Seattle, Oct 2006 by Chris Tromburg/Sonja
A weekend in the glorious Northwest – especially to see Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra!
Friday, Oct. 20
My brother, Marc, picked me up to take me to the airport at about 10:30 a.m. At the last minute, he brought his digital
AF SLR camera for me to borrow - Wow! I already had my smaller digital packed and was concerned it wouldn’t take
very good pictures in the concert, but I’d do the best I could with it. Where would I put this other camera? There was
no more room in my luggage – I’d have to try to carry it on even though I already had 1 carry-on. It worked out fine
J. I had a good flight from Boise to Seattle. I told the woman next to me about the Rieu concert and that there was
one scheduled in her area (back east) in the spring. She said she would check it out, she thought she had heard of
Andre on PBS, and I asked her to post a message in Andre’s guestbook if she went.
My sister, Gail, picked me up at Sea-Tac. As I was picking up my luggage, the carousel circled again and again, and
finally stopped with one of my pieces still missing! I had checked a poster for the concert in a large white mailing
tube. What a disappointment, I’d have to forget about it since Gail lived about an hour away and it wouldn’t be worth
coming back for it if they found it. One quick check with baggage claim and I found it in the odd-sized baggage area!
Gail lives in such a beautiful area! It was great to yak with her all the way home – we hadn’t seen each other in 2
years. For dinner, we had tacos – AND – her husband makes a masterful margarita, which he always makes when I
visit ;-). Later we watched Tuscany as a sample of what was to come on Sunday. When it was over, their daughter,
Kelly, was inspired to give us a recital of her violin music. She’s in 8th grade, has been playing several years and did
a great job!
Saturday, Oct 21
On Saturday, we took a breathtaking drive and hike up to the Chinook Pass summit, which is just up the road from
Gail’s darling cabin in the mountains (she and her husband recently finished building it). The weather was
uncharacteristically beautiful, and the trees were just on fire with color! The photo with the 3 of us is a popular
turnout spot with a great view of Mt. Rainier. She has two precious dogs: Blossom, a very funny and sweet little
Corgi, who knows just what to do for the camera (and she’s the Auntie to my little Corgi – our youngest sister here in
Boise has the mother and grandmother to my dog); and Buddy, a magnificent horse of a dog – he’s huge, comes
almost up to my waist when standing. In the picture, Gail said “biscuit” to get him to perk up his ears, but no – he
wanted it now! I thought I could sit him down to try again but the opportunity passed. That evening, we enjoyed
some homemade elk stew (elk from one of her husband’s hunts) while we watched Fiddler on the Roof. The stew
was delicious, and I enjoyed Isaac Stern’s “fiddle” playing. I’d forgotten how good that movie was! Just before we
started the movie, I talked to Marlene from Vancouver who was sitting in the venue waiting for the Portland concert to
start! That was so exciting. I have a confession – I was a little worried that they might cancel, since there had been
no updates on Andre’s website for about a month, even up to the day of the first concert on this tour, when usually
they tell us all about their preparations and arrival here in the states. I’m afraid he’s spoiled us. Anyway, worries
alleviated – they were here! I really wanted to stay on the phone a few more minutes to hear them marching in, but I
knew she had to turn off her phone. We had been e-mailing for several months about meeting at the concert in
Sunday, Oct. 22
Late morning, I had another phone conversation with Marlene. She was ecstatic about the Portland concert! She
said Andre was at his best, looked better than ever and very healthy, and was at the top of his game as far as humor
and the violin solos. The JSO looked great, too, and was full of their usual antics.
After a late brunch in their “blink and you’ll miss it” little town, Gail, Kelly and I drove in to Seattle to meet my friend,
Margaret, who flew in from Boise that afternoon. She couldn’t go for the whole weekend because she had to judge a
piano competition on Saturday. She’s very busy with a full schedule of piano students. I’ve known Margaret since
high school. I was sure glad she was interested in making the trip and using my extra concert ticket – I knew we’d
have a great time together. My sister, Karen, was originally going to come, but had to change plans.
As we were driving around Seattle Center looking for our hotel, I saw Bela, one of the tenors, walking near one of the
entrances! He was with a few other people, but their backs were turned, so I couldn’t see who they were. Again,
exciting, and reassurance that they were here!
Our hotel was just a block NW of Key Arena. After we settled in and had an early dinner at a little Thai place, we
went up to the observation deck on the roof of our hotel. What a fabulous view of the city! The pointed-roof building
with the red lettering on top of it (just behind us) is Key Arena.
Here we are! The seats were a lot closer than I had been picturing. After we found our seats, Marlene came down
to the floor section and we finally met face to face! She had met Dan Lycan the night before so she introduced him
to me. They were sitting just across the aisle and two rows up from us. Dan was very friendly, introduced his wife,
Alice, and gave me one of his famous buttons. I also gave them a few Idaho trinkets. This picture of me is terrible,
but I like it because Dan & Alice were very accommodating and it’s cute of them (notice his tie?). Dan has become
such an icon of the whole Rieu concert experience, so it was a lot of fun to meet them. Before the concert, I saw
Pierre & Kerstin standing near the stage off to the left, but didn’t see Pierre taking pictures or see him any more that
The music started and here they all came, right up the center aisle! (Regarding my brother’s camera, I never did
really have time to learn to use it, just a few minutes thumbing through the user guide was all, and I just had to learn
as I went.) I had the camera set to automatic/action, but just as Andre was passing by, only about 3 feet away from
me, I pressed the button half way to focus and for the meter to adjust, and snap the rest of the way, but saw that the
camera had gone into snooze! I was so flustered at seeing him that close and missing that shot that I missed the rest
of the shots I was trying to get during the processional! Unknown to me at the time, Margaret had picked up my
other smaller camera and caught at least a blurry picture over my shoulder – I’m glad she did. I don’t know how he
knew, but Franco was toward the end of the line, and after he passed my camera (missed that shot too), he had
Linda by the arm and swung back around, right in line with my frame and posed! I was so surprised they did that and
it was so cute, I’m afraid my hand still wasn’t steady. I couldn’t tell it was fuzzy until I got it home and into my
computer – oh well, I still got it. It was a lot of fun taking pictures, but I think with that zoom lens, a tripod would have
been a good idea. Now that I have a little practice, I want to go back and do it again. The zoom was awesome
capturing some fairly good shots from my seat.
Ahhhhhh – this is what we came to see!
Oh, the beautiful music, live, that I’ve been hearing on CDs & DVDs. Carla is such a little doll & so full of spunk!
The scene looked so artistic with the back lighting and black background with black piano. But RATS again that it
was out of focus! More practice necessary. The girls in the string section were lovely. From where I was sitting, it
was difficult to get a clear shot of the left side of the stage. I was waiting for a good opportunity to get something
good of Cord & the guys back in that area – I knew Roland would be coming forward soon and I could get something
there, but I just waited too long on the others. I really regret that. I got one with Frank & I think it’s Kremi in the
center of the frame with others around them when they all stood up once, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out well.
Hopefully there will be a next time.
Introduction of Frank and his Carillon. Andre led us in humming a little tune
something about little bells (maybe it was Einsam klingt das kleine Glockchen). It was
an unfamiliar tune so I don’t think we did very well ;-). It was fun anyway. I enjoyed
seeing the bells after reading about them and seeing the feature on the Songs from my
And now for a speed duel! Looks like Frank is thinking, “nooooo problem!” Marcel acting like, “this guy thinks he
can take ME on?” I think it was a tie. The audience liked this one and many were pointing to the blurring hands on
the screens and laughing.
Manoe up to her usual hijinks ;-). She was sitting on the other side of Andre this time.
The tenors and sopranos having a good time with the song from White Horse Inn. It
Tenors – Blondes, Brunettes, I Love Them All. Sopranos – I Could Have Danced All Night. Look at their faces, they
had a great time with this and so did we! I like watching Andre’s face, too, as he’s watching the singers; it looks like
he enjoys them so much – even after performing this how many times?
The Blue Danube. There were quite a few really cute couples twirling around.
My inexperience with the camera again missed most of them. I got at least this one –
sorry again for the blur. The song was so grand, I never get tired of that one.
Suzan singing Don’t Cry for me Argentina. I’ve seen this
picture (or ones very similar) quite a few times. Nothing can
do this scene justice except for seeing it live. That gown was
exquisite sparkling in the dark, and Suzan’s voice was made
for this song, as others have suggested. There was a stunning hushhhhhh over the crowd as
– the fun really begins, but then is over way too soon! At one point, I was
fiddling with my camera trying to delete bad shots so I could get more--I was out of room, and
my sister, Gail, leaned over and said, “Sis, put the camera down now, look at HIM, the moment
will be gone! Margaret laughed, she was right of course (but she’s still bossing’ me around at our age ;-) And I am
glad I have all the pictures to relive the concert. The piccolo highlight in Stars & Stripes couldn’t have been done
better and made me feel more patriotic than ever.
It was sure fun to see the poster I brought posted on Andre’s web site, especially after I though it was lost. It’s hard
to see what it says so I attached a clearer version. .
Not that I’m a musical expert or anything, but it was fun to put together. I designed it and a co-worker in graphics
printed it for me on a large format printer. I told him about the concert and he was happy to help. When I got back to
the office and showed him that they put it out on Andre’s web site, he got a kick out of it and said, “wow, there were a
lot of people there!” When he was looking at the picture of Andre on the cover of the NY CD, he said, “he looks like
kind of a party dude.” I said, “I suppose you could say that.” ;-) He indicated he likes “fiddle” music so I let him
borrow my Live at Royal Albert Hall CD which I had at work with me.
After the concert, Gail & Kelly said goodbye, and how much they enjoyed the evening
, then drove on home. Margaret & I took a swing around the outside of the venue –
I wanted to see the new busses they’re so proud of (ok, and maybe meet some of the
JSO). The busses were in a secure area, though, so we were outta luck. I couldn’t
see the settings on the camera in the dark, but did get, again, a blurry shot. My son
thought it looked cool, so I included it.
Monday, Oct. 23
Monday morning, Margaret and I went down to the pier for a little breakfast, followed by some shopping. Margaret
propped the camera on a wood pile, set the timer, then ran to get in the shot. She lost her shoes on the way and
was trying to act natural in the photo ;-). The gulls were gathering as we ate, saying: “mine, mine, mine” just like in
the animated movie Finding Nemo. The rest of the pictures are just some scenes around Seattle.
By 1:30 we were on our way to the airport for our flight home. Margaret’s husband picked us up at the Boise airport
and our “Rieu weekend” was officially over.
My son did a fabulous job of managing the house, dogs,
and himself while I was gone. I think I’ll do it all again!
Luca, Linda Custers and Franco Vulcano
Couldn’t resist getting a single of beautiful
Tanja. They did the split-screen thing where
it looks like Andre is giving her a big kiss,
kiss, kiss – the audience got a big kick out of
that ;-). Teun was looking mighty fine that
Marcel is quite a handsome gent! This smile
didn’t leave his face the whole time! I was
waiting for Stephanie (sure hope I’m getting
names right) to turn her head this way a little
to get this shot, and she did.
Nadeja, Linda and Tanja
Frank Steijn on the bells Who won??? Marcel Falize on the xylophone
'The white horse
Inn". The platinum
tenors and the
Feuerfest – the Anvil Act. There’s muscleman Roland tuning the anvil / Teun recovering from an antic / Noel
rescues his horn in the nick of time! / Noel making a few attempts at hefting the big hammer / Noel has to be
dressed like a “proper” blacksmith, too.
Gary Bennett, Bela Mavrak and Thomas Grueul
Carla Maffioletti, Suzan Erens and Kalkie Schrijvers
When I would show it to people before
the flight to Seattle, some would say,
“so…is that a big eye over Seattle?” .
No, no - it’s supposed to be a fermata,
you know: fermata (It.), Fermate
(Ger.): a musical symbol placed over a
note or rest to be extended beyond its
normal duration (or as long as you
want, as long as it feels good).
Chris's first Andre Concert