April 2015: Ruud Merx and his wife Lin Jong both play in the Johann Strauss Orchestra since 1994. They have two children: Oscar and Lisa. In April 2015 the Limburg Newspaper published the article “Searching for roots in Limburg” about Ruud and his family. Click HERE to read the article in the Harmony Parlor.
July 2014: During the July 2014 Maastricht season, there was one Sunday without concert on the Vrijthof due to a worlschampionship soccer that day. Lift-Off -the percussion group of Marcel Falize, in which Ruud played a prominent role as well- did a unique performance in Heerlerheide.Please see the vide above for a trombone solo by Ruud followed by the son ‘Mr. Sandman’ performed by the Merx family.Click HERE to see a registration of the the whole concert.
March 14th 2014.Music makes youngsters smarter. Translation: Entia Shadwell. On Sunday, March 16, 2014, there will be a children's concert in Roermond’s Cuypershuis. “Research has indicated that children who make music have higher IQ’s, are more sociable and adjust to discipline with more ease," says Ruud Merx, trombonist with André Rieu. He is the main promoter of music in Limburg. Eighty percent of all people have musical ability, and you do not have to be able to read notes to make music. Ruud Merx (44) is the trombonist in the orchestra of Andre Rieu while his wife is violinist Alina Lin (Jong). Recently, Merx became the Limburg ambassador for the Music Makes Smart (Muziek maakt slim) Foundation (MMS). However, he himself prefers to use the term “music promoter”. Merx is convinced that children - especially those between the ages of 6 and 14 years - are smarter and more sociable and develop a positive self-image as they learn to make music. “And it does not necessarily have to be heavy classical music; singing together or drumming is also making music.”This statement makes sense. Someone who plays an instrument is visually engaged (reading notes), auditively engaged (hearing), motor skills are involved (hands) as well as touch (feel). According to Merx these aspects all contribute towards a better connection between the neurons of the left (ratio, intellect) and the right (emotion) hemispheres of the brain. MMS relies on scientific research from Canada, America and Switzerland, but especially on that of the German music educator, Professor Hans Bastian. The professor followed the progress of a group of elementary school students in Berlin for a period of six years. Part of the group had music lessons and the rest not. Eventually, the music-making group developed a higher IQ and also showed improved analytical and abstract reasoning. The joint music-making led to a strengthening of the team spirit and improved discipline (follow the conductor / teacher), which in turn had a (positive) impact on their social and emotional skills.Merx is a firm supporter of the ‘School without notes’ project, which is being presented in a number of municipalities in North and Central Limburg. “Learning to read notes is usually a threshold rather than an incentive to play a musical instrument. I think you should expose children to music in combination with playing to a much larger extent, as is being done in the Suzuki violin lessons where students initially – in a group – attempt to make music based on hearing alone. That enthusiasm and the support of parents lead to the children with real talent and a passion for music coming to the fore.”On Sunday (at 1.30PM), the wind quintet, Music4Kids, will perform the classic piece Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns at the Cuypershuis in Roermond. The animals will be represented by a flute, oboe, horn, bassoon and clarinet. Merx: “A great initiative to familiarize children with classical music; especially if they allow the kids to blow (play) an instrument.” Ruud Merx (44) is the musical promoter of the Music Makes Smart foundation that wants to convince children and parents alike that making music will make the kids smarter and more sociable.
August 2013.Ruud Merx, André's trombone player, runs a music production company.In this mini show (from 2008), named: "The bewitched instruments" story teller Andrea Senden is presenting several brass band instruments to young children at an elementary school. The goal is to familiarize children with the instruments and to recruit new members for the Limburg brass bands. Lyrics and music by Ruud Merx. Ruud Merx has also composed beautiful music for the trumpet, to be played by Melissa Venema, you remember the young girl in André's concert?? Ruud is on Facebook under Merx Music Productions.
Romance for Melissa.In 2009 Ruud Merx composed a trumpet piece, especially for Melissa Venema, when she was 14 years old. Listen how beautiful Melissa is playing this composition.In 2008 she performed with André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra at the age of 13.Piano: Peter Besseling.
Update Dec.18: André Rieu cancels all remaining (6) concerts of the British tour. “We are all together waiting for him to wake up. Everyone is too upset to continue playing”. Update Dec.19: The sick musician is Ruud Merx.Click HERE to read an article from the Limburg Paper in the Harmony Parlor.
December 17, 2016.From André Rieu’s official web site: Important announcementDear fans,It is with great regret that André Rieu has to postpone tonight's Nottingham concert due to a member of the Johann Strauss Orchestra having a heart attack this morning.The musician has been taken to hospital but unfortunately his condition remains critical. We are deeply saddened and thank you for your understanding in this difficult moment. Our heartfelt feelings are with our colleague and his family.
Latest update: André is totally devastated.Ruud and his family will return home tomorrow to a Maastricht hospital. Unfortunately the doctors have little or no hope he will wake up again….Below a short video broadcast by the Dutch TV program ‘Shownieuws’ on December 19.
Christmas Greetings 2015 by the Merx Music Family: We baked cookies for Christmas. The atmosphere was so good that we liked to sing a song for you. We wish you all a merry Christmas and a super 2016.The Merx family.
December 22, 2016.In Memoriam: Ruud MerxOn December 17, 2016, during André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra’s tour through Ireland and the United Kingdom, the trombone player Ruud Merx (47) was struck by a severe heart attack while asleep. He was immediately taken to a hospital in Leeds. The Maestro and the members of the Johann Strauss Orchestra were so devastated that they could no longer perform. Ruud did not wake up from his coma and André canceled (postponed) the remaining 6 concerts of the tour. André had Ruud’s family flown in and later on he had them fly back with Ruud to Maastricht. The fans were also devastated and posted comments and a thread of Candles of Hope on Facebook Harmony Parlor. Today, December 22, we received the sad notification that Ruud had passed away in the Maastricht Academic hospital. Our sincere condolences go out to Lin, Oscar, Lisa and the entire family. Our condolences also to André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra for their devastating loss. Farewell Ruud, you will be missed!! Click HERE to read an article from the Limburg paper in the Harmony Parlor.
There is an opportunity for family, friends and acquaintances to say goodbye on Wednesday December 28 at 14:30 h. (2.30 PM) during a memorial in the Roda Hall in Kerkrade. The cremation ceremony will take place later in private.Correspondence address: Lilian Habets Uitvaarten, Groeneweg 15, 6271 BR Gulpen, the Netherlands.
Dear Ruud,For 22 years you were in our midst and we have enjoyed the warm tone of your trombone, the warmth of your smile and your cheerful character. To our great sorrow, you are suddenly taken away from us. Goodbye Ruud, your tone will forever resound in us.
Fonte d’AmoreRuud Merx composed and arranged thispiece of music for the tenor Béla Mavrak.
Thank you Margreeth van der Veen, for sending us this YouTube videowith the Alphorn Symphony, composed by Ruud Merx.
From the concert in Trier (Germany) 2004.More under “Golden Oldies”, click HERE for the full concert.
Sonja’s dormant translations web site (2002 - 2007)In 2005 Sonja Harper of the early André Rieu Translations web site, had an interview with Lin and Ruud Merx - Jong at their home in Limburg. Click HERE to go to the translations web site to read the interview.
Farewell dearest Ruud.From André Rieu's website and obituary:"Dear Ruud,For 22 years it has been an honor and pleasure to enjoy the warm sound of your trombone, the warmth of your smile and your cheerful personality that inspired so many people. To our great sorrow you have now been snatched away from our midst... Farewell Ruud. Your golden tones will resonate forever, in all of us!André, Marjorie, Pierre, Marc Rieu & the Johann Strauss Orchestra". On December 17, 2016, during André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra's tour through Ireland and the United Kingdom, trombone player Ruud Merx (47) was struck by a severe heart attack while asleep. On December 22nd we received the notification that Ruud had passed away in a Maastricht hospital. On December 28th Ruud and Ineke traveled to Kerkrade to attend the memorial service. For this occasion the Roda hall (a sports hall) had been transformed into a concert hall in the André Rieu style. After the Merx family, the Rieu family and other close friends and acquaintances had taken their seats in the front rows, the other (we estimate around 2000) interested parties were allowed to enter. The white coffin was placed in front of the podium. At the family's request, no pictures, video or audio recordings were allowed to be made.The ceremony lasted 2.5 hours and it was an impressive tribute to Ruud Merx.Ruud has meant an awful lot to the Limburg Brass Band music industry. Much of Ruud's favorite music was played by a trombone ensemble, German/Austrian oompah music, carnival songs, pop music and classical music. The music was interspersed by Willy Huppertz and Ward Vlasveld telling anecdotes which had been experienced by Ruud’s friends.Pierre Rieu spoke a few words on behalf of André and the orchestra. Afterwards, he was interviewed by the press.Highlights of the program:Léon and Lara van Wijk-Meuleman: "Hymn to Love" (Edith Piaf).Lisa and Oscar (on CD): "Pie Jesu" (requiem by Andrew Lloyd Webber). The four Falizes accompanied by guitar and piano by Ward Vlasveld: "You're so cool" (Hans Zimmer).Ruud and Lin's favorite song: "Old and Wise" (The Alan Parsons Project. 1982).Kelly God (soprano) accompanied by Frank Steijns on the piano: "Tomorrow the sun will shine again" (Richard Strauss).Trumpet/trombone ensembles with René, Roger, Léon and Romano.We saw many JSO members in the audience. After the ceremony a drink was offered to everyone.Dear Ruud, we’ll never forget you.Ruud and Ineke Elshout-Cornelissen.
December 30, 2016Photo tribute to Ruud Merx, created by Ineke.Music: Ruud and Lin’s favorite song “Old and Wise” by the Alan Parsons Project (1982).From the obituary:And some day in the mist of timeWhen they asked me if I knew youI’d smile and sayYou were a friend of mine.
Below a video from Limburg Tube.Many thanks to John de Jong, for assisting us with the English language.
Below an intem from the Dutch “Shownieuws” program by SBS6.
The “OP HERME” foundation, established in 1989.Children for animals, animals for children. www.stichtingopherme.nlApril 2017.An Invitation to a memorial concert honoring Ruud Merx, on Sunday May 28, 2017, from 3-4 PM. We will be honoring Ruud forever with music which connects people. The program will start with a 25 min. long mini musical, created by Ruud on the occasion of the 25th year jubilee of “Op Herme” (in 2014), and will feature the Op Herme children’s drama group, who will be singing and performing: “Oh when I am old and wise”, an Alan Parson’s Project.As usual we’ll finish the program with Beethoven’s: “Ode to Joy”.You are very welcome!!Entrance fee: voluntary contribution.Address: Baldersstraat 1.6011SK ELL.(Ell is a village in the northern part of Limburg, near Weert).If you like to give a donation:Bank account: Triodos Bank, NL.NL47 TRIO 03910500
Taken from a newspaper article of the 25 years jubilee of the foundation OP HERME in 2014:Veronika Jong regularly organizes concerts at the farm where she usually provides a safe and normal home for eight to ten foster children. Famous (Rieu) artists are regularly singing and playing at the farm. Her foster children learn to play musical instruments like the violin while twenty ponies graze happily on the farm where soprano Kimmy Skota will be singing on Sunday to contribute towards the renovation of the concert barn. Earlier, the Brazilian opera star, Carla Maffioletti, who is famous for her performance of (opera) arias, sang there and the farm has also hosted jazz combos, folk groups and comedians. It can all be attributed to Jong’s philosophy that music is an essential part of education. Her foster children are all allowed to take music lessons (violin, piano). “For many it is their first encounter with live music. They have often never owned a real instrument in the homes they come from. Here they learn about the beauty and importance of music. Music literally makes you smart and by acting, you learn to present a group yourself.” This is nice, but the question remains as to how Jong manages to persuade reputable artists to perform at her farm? The answer lies with her own daughter, Alina-Lin Jong (40), being a violinist in the orchestra of André Rieu and travelling around the world with him for many years. Add to this her son-in-law, Ruud Merx, musician, composer, trombonist with Rieu and ambassador of the foundation “Muziek maakt slim” (Music makes clever). They live in the same 'world' as Kimmy Skota and Carla Maffioletti. “And André Rieu has been a patron of the organization Op Herme since the beginning of this year,” Veronika says proudly. Formally a refuge for old ponies, the farm is now also home to several abandoned young pigs, chickens and cats. “You will not believe it but sometimes orphaned animals are literally thrown over the fence (usually chickens). When you enter the bike shed, you suddenly encounter a previously abandoned pregnant pony.... People think that Veronika knows what to do with these animals. ”The contact with Rieu himself dates from a few years back when he had to make recordings between animals. Eventually the recordings for French TV were made at Jong’s farm instead of at the famous Gaia Park (zoo in Kerkrade, Limburg). The presence of the horses and other animals are not coincidental. According to the farm’s website “living with animals has proved to have positive therapeutic effects on most children, especially those who have been damaged by a difficult past.”