2017 National Accordion Association (NAA)
30th Anniversary Convention Big Success!!

Hyatt Regency, Richardson, Texas.
March 8 - 11, 2017

Norman SeatonReport and pictures provided by USA News Editor Rita Barnea.

Dr. Norman Seaton, President of the National Accordion Association (NAA - picture right), and the Board of Directors Nick Ballarini, Rebecca Ratcliff, Sharon Seaton and Nancy Bernstein organized the 2017 NAA 30th Anniversary Convention.

The very successful convention included a variety of excellent workshops and concerts with unique talent which intrigued, educated, and entertained the first timer and seasoned conventioneer alike.
NAA Youth Accordion Orchestra with tutors: Greg Klugiewicz, Dick Albreski, and Elena Fainshtein.

The feeling throughout the convention was one of great warmth and acceptance of all levels of playing.

All the guest artists, workshop presenters, and display personnel took their time to listen, be available and also explain their special niche in the accordion world. I learned so much not only about the accordion itself but also about the interesting personal stories of each presenter and performer.

International participation with Marco Cinaglia (Bugari Evo accordion factory, Italy),
Norman Seaton (NAA President), Alessio Gurundi (Zero Sette accordion factory, Italy),
Nick Ballarini (accordion shop. owner).

The convention began with informal practice sessions and fun band practice led by entertaining and informative Dick Albreski. Thursday activities included band and orchestra practice sessions, strolling accordionists in the restaurant, with evening entertainment concerts.

Steve Albini of Roland Corporation, Michael Bridge and Gary Blair. 3 is a number with 3 in the picture - Joe Petosa III,
Willard Palmer III and Nick Ballarini III.

The Thursday concerts included the NAA Fun Band directed by Dick Albreski and the Willard A. Palmer II Tribute conducted by Shelia Lee. Bill Palmer of the Palmer/Hughes world famous tutor book series was born 100 years ago and left an enormous legacy to the accordion world.
Mary Tokarski and Gary Blair (Scotland).

The Fun Band and Orchestra joined together to perform “Jesu, Joy of Man” with the NAA Orchestra being directed by AAA President Mary Tokarski.

The Circle of Champions Concert on Thursday evening was presented by Rebecca Ratliff and Jessica Faltot. The concert featured an eclectic collection of NAA guests playing a variety of popular musical styles fully enjoyed by the audience. Performers included Nick Ballarini, Jessica Faltot, Gary Blair, Gordon Kohl, Rebecca Jane Huck, Michael Bridge, Eli Davidsohn and Patrick Harison. Gary Blair is the 2017 representative from the National Accordion Organization of the United Kingdom (NAO).

Rita’s Birthday Party Workshop.

In celebration of the 100th birthday of the birth of Willard “Bill” Palmer, his son, Bill Palmer III, spoke about his father’s enormous legacy to the accordion world. Obituary: Willard Palmer II

He introduced Lynlee Alley, the first person to graduate with a Masters in Accordion from the University of Houston in 1946 and Herschel Moody, the last person to graduate from the University of Houston with a BA in accordion. Both performed on the Thursday evening program.

Willard Palmer III with the Centenary Cake in honor of his father Bill Palmer II of Palmer-Hughes tutor book fame as well as many other contributions to the development of the accordion in the USA and internationally. Herschel Moody and Lynlee Alley

Friday evening activities included choices: all types of ethnic dancing with audience participation; Cafe Accordion with refreshments and accordionists in a relaxed setting and late evening jamming each night. Cafe Accordionists included Chuck Henry, Dr. Ian Fries, Dr. Mike Middleton, and John Blumenfeld.
Randy McPeck Dr Mike Middleton

The Saturday evening concert was enjoyable and educational, a real pleasure to witness such varied and accomplished musicians. Rita Barnea introduced the evening with a presentation to NAA President Norman Seaton of two letters.

The first was a letter of congratulation from Harley Jones, Public Relations Manager of the Confederation Internationale des Accordionists (CIA) and the second, a letter by Rita Barnea as Editor of the Accordion USA News www.accordionusa.com site congratulating the NAA on its 30 years of successful music making.

Elena and Gregory Fainshtein

The Saturday evening concert included AAA President Mary Tokarski who is also a member of the Accordionists’ and Teachers’ Guild (ATG) and was a co-founder of the Connecticut Accordion Association (CAA). Mary performs both nationally and internationally as a soloist as well as performing with orchestras and string quartets. Her superb performance included “Polonaise in A Major” by Chopin, “Carmen Fantasie” by Bizet and other works.

Michael Bridge and Gary Blair

Scottish musician Gary Blair was awarded the title, “Veterani Della Fisarmonica” by the Rossini Institute in Italy in 2004 as well as “Honored Friend of the Accordion” by the CIA. He dazzled all with his quick fingers performing "Scottish Reels", "Film and TV Themes" and his own compositions to popular applause.

Concert accordionist Michael Bridge was voted in 2016 by Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) as one of the “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30” and is renowned for his stage presence and versatility. Some of his selections were compositions by Bach, Rossini, and his dramatic arrangement of the “1812 Overture” by Tchaikovsky.

Further Pictures to be Added

Steve Albini’s performances include Italian works, Jazz and Latin American genres. He is currently an artist and clinician for the Roland Corporation. He performs regularly at Francis Ford Coppola’s winery in California and entertained with “Sway”, “Guarda Che Luna” and more.

Each performer received a standing ovation for their outstanding and dazzling performances.

The Saturday Youth Accordion Concert was a special collaboration. Dick Albreski conducted the band which included his students and those of Elena Fainshtein and Greg Klugiewicz. With only a short amount of rehearsal time, their performance was both accurate and entertaining. It was heart warming to see the enjoyment and sense of pride reflected by both students and teachers. These young people represent the future of the accordion. And it IS a bright positive future!

There were many informative and fun workshops during the NAA 30th Convention.The presenters were thorough, patient and welcoming of comments and questions:
Steve Albini…”Roland FR-4X Accordion Tour” and “Model Selection”;
Markus Baggio…”Roland Playing with a BK-7 Backing Module;
Nick Ballarini…”Elements of a Successful Accordion Performance”;
Rita Barnea… “How to Organize a Musical Children’s Birthday Party”;
Nancy Bernstein and Eli Davidsohn…”Israeli Folk Dance Music”;
Gary Blair…”European Music”; Nick Bratkovich…”Balkan Music”;
Michael Bridge… “Roland in Your Lap”, “Roland Musicality”, “Orchestral Sounds”, “Baroque Music on Accordion”, “Business Models for Accordionist”;
Dr. Ed Casper…”Non-oompah Bass”; Elena and Gregory Fainshtein…”Duets and Musicality”;
Dr. Ian Fries… “Roland Practicalities”, “Jazz Bass Chords”, “Digital Accordion Symposium”;
Patrick Harison…” Leaning More about Musette, Chromatic and Jazz”;
Chick Henry… “Roland FR-4X vs FR-8X, “USB Backing Tracks”;
Gordon Kohl…”Playing with Other Accordion Players”;
Brett Lane… “Polka Power”;
Shelia Lee..”Learn to Play with an Ensemble”;
Randy McPeck…”Know How Your Accordion Works”;
Mike Middleton…”Arranging and Enhancing your Music with Various Accordion Techniques”;
Bill Palmer… “Learn to Play with an Ensemble”: Rollie Revering…”Polka Power”;
Sharon Seaton…"Sharon’s Circle”; George Secor…”Moschino Free Bass”;
Hank Thunder… “Musicality Techniques”;
Mary Tokarski… “Making Music Fun”; Arlen Visentin… “15 Minutes of Fame”;
Tom Visentin… “Creating Music”;
Dale Wise… “Accordion Pro Notes”.

The 30th Anniversary NAA convention, “It’s All About the Journey”, was truly a celebration of the accordion, camaraderie among all types of people, and a living example of how we all can learn to live together, be respectful and accepting of differences, and light up the world with our music.

Congratulations to Dr. Norman Seaton, President of National Accordion Association (NAA) and to all his Board members since inception, for thirty years of dedication to the accordion and positive cultural values. You can all be proud.

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