In May, 2004 I went to three concerts
(Des Moines, Indianapolis and Ft Wayne)
USA tour May, 2004
by Sonja

The stage is decorated with the roses and of course Andre brought his own self designed music
stands.   He clearly brought quite a bit of his own equipment including the stage, which I watched
them disassemble after one of the concert.

The stage looked like we know it from the pictures and the DVDs.

First the orchestra entered the stage and took their places.
It looks like he brought his full orchestra of 45.  22 women and 23 men.
Some are new faces but many of them are well known to us fans.
Then Andre skippes onto the stage and the show begins.

He starts the concert with

"Fruhlings Stimmer Walzer"
(Voices of a Spring Waltz)

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, fantastic that you all came here tonight to be together with me
and my orchestra the whole evening in our romantic paradise!   Are you all romantic here in Ft
Yes, all right, that is great,   Because then you are with me in good company because I am an
incurable romantic.  And I am going to take you all away to my personal romantic paradise.  As a boy I
was already a romantic.  I was always dreaming that I was Romeo playing my violin for Juliet  and in
my dream Juliet was a seventeen year old blond girl, at that time of course I could not know, that
once in my life I would be on stage in Ft Wayne (Ames, Indianapolis etc)   playing my violin for 2000
(3000, 2500 etc) Juliets.

"Romeo and Juliet"

While they start the music, as if by magic a balcony rises in the left corner of the stage.  On the
balcony sings Carla Maffioletto, reminiscent of the famous balcony scene.  

After her song the balcony disappears just as magically.

That was a beautiful  dream but that was at the time when I was young and that is finished now.   A
romantic paradise like tonight, ladies and gentlemen, would of course be completely impossible
without the music of the romantic par excellence, without the music of the composer who makes us
dream, who gives us romantic melodies, who brings nostalgia, and of course I am speaking now
about Johann Strauss.  And now ladies and gentlemen, I am going to kidnap you to the most romantic
city of the world  I do not know anybody who does not want to be at least once in their lives for some
hours in this romantic city to dream there, alone or of course together with their lover.  Also Johann
Strauss was there, he was really inspired by this city, he even dedicated a whole operetta to this
city.  And now ladies and gentlemen imagine yourself that you are in a gondola and you are being
gondoled by an Italian gondolier on the canal Grande, because we are going to play now for you one
of the most romantic waltzes ever written by Johann Strauss the Laguna Waltz.  And this Laguna
Waltz is a part of one of his well known, his most well known Operettas you all know it ‘A night in Ft
Wayne (Ames, Indianapolis etc)

"Laguna Waltz"
(A night in Venice)

Several times the orchestra members use their instruments as oars and make rowing motions with

There was a lot going on in the city this morning, our trucks could hardly get into the city and this
afternoon they explained to me what it was.  In fact it was a bit of a secret, but we are among friends
now and I can talk about it.  Today in Ft Wayne there is a world congress for the traffic of the whole
world today here in Ft Wayne,  even the secretary of  traffic of China is here.   Do you know his
name?  No Park Ing!  I know him personally,I speak fluently Chinese.  Some thing wong?   Ah, you
speak Chinese too.   Ah, that is okay because now you are going to understand the next piece we
are going to play for you.   It is a piece from a Operetta by Franz Lehar. The land of smiles, It is in
China, and out of this Operetta we play a very beautiful aria ‘ In the blue Pagoda, and this aria is all
about women's emancipation,  I'll explain.   In this area is a certain Mr Chang, and Chang is
convinced that women are only here to have children, to knit, to clean and to cook.   Ah, I see you
have the same idea.  In this aria there are also three girls  Ki Mo and No.....   Ah an intelligent public
tonight.  Ki Mo and No do not agree at all of course with the old Chang, they want to struggle against
it, they want to liberate themselves from the tyranny and in the beginning of the aria you will see they
are still very shy, but then during the aria  they will have more and more courage and then in the end
they will throw, literally throw the robes away and ladies and gentlemen for the first time in your life
you are going to see and to hear  how a Kimono changes in to a Monokin.

"In the blue Pagoda"

The three sopranos Susan, Carla and Carmen) come on the stage dressed like geishas in
kimonos.     They have baskets with 'babies' on their backs.

Toward the end of the song they throw the baskets with the babies of and
throw the supposed dirty diapers of the stage into the audience.

At the end of the song they throw of their kimonos and are dressed in little black short with chinese,
colorful silk blouses   They return for the applause and take on a sexy pose, and Andre 'kicks' them of
the stage

A 'bend' man dressed in Chinese garbs comes to clean up dolls. kimonos, baskets and diapers.   
"Chop choy always cleans up the mess.  Give him an applause."

They immediately start with the next song.   
"Bahn Frei"
With train whistles and smoke.

The smoke seems to come from under Linda's skirt.

Toward the end of the song the smoke gets very thick and
Andre checks out where it is coming from and peeks under Linda's skirt.

Ladies and Gentlemen.  The  Bahn Frei Polka we just played was not by Johann Strauss but by his
youngest brother Eduard Strauss. You should imagine how it must have been at the Strauss family
home: there was the famous father and three even more famous sons all together in one house.   All
four they composed polkas and waltzes and all four had an orchestra, what a treat of waltzes there
must have been at every breakfast but the contrary was the reality and they hated each other.  They
were jealous,   No, that is my Waltz, no you stole my Waltz.   My orchestra plays much  better than
yours!!!   And that was going on the whole time like that. Now you know the press, the tabloid press,
they loved  it.   Exactly like nowadays,  they wrote everything about the artists.  And at that time it
was the same, especially the young Strauss, Johann he could not move without them writing
everything about him, for example when there was a beautiful young lady entering his house the next
morning it was all over Europe, in all the papers there would be Strauss has a new mistress and then
they wrote how much money he earned with his violin and how many castles and houses he bought,
how many planes he had.....    And Johann he never reacted.   He took it very calmly only once he
was so fed up with the press  and he reacted in his own way with a waltz.  And this waltz he
dedicated to the Viennese company of Journalists and he gave it the name Morning papers.  And this
waltz we are going to play now for you.  And I am going to ask you to pay special attention to the

Because the choir is singing exactly the text of what the tabloids are always writing about us  So you
can feel how we feel  every day.


The girls in the choir are leaving through real (I think they were all German) tabloid magazines, all
with Andre's picture on the cover and scandalous stories about him.  
The girls act as if they are shocked by the stories and hold them up to each other and share the
stories.   For those who could see it, it was very funny.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know we travel around the world and almost every night, also tonight,
after the concert we go to the hotel and we have a glass of wine and we speak a long time  about the
fantastic Public in Ft Wayne.  Yeah, it is true.  No matter where we are in the world we only speak
about the public in Ft Wayne.   I remember very well a year ago, we were in Vienna  and we had a
fantastic concert and after the concert we went to the hotel, it was a beautiful hotel and there was a
piano in the hall and some of the musicians had there instruments with them. And we played a little
bit and drank a glass of wine and then we drank another glass of wine and we were singing and then
we drank another glass of wine.  Then the public joined in and then it was so loud that all the people
who were already in bed came down and joined in the party it was really a fantastic atmosphere, I will
never forget it in the middle of that atmosphere during a little pause our three sopranos started to
sing a song only accompanied by piano and some instruments  and then suddenly there was
complete silence,  everybody was listening.   A lot of people had tears in their eyes, me too.   In that
moment I was thinking I do not want to withhold this beautiful song from my public in Ft Wayne.   It is
about three girls who are telling each other about the most fantastic and exiting thing in a young girls
life 'Love'!   It was always like that, it was so in the middle ages, it is now and it always will be that

"The Rose"

The girls come on stage dressed in dresses of the middle ages.  Susan starts the song.

A standing ovation for the Carla, Carmen and Suzan.

If you are good, I might bring them back after the intermission.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now going to play the last piece before the break.  

Why do you look at your watch when I say it is break time?

"The Light Cavalerie"


Ladies and Gentlemen, as you can see I am here on stage with 22 girls, finally.
But there is a reason for that,  I found a composer and this composer composed only for 22 girls and
one man, and as you can imagine this composer is from now on my favorite composer.   And from his
hand we are going to play now  Tea for Two’

"Tea for two"

All the girls play the instruments including the girls from the choir.
They 'play' the horns and Stephany Detry plays the piano.

While the girls play the instruments the men come onto the stage, with bowler hat, white scarf and
gloves and an umbrella.  They are whistling 'tea for two' and dance in a chorus line.   Cord and
Franco are pushing and pinching each other.  Ruud  Merx trips and falls.  It is hilarious

At the end they trip over each other to get back to their instruments,
they tell the girls to give the instruments back and start the next song

"Adieu, mein kleiner Garde offizier"

They play with the umbrellas held over their instrument
so it looks like the are using the umbrella as bow, as flute etc.
Can you believe, they actually had to practice that for months and months

Ladies and Gentlemen,    
I have the good fortune that I am sometimes invited for private concerts of very high standards in
Europe and these type of concerts seem to always take place in castles.   Once we are in these
castles we go to the great Hall and there are the crystal chandeliers and on the table there is
crystal.   A year ago I remember I was invited for such a concert, and at a certain moment there was a
soprano entering the stage.  I do not know if you have heard of the phenomena of certain sopranos
who can destroy crystal with their voices.  Exactly that is what happened, she started to sing higher
and higher and there came the last note and then: Pang all the crystal chandeliers kaput.  All the
crystal in the soup.  It was terrible.   Two months later I was again invited to such a castle concert
and we went to the great Hall, there was crystal all over and what do I see the same soprano enters
the stage.  I did not say anything to the others of course.  She started to sing higher and higher and
then just before the last note came I jumped under the table and then: Pang ! and there under this
table I said to myself this soprano I am going to invite to my public in Ft Wayne,  give her an
enormous applause Carla Caprioletti

"Heia in der Bergen"

Carla comes on stage in a cute little Hungarian type costume and dances and sings

On the last note the lights flicker and confetti came down from one of the lights, as if the chandelier

Frank Steijn looks at his glasses and they are all shattered

Do you like fairy tales?   (
Orchestra  high pitched Yeah!!!)
I am going to tell you about Sherazade.   Palms waving in the wind and sheiks sitting in the sand and
women of the harem scantily clad. (
makes hourglass figure with hands)  Do you have those here in
Ft Wayne?   Hmmm.
Sherazade is dancing for the sheiks and the  atmosphere is getting hotter and hotter. And just at the
moment that the very last veil falls in the sand (
Loud bang)  Coming out of nowhere there come
seven wild tartaars (
orchestra yells)  They crab Sherazade by her......   (he turns to the orchestra and
says: yes, where do they grab her?)
 There is a terrible pursuit but in the end everything will be okay
and Sherazade will get to be very old and have many children.  So a happy end.   Ladies and
Gentlemen we are going to play for you now  the world famous fairy tale written by the brothers
Grimm.  Sherazade and the seven Tartaars.

"Sherazade and the seven tartaars"

We now have a soprano with a completely different talent but not less devastating   She can with
only  her voice destroy completely a man's heart.  Mmmm...  Gentlemen here in Ft Wayne. It will also
happen to you when she comes now on stage and she will sing this aria with her warm Brazilian
voice.  This aria that seems to be written especially for her.  She comes to sing it in real gypsy
language and in English it is something like my kissing lips are burning on your....    I forgot where.    
Give her an enormous applause  Carmen Monarcha

"Meine lippen, sie kussen so heiss"
Carmen comes up in a black dress with a red flower in her hair and she does Spanish type dance

Now the third singer of our group of fantastic singers. She comes from Holland.  She breaks neither
chandeliers nor man's hearts on the contrary she has a totally different voice so innocent, so fine, so
pure, the first time she sang for me with her big childlike eyes. I was really touched by her voice and I
am sure Ladies and Gentlemen when she is going to sing for you now, she will steal your heart. She
is going to sing out of the Children fairy tale the Wizard of Ozz  "Somewhere over the rainbow'    
Ladies and Gentlemen give her an enormous applause.  Susan Ehrens

"Somewhere over the rainbow"
Susan comes up dressed like Dorothy with a blue pinafore and red shoes.
Her hair is in two pigtales

Ladies and Gentlemen We are now going to play the most beautiful Waltz ever composed by Johann
Strauss and you, you are going to grab a woman, or whatever,  there are enough women here, and
there is enough room and space. And  you are going to promise me to finish this evening dancing
and waltzing. Okay.   I am very curious how this is going to go.   We are going to play now for you by
Johann Strauss, the Waltz among all the Waltzes in the world

"The blue Danube"

After the introduction the house lights went on and after a little hesitation in the three concerts I went
to, people did get up and danced.

Andre did his usual teasing stops to get people out of the rhythm.
It is so much fun to watch him when this is going on.   
He clearly loves it when people get up and dance

Ladies and Gentlemen.    
I like to introduce my musicians per excellence. they have been making music for you already all
evening behind me at the scene with a smile on their faces and they do it with all their heart, no
matter where we play in the world they always put their whole heart and soul into it.   Ladies and
Gentlemen give them an enormous applause:
The Johann Strauss Orchestra!!!

And now together with the orchestra and the chorus  we will  play a very impressive piece of music   
And what we want to tell you with this piece of music only one thing. Whatever destiny has in mind for
you in your life try to believe always in the magical power of music   Music will be with you your whole
life and music will, I am sure of it help you  to overcome every now and then some troubles.
I am going to wish you now a lot of good things in life and of course a lot of music.  
The three sopranos come up dressed in black dresses and they sing"

"Oh Fortuna"

We had a lot of fun on stage I hope you had fun too.
And who knows we may see each other again

Bye bye

"Radetzky Marsch"
During the Mars the Balloons come down and people clap with the music and pop the balloons.   

Andre and his JSO get an enormous applause and a standing ovation, by now everybody is on their

Andre comes back and Manoe gets her bagpipes and they play
"Amazing Grace"

"Brahms' Lullaby"

Oh no, it is over!!!

It was wonderful every time.  The good news is that many more tickets were sold than in 2002 (they
did not have a US tour in 2003
) and he will be back next year.   

"America the beautiful"
Andre rieu concert
This is my magic wand
It is a beautiful rendition and I do see tears.  She too gets a standing ovation.
After having been called back again and again he makes a drinking motion
and a sleeping motion and sets in with
On May 5, Andre and the JSO performed in Trenton.   May 5, for the Dutch is independence
day.   I know very well how Andre feels, since I feel the same way.   I wanted to add here what
he said in Trenton.   According to the people in Trenton he did say quite a bit more, but all I
can write was what I heard on the video clip.   

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today is the fifth of May, and for you that is perhaps a normal day, but for us Dutch people it is
a very memorable day !  Because that day in 1945 we were liberated during WWII.  We are still
very grateful for that.  And your parents helped liberate us from this tyrant regime.   We are
going to play something special to thank you and then they set it with:
And now I hear you thinking yes, but I am not seventeen anymore, but that ladies is not important,
important is how old you feel.  When I play the violin I feel like I am 18.
Before the evening is over I will make you all feel like you are
seventeen.   And that romantic melody, ladies and gentlemen,
that always played in my dreams as Romeo for Juliet, I am going
to play for you now.