Filming of the Road Soap
                                                            From the point of view of the camera man
                                                                             Translation Sonja

Introduction by Andre:
"I  have some guys to introduce to you".
Two camera crews are following us on our tours for the upcoming half year. The Tros,
one of the biggest television networks in the Netherlands is making a real life soap of
Andre and everything around him! Isn't that great? And I am sure all of you want to
see it!  So move over to Holland and start watching the Tros :-) The slogan of the
Tros is: de grootste familie van Nederland which means: the biggest family of the
Netherlands. So where better can they make a show than in our family! We are
having a lot of fun with the cameramen around us.

                                                      Dear Friends.

From May 14 you can follow me, through this web log, during the taping for a reality-soap about the phenomena
Andre Rieu.   This series, of six parts, will be made for the Tros and will be broadcast in Nov or Dec.
My job will be camera man and I will film everything that has to do with the orchestra, the crew, (stage builders,
runners, and of course the cities which will be visited.    Andre Rieu has 14 concerts scheduled.

To give a small impression of the planned performances:
15 May            Detroit                            23 May            Hartford
16 May            Cleveland                        24 May            Boston
17 May            Pittsburgh                        25 May            Durham
18 May            Baltimore                         26 May            Montreal
19 May            Atlantic City                      27 May            Quebec
20 May            Philadelphia                      28 May            Ottawa
21 May            New York City                  29 May            day off
22 May            should be day off             30 May            Chicago

I will try to regularly do a report of my experiences in the States.    If it happens to be quiet for a while that will mean
I am working 24 hours a day, which is very usual when you work oversees :-)
I hope you will enjoy it and see you June 1!

Unbelievable, but true
15 May 2006

I have left.
Spent the night in Maastricht in the luxurious Apple Park Hotel.   With that the tone is set already, and to think we
are not even in America yet.
Andre Rieu is called the boss by his crew, and that he is.......

In an informal chat he let us know that the TV-program revolves around him and that he sets the atmosphere.  It is
a matter of course that he the director is, so I was asked not to stray from his side too much.   So I will stay with him
as much as possible.  

The next morning I film the buses with Andre and the orchestra members in it, from Frans's moving car, with the
trunk open, for a better picture.    The buses are like moving castles with everything a person can possibly need in
I can even drink Andre Rieu melange..... Andre Rieu Coffee I mean!  

The trip started with the handing out of 60 airplane tickets and a well-filled envelope.   The last is to take care of
our expenses (think water, coffee and a sandwich.)    The envelope holds two $50.00 bills, 1 $20.00 bill and a
10.00 Euro bill.   Money is no object.

At the Frankfurt Airport we were sent from one inspection to the next.  And the extra
weight of the suitcases almost made us miss the plane.  After having paid (By Rieu)
the extra 330 Euro we just make it.   
Rieu already warned me that this will be a very difficult trip.  If I have to believe him,
he only sleeps one hour per night, and he said: "consequently so will you"!

I do not take that too seriously.  And I am looking forward to it.....

There are many nice people in the orchestra, (Musicians all have a screw loose, hahaha) and naturally I have
made friends.    And that is necessary, because that is the only way to make good reality TV.

Once in a while a bit of inside information makes sure that you are at the right place at the right time.  That is how I
heard from Violinist Agnes that violinist Luca scared is of flying, and he controls that by waving a spoon, like he is
conductor Rieu himself.

Once in the plane I of course went looking for Luca, but suddenly he was not so nervous anymore.   He is a
flamboyant man who we certainly will see back in the series.   

We are still looking for a fitting name for the Soap, so suggestions are welcome.
That money is no object, became again clear when we arrived at the Hotel.   Large chandeliers were at the ceilings
and when I entered my room I see a huge square bed, big enough for a whole family.  
(In Holland there are no King
size beds.)   
It makes me blush.   I am exhausted after having traveled for 24 hours and within minutes I am sound

The next morning after a delicious breakfast, I get aboard the crew bus,
(night liner) and we drive to 'The palace of Auburn Hills',  The concert that
evening will be there.I am going to enjoy this, they promised me it is going
to be a party.

A performance which holds everything
16 Mei 2006

Yesterday the party started!
The Venue, where usually the basketball players of Detroit have their games, was filled with fans.   Many were
older, and it did not surprise me that some looked like they had passed a hundred!

                                                 The Orchestra with Andre Rieu at the head walked up from the rear of the Hall to
                                                  the stage and big applause resounded through the arena.
                                                 The show is very varied, from Hoem-pa-pa, Waltz, Classical to clownish, so you
                                                 go from one emotion to the next.  Even I had a tear once in a while, but that is okay,
                                                 all  the audience does so too.  

                                                I do not see much of the cities, I will make up for that on my free day!   Then we
                                                 will be in New York and I am looking forward to that.   The team will be in New
                                                York from July 26 until July 30 too, for the special of Rieu.    Then I  will spent four
days there.  It is like that once you belong to the club, you go with them.  I do not mind one bit :-)

It is a party!!  So I have to keep this short or I will miss to much.....just a joke!   I have to go back to work, and that is
no punishment.

And the tour continues
| 20 Mei 2006 | 17:00:

Dear everyone
A lot is happening….. so much in fact that we are short of cameras.
We are with two different teams and work 12 to 16 hours a day.   But
that does not matter. It is a really party to be allowed to be part of Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra.

                                        Teun the flute player, has been with Rieu the longest,  In an interview we asked him:
                                       “Who is Rieu?”.
                                         Not even ten seconds later his eyes became moist (and he was not the only one who
                                         that happened to) and I had to stop the camera.   Teun has great stories, He has
                                         experienced a lot with Rieu and that makes him emotional.     But times have changed
                                         and Rieu has gone from a very small musical group to a large company, an institution,
                                         were day and night hundreds of people work
                                         The company radiates professionalism: merchandising, catering, the office……  It really
is admirable!  A large well-oiled machine.

The contact Teun used to have with Rieu has changed too.    In the old days for instance they would even talk
about the color of the toilet paper in the hotel restrooms.   That is no longer possible.   Of course is Andre Rieu still
accessible, but now it is at a proper distance and everyone seems to feel that is right.

Until now I have seen all the shows and I enjoy myself thoroughly.  I love it!  
A real must, I highly recommend it to young and old.  Really you should have
seen it.   The Americans go nuts when they hear songs like ‘Don’t cry for me
Argentina’.   Rieu also plays the American Anthem.  It is fun to see how they
adore Rieu and applaud and cheer
him. I just take a seat among the public, because that way I can film the
emotions.  Standing ovations and tears.

Rieu’s son, Pierre Rieu is the supervisor of the show.   He works at “the office”
and organized very much.  Hij makes the text and pictures for the website.    
His girlfriend Suzan is with the orchestra and sings the beautiful piece from Evita.  Pierre is a nice boy of almost 25.
                                           We followed him one night during the taking apart of the stage in Pittsburgh.   I slept
                                           that night, just like Pierre and all hands, in the night liner, but did not sleep a wink.  
                                           One Canadian crew member, who had his bunk under mine, snorred so loud that it
                                            kept me awake all night.  But the adrenaline is flowing, so one sleepless night does
                                            not matter.

                                            A crew of 70 travels every night per night liner to the next city for the following
                                            performance.   Among them are cooks, stylists and the ladies who do the washing
                                            and the ironing.    It is something you do not consider, but it is amazing what all has
                                            to happen behind the scenes. So I am totally amazed by all that is going on.
                                           Wonderful to film and I……. I feel myself more than privileged to be able to do this.

See you soon.

I am a world traveler
May 24,  1:24 AM

This boy never wants to come back
But of course I cannot do that.
New York is now behind me and I am in Hartford.  Half of the tour is over but it seems like I have been from home
for months.  New York had left a deep impression, which I am still trying to digest.  It is
also difficult to make a report about is.  Ground Zerodoes not need a description…
…what happened there is known around the world.   
With the camera I followed four men from the brass section,  (Roger, Rene, Ward
and Marcel)   Once they were on top of the twin towers.
The things I filmed in the two days in NYC are the best of the trip.   Ground Zero,
the Statue of Liberty, Manhatten, the Empire State  Building, the subway, Rieu
buying diamonds, Time Square…….unbelievable   beautiful and photogenic.

This morning I walked to through Central Park with Rieu and  his lawyer.   Riey hopes to be able play there this
year  ‘in the open air’.  20.000 people can then witness his performance.   We have beautiful weather and that
                                                     makes filming an extra delight.
                                                    The end of July I will again join them to New York for a big  Television special.
                                                     I am thrilled.   I am writing this from someone else’s laptop, so I have to stop.
                                                      I will report back again soon.

Check this out

                                                      May 24, 18:10
                                                     On the site of Andre Rieu you will see pictures of me and the camera man.
                                                     Andre Rieu himself, the orchestra and all hands!
I have made many good pictures myself too and I can add those to the site…..but that takes some time since they
have to be made smaller.    My problem is also that I do not always have access to a computer.
But if you check Andre site you get at least a taste of it.
Love to all.

Here they are….. the work pictures of the tour until now.  I hope to add more before I get back.
Sadly it is almost the end of the tour

May 30, 7:01

Here I am again.

We are back in the USA.  Yesterday we left at 7:00AM from Canada and at 18:30 we were back in Detroit, USA,
where we started the tour.
Detroit is a stop-over, so not concert.  Today we will travel to Chicago for the last concert.

Yesterday was a day to never forget.  For the first time our carnet turned out to be incorrect.   A carnet is a
document with which you can legally in and export the camera equipment and is needed to prevent problems at the
borders with customs.  It would be expensive if it was sales material instead of tools of the trade.
We had to export the equipment by customs in Canada and then import it back into America.   The friendly customs
officer, a lady, had already warned me to expect trouble with the US customs.   So with sweat on my brow, also
because it was about 90 degrees, I entered the America customs office and handed them my carnet.   After some
waiting time, and of course  70 crew members wait with me, the customs officer comes at me
with a smile and the message that something terrible is not correct.  Together we look at the
page numbers and come to the conclusion that a colleague of mine in January filled in the
wrong pages.   I started to get very anxious. But soon it became clear that the man wanted
to get rid of us in a hurry, so he just tore a page out the carnet that had been completely
filled out.  With the friendly request if I would please scratch out everything.  So I meekly
complied and squeezed in the correct information.  How lucky were we that it worked out
well there in the customs office and I was so relieved.  Not only for myself but also for all
who were waiting for me in the busses.

We travel with three tour busses through America and Canada.  Rieu had
them built and they are fitted with all the modern conveniences you can imagine
I wrote earlier already that I do not lack anything.
Everything is electric and there are two refrigerators with drinks and fruit.   Sometimes we
stop to go to the bathroom, kick a ball or just to let of some steam and stretch the legs.    
Andre Rieu sometimes takes pictures when we stop and he does a very good job.  He even sent me some.  I do not
want to keep those from you.   

Now I am going to bed, tomorrow early we will travel to Chicago….
Of course I miss all of you and am looking forward to be back in the  Netherlands.
See you soon.

Back home
June 2 0:18
So, here I am again, back in Holland.
It was an experience to never forget.  What nice people within the orchestra and Rieu himself,  nice too with a
charisma you can compare to for instance Jeroen Krabbe ( Dutch actor, he also played the heavy in several US
movies) Now I have some jet lag, so I make is short. and will get back to you on my next travels.
Fun that you followed me here and thanks for the nice reactions.
From left to
Remko, Sebastiaan, Erik and
Cassandra in front of
Andre's bus in Detroit.
The Camera and sound crew who worked on the Road Soap.  Renamed for the DVD, "Andre Rieu on his way to New York"
                                                               For Sale in Andre's boutique.