta, one of the women helping was Marijo.   I had known Marijo since 2002 from the guest book
of another website.  She and I exchanged a few e-mails at the time, (she told me she had cancer, but that it was in
remission, and at the time did not go into much details).  We lost track of each other, until she found my website and
offered to help promote Andre's 2004 tour.  She, like the other fans helping, called her local newspapers and asked
them to add the concert to the weekend agenda, she went to local book and music stores and to music schools and
asked if they would display the small poster I had mailed to her.   

During one of the e-mails I asked her if she had been able to get good seats to the concert.   
This is what she mailed me back.   I have not added  the whole mail but only the part pertaining to what I had asked
her.


Hi Sonja,

I feel like I have known you as a friend for awhile; I sent a letter to take to Andre' in your basket last year.(2003)

I have been enamored with our Maestro for about eight years.I heard him on our local PBS "Romantic Moments"
and was totally inebriated with his music. I was addicted. He played "Meditation" which my Mother played on her
violin. My mother was a violinist, and I went around with her as a child while she played at receptions, weddings,
funerals, and graduations. My favorite song was "Meditation".

Our youngest granddaughter, Anna, plays the violin in her elementary school orchestra. She began when she was
eight, and I told her if she practiced very hard and continued with it that I would take her to an Andre Rieu' Concert
in Europe. Later when I was diagnosed with Primary Peritineal Cancer in September, 2002, my family and I were
devastated. Anna and her mother had been to see me in the hospital and were on the way home when Anna said, "
Grandma can't die because she promised to take me to an Andre' Rieu Concert in Europe ".That made my heart
sing when I heard it. Now after major surgery, 18 Chemotherapies, many Cat Scans,
injections for my white and red blood cell count,  and
very depleted financial account, Andre Rieu is coming
to Atlanta for one concert. I would give my eye tooth to
go, but alas my husband and I can't afford the tickets. We
had saved for our retirement, but my medical expenses
wiped us out. We only have medicare insurance and sold
our house to pay everything. One injection ( Neulasta ) for
my white cell count is $5400.00.

I will do all I can by calling the newspapers and posting the
letters you send us to the appropriate folks There is
absolutely nothing here or around Atlanta making the
public aware of his upcoming concert. Please keep
sending e-mails because through you I feel closer to out
Maestro.

            love,
          Marij








Of course I felt awful that she would not be able to go to the concert.  I wanted to do something to help s without
Marijo's knowledge I decided to sent the whole letter as she send it to me on to Kerstin. (Andre's Manager) At the
time I was in pretty close contact with Kerstin concerning the promotion help.  I did not want to do anything with the
promotion that Andre's Co. did not approve off.     

In response Kerstin send me the following e-mail.

Hi Sonja,

Thanks for your message.
Right now I am preparing everything for the orchestra to arrive tonight and will leave to the airport in a little while.
In regards to the letter that you attached, let me talk to Andre, but I don't think it should be a problem to invite them.
I'll keep you posted.
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Groetjes,
Kerstin

Shortly after this I received another letter from Kerstin, she had talked to Andre, and there would be tickets for
Marijo at the ticket booth in Atlanta.  


On April 23, 2004 I received the following letter from Marijo after she had been to the concert:
My dearest, Sonja,

How do I begin to thank you for making all my dreams for the last ten years come true?? I never in my wildest
imagination thought I would ever be sitting in the audience so close to the stage to see Andre' and the J.S.O. I was
thrilled just to be able to see him on tape. I am humbled and grateful for your kindness and feelings for me. You
will never know how you have touched my soul, and, yes, I do believe in angels because you are one. When I was
at my lowest point and not expected to live, my sister-in-law brought me a book on angels. After I was better I read
it and was impressed, but still did not give a lot of credence to them. That has all changed now. You are my "
Guardian Angel " and gave me a peek into Heaven last night at the concert. In the middle of the concert I prayed
and told God if He chose to take me now I would die happy.. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!      (
Now here I am
really blushing, really all I did was send her letter to Kerstin, and I do not deserve all this, I am just happy I was able to help)

It was like Prom Night for Harold (70 yrs.) and myself (68 yrs.). I had told him about the Red Carnations, and he
was so sweet and ordered me a corsage. We left home very early so we could be sure and have plenty of time
getting there, having dinner, and getting to the Box Office in time. The Arena is new and seats 13,000 people. We
arrived as the gates opened and our tickets had not been sent down. There were several people waiting. I asked
the lady in the Box Office about Kerstin and she gave me a blank stare. Later I saw two men with I. D. cards around
their necks. I spoke with one, and he did not speak English, but the second one did and said he just left the tickets.
I inquired about Kerstin. He said she was backstage and very busy. Anyway we went in and found wonderful seats.
I saw several women with a red carnation. People were dressed in evening gowns, pant suits, dresses, and some
in blue jeans. There were around 7000 people we guessed. The Arena was half full.

The concert was the epitome of everything beautiful wrapped into one. He played some old favorites, some new
ones. and everyone danced, clapped, shouted, and had a fun evening. The three sopranos sang " The Rose". They
each sang a solo. The soprano from Holland sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". He ended with the Radetsky
March and the balloons came down. I don't believe Heaven will have any more beautiful music than I heard last
night. We left during the encore because Harold was nervous about driving at night and wanted to beat the crowd.  
(
this was too bad, because Kerstin had a meeting with Andre set up)

I have never had anybody be so good to me as you have been except for my husband. I cherish your friendship,
your family, and your newsletters about Andre". Keep them coming and stay in touch. You have so much to look
forward to, Andre' is so funny. There were several people late, and they did make a clatter. He chided them saying
they had come all the way from Europe and were on time.

I feel like this has all been an unforgettable dream.

                                                     I love you, Sonja,

                                                     Marijo.








I received one last letter from her on June 3, 2004 She wrote the following:

Oh Sonja,

I just found out today that my cancer has returned. I had an elevated CA125 ( blood test for cancer cells) in April.
The doctor did not want to pay heed with just one test. I had it repeated last Friday and the result was it was highly
elevated. Then on Sunday the fluid from the cancer cells began accumulating in my abdominal cavity. (I am to have
a CAT Scan Tomorrow my doctor will consult with other specialists and radiologists to determine my prognosis ands
treatment plan. I will know Wednesday; my cancer ( Peritoneal ) is rare and new. The doctors are stymied by my
having 18 chemotherapies and skipping one month of chemo and then the blood test became highly elevated.

I am thankful for your generosity in giving me this " dream " of seeing our Maestro. Harold and I wrote, through you,
thanking him and Kerstin.  (
I send the letter she wrote to Andre on to Kerstin)

I believe in the power of prayer, Sonja, and I would ask you to pray for me that i will be around next year to put more
posters around for Andre' 2005 American concert.

I just wanted you to know how grateful I am and will always be to you for making my dream come true.

                                           With love,
                                           Marijo


Marijo has since passed away.   Andre by giving her the tickets gave her a beautiful evening and made her dream
come true.   For one evening she forgot her troubles and that is what he does for so many people.   He truly is a
wonderful, gifted, and compassionate man.    Moody and with faults like any other human being, but with his heart in
the right place and he gives so much to the world, I am happy to have been fortunate enough to have played a small
role, but it was Andre who made her wish come true.   All the good tickets were sold even if I could have bought her
some tickets, they would have been way in the back.   Thanks to Andre she had seats in the second row!  







I also have another little story about our Andre's compassion.

In October 2003, Brian Schroder from England wrote to me, he was very disappointed he had bought tickets and
flights to the concert in Belfast and now it was canceled.   I felt very bad for him knowing how he, his family and
especially his 8 year old grand daughter Rebekah  had been looking forward to the concert. I suggested Brian write
to the helpdesk  and I have copied the answer he received here for you.

"HEREBY IT IS MY PLEASURE TO INFORM YOU THAT ANDRE AND MARJORIE INVITE YOU TO THE DUBLIN
CONCERT WE WILL RESERVE THE BEST POSSIBLE SEATS FOR YOU FREE AND AFTERWARDS YOU AND
YOUR COMPANY WILL COME BACKSTAGE TO MEET ANDRE, TAKE SOME PICTURES AND A PRESENT
WILL BE WATING FOR YOU"

As you can understand Brian was thrilled with this invitation, and he and his family had a wonderful time

He wrote me the following: "In the front row of the balcony we did not get wet when we had Thunder and Lighting or
going down the Blue Danube, the Olympia puppet was very funny.  My favorite Oh Mio Babbino Caro was beautifully
sung and I love the Titanic theme, all in all a fantastic evening also made special sure by Andre's friend the great
Irishman and his fiddle.
I saw Manoe up close and Renate before she left the JSO.  We and a few others saw Andre after the concert a
special meet and greet had been arranged for us, when I said I like your website to Andre he said" thank you Brian",
he actually knew my name.   Rebekah was 8 then, she and Sarah and her Mum really love Andre and would like
another concert in England soon.
Andre and Brian Schroder
Andre and Rebekah.  
Brian's grand daughter.
Andre Rieu compassionate,  Andrerieutranslations.com