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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Apr-2024
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
What Are You Doing For May 6th World Accordion Day?
AAA 2024 Annual Competition and Festival July 12 - 14 in Pennsylvania
Financial Youth Assistance for the 2024 ATG Festival Application Due April 15
A World of Accordions Celebrates World Accordion Day and Palmer Festival 2024
TromboKordion Duo: Elena Fainshtein and Bass Trombonist Lucas Kaspar Perform on April 5
Press Release: Digital Accordion (a Fresh Perspective) – Episode 1
Hundreds of Musicians to Compete at New England Music Festival in Waltham, MA April 5-7
World Premiere of “Black Swan” by Dr. William Schimmel
Dean Olsher's Debut Album, “Letters of Transit” Released on March 29 on Bandcamp
HMC Honors Alex Meixner with Happy Music Ambassador Award at NAA Convention

Voci Armoniche

Reports for Concerts, Masterclasses, Competitions, Festivals, etc.

National Accordion Association: Another Big Success!
One-month Extension of AAA Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition Deadline Date - USA
”Phantom of the Opera (1929”) Accompanied by Michael Bridge
Cory Pesaturo Performs Four Concerts in Bakersfield, California
Join the Accordion Pops Orchestra Rehearsal on April 14 in New Jersey
Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini Entertain on April 5
Elena Stenkina Performs at Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society Benefit Event
“Accordions Rising” Documentary Available Now Free on YouTube
Rachel Bell in Spring Programs

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Get your Accordion Fest 2024 tickets now before they sell out!
21st Annual Gator by the Bay
The 2024 Accordion Seminars - Dr. William Schimmel, Curator
Centrum Blues Camp with Bruce Sunpie Barnes
Carrozza Scholarship Fundraiser on September 15
Sam Reider’s Album Release Concert on June 26th in Brooklyn

Over 2,100 titles of eSheet music, sent to you by email, secure server bank online payment



Editor's Note

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
RitaWe at AWW hope that you, your family and friends enjoy a Happy Easter, Happy Passover, peaceful and happy times filled with joyful music.

Remember that May 6, 2024 is World Accordion Day! Please send info about your WAD events to Plan to attend or view the many online and live celebrations of WAD (World Accordion Day) happening on May 6, 2024.

Visit the WAD site created by Harley Jones, Public Relations for Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) to celebrate the accordion’s versatility, importance and influence all over the world.

Enjoy reading about the accordion events that are taking place in April and on through the summer months.

Please email Editor Rita Barnea at with details of your upcoming concerts, music platform releases, festivals, competitions, performances etc. Remember to include photos and video links.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

What Are You Doing For May 6th World Accordion Day?

by Harley Jones
WADWhat are you doing for World Accordion Day (WAD) to promote the accordion in your country? WAD is on May 6th, which is the day the accordion was patented in 1829.

WAD was started in 2009 by the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) and has been very successful, generating a lot of positive publicity for the accordion. A key part of this event is the WAD website.

Every association, group, orchestra, performer and teacher, is asked to actively support this event by encouraging national and local accordion activities to happen in their country on this day or the weekend either side of 6th May WAD if that should be more convenient.

Everyone can register their WAD activity on the website and send a report of their event after, for that website.

No event is too big or too small. ALL accordion events celebrating World Accordion Day are welcome. This is a CIA promotion for the accordion in which every accordion enthusiast can participate and help bring our accordion world together as well as strongly promote the accordion.

Register your WAD event today at: World Accordion Day

The Ins and Outs of the Accordion by famous accordion repairer and tuner Thierry Benetoux

AAA 2024 Annual Competition and Festival July 12 - 14 in Pennsylvania

by Frank Busso Jnr, AAA President
AAA Logo
Frank Busso, Jr.AAA posterWelcome to the American Accordionists’ Association! Exciting news about the upcoming 2024 AAA Festival in Conshohocken, PA

The AAA Board has been busy making many exciting changes and additions to this year’s festival, which will take place from July 12-14, 2024. This consolidated schedule will be packed with events, performers, workshops and food functions beginning with a gala luncheon on Friday, July 12. This will cut down the amount of hotel nights needed, but not the amount of wonderful activities!

We are delighted to announce our incredible guest artists: Hanzhi Wang, Joseph Natoli, Dallas Vietty, Nikolay Bine and this year’s festival orchestra conductor Frank Busso Sr. More performers will be announced as plans firm up.

Meanwhile, please save the date and join us for this special event! Along with performances and workshops, there will be competitions for students of all ages and proficiency levels. There will be performance opportunities for all attendees, three festival orchestras, vendors, exhibits and several food functions with live music.

Competition rules and entry forms are now online at AAAFestival The hotel discount code will be released soon along with festival announcements.

We look forward to seeing you there!
Musically yours,
Frank Busso Jr. AAA President
Joe and Dallas

Titano Accordion Company

Financial Youth Assistance for the 2024 ATG Festival Application Due April 15

by Mary Ann Covone, ATG President
ATG PosterATG  posterThe Application Deadline for Youth Competitor’s Financial Aid are due April 15, 2024. If you plan to compete and need some financial assistance, you must complete this financial aid application. Here is the link to apply:

We are excited to announce that the ATG has set aside $5,000 this year to financially assist youth competitors who would like to compete in  the 2024 ATG Festival in Kansas City, MO. 

ATG will review each application and determine how to allocate the funds among the various applicants.  Funds will be distributed via check.


* Applicant must be age 19 or younger on July 20, 2024
* Applicant or Applicant's teacher must be an ATG Member
* Applicant must compete in at least one 2024 ATG festival solo or duet competition and must pay the appropriate competition fee
* Be aware that competitions will be scheduled any time from Tuesday July 23 - Saturday July 27th.  Competition schedules will be available in early July
* Applicant must fill out the application form below
ATG will provide notification of assistance amount to each applicant by 5/1/2024

Funds will be dispersed via check at the ATG festival. Arrangement can be made if the funds are required before the festival.

The (ATG) Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International is a non-profit organization of accordion teachers, students, composers, professional musicians, and hobbyists from around the world. Its goal is to foster an appreciation of this remarkable instrument and its music.
Since its establishment in 1940 by the late Anthony Galla-Rini and colleagues, the ATG has garnered international prestige and respect for its ongoing pursuit of excellence in music education.  

The ATG offers scholarships, hosts seminars, workshops, concerts, recitals, and an annual festival -- all of which provide accordion education and performance opportunities for players of all ages and levels. 

Join us in Kansas City on July 23-27 for the 2024 ATG Festival Honoring Joan Sommers.

Voci Armoniche

A World of Accordions Celebrates World Accordion Day and Palmer Festival 2024

by Jane Christison, Secretary, A World of Accordions Museum
A World of Accordions will be celebrating World Accordion Day 2024 and the Dr. Willard A. Palmer Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5, 2024, at A World of Accordions Museum, in Superior, Wisconsin. We will be honoring George Curletto, an accordion innovator, Willard A. Palmer III, son of Dr. Willard A. Palmer, and Professor Emerita Joan Cochran Sommers.
The weekend will include a free concert on Thursday, May 2, 2024, 6:00 p.m. by Kansas City children’s musician, Janie Next Door® - also known as accordionist Jane
The concert is A World of Accordion’s way to celebrate the local Home Grown Festival.
Friday night, May 3, 2024, 7:30 p.m., the Accordion & Concertina Music Band and Friends (anyone who wants to bring an accordion and play), will rehearse some world accordion music. Please email if you’re coming and would like music to be emailed to you.
Saturday, May 4, 2024, starts at 10:00 a.m. with a welcome, presentations, and a chance to ask Helmi Harrington, Ph.D., any and all accordion-related questions as well as find out how she started the A World of Accordions Museum. The afternoon includes a world premiere of the ATG (Accordionists & Teachers Guild Int’l.) sponsored documentary, “A World of Accordions . . . a Harrington Legacy.”  There will be a workshop by by Joan C. Sommers, a performance by the Chicagoland Accordion Academy, directed by Mary Ann Covone, and a performance by the ACM Band and Friends before breaking for dinner. The dinner will be capped off with a performance by Mike Middleton & the Middletones, which is sure to be a fun evening.
Sunday, May 5, 2024, is a non-denominational polka service with Mike Middleton & the Middletones. If you’ve never been to one of these, familiar hymns are played as polkas or waltzes. Dance in the aisle, sing along, or bring your accordion and join in on the performance. Willard A. Palmer III will talk about his Dad, Dr. Willard A. Palmer of Palmer-Hughes fame. After lunch, George Curletto will talk about innovative accordion concepts. Jane Christison – Music With A Smile® - will play music from around the world along with Kevin Friedrich. Dee Langley will lead a rehearsal of Beatles music, so bring your accordion and join us. After the rehearsal, there will be a short performance to perform the pieces just learned. The event will be topped off with a celebration toast.
Here is the link to purchase tickets:

Hope you can join us!!

Accordion Jazz Chords

TromboKordion Duo: Elena Fainshtein and Bass Trombonist Lucas Kaspar Perform on April 5

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Accordionist Elena Fainshtein and trombonist Lucas Kaspar will present a unique concert on April 5, 2024 at Lone Star College at 2:PM. The college is located at 20000 Kingwood drive, Kingwood, TX 77339. Their performances will include compositions by Lucas Kaspar, Stas Venglevski, Gorka Hermosa and Ricardo Arbiza.

They formed the TromboKordion Duo in 2023 performing recitals at Southwest Oklahoma State University and Lone Star College in 2024. Elena and Lucas will be performing at full recital at the 2024 Accordionists and Teachers Guild-International Festival. TromboKordion can be heard on Illusions, a new album of music for bass trombone and saxophone. The album was recorded in 2023 and will be released later in 2024.

Elena’s additional concerts include April 19, 2024 at Southwestern Oklahoma State University Department of Music, 109 W Davis Ave, Weatherford, OK. For tickets and information: 580-774-3708. Elena is a very versatile musician. She performed at the JCC for Purim and on March 31 at the Easter Service in her community. From May 24 to June 2, she will perform on accordion at the Plaza Theatre, 521 W State St,Garland,TX. “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Garland Community Theatre, Accordionist Elena Fainshtein is a well known and respected teacher, musician and an inspiration to all.

Elena is a warm, enthusiastic and approachable person. She shares, “I was born in Belarus, which was part of the Soviet Union. I never knew my grandparents who died in World War 2. My parents met in the orphanage they grew up in and both dedicated their lives to teaching. As a child, I liked to read, draw, and have kid fun like every other child. At the age of five I was stung by a hive of wasps, and lost my ability to speak after having a horrible reaction and being in a complete state of shock. I became mute. I remember my dad taking me to many doctors and therapists, trying to find any possible way to help me get my voice back. For a whole year he was seeking the best doctors while hoping for a miracle. The verdict he received was troubling to him, but as a child I did not realize the seriousness of the matter…”Your daughter will never speak again…” he was told.

“I remember taking the train with my father from Moscow to Minsk one day, I remember seeing tears running down his cheeks and seeing a lady approach him to hear our story. The lady, who I have never met since, advised him to buy a musical instrument, believing that music can help restore my ability to speak. A few days later he brought home a suitcase; I was thinking that it was time to go to see another doctor so I started to cry. He then opened the suitcase and I looked in and saw the button accordion for the first time in my life! I grabbed it, pressed the buttons & to my delight the accordion made a sound so I repeated this sound with my voice, and shouted to my dad “thaaank yyoouu.” I remember my mom, when I was trying to say something and started stuttering. She was telling me “Elena, take your accordion and sing everything that you want to say” and I did.

I first took private lessons and then attended the School for Gifted Kids in Minsk, Belarus, where my second instrument of choice was piano. Then, I went to the Minsk Music College, graduating with the highest grades possible. After music college, I attended the Academy of Music in Minsk, from which I graduated in 1987. At the age of 17 at music college I began playing as an Accordion Duo with my classmate, Gregory Fainshtein, who became my husband and music partner for life and the rest is history!”

Since their school days, Gregory and Elena performed concerts all over the world, including Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Germany, Israel, and the United States. They performed at all NAA conventions, and in 2013 and 2015, performed together at the ATG. In 2014, they performed at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention (LVIAC). In 2019, Elena was able to take one of her top accordion students, Elijah Clements to LVAC, where Elijah received a scholarship and they performed a concert. Many of her students have participated in and won in the Big Squeeze Accordion Competition over the years. Elena greatly inspires her students and provides them with opportunities to showcase their talents and accomplishments.

Elena Fainshtein has been teaching piano and accordion successfully for over 30 years in her home and on Skype, giving lessons in three different languages. She currently resides in Plano,Texas where she maintains a private home studio called Musical Expressions. Her Accordion School, Musical Expressions has resulted in several students’ success in national competitions, including accolades at the Big Squeeze Accordion contest, the Las Vegas Accordion Convention, the National Accordion Convention, and the Accordionists and Teachers Guild-International Festival. As a conductor, Elena established the Fainshtein Accordion Ensemble in 2013, which has grown to become a regularly performing accordion ensemble that is comprised of current and former students from all over the United States. The Fainshtein Accordion Ensemble recently performed at the Kawai Piano Gallery Concert Hall in Plano, TX. As a professional musician, Elena has been recognized recently by the Dallas Morning News and Ted Talk.

Dr. Lucas Kaspar is Assistant Professor of Low Brass and Concert Band at Cameron University in Lawton Oklahoma. Dr. Kaspar completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Trombone Performance from The Ohio State University in 2018 and his Master of Music in Trombone Performance from the University of Alabama in 2013. Dr. Kaspar is a sought-after trombonist. He has performed with many premier orchestras in the United States, including the Buffalo Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Mobile Symphony, and many more.

Kaspar was recently an adjudicator for the George Roberts Bass Trombone Competition, held at the 2023 International Trombone Festival. He has performed as a soloist numerous times at the Big 12 National Trombone Conference and International Trombone Festival. Kaspar will be performing with Cramer Trombone Choir at the 2024 International Trombone Festival. Before teaching at Cameron University, Dr. Kaspar served as a Lecturer of Music at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio for 7 years. While at Muskingum University, Kaspar taught low brass, pep band, and jazz ensemble. He has also been on the faculty at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, where he taught applied low brass.

Dr. Michael Johnson, composer of “Opa’s Yodel” is currently the Director of Bands at Lone Star College in Kingwood, TX. He conducts the Kingwood Winds, Kingwood Jazz Ensemble, Kingwood Jazz Combo, and coaches student chamber ensembles. Previously, Dr. Johnson was an adjunct faculty at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and Shelton State Community College. As a private instructor, his students have had numerous accomplishments in all-state band, all-state orchestra, and various regional honor bands and music festivals. Dr. Johnson is also a sought-after brass instructor, working with band programs all over Alabama and several areas in Austin and San Marcos during his master's degree in Texas.

As a performer, Dr. Johnson was recently a member of the Alabama Winds, an all-adult professional wind ensemble based in Birmingham, AL. A member from 2017-2023, Michael performed with the Alabama Winds at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, the Alabama Music Educators Association, the Western International Band Clinic, and various state honor band festivals in Alabama and Tennessee. An avid jazz musician, Michael was the lead trombone player with the Tuscaloosa Big Band.

He has performed with several jazz bands across Alabama and Texas such as the Republic of Texas Big Band, Gabriel Santiago Orchestra, NOW Jazz Orchestra, Rocket City Big Band, Jazz Inc., Silvery Moon Big Band, and several others. Michael was a guest soloist with the Austin Civic Orchestra in 2018 and has performed with orchestras such as the Laredo Philharmonic, Tuscaloosa Symphony, and Meridian Symphony Orchestra and more.

As a composer, Dr. Johnson has a broad portfolio of works for brass and solos with fixed media. He has had pieces performed at Midwest and AMEA, as well as several premieres by collegiate trombone choirs. Michael has also composed music for a few commercial projects including special music for Texas State University's submission to the 2016 Global News Relay and marketing videos for Shelton State’s fine arts program. Some of his original compositions and arrangements can be heard on albums by Jonathan Whitaker (University of Alabama), Peter Ellefson (Indiana University), and Martin McCain (Texas State University). Dr. Johnson holds degrees from the University of Alabama (DMA, BM) and Texas State University (MM). His primary instructors include Jonathan Whitaker, Martin McCain, Peter Ellefson, and Billy Bargetzi.

Accordionist Elena Fainshtein is a well known and respected teacher, musician and an inspiration to all. The accordion is an integral and highly important part of Elena’ life. She encompasses all aspects of the accordion and musical world: Performer, Teacher, Arranger, Mentor, valued member of accordion organizations such as ATG and more. She helps her students actualize their musical potential in a meaningful, kind and practical way.

For further information:


Press Release: Digital Accordion (a Fresh Perspective) – Episode 1

by Joseph Natoli
Digital Accordionjo2Joseph Natoli announces the release of Episode 1 of his new music series entitled Digital Accordion (a Fresh Perspective), providing deeply rich and complete orchestrations of his original compositions and arrangements for the Roland FR-8X/Bugari Evo.

What makes this collection unique and unprecedented is that it is an entirely new evolution for digital accordion music. Everything you need is provided in one neat and organized self-contained package, including:

1. 58 pages of sheet music for the 20 fully orchestrated selections (exploring amazingly diverse genres of music)

2. 92 original and customized User Programs (UPGs) for these orchestrations

3. Instructions for loading and organizing each of these UPGs

4. 20 studio quality recordings by Joseph Natoli for these selections, to be used as a practice aid or an enjoyable listening experience

Joseph Natoli is the Director of IDEAS (International Digital Electronic Accordion Society) which provides an amazingly supportive Facebook page called GR8 IDEAS as well as four international IDEAS Symposiums, and dozens of monthly online workshops all focused on helping digital accordionists to maximize the musical potential of their instruments. If you want to play the same orchestrations and powerful music that Joseph Natoli created and teaches within the GR8 IDEAS community, make sure to get your copy of Digital Accordion (a Fresh Perspective) – Episode 1!

One can purchase the Episode 1 collection for the low price of $149 (normally a $270 value).

Digital Accordion (a Fresh Perspective) – Episode 1 will be provided in digital format either online or via USB flash drive via USPS mail. You can acquire your copy by reaching out to to place your order after the release date of April 1, 2024.

This same Episode 1 collection is expected to be released in the near future for the Roland FR-4X as well.

Gary Dahl eSheet music, sent by email, secure bank server system

Hundreds of Musicians to Compete at New England Music Festival in Waltham, MA April 5-7

by Mike Silvia
New EnglandA gathering of accordionists? "That's how it all began," according to Sam Falcetti, founder of Falcetti Music in Springfield, and one of the founding members of the Accordion Teachers' Association of Massachusetts (ATAM). The ATAM holds its 62nd New England Music Festival April 5-7 at the Waltham Westin in Waltham,, Massachusetts,

The festival will include competitions and entertainment featuring the piano, guitar, drums, violin, voice, and of course, the accordion. "With nearly 900 entries, thousands of dollars in cash prizes and scholarships, and free admission to the performances, the festival will be an exciting event for both competitors and audience members," said Falcetti.

One of the distinguished judges at the competition will be Joseph Natoli. He is a very versatile musician and composer having served as ATG President, Founder and Director of the GR8Ideas, performer and more. Joseph Natoli has been a performer and advocate of the accordion since the age of seven. Joe started his studies with prominent Ohio accordion teacher, the late Mickey Bisilia of Youngstown, Ohio. Joe later attended and achieved Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music where he also studied free bass accordion as his applied major instrument with renowned Canadian virtuoso, Joseph Macerollo.

Joe is the co-founder and director of GR8 IDEAS, an organization dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge of digital accordions and digital peripherals via its GR8 IDEAS web page as well as its accompanying GR8 IDEAS Facebook page. Joe has released 6 CDs, including “Omaggio”, “Waltz For Ron”, “Merry Christmas”, and “Chameleon” Vols 1 & 2, and 3. The “Chameleon” series CDs are 70-75 minutes each of completely original compositions in every imaginable genre including Classical, light Classical, Latin jazz, jazz ballads, contemporary, orchestral, cinematic, tango, and more (including his latest compositions including accordion orchestra pieces like “Accordion Fanfare”, “Smooth”, “A New Beginning” and “Nine Children’s Pieces”, plus solo pieces like “Nostalgic Suite”, “Homage & Offspring to the Bumblebee”, “Fantasy On a Well-Known Melody”, “Fragments”, & “We’ll Dance Again”, along with many others). Joe writes for both acoustic and digital accordions, but he uses his orchestrational knowledge to exploit all the best coloristic possibilities on digital accordion.

Deedee Latulippe of Hudson, NH, another founding member of the ATAM, said, "The accordion has waxed and waned in popularity, so the ATAM expanded the festival to include other instruments and adult categories." Latulippe added, “The organization had to adapt, and we even had to go virtual for a couple of years because of the pandemic.”

Festival co-chair, Frankie Coelho, owner of Miguel School of Music in Dracut, was a former competitor. "A real community emerges and lifelong friendships are formed because of the shared experience that the festival provides," he said. "Competitors come from all over New England to compete in categories spanning various age groups, musical genres, and skill levels," Coelho continued.

While the accordion had its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, Sam Falcetti argues that it's making a comeback. "There's a renewed interest in the instrument on the world stage, and younger musicians are starting to take notice," said Falcetti. He believes that one of the reasons for this is the transformation brought about by the digital accordion.

In addition to band and vocal performances, you can see the accordion's versatility for yourself when the festival closes on the afternoon of April 7, when Sam Falcetti's New England Digital Accordion Orchestra, the largest orchestra of its kind, takes the stage. "We've planned a very exciting program for the festival, and admission is free to all events," Falcetti concluded.

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

World Premiere of “Black Swan” by Dr. William Schimmel

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
black swan
The World Premiere of “Black Swan” by Dr. William Schimmel took place on February 23, 2024 at The DiMenna Center Concert hall in New York. It was premiered by the North South Consonance Chamber Orchestra conducted by Max Lifchitz, Denise Koncelik on accordion.

The composer, Dr. William Schimmel trained at The Juilliard School, where his mentors included Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions. A virtuoso accordionist, Schimmel is well-known for his many recordings with the Tango Project and for his work in numerous popular movies and television series including Sesame Street, Scent of a Woman and Sex and the City.

Keyboard Magazine cited him as “the figure who has done the most to promote the accordion in mainstream art forms including classical, jazz, rock, world music and avant-garde."

Concerning his recently completed work, Schimmel writes: "Black Swan is a single-movement composition for accordion and ensemble written to mark North/South Consonance.'s 44th season of advocating on behalf of the music by living composers. Black swans are a symbol of beauty, mystery and transformation. The music is built around the three-note descending motive introduced at the opening. This melodic idea is combined with elements of Argentinean Tango and Portuguese Fado as the music unfolds. The writing for the solo instrument provides the performer with ample opportunity for technical display."

For further information:

James O'Brien eSheet music, emailed to you, secure bank server

Dean Olsher's Debut Album, “Letters of Transit” Released on March 29 on Bandcamp

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
letters of transit
Letters of TransitAccordionist Will Holshouser, shares, “Congrats to my friend Dean Olsher, Words & Music on his debut album, ‘Letters of Transi’t. I was very happy he asked me to produce. Dean wrote, arranged and played accordion on a beautiful set of music -- his own compositions, plus music by Scott Joplin, G.B. Pergolesi, and Rogers & Hart -- with an amazing band including Rez Abbasi, David Bertrand, George Farmer Bass, Jerome Harris: Musician, Willie Martinez, Meg Okura, and Satoshi Takeishi.

Two extra special guest (ghost?) vocalists were featured: Rachelle Garniez and Suzzy Roche. Everyone played beautifully and was kind and supportive. As always, it was totally delightful to work with Scott Lehrer at 2nd Story Sound. What a fun experience. It's on Adhyaropa Records, and you can find it on Bandcamp now (three tracks are already out).

Letters of transit, hidden in Sam’s piano, drive the plot of Casablanca. Anyone bearing such a letter could board a plane to Lisbon and evade the Nazis. Eighty years later, Americans were driven to flee political danger by once again escaping to Portugal. In the 1930s and 40s, those who lacked the means to escape fascism pursued an “inner emigration.”

Dean Olsher’s own inner emigration has been to devote himself deeply to what he loves most about America, which is its music. Like himself, the country is hybrid in nature. “That’s what makes us interesting as a nation, and also vulnerable. “Letters of Transit” is about musical pluralism and how it reflects the America I want to live in.”

Tracks: “Letters of Transit”; Forget I Was Ever Here”; “The Perilous Night”; “Solace” (Joplin); “Parfois”; “Manhattan” (Rodgers); “Hymn”; “Mentre l'erbetta” (Pergolesi); “Lullaby”.

Dean Olsher is a street musician and composer whose works have been performed by chamber groups, broadcast outlets, and the annual TED Conference. His performance of Erik Satie’s music, on accordion, was featured on This American Life. He makes his living as a music therapist.

Dean shares, “Today’s the day! (March 29) “Letters of Transit”, the full album from Adhyâropa Records, is on Bandcamp now.
At some point during the pandemic, I asked myself: What do I want to do with my remaining time on Earth? I answered: Before I die, I’d like to record an album of my music. Also, I would like it to feature other people playing my compositions with me. One more thing: It would be great if the wonderful accordionist/composer Will Holshouser could produce it. I am so very grateful to him for his stewardship. This album would have never been born without Will at the helm.

And look at this collection of phenomenal musicians performing alongside me:
* Meg Okura, violin
* David Bertrand, bass clarinet
* Rez Abbasi, guitar
* George Farmer, bass (tracks 1-3, 5, 9)
* Jerome Harris, bass (4, 6, 8)
* Willie Martinez, drums/percussion (2-3, 5, 9)
* Satoshi Takeishi, drums/percussion (4, 6, 8)
* Rachelle Garniez, vocal (2)
* Suzzy Roche, vocal (7)

I feel so lucky to have them here interpreting my compositions. All of them gave from their deepest selves, and in my book that is the greatest gift a musician can offer.

Today is a perfectly good Friday to buy “Letters of Transit”. A week from today is also good, because that’s Bandcamp Friday—the first Friday of the month, the day when artists receive an even larger portion of the proceeds. The album is on all the big streaming platforms, too, but you’re helping to make the world a better place if you seek out music on Bandcamp.

For further information:
For media requests about “Letters of Transit” please contact Adhyâropa Records at

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

HMC Honors Alex Meixner with Happy Music Ambassador Award at NAA Convention

by Matt Powell
Click each picture to see full size
Alex MeixnerPictures above: 1. Presentation: Norman Seaton, Sharon Seaton & Alex Meixner
2. Normal Seaton, Alex and Johnny Young
3. Norman Seaton, Sharon Seaton, Alex, Johnny Young,

A packed house of conventioneers and members of the community gathered at the National Accordion Association convention in Lewisville, Texas on Thursday, March 22 to celebrate internationally renowned virtuoso Alex Meixner as he was presented with the Happy Music Ambassador recognition award.

Happy Music Center president Johnny Young, together with NAA president Norman Seaton and NAA board member Sharon Seaton, presented Mr. Meixner with the Happy Music Ambassador trophy and plaque, honoring Mr. Meixner’s dedication and commitment to music, happiness and community.

“This recognition award symbolizes appreciation for those with an unwavering commitment and dedication to creating, performing, teaching, and advocating as a catalyst for positive change through the universal language of music,” said Mrs. Seaton.

Mr. Young then presented Mr. Meixner with the Happy Music Ambassador trophy. “Your unyielding dedication and passion for music have created a lasting impact, resonating not only within your community but also reaching far beyond,” said Mr. Young, “Your musical contributions have bestowed joy, positivity, and kindness upon the lives of many, serving as a poignant reminder of the transformative influence inherent in melodies and harmonies.”

The love in the room for Mr. Meixner was palpable as the enthusiastic crowd leapt to its feet.
“I am greatly appreciative of the recognition for my work in trying to share music with a positive aesthetic,” said Mr. Meixner, “Hopefully further collaboration will help spread more happy sounds with your support.”

After the presentation, Mr. Meixner took the standing room only crowd through a musical journey showcasing the many varied styles and influences that helped shape his musical vision, set against the backdrop of a powerful Texas thunderstorm brewing outside. Alternating between his custom purple Solloni piano accordion and a Munda button box, Meixner showcased his appreciation and ability to play in a wide range of styles, from a gentle cumbia, through a lively French-style waltz, a traditional polka, for which Meixner is especially known, and thoughtful interpretations of popular songs from artists ranging from Patsy Cline to Ozzy Osborne. The connecting theme throughout the set was one of happiness through music.

As the darkening tempest brewed fiercer outside the Lewisville Hilton Garden Inn, Mr. Meixner began a Gypsy tune, playing with the animated passion that has become his trademark. As the rhythmic excitement of his performance increased, he forcefully stomped his foot in time to the song just as a massive thunderclap shook the room, the lights dimmed and flickering. “Did the hotel forget to pay their electric bill?” he joked, to the enraptured audience.

Ever gracious with his time and talents, Mr. Meixner called up audience member Bruce Dunai, from the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH), to sit in on a song that Meixner introduced as an old Croatian melody, but which the crowd knew as the country standard “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” Mr. Dunai improvised a soaring melody while Meixner added gentle accompaniment. Mr. Meixner closed his set with a hopeful waltz he wrote as a wedding gift during the height of the COVID pandemic, and a poignant plea for grace and understanding in all of our encounters.

For an encore, Mr. Meixner returned to the classic accordion songbook, jamming with convention coordinator Rick Custer on a medley of standards, before closing the night with encores paying reverence to accordion legends Myron Floren and Frank Yankovic. At the conclusion of the concert, Mr. Meixner received his second standing ovation of the evening, the thunderous applause and adulation inside the room matched only by the thunder rumbling through the sky outside.

The Happy Music Ambassadors program proudly acknowledges and celebrates individuals who epitomize the spirit of happiness and inspire others through their musical pursuits.

Photo below: Bruce Dunai and Alex Meixner
Bruce Dunai & Alex Meixner

Titano Accordion Company

Reports for Concerts, Masterclasses, Competitions, Festivals, etc.

Larry Malmberg eSheet music, sent by email, secure bank server

National Accordion Association: Another Big Success!

by Norman Seaton, NAA President
NAATulsa BandThe National Accordion Association has concluded on March 23, 2024, another exciting, entertaining, and educational convention in Lewisville, Texas. Led by President and Vice-president Norman and Sharon Seaton, attendees enjoyed three days of meetings and performances by some of the world’s best educators and musicians.

The convention was kicked off by a thrilling hour-long performance by Alex Meixner, who earlier was honored as Happy Music Ambassador for his contributions to education, advocacy of the arts, and spreading the joy of happy music. The Tulsa Accordion Association provided entertainment during the gala banquet. Veteran of many years, Dick Albreski from Oklahoma City conducted both the Youth and the Fun Bands with lively music of his own composition and arrangement in multiple parts.

The City of Lewisville issued a proclamation declaring last week as the Lewisville Accordion Awareness Week. Make a favorite on your browser. Currently Norman Seaton is uploading the 2024 convention pictures. Just as soon as the 2025 contract is signed, the 2025 convention dates will be posted on the official website and the three (3) Facebook accounts. The 2025 emphasis will be similarly focused on the continuing education of all levels of accordionists regardless of training or experience as they pursue excellence along a pathway to success.

Photo down: 2024 NAA Presenters:
Row 1: Dick Albreski, Barbara and Dick, Mary K Archuleta, Bob Basciglia, Lori Brooke, Elijah Clements, Mary Ann Covone
Row 2: Max Frauenthal, Dr. Ian Fries, Roy Helsing, Gordon Kohl, Alex Meixner, Sharon Seaton, and Mitch White.

Here is the link to the NAA 2024 Convention images.
It will be updated often.

For further information:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

One-month Extension of AAA Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition Deadline Date - USA

by Dr. Robert Young McMahan Chair, AAA Composers Commissioning Committee
AAA Header
Elsie BennettThe deadline for submission of entries for the AAA 2024 Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition has been extended from the original date of April 12 to May 12, one month later.

Entries are welcome from all countries. Winners will be notified by email on or about July 01, 2024.

As announced before, If you plan to enter, go to for the entry form and information guidelines.

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

”Phantom of the Opera (1929”) Accompanied by Michael Bridge

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Michael Bridge

This performance was amazing! Michael Bridge shares, “I was invited to improvise a score for this film at the Marie Dressler Foundation Vintage Film Festival. It was about 100 minutes long. All sounds were played 100% love through the digital accordion. This was my first time improvising for so long on stage and an interesting side effect was that I had some difficulty speaking afterwards—my tongue felt kind of floppy. Listening back, in this passage I used rubber bass pedals, muted bandoneon, vibraphone, music box, trombone (8ba), falling insects, distorted french horn, nylon guitar, distorted accordion melody, distorted chapel organ bass, regular french horns (8ba), accordion free bass sound (briefly), and pipe organ. Can you hear them all?”

The Marie Dressler Foundation is a federally registered non-profit organization. The Vintage Film Festival held every year in the autumn is part of the Foundation and an awesome Festival screening unique films from the past.

Denise Ball shares, “Michael Bridge is a musical maverick. He’s a virtuoso performer on both the acoustic accordion and its 21st Century cousin, the digital accordion. His concerts capture the energy and panache of stadium rock with the elegance and discipline of chamber music. He’s won a slew of competitions in Canada and abroad and was named one of CBC’s 30 under 30 classical musicians. He received his doctorate in accordion performance from the University of Toronto and is a Rebanks Fellow at the Glenn Gould School. He gives over 100 concerts a year as a soloist and as a member of Bridge & Wolak and Ladom Ensemble. He’s in high demand for masterclasses around the world. Dr. Bridge embraces a musical aesthetic that is alternatively irreverent, deadly serious, meticulously prepared and completely in-the-moment. He’s at home with classical, contemporary, jazz and folk music and has premiered 53 new works. Ultimately, he aims to make your world more bearable, beautiful and human—even if only for the length of a concert.”

Future performances include:

April 6, 2024: Amherst Island, ON
Bridge & Wolak @ BachHause Concerts

April 17, 2024: Sarnia, ON.
Ladom Ensemble @ Imperial Theatre

April 27, 2024: Southwest Symphony, Hobbs, NM
Bridge & Wolak

May 5, 2024: Lula Lounge, Toronto, ON
Bridge & Wolak

June 15, 2024: Rijeka, Croatia
Wirth Institute Presents BTW Trio (Michael Bridge, Guillaume Tardif, & Kornel Wolak)

July 18, 2024: Stratford, Toronto, ON
Stratford Summer Music Opening Night Gala

July 26, 2024: Accordionists & Teachers’ Guild, Int. Festival, Kansas City, MO
Bridge & Wolak in concert (with Grayson Masefield)

For further information:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Cory Pesaturo Performs Four Concerts in Bakersfield, California

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Cory Pesaturo will perform four concerts in Bakersfield, California, USA, beginning with a special Fred and Beverly Dukes Memorial Concert at the First Congregational Church on Easter Sunday, March 31st, 2024 at 4pm.

Further 2024 events will be held as follows:

April 2nd: Cory is the featured artist at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop.
April 3rd: Cory will join other musicians at the 18th Street Bar and Grill.
April 4th: Cory Pesaturo & Friends will be “thrilling the audience” at the Crystal Palace as a part of the prestigious Guitar Masters series.

Cory Pesaturo (“C Pez”) believes in pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the accordion. Cory has won international accordion competitions for acoustic and digital accordion and is an accordion graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA.

One of Cory’s main contributions is his visionary thinking of how the accordion should be used, played, taught, and presented in modern music. He has given 2 TED Talk’s and 2 Google Talk’s. Pesaturo is also developing his own electric accordion, and has made a skinned accordion which includes a symmetric lighting system attached to the keys.

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

Join the Accordion Pops Orchestra Rehearsal on April 14 in New Jersey

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Video 1: Accordion Pops Orchestra performing “Syncopated Clock” at AAA festival, July 14, 2023

APO Conductor Al Terzo shares, “Dig that instrument out of the closet, put some air in the bellows, and come join the fun once a month! Be a part of one of the largest accordion orchestras in the United States! Our next get together in Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 1:30 PM. Bring your accordion and music stand. Looking forward to welcoming you to our musical family! We will meet at the Elks Club, 1500 Brooks Boulevard in Hillsborough, New Jersey.”

The Accordion Pops Orchestras’ roots can be traced to 1970, when it was organized by the Accordion Teachers' Association of New Jersey. Over the next ten years it performed at various community functions throughout the state under the direction of its first conductor, Dr. Jacob Neupauer of Philadelphia. In 1980 the orchestra members took a leave of absence, but four years later the membership was reorganized under the direction of the late Eugene Ettore of Livingston, New Jersey. In 1985, Daniel Desiderio was invited to act as a guest conductor of the orchestra and a few years later the A.T.A. of NJ appointed him as conductor in residence. The name of the orchestra was formally changed to the Accordion Pops Orchestra and its membership was expanded beyond the original members from New Jersey to include performers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island. Maestro Desiderio retired as conductor in May 2011 and turned over the baton to Al Terzo.

The largest professional accordion orchestra of its kind on the East Coast, the group consists entirely of accordions plus percussion instruments. In addition, the orchestra often accompanies guest soloists including pianists and vocal artists.

Al Terzo, APO Conductor 2011-Present, is a teacher, arranger, and conductor who has been with the orchestra since its inception in 1970. He is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, New Jersey Music Teachers Association, and National Association of Music Educators. Mr.Terzo serves on the governing board of the American Accordionists Association and is a founding member of the Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild. He is an accomplished accordionist who has performed at the Garden State Arts Center and Newark's Symphony Hall. Currently Mr. Terzo teaches accordion and piano in New Jersey.

APO Future Performances Include:
Bright View Senior Living
301 East Conestoga Road
June 8, 2024 at 2:PM
Wayne, Pennysylvania

Siminski Theater
June 23, 2024
8000 Fellowship Road
Basking Ridge, NJ

To inquire about performances or membership:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini Entertain on April 5

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Mario and Mary
Mary and Mario share, “We are delighted to let you know that we will be back at Rini’s on Friday, April 5, 2024 from 7 - 10:PM. Don’t forget to make your reservations early! Rini’s Restaurant and Wine Bar, 12 W. Main Street, Elmsford, NY. 914-592-6799. We would also like to share a recently published article (below) written about our lives and careers by journalist Thomas Staudter. This appeared in the January 19-25, 2023 edition of the Croton Gazette. Hope to see you at a show real soon!”

Spending the evening with them will provide you with a night of fabulous live music and delicious food. They are a unique duo, entertaining with an eclectic repertoire sure to please everyone. I have heard them perform many times. Each program is always entertaining, educational, emotional and lots of fun! Put one of their performances on your calendar and you will be happy you attended!

New York State Senator Pete Harckham commemorated Italian American Heritage Month recently by honoring three musical artists from the 40th Senate District—accordionist-composer Mario Tacca and vocalist Mary Mancini and pianist-composer-educator Pete Malinverni—during a special ceremony and luncheon held at Little Sorrento in Yorktown Heights, NY..

Mario Tacca was born in Italy. During his childhood, his family moved to the Alsace Lorraine region of France where he began his musical studies.  This is where his love and intense desire to play the accordion began. He loved the sound! He would pick up the accordion and imitate some of the songs his mother used to sing. The desire and love never diminished, despite having to walk three miles weekly to his teacher with his instrument strapped to his back!

While in France, he was the winner of many regional and national accordion competitions. He went on to become a world champion, winning the World Cup of Italy, the Grand Prix of Paris, the US National Competition and the International Accordion competition held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Mario Tacca dazzles audiences across the US and around the world with his unmatched virtuosity on the accordion and his exciting interpretations of international music, the classics and pop.

Mario has recently been seen on MTV in a commercial for a pilot Italian Food program.  Also, he was seen on the Food Network in a commercial for “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” His latest recording, “Journey Through the Classics” features great melodies from the Classic Repertoire.  Also, he and Mary Mancini have recently released their latest duet CD, “Ricordi.”  It is a collection of Italian melodies, featuring Mary and Mario together, and, Mario performing solo.

Internationally acclaimed vocal artist Mary Mancini has been featured in the New York Times, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, and the Journal News and has performed in a variety of venues around the world. Able to sing in eight different languages, Mary draws from a deep repertory reservoir.  She is adept at pop, show tunes, operatic arias, and sacred music and has received worldwide acclaim.  Le Republicain Lorrain, in Alsace-Lorraine, France, writes that the “purity of her voice, the ease with which she interpreted the most difficult pieces showed that she is a great artist.”  The Spring City Evening News in Kunming, China, writes that “audiences were greatly impressed by Mary Mancini’s singing ability…Through her music, we see her heart is smiling.”

Mary has headlined numerous concert halls and festivals in North America, Europe, and China. She has performed at the Garden State Arts Center, Resorts International Casino Hotel, Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in CT. Mary, with Mario Tacca, has completed two concert tours of China.  As guests of the China Ministry of Culture, they toured five cities in three weeks and performed with three symphony orchestras.  Joining them on their tour was highly acclaimed Chinese tenor, Douglas Song.  In addition to performing with the symphony orchestras, some of the most memorable moments included a performance held at the 1600 seat True Color Jazz Supper Club in the booming city of Shenzhen and in the 3500 seat Golden Opera House.

In addition to a busy concert schedule, which keeps her on the road for over 200 days a year, Mary also maintains an active recording career.   On “Canzoni dal Cuore,” her CD of Italian Love Songs & Arias, Mary sings with passion many of the classic songs from the Italian repertoire.  The album also includes her own composition, “Preghiera, Ninna-Nanna” set to the music of Pietro Mascagni. Together, Mary and Mario have just released their latest duet CD, “Ricordi.”  It is a collection of Italian melodies, featuring Mary and Mario together, and, Mario performing solo. The Red Cross selected Mary’s original composition, “With Open Arms,” to accompany its video tribute to the September 11 victims. Mary was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Order of the Sons of Italy in America for her ongoing outstanding musical contribution to the arts.

Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca are available for: concert and show performances, church weddings, piano and accordion lessons, wedding receptions, special events, corporate events and In-home/private performances.

For further information:
Cell: 914.737.8872


Elena Stenkina Performs at Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society Benefit Event

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Elena Stenkina
WMASElena StenkinaElena Stenkina will perform as a guest artist at the Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society benefit concert and workshop on April 14th, 2024 at 4:PM The event aims to raise funds for the club's needs. Photo above: Elena Stenkina performing at the 2023 Cotati Festival

Elena Stenkina is renowned for her unique blend of music and dance performances. Throughout her successful career, she has garnered numerous accolades, including a Silver medal at the World Championship of Performing Arts in Hollywood, the Grand Prix at the Vilnius International Folklore Competition, and the Golden Time Talent competition.

She has also been honored with the Platinum Prize, Technical Mastery Special Award, and Artist Award at the Universal Stars Music Competition, among others.

Further information at: Elena Stenkina

“Accordions Rising” Documentary Available Now Free on YouTube

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Accordions Rising
Roberta CantowFilmmaker Roberta Cantow shares, “Accordions Rising” is now available for all you Accordion/Americana lovers out there. There is the music documentary, “Accordions Rising”. It is more popular than you might imagine...OR - Maybe you can imagine!
Now on YouTube for Free on Indie Rights Channel. Also:
On Apple TV
on Indiegogo
on Amazon
on YouTube on threIndie Rights Channel (FREE)
on GooglePlay
on itunes
on Vudu
on RottenTomatoes
and on Tubi TV "

Robert Young McMahan, DMA /composer and classical accordionist / Prof. of Music Theory, Composition, and Accordion, The College of New Jersey / Officer of the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) and Chair of its Composers Commissioning Committee share’s: “‘Accordions Rising’ is the most exhaustive and fair representation of the accordion in all its facets—popular, ethnic, jazz, contemporary classical, avant-garde-- I have encountered thus far in film. Thank you for this lovely exposé. It covered all the bases of the accordion’s strange and wonderful world and truly needed to be done."

"Accordions Rising" has won awards internationally and nationally including  two different Awards of Merit in the Documentary Category and one other: Global Accolade Competition – Award of Merit, November, 2015; Indie Film Fest, August, 2016 – Award of Merit;  Bare Bones International Music and Film Festival – Best Movie Poster, April, 2016. The film has been a winner at several accordion festivals across the country and in Wales, the UK and Germany.

Roberta Cantow was recognized with her first film grant from The American Film Institute while still a graduate film student at NYU. Through the years, The New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and others provided grants for the completion and distribution of 4 film works and videos. She received a NY Area Emmy for her film, "Clotheslines" about the symbolic and artistic role of laundry in women’s lives, as well as many others.

Roberta's work has been exhibited in many of the venues for independents, including a presentation in the Cineprobe Series of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Her four 16mm films were selected for archival preservation by the Donnell Media Center, New York City, in 2001. All of her film and video work will be archived in the newly named Special Collections of Smith College.

I think that “Accordions Rising” is an excellent film. It is educational, relevant, and entertaining showcasing the versatility of the accordion. I recommend it to everyone.

For further information:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Rachel Bell in Spring Programs

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Eloise and Company
Video 1: Eloise & Co.: “Bottle This Stuff” Tune by Rachel Bell
Becky Tracy: fiddle, octave fiddle, vocals
Rachel Bell: accordion, piano, vocals
Video by Dylan Ladds:
Filmed at Scott Farm Orchard. Enormous thanks to Scott Farm and the Stone Trust for sharing this magical place with us!

This project is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Community Foundation.
Rachel shares, “Thanks to the Artist Development Grant for making it possible!”

Accordionist Rachel Bell is a versatile musician, sought after for concerts, contra dances, French BalFolk dances, English country dances, workshops, and festivals. Her playing spans an enormous range of emotion, from nuanced and sensitive to exhilarating and powerful, pushing the boundaries of what is expected from an accordion. “Bottle This” is their latest video.

Her group, Eloise & Co., features the combined creative force of two of the country’s most sought-after acoustic traditional musicians, Becky Tracy and Rachel Bell on accordion, piano, and vocals with Becky Tracy on fiddle, octave fiddle, and vocals.These two, sometimes playing as a duo and other times joined by one of several powerhouse backup players including Owen Morrison, Bethany Waickman, Rachel Aucoin, and Andrew VanNorstrand, crank out dance and concert music with unbridled energy and soaring beauty.

Rachel’s work is infused with a contagious enthusiasm for her instrument and a deep respect for the musical traditions she carries. She loves to create authentic connections with audiences everywhere—from packed, energized dance halls to small, intimate house concert settings. She is passionate about sharing with others the delight she finds in this music.

Excerpts from her website: Rachel draws her inspiration from Celtic, French, English, New England, and Quebecois traditions. She cranks out new material while deeply respecting and cherishing the melodies that have been around for hundreds of years. She thrives on ensemble projects—especially with her bands Eloise & Co., Peregrine Road, Alchemy, and Old World Charm School—and feels most alive when she’s exploring creative intersections and breathing life into tunes crafted with others. One of Rachel’s most fulfilling projects is a collaboration with choreographer Susan Kevra. Together, they are writing new dance and tune compositions for the English country dance repertoire, and they plan to publish a book and recording of these compositions.

Rachel and Becky sometimes playing as a duo and other times joined by one of several powerhouse backup players including Owen Morrison, Bethany Waickman, Rachel Aucoin, and Andrew VanNorstrand, crank out dance and concert music with unbridled energy and soaring beauty.

Originally thrown together at a gig where Becky led the contra dance portion of the evening and Rachel led the French dance part of the evening, they have continued to fuse these two elements into their concerts and dances, as well as adding songs and original compositions to the mix. Their first recording, “More, Please” was released in July of 2018, and as it name suggests, they are already dreaming of the next recording. Follow Eloise & Co. on Facebook.

Future 2024 performances include:
APR 12: Eloise & Co.: Brattleboro Music Center concert w/pianist Rachel Aucoin @ 7:PM
Brattleboro, VT, United States

APR 13: Eloise & Co. w/Rachel Aucoin: Concert at the Sudbury Meetinghouse @ 7:30 PM
Sudbury, MA, United States

APR 14: Eloise & Co. w/ Rachel Aucoin: Concert at Nelson Town Hall @ 3:PM
Nelson, NH, United States

APR 18: Peregrine Road: Concert and cookies in Vernon, VT @ 7:PM
Vernon, VT, United States

APR 26: Constellation (Rachel Bell, Susan Kevra, Jacqueline Schwab): Spring Dance Weekend 2024 @ 7:PM

MAY 2: Eloise & Co. w/Bethany Waickman: Scout House Contra dance @ 7:30pm
Concord, MA, United States

MAY 4: Eloise & Co. w/Bethany Waickman: Concert at the Clapp Memorial Library @ 2:30 PM
Belchertown, MA, United States

MAY 5: Eloise & Co.: Concerts and cookies in Vernon, VT @ 3:30 PM
Vernon, VT, United States

JUN 7: Eloise & Co. w/Bethany Waickman (guitar): Contra dance weekend at Dancing Fish @ 7:PM
Melrose, FL, United States

JUN 16: Alchemy: Hey Days Music and Dance Week 2024 @ 7:PM
Rohnert Park, CA, United States

JUN 23: Constellation: (Rachel Bell, Susan Kevra, Jacqueline Schwab) Lady of the Lake June Camp 2024 @ 7:PM
Harrison, ID, United States

Eloise & Co., photo by Dylan Ladds

For further information:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Over 2,100 titles of eSheet music, sent to you by email, secure server bank online payment

Get your Accordion Fest 2024 tickets now before they sell out!

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Video: Highlight reel from 2023's Fest. Look online for a sneak peek of what you'll experience in 2024!

The Accordion Fest planning team along with the Powell River Academy of Music, is planning an incredible 2024 event. Walter Martella and Karina Inkster are excited to bring you Powell River's third annual Accordion Fest! Including a concert performance; workshops for beginners and advanced players alike; and a wide range of musical genres for our audiences to enjoy, mark your calendars for Friday May 9, 2024!

Check out their full schedule of events. Joint them for two days of diverse events celebrating the accordion and World Accordion Day.

Tickets for Third Annual Qathet Accordion Fest 2024 are now on sale! The two ticketed events (Main Concert/Opening Night [$25], and Accordion Cabaret at the Forest Bistro [$20]) sell out every year, so make sure you get your tickets now.

All other events, including Courtyard Performances, Accordion 101, and Accordion Orchestra, are by donation.

If you’re an accordionist who’d like to take part in the masterclass led by Jelena Milojević, please reply to this email to register ($45). Accordionists of all playing levels are welcome!

2024 Accordion Fest guest artists include Stephen Nikleva of Petunia & the Vipers, accordionist extraordinaire Kosta Bozhinov, the amazing Budge Schachte and Boyd Norman returning by popular (and personal) demand, Martin Hergt of Tempo Trend, and your local crew of Walter Martella, Terry Martyniuk, and Karina Inkster.

Karina and Walter are the Accordion Fest Co-Directors.Walter Martella is a musician, conductor, instructor, Music Director of the Powell River Academy of Music (PRAM). He has recorded 6 studio albums. Bench presses your body weight and makes a mean apple cider. He is also conductor and Music Director of the Powell River Academy of Music (PRAM), Walter is an accomplished pianist, accordionist, and trumpeter. He earned a Diploma in Jazz Trumpet from Malaspina College (VIU), a Bachelor of Music Degree from UVic, and attended the Banff School of Fine Arts.

Karen Inkster is a recreational accordionist, author, podcast host, vegan fitness and nutrition coach. She is the author of 5 books, magazine writer, and host of the No-B.S. Vegan podcast. Founder of K.I. Health & Fitness, she and her online coaching team work with vegan clients all over the world. Karina holds a Master's degree in Gerontology, specializing in health and aging.

For further information:

The Ins and Outs of the Accordion by famous accordion repairer and tuner Thierry Benetoux

21st Annual Gator by the Bay

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
JefferyCJThe 21st annual Gator by the Bay will be held in San Diego, California, USA from May 9th to 12th, 2024. Gator By The Bay Zydeco, Blues & Crawfish Festival is the largest, most-authentic Louisiana-themed music and food festival this side of the bayou. It's held each year around Mothers’ Day weekend, the 2nd weekend in May. Presented by San Diego’s Bon Temps Social Club, it features four days of live music with over 100 musical acts and special performances on seven stages, shaded dance floors, delicious southern food including 10,000 pounds of crawfish trucked from Louisiana, non-stop live music, dancing, and family fun at Spanish Landing Park on beautiful San Diego Bay across from the airport. Single-day and multi-day passes are available. Kids 17 & Under are admitted Free with Paid Adult.

The event will feature a variety of concert performances during the four day festival including the Friday Bayou Boogie which will celebrate the 100th birthday of Clifton Chenier “The King of Zydeco”. C.J. Chenier, Sonny Landreth & Marcia Ball will entertain at this concert.

Grammy-nominated C.J. Chenier was born into the musical tradition of southwest Louisiana and Texaszydeco, that upbeat accordion-led musical blend of French Creole and African-derived influences. The son of the great “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier, widely acknowledged as the father of modern zydeco and the first Grammy Award winning musician of the genre, C.J. wasn’t terribly interested in his father’s music as a teenager, leaning more towards R&B, funk and jazz, with the saxophone as his instrument of choice. It wasn’t until his 21st birthday that C.J. first performed with his famous father and the legendary Red Hot Louisiana Band, On the road, his father showed him how to front a world class touring band,teaching C.J. how to run the family business and how to develop his lifelong passion for music into a career.

When Clifton died in 1987, C.J. picked up his accordion and became the band’s leader. In the years since, C.J. has melded his own style with his zydeco legacy, winning acclaim from all quarters, while putting out 10 of his own albums, and appearing on recordings with such luminaries as Paul Simon, Gin Blossoms, and many more. In 2012, C. J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band were nominated for a GRAMMY® in the Best Regional Roots category for their album “Can’t Sit Down”. In addition to his GRAMMY® award nomination in the Best Regional Roots Music Album category. Additionally, C.J. has received many major awards including the Living Blues Critics’ Poll Award, Indie Award (from AFIM) for Best Zydeco Album, Coups de Coeur (Blows of Heart), Blues Category Award from l’Académie Charles Cros (France) and Best of the Beat Best Zydeco Album (Offbeat Magazine).

Other festival performers include Geno Delafose & French Rockin' BoogieZydeco, C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band, Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys, The Daquiri Queens, Billy Lee & The Gulf Coasters, Bayou Brothers and David Sousa & The Zydeco Mudbugs.

Gary Dahl eSheet music, sent by email, secure bank server system

The 2024 Accordion Seminars - Dr. William Schimmel, Curator

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Bill SchimmelOur 30th Anniversary Year, More is Better

This has been our Philosophy for 30 years - and we’re proud of it: Staggering Variety, Overflowing Ideas, Developed Ideas, Ideas in process, Success, Failure, Encouragement, Styles, Brands - and we’re still working to improve our art in every way. We cover everything including all of the ISMS around - yes, even (would you believe) outdated Minimalism (ironic statement of course).

We’ve build a culture. We’ve built a community. Some call it a non culture - some call it a non community. Some call us Weird - Some say it’s all been said and done. We do still do weird - and we do new takes on old stuff ( most of them new to the Music Community - Non Accordionists at large - therefore new to them ), which still raises the question: “What is this thing called “New Music ?”

There are a few points to ponder:
The great director Peter Brook talked greatly about “The Empty Space”. Accordionists start with a “Full Space” and add more and more s - - t.
Great artists start practicing slowly until they are ready to play at tempo. Great Accordionists start faster and eventually slow down due to tangled fingers. We think they all lead to the same place. We’re not a Fringe Group - We never were. We put on our lab coats and get to work and so can you - virtually.

Topics will include: The Art ofAudience Participation/The Sing - a - Long; Embracing the Maximallst Dimension (The Art of Clutter); Faking/Improvising - are they the same?; Working In the Video Dimension; The Varieties of The Mexican Hat Dance and The Hokey Pokey; Classical or Classic; Cassettes are back - giving “Ye Olde Accordion Sound” a return; The Artificial Intelligence of the Accordion before Artificial Intelligence; the Pot of Gold at the end of
The Rainbow; Practicing by Real Time Continuity; The Five Minute Ear Training Course; Klezmer from a Non - Jewish perspective and more to follow.
and much more to follow - with participants, in future articles to follow,

Our team will include Micki Goodman, Paul Stein, Will Holshouser, Dr. Denise Koncelik, Dr. Robert Young Mc Mahan, Corn Mo, The Main Squeeze Orchestra, Bachtopus, Carl Riehl, Mary Spencer Knapp, Godfrey Nelson, Lorraine Nelson Wolf, Melissa Elledge, Doug Makofka, Rita Davidson, Erica Marie Mancini, Benjamin Ickes, Dan Cooper, Dr. Thomas Maccussi, Gene Pritsker, Peter Flint, Mayumi Miyaoka, Robert Duncan, Jeanne Velonis, Bob Goldberg, David Stoler, David First, William Komaiko, Sari Kalin, Jack Di Bennidetto, John Foti, Dr. Hugo Goldenzweig, Brian Dewan, Lee Mc Clure, Peter Jarvis, Elliott Sharp, Hanzhi Wang, Milica Paranosic and others to follow.

July 26, 27, 28, 2024 - virtually
$165. Entire weekend
Master classes from 3 to 4:PM
Concerts from 4 to 5:PM

A link will be sent to you prior to each event.

for information and registration:

This event is sponsored by the Accordion Global Association

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Centrum Blues Camp with Bruce Sunpie Barnes

by Christine Johnstone
The Centrum Blues Camp will be held at the Centrum Campus in Port Townsend, Washington, USA from July 29th to August 4th, 2024.

Camp instructor and accordionist, Bruce Sunpie Barnes is a “veteran New Orleans musician, former Park Ranger with the National Park Service for 30 years, actor, photographer, book author, former high school biology teacher, former college football All-American, and former NFL player (Kansas City Chiefs).”

“Sunpie Barnes’ many careers have taken him far and wide. He has traveled to over 50 countries playing his own style of what he calls Afro-Louisiana music incorporating Blues, Zydeco, Gospel, Caribbean and African influenced rhythms and melodies.”

“Now in its 30th year, the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival continues to offer a side of the blues that popular culture does not always recognize – its roots! Immerse yourself in a creative community of artists from across the globe who share a passion for early blues traditions and moving the genre forward. Blues week celebrates the music and traditions of African American folk blues, its roots, forerunners, and their stories, while at the same time coming into the future with a new twist on the past.”

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Carrozza Scholarship Fundraiser on September 15

by Dominic Karcic
Carrozza 2024
The American Accordionists' Association (AAA) invites you all to attend our Carrozza Scholarship Fundraiser on September 15, 2024 from 12:PM to 5:PM ash the Famee Furlane Club, College Point, New York.

Performers will include Alex Chudolij, Lilliana Chudolij, Dominic Karcic, Mario Tacca, Mary Mancini, Ray Oreggia, and Frank Toscano.

The $85 sent ticket includes a buffet dinner, bottles of wine, entertainment and dancing.

The ticket order form (online in the poster) should be mailed to:
American Accordionists' Association
c/o Ray Oreggio, Treasurer
36 Renee Road, Syosset, NY 11791


For event details and to become an AAA member, please visit
RSVP by September 4, 2024

Sounding Out the Accordion by Thierry Benetoux

Sam Reider’s Album Release Concert on June 26th in Brooklyn

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Sam Reider
Video: Sam Reider and the Human Hands play "Coyoacan."
Original music and arrangement by Sam Reider (2019). Inspired by a recent trip to the beautiful neighborhood of Coyoacan in Mexico City.

Sam Reider - accordion
Eddie Barbash - alto saxophone
Alex Hargreaves - violin
Dominick Leslie - mandolin
Roy Williams - guitar
Dave Speranza - bass

Recorded live to tape at the Creamery Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Engineering by Quinn McCarthy
Film by Jon Seale and Mason Jar Productions
Mixing and mastering by Brendan Muldowney

Accordionist Sam Reider shares, “The Human Hands’ new record, “The Golem and Other Tales”, is coming out this summer and we are celebrating with an album release concert at Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn on Wednesday, June 26, 2024.”

This special concert will feature the entire Human Hands crew that played on the record: Alex Hargreaves on violin, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Roy Williams on guitar, Duncan Wickel on violin, cello, and bouzouki, Eddie Barbash on saxophone and Andrew Ryan on bass.

While the official album announcement won’t happen for a few more weeks, Sam wanted to be sure to get this on your busy summer calendars and give you all the first opportunity to get your tickets before they sell out!

June 26th, 2024
Sam Reider and the Human Hand Album Release Celebration
The Jalopy Theatre - Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY
Doors open at 8 PM, Show takes place at 8:30 PM

Tickets: $25 Advance / $30 Day of Show
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