André Rieu has donated €425,000 (the equivalent of about $470,000) to Youthfund Culture Limburg to fund music lessons for a year for 1,000 children in his home province of Limburg in the Netherlands.Violinist
Rieu said he would like to give children who can't afford music lessons the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument.
"I would like to give these children the pleasure of making music," he said. "My orchestra members and I know how much fun it is to make music every day, and to make millions of people happy with music night after night. We were all given the chance to have music lessons since our childhood and were fortunate to learn how to play an instrument. So we may understand better than anyone else what it means, if you do not get that chance to be involved with music as a child."
The culture foundation set up a "André Rieu Relay Fund" which Rieu will fund for the first year, then they will seek another benefactor to continue funding the music lessons for the following years.
As we know, it takes far longer than one year to learn to play the violin or any other instrument; so we can only hope that the fund is able to continue supporting music education for those children for years after Rieu's initial donation.
Rieu, based in Maastricht, leads some 100 concerts a year with his waltz-playing Johann Strauss Orchestra, filling enormous venues with adoring fans. The sets for his shows are elaborate; over the years they have included things such as ice rinks, fountains and ballroom floors. The ladies in the orchestra wear colorful ball gowns; orchestra members sit on golden chairs. There are dancers and other performers. Beyond his shows, he's sold more than 40 million record albums. More than 5 million people follow his Facebook page, and his YouTube videos have tens of millions of views. On Dec. 21 he will perform a Christmas concert in Maastricht.
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