Andre inspires Maggie

Not once, not twice, but so far three times, and who knows how many
more times he will inspire her to do things she did not possible.
She will be coming to the concerts in Maastricht and visit Holland
again this year.   

              The Story Behind His Quilt

What has Andre Rieu done for me? Only given me endless hours of pure joy listening to his music and utter delight in
seeing his concerts on stage.  Only lit a raging fire under me to buy a piano, after being ten years without one, and
finish two compositions I started thirty years ago. Only given me 98 wonderful friends from all over the world, whose
pictures hang on my wall, and that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. And finally, only because of Andre Rieu, my
childhood dream of going to Holland, instilled by my father when I was seven years old, finally came true last October.

I 'discovered' Andre Rieu on PBS in April of 1998.  In April, 2004, I saw my first live concert in St. Louis, and had the
privilege of meeting Andre. It was the first of several times that have followed. I’d missed out on going to a concert the
previous years. So, trying to make up the loss, I drove to Ames, Iowa a few days later for a second concert. It was here
I met Sonja Harper in person for the first time. I‘d known her for five years through emails and considered us pretty
good friends – how little did I know what a warm, wonderful friendship would come from knowing her personally. And
Sonja is to blame for the quilt. We were at the motel before the concert. with several Andre friends, Sigrun
was there, too, and we were admiring the shirts Sonja had cross-stitched. I made a comment that I didn’t do cross-
stitch, but I made beautiful quilts. Then, half-jokingly, I said “I should make Andre a quilt for all the wonderful things he’s
made possible for me.”
Sonja’s reply?  “Do it.”  No more was said, but my comment and her words didn’t go away.

Mid-May, they were still in my head and I decided to do it. I wanted it to be unique, so I sat down with graph paper and
blocked out the pattern I had in mind. 8 rows of 6’ squares, each with the name of an orchestra member and a large
center square with Andre’s name. It looked kind of plain, so I drew orchestra instruments around the border. I have a
little artistic ability, but not that good, and this presented a problem. I could print names in block letters, transfer them to
the material, and embroider them with no trouble, but no way could I draw instruments free hand. Instrument patterns, I’
d worry about later.  I couldn’t wait to get started. Choosing the blue and white colors of his scarf, I bought the material,
and cut out the pieces. The first thing I made was Andre’s square, and decided to use his signature instead of printing
his name.  Getting it was easy. In the biography Marjorie wrote, is a page with his signature, boldly done. I enlarged,
traced it on the white square, and embroidered it in blue. I turned out so well, took a picture of it and sent to Sonja, with
the caption – “Andre, sweetie, can I borrow your checkbook?”

Row after row of blue squares were pieced together on my sewing machine. Names had to wait till they were all sewn
together since the blocks were too small for an embroidery hoop. Shirley Kirk and Netta Galardo would come over for
coffee and we would talk about Andre and the quilt while I sewed. Other friends inquired in emails how it was coming
along and I sent pictures. Then there were the quilt jokes. Andre will never know the laughs we had over that quilt.
(And we’ll never tell) I started embroidering the names, and was nearly finished, when it dawned on me I still had no
patterns for instruments.

By then it was September, and I started a frantic search all over Joplin and the Internet for transfer patterns. I found a
CD for machine embroidery, but I don’t do that, and don’t have a machine if I did. For a week I searched for just
pictures of instruments everywhere. Music stores didn’t have any. I tried one last place, a school supply store and
there it was – a large chart of band and orchestra instruments to hang on a band room wall. I bought it, cut the
instruments out and traced them on the material with a light box. It took a month to embroider them all. Some were
easy, some were difficult. The French Horn was a beast. The last instrument to go on was the bagpipes, and there
was no pattern. I drew that one from looking at a picture of a Scotsman holding a set. After half a dozen attempts I
finally made a decent one and sewed it on.

The pieced quilt was ready to go to Mary Storie, the lady who did the machine quilting. The stitch pattern for that is
called Clouds; a nice open stitch that left names and instruments unobstructed. She called me when it was ready, and I
couldn’t believe how beautiful it was when it was finished.

I’d spent six months with that quilt and wanted to keep it, but I couldn‘t. This was my thanks to Andre for all he has
given me.

It was the thrill of a lifetime to give it to him – to see the sparkle in his eyes when it was unfolded, and he could see
what it really was, and to hear him laugh when I told him,
“Je mag niet op dit lapjes dekentje zitten tijdens een concert. Het is niet voor picknicks met koude kip and limonade.”   
("You cannot sit on this quilt during a concert, It is not for picnics with cold chicken and lemonade". Sonja)

Who knows, maybe someday, I’ll make me one. If I do, I won’t sit on it for concerts, or  picnics with cold chicken and
lemonade, either — but I’d give my eye teeth to know what Andre did with his. My hope – that it isn’t hidden away in
room where no one can see it, with gifts that have no real purpose. My dream – that it's being used for what it is, or is
on display on a wall in his castle or studio. Because like his music, it’s beautiful and was made to be enjoyed.   

First design
Hard at work
"Andre, sweetie, can I borrow your  
Shirley Kirk
Netta Galardo
Embroidering the names.                         Finished with the names
The French Horn
The Harp
The String section
The Woodwind section
Goodbye quilt
No cold chicken and lemonade
on this quilt
This is wonderful, thank you
very much!
The finished product, just before she gave it to Andre.   How beautiful!!!
Click globe
Maggie's Friends around the world Wall