Andre Rieu introduced us to Melissa Venema, a 13 year old Trumpet player way back in July 2008 on Maastricht II DVD.
Il Silenzio, a trumpet solo put Melissa in front of Andre, the JSO, & 15,000 people in the audience. When Melissa began playing, the audience, that was sitting around in restaurants, stopped eating, stopped drinking, stopped talking, & gave her their undivided & appreciative attention.
When I was watching & listening to Melissa for the very first time, I too, could hardly believe my eyes & ears & wondered how could such a lovely, petite young lady, play such a big trumpet. When Melissa hit that final high note & gave the audience a trumpeter's salute, the audience erupted with applause & admiration.
Melissa put a YouTube video on the internet of her playing Il Silenzio with Andre 2 years ago (2008). That video has been viewed more than 1,000,000 times as of earlier this month, August 2010.
Melissa wasn't through; she stayed on stage while Andre told us that Melissa wanted to play with him & the JSO when she is older & that "here is a little taste of what is to come in the future". At this point Rene & Roger, JSO trumpeters, joined Melissa & they played a spirited rendition of Buglers Holiday.
Andre mentioned that Melissa was seen playing cards with Rene & Roger (JSO trumpet players). I wondered which card games they played, & who won, so I asked Melissa's dad, "We only know that Melissa, didn't win"
I was also curious as to how Melissa came to Andre's attention. Apparently, Andre went to Melissa's website, listened to some of her music, & then contacted Melissa through her website.
Blue jeans, appears to be Melissa's garb of choice when not performing, because this is what she is wearing in a lot of photos
I don't know about you, but I am unwilling to wait 2 or 3 more years before Andre releases another DVD here in the U.S.A with Melissa. I want to hear more of Melissa playing her trumpet, here & NOW.
To my surprise I discovered Melissa has recorded
On the strength of my admiration for Andre's ability to spot talent & what I'd already witnessed, I purchased both of Melissa's recordings.
Here are my thoughts & observations about both of these recordings.
Melissa in Concert - MP3
I first ordered the MP3 recording "Melissa in Concert" & have enjoyed listening to it in the background while doing chores. I must confess, the first time I started listening; I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes, & sat in a recliner simply listening.
Throughout all of my listening I can't help but marvel at the power & clarity of the notes Melissa plays whether it's a long note, or a triple tongue passage of notes.
#4 Ave Maria - As Melissa began playing, I thought of Carmen Monarcha (#20 Christmas Around the World - DVD) & Mirusia Louwerse (#8 Maastricht II - DVD), both of whom have sung the song as a soprano soloist. I thought of them singing along as Melissa played
#5 Don't Cry for me Argentina - I thought of Suzan Erens (#6 New York Memories - DVD) & would love to hear Suzan & Melissa team up on a duet of this song.
#6 The Last Rose of Summer - I thought of Teun Ramaekers playing this music on his fife & thought how much I'd like to hear a duet of Teun & Melissa .
#15 Once Upon a Time in the West - As Melissa played this I thought how beautiful it would be if Carla Maffioletti (#4 Romantic Paradise - DVD) could sing solo while Melissa plays.
#16 Romance voor Melissa - Ruud Merx, JSO trombone player, composed this for Melissa . I had no idea Ruud composed music & I can tell you listening to this is a MUST. To think Ruud thought enough of Melissa to take the time & trouble to compose music for her & then to think Melissa liked it enough to include her recording of this music, to me, is the highlight of this MP3
Melissa from the Heart - CD -- Keep in mind Melissa is a year older & more accomplished.
Melissa is accompanied by Cathelijne Noorland (website) a lovely, young, tall, talented, statuesque pianist with a big smile & dimples. Cathelijne's (pronounced Cath-a-line-ah) piano accompaniment enhances each musical selection. She can tickle the ivory in perfect time with Meliss'a triple tongue passages. It will be interesting to see if Cathelijne goes on to compete the International Chopin Piano Competition held every 5 years in Warsaw.
#7 My Heart will go on - When I saw this is one of the musical selections Melissa plays, I went straight to it & listened to it at least 6 times before I went back to the beginning.
#2 Il Silenzio - Each time I listen I can mentally see Melissa playing, on stage with Andre & can again & again see the rapt attention the audience gives Melissa.
Either # 2 or #7 should be reason enough for YOU, to order this CD.
#9 Dance Napolitaine - This is my favorite because this is something I can hum along with & dance to + it is a catchy tune that I really like. I'd never heard this before & I'll usually play it several times before going to the next musical selection.
#10 Trumpetconcerto, part 1 - Ruud Merx, JSO trombone player did the musical arrangement of this & 2 others on this CD
#11 Yesterday - Made famous by John Lennon/Paul McCartney & arranged by Ruud Merx. If you like this song sung by the Beatles, you'll love Melissa's trumpet rendition & will probably sing along.
#14 When I'm sixty four - Made famous by John Lennon/Paul McCartney & arranged by Ruud Merx. Another sing-a-long song & Melissa adds her personal touch to this memorable song.
All of the above are my own thoughts & observations, when you listen I'm sure you will have other songs that are your favorite. I hope you will share your thoughts about Melissa's music with us & with Melissa who is aware of this blog topic. We can only hope Melissa will decloak & say something.
Although Melissa is new to those of us that are Andre Rieu fans, she is not new to the musical world. Melissa has been playing Trumpet for 7 years now & her awards & biography is almost endless. You should take the time to get to know Melissa better by visiting her website. She has a guestbook that you should take the time to sign.
Melissa has a Facebook page which means you can ask if you can be her friend, if you have a Facebook page.
If I had the opportunity to raise my hand during an Andre concert & make a personal request, it would be a request that Melissa play JAVA, a musical number composed by the incomparable, Al Hirt & turned into a #1 hit here in the U.S. when he was a guest Trumpet soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
GO HERE to see 10 photos of Melissa, photos that are the largest, & highest resolution to be published on the internet.
In conclusion I have two rhetorical questions:
- Is it possible Melissa will overshadow Andre with her musical career?
- Is it possible Melissa is a female reincarnation of Al Hirt?
I like the new hair style, Melissa