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May 2003
The Old Majestic Accordion Connections
Galla-Rini attends his Concerto Premiere
ATAM Festival a Success
Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini in Milwaukee
Will Holshouser, Musette with a touch of Jazz
Victor Prieto and "Los Extranjeros"
Las Vegas Convention Reduces Hotel Rate!
World Champion in Concert in Kansas City
Galla-Rini Camp Preparations in Full Swing

Brett Gibson takes the Accordion 60 FT Under!

Sy Kushner and Klezmer Music Galore
Wayne Toups Continues Rocking the USA
Dick Contino in Bridgeport, CT
Joan Sommers to adjudicate in the UK
AKORDEONAM takes to the Radio Waves
Dr. William Schimmel and Small Hotels
Polka de Mayo in Portland
Flower and Mclaren
11th Annual Ft. Lauderdale Cajun Fest
Journey to Excellence Begins at 4 Years Old!
Gary Dahl releases Italian Book with Mel Bay
Christian Family to Tour Texas and Oklahoma
25th Rudy Burkhalter Accordion Jamboree, WI
Just for Fun
May Dates at a Glance

The Old Majestic Accordion Connections
The Old Majestic, an opera by composer Robert Xavier Rodriguez, was given a showcase performance by The New York City Opera on Thursday, May 8.

The extensive accordion part in the orchestra will be played by Dr. William Schimmel and the opera's libretto is written by Mary Medrick, who recently conducted the concert orchestra at the Texas Accordion Association National Convention.

Originally commissioned by the San Antonio Festival in 1988, the opera is scheduled for a full production in Austin, Texas in the Spring of 2004.

For further information, please contact Mary Medrick:

Galla-Rini attends World Premier of his Concerto No. 2

Accordionist Stas Venglevski presented the world premiere of Anthony Galla-Rini's Concerto No. 2 at a concert on April 6th with the University of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Becker who is pictured right, while Stas is introducing the performance.

David Becker serves as Professor of Orchestral Conducting and Conductor of the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prof. Becker's conducting positions have included the Lawrence University, Oberlin Conservatory, University of Miami, Florida Philharmonic, Madison, and Racine Symphony Orchestras. In addition the UW Symphony Orchestra under his direction, has made musically acclaimed tours in Eastern Europe and Spain.

In attendance at this momentous occasion was the composer himself, 99 year old Maestro Anthony Galla-Rini.
Galla-Rini (pictured right with Stas after the concert) composed his first concerto in 1941. During this time he performed on a Galanti Dominator Accordion with multiple left hand registers. With this instrument, which did not have free bass, he exploited all these left hand registers as if it were a free bass giving him many octaves of left hand range.

He then wished to write a concerto for accordion with Free bass which resulted in his Concerto No. 2 composed in 1976, which took six months to complete.

The second Concerto was first performed with piano accompaniment, by Rocky Frost, a student of Donald Balestrieri and later Nick Ariando performed the first movement with the Los Angeles Orchestra of the Performing Arts under the direction of Louis Palange during the annual festival of the Accordion Federation of North America, however, the April 6th concert featuring Stas Venglevski marked the first time the work has been performed with all three movements with a Symphony Orchestra.

Both the first and second concertos were composed in their original form for accordion and orchestra, as Mr. Galla-Rini said he was always thinking in an orchestral manner. Later, piano reductions were made for the orchestral accompaniment.

When asked why both concertos were composed in a minor key, Maestro Galla-Rini said it was just the inspiration as the decision, perhaps taking into consideration that the minor key might have been more dramatic than the major key.

ATAM Festival a Success

The Accordion Teachers' Association of Massachusetts celebrated their 41st Annual New England Music Competition and Festival in Boston, MA, where ATAM President Rosita Lee Latulippe welcomed hundreds of contestants who took part in competitions for all ages and levels in solos, duos, ensembles and orchestras. The top orchestra title was won by the Showstoppers Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Rosita Lee Latulippe (pictured above.)

During the awards banquet, accordionist Christopher Gorton was awarded the premiere solo title of ATAM New England Accordion Champion for the third year in a row. Christopher is a student of the Paolo Music Center in Rhode Island. Other winners in the New England Championship were as follows: 1st: Christopher Gorton, (center) 2nd: Cory Pesaturo (left) and 3rd: Derek Rollend. (right)

The Battle of the Bands included competition for Junior, Intermediate and Senior. Pictured below are 'The Hit Men' who competed in the Junior Battle of the Bands.

The accordionist on the left is Nicolas Falcetti, son of Anthony Falcetti and grandson of Sam Falcetti making him the third generation of the Falcetti family to excell in the accordion.

Co-chairpersons of the festival Peggy Falcetti and Roger Latluippe reported that entries were up on last year and already plans are underway for the 2004 Festival.

For further information ,please visit:

Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini in Milwaukee

Accordionist Mario Tacca and International vocalist Mary Mancini will again headline at the Milwaukee Festa Italiana, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which runs from July 17th-20th, 2003.

There will be 10 stages of continuous entertainment by popular acts like Dick Contino, the Four Aces, Julius La Rosa and many other big names. The festa draws around 200,000 people in four days. For festival information, please contact the office at the: Italian Center, 631 E. Chicago St. Milwaukee, WI. 53202 Phone: 414-223-2194. Mary and Mario are scheduled to perform daily at 6:00 PM. For other performance times, please visit:

Mario will also be appearing at the Magnanini Winery most Saturday Evenings and Sunday afternoons. Located on Stawridge Road in Walkill, NY, please call ahead to confirm appearances on desired weekend. Performance information is available from Ricky & Rachel Magnanini by calling: 845-895-2767.

This unique husband and wife team are very different kinds of artists. Mary, an international singer of great talent, and Mario, a world champion accordionist! Mary is known and acclaimed for her vocal versatility and command of all styles of music. Her repertoire includes eight languages. She consistently brings audiences to their feet with her musical interpretations of International Favorites to Broadway to Opera to Sacred Music to the Classics to Pop! She has performed in numerous concert halls, theaters, cathedrals, churches, and on stages including the Garden State Arts Center, Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Paramount Center for the Arts, SUNY Performing Arts Center, and the Harry Chapin Theater at Eisenhower Park. She has also performed in Atlantic City at the Taj Mahal, Hilton, and Resorts International.

Mario dazzles audiences with his unmatched virtuosity on the accordion and his consistently exciting interpretations of music from the international repertoire to the classics to pop. He is a world champion, having won the World Cup of Italy.

Together, Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca make up this "World Class Duo." Their international performances have taken them individually and together to England, Switzerland, China, France, Italy, and Canada. They have headlined in concert halls and festivals across the US and have performed for the Costa and Celebrity Cruise Lines. Endearing themselves to each and every audience, Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca are truly performers "from the heart!"

For information on upcoming performances, or to schedule Mario Tacca and May Mancini for your concert, please contact Mario at:

Will Holshouser - Musette with a touch of Jazz
Accordionist Will Holshouser and Guitarist Matt Munisteri were recently featured together in the band Brock Mumford, performing Musette music of Gus Viseur, Jo Privat, Tony Murena and others, emphasizing the jazz side of the musette phenomenon.

Will Holshouser's music is based in jazz and is flavored by his life as a working accordionist in New York. The result is an unclassifiable personal style. Will, like many people these days, hears many kinds of music as part of daily life and plays many different styles in order to make a living. Many of these traditional accordion styles are mixed into his music, often
melted beyond recognition, to create something new. Not really eclectic,

Will's approach is to bring back the shiny fragments and interesting twigs from music he likes in order to build something of his own. Inspired by many role models, he fashions a uniquely individual and emotional sound. The accordion, with its many forebears and associations, gives him a special window on jazz and improvisation. He studied composition with master experimentalist Anthony Braxton and also draws inspiration from the punch and wheeze of the many accordionists he admires from around the world. Will also studies accordion with well known New York accordionist and composer, Dr. William Schimmel.

For further information on upcoming performances, please contact: Will Holshouser at e-mail:

Victor Prieto and "Los Extranjeros"

Guitarist Clay Ross (left) and Spanish accordionist Victor Prieto (right) and have joined forces in New York City to form "Los Extranjeros" or in English... "The Strangers".

Last year Clay moved to New York City to further pursue his interest in jazz. His excursion to New York led him to the Smalls' Club in Greenwich Village where he first met accordionist Victor Prieto, who served as Clay's first introduction into the world of the jazz accordion. Having never really heard jazz accordion before Clay was extremely impressed with Victor's playing.

Although Victor's accordion background focused on classical training, Victor always aimed for the contemporary freedom in the Jazz idiom. He studied Jazz at Estudio Escola de Musica in Santiago de Compostela.

Putting together a repertoire of music full of energy and fire, they found themselves work as well as recording sessions and offers of other interesting projects.

Self described as 'two country boys' one from South Carolina and one from Spain, the duo recently performed at the "3 Rivers Festival" in Columbia and two shows in Charleston.

Victor (pictured standing) also offers tutoring in accordion and jazz, and is available for workshops and masterclasses.

For more information, please visit or contact Victor at:

Las Vegas Convention Hotel Rate gets Lowered!!!

The Las Vegas International Accordion Convention Announces a reduction in Room Rates at the Plaza Hotel!

The Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, to be held in Las Vegas June 22-25, 2003, has announced the reduction of room rates at the Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. The new room rate is $30.00 per night, double occupancy, Sunday through Thursday. This includes standard rooms with two queen beds! Upgraded and newly remodeled rooms are available for only $10.00 more per night. The weekend rate (Friday and Saturday) is $65.00 per night. The Plaza Hotel, located at number One Main Street, at the heart of newly renovated Downtown Las Vegas, is host hotel for the convention.

Room reservations must be made before May 22, 2003, to take advantage of this terrific bargain. The previous room rate was $40.00 per night; but it is believed that the new room rate more adequately reflects the current economic trend. In addition, the Plaza Hotel has agreed to supply convention registrants with extra amenities.

Convention attendees who have already made reservations at the $40.00 rate will automatically have their room rate lowered when they check in. Hotel reservations must be made soon, however, before the rate expires and before the rooms are all taken.

Make reservations at the Plaza Hotel before May 22, 2003, by calling toll-free 1-800-634-6575, or outside the US, 1-702-386-2110.

This year, the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention features Myron Floren as their Honorary Conductor.

Myron Floren is the quiet-mannered, fast-fingered accordionist from the popular Lawrence Welk Musical Family. A native of Webster, South Dakota, Myron first took up the accordion at the age of seven with a small button accordion. When he was eight years old, he was entertaining at the Bay County Fair in Webster.

At age nine his father purchased Myron his first piano accordion. Much of Mr. Florin’s contact with other accordionists came through his exposure to their radio programs. Several talented accordionists such as Charles Magnante, Frank Gaviani and Anthony Galla-Rini, provided great inspiration for him.

Myron worked his way through Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota by teaching accordion and playing over local radio station. In 1950, Myron and his wife attended a live show by Lawrence Welk and his band. Mr. Welk spotted Myron in the audience and invited Myron to come up and play his accordion; and at intermission, he was offered a job to play with the band.

Myron immediately joined the Welk group and played concerts throughout the country as well as the weekly radio show broadcast on the ABC network. Later that same year, the first television show was filmed and for over 3 decades the Myron and the Welk show were on national TV.

Myron Floren is scheduled to appear at this year’s event, June 22-25, 2003, at the Plaza Hotel. Being of restored health, Mr. Floren, the consummate performer for over thirty years on “The Lawrence Welk Show,” is very much looking forward to entertaining at the convention. We are extremely privileged to have this musical legend join us for 2003!

This years convention theme “A World of Entertainment,” focusing on the accordion’s broad appeal. Artists and music from around the world will be highlighted, including several famous European accordionists. Seven concerts and ten meals will be provided in one low registration fee. Early registration is recommended, as the convention expects to sell out.

Headliners for the 2003 Las Vegas International Accordion Convention include Pete Barbutti, Pino Di Modugno and Kenny Kotwitz, with returning legends Art Van Damme and Dick Contino. Don Lipovac will be a featured performer, with a special appearance by Myron Floren.

Also appearing will be Gina Branelli, EvAnn Dahl, Ginny Mac, Mirco Patterini, Peter Soave and Janet Todd. Additionally, scheduled performers or presenters include Steve Albini, Ron Borelli, Jimmy Hillman, Gordon Kohl, Julien Labro, Larry Pino, Mady Soave, Stephen and Michael Trucco, and many more!

For more information, please contact or contact the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention toll-free at 1-800-472-1695, or outside the US, 1-801-486-1695.

Alexander Poeluev to appear in Kansas City Concert
Winner of the 2002 CIA Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships Alexander Poeluev (Russia) will appear as a special International guest artist on Sunday July 13, 2003 at 2:00 PM at White Recital Hall on the UMKC Campus in Kansas City as guests of the UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra, resident at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

Alexander won the 2002 Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA) 55th Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championship hosted by the Danske Harmonikaspilleres Landsforbund (DHL) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

While different CIA categories have been won in subsequent years when Jerome Richard won the Virtuoso Entertainment Category (1997) and then the Coupe Mondiale (1999), Alexander became the first contestant to ever win two categories in the same year - the "Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships" and "International Competition for Piano Accordion".

Alexander, a student of Viatcheslav Semionov will also appear as a guest artist at the Australian Accordion Teachers Association National Festival in Sydney, Australia from May 23rd to 25th before traveling to New Zealand to appear as guest artist at the New Zealand Accordion Association Championships and Festival held from May 30th to June 2nd in Auckland. He will also be appearing at the American Accordionists Association Festival in Philadelphia in July.

14th Annual Galla-Rini Camp

The 14th Annual Galla-Rini Camp will take place from Friday July 27th to August 1st, 2003 at the University of San Diego, CA.

This will be the 14th consecutive year the Maestro has conducted his world-renowned music camp which caters to all levels of playing skill from beginner to professional. During this week, you will learn much from the Maestro on achieving better techniques for the accordion and being part of his orchestra ensemble of accordionists, playing arrangements especially prepared for this year.

If you have never been part of a large ensemble, you are in for a thrill of a lifetime. The Maestro has arranged his selections for between six and thirteen parts. The experience is exhilarating, even for those of us who have done this for the past 13 years. There is much hands-on playing time, combined with musical tutorials and hearing anecdotes from the Maestro's store of wonderful memories.

Each morning the entire camp is under the baton of the Maestro. In the early afternoons on Monday-Wednesday, special sessions will be held by Joe Smiell, John Simkus, Father Joe Baccellieri and Joan C. Sommers. (pictured above, Camp Director Anthony Galla-Rini and fellow Camp conductor/clinician Joan C. Sommers.)

For those who wish to take lessons from any of the four teachers and the Maestro, there will be sign-up sheets in a special place. Lessons are $45.00 for a full hour and $25.00 for a one-half hour. Each of these teachers is a great musician and master of the keyboard.

There is ample time to practice, jam, and rehearse with small groups and to mix and mingle with a large group of multitalented people. Many people have attended camp each year from the first camp in 1990. The facility has four large classrooms for afternoon classes, group rehearsals and nightly get-togethers and jams.

Selections for the Galla-Rini ensemble will be

  • Bacarolle from the Tales of Hoffman
  • Coronation March by Meyebeer
  • Romeo and Juliet Overture by Tchaikovsky
  • Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin

The campus facilities are quiet, comfortable and smoke-free in all rooms and halls. The accommodations are double occupancy rooms with bath and shower in each room; all towels and sheets are provided. The option of a single room is also available at an additional charge.

Galla-Rini Accordion Camp 2003 is the place to mingle with the Maestro and many other talented musicians. All you need is your accordion and music stand. Dress is casual.

If you would like to attend this one-of-a-kind camp experience, please request an enrollment form and additional information from:

Friends of Galla-Rini, C/O Kjell Holmes, 4779 Cather Ave, San Diego, CA 92122
Phone: 858 453 5486

Brett Gibson takes the Accordion 60 feet under!

Deep in the underground of the enchanting O'Malley's Restaurant and Pub in Weston, Missouri, accordionist Brett Gibson was featured in concert with popular Kansas City Irish Band 'Shenanigans' during a recent concert.

At this popular concert venue which was packed to standing room only, Brett was also featured as a soloist to the cheers and applause of the enthusiastic audience.

The original Shenanigans group was formed back in 1989 when Richelle Basgall and Victor Dougherty graduated from a small ensemble making a big showing at pubs, colleges, fairs and Renaissance Festivals around the Midwest.

Realizing they had a unique and dynamic chemistry, and armed with the savvy that their experiences had brought them, they struck out into a more progressive vein of Celtic music - a blending of traditional songs with modern arrangements and harmonies that has come to be known as Shenanigans.

Since then the band has expanded to include back up vocals, tin whistle and now accordion to produce an electric Irish sound popular with fans wherever they appear.

Now a full-fledged stage show, they began catching the eye of regional Irish festivals and are now a mainstay at shows like the Westport Irish Festival, the Brookside Irish Festival, the Santa Fe Trails Bluegrass Festival, the Weston Irish Festival and many more.

For further information on concerts and recordings, please contact Brett at:

Sy Kushner and Klezmer Music Galore!

Sy Kushner is considered one of the finest accordionists in the field of Jewish music. His performances have taken him across the United States to venues including a World's Fair, New York's Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. His creativity in Jewish music has earned him a reputation as a trendsetter.

When Sy became the accordionist and music director of The Mark 3 Orchestra in the 1960's, he established himself as one of the leading innovators in Jewish music.

Almost overnight the group was catapulted into the center of the Jewish musical world playing concerts, weddings and festivals. The Mark 3's later exploration of the rock medium further established Sy as a leader in the field of Jewish music.

Sy's most recent CD and tape release, KlezSqueeze! The Sy Kushner Jewish Music Ensemble, is a tour de force.

In the creativity of his arrangements, his virtuosic performances and in his musical concept for this production, Sy has once again created a "new" sound in Jewish music.

For more information and to order either Volume 1 or Volume 2 of the Klezmer Music Fake Books, please visit:

Wayne Toups Continues Rocking the USA

He's out there again this year, rocking America with his spicy blend of rock, folk, r&b and Cajun styles. There is no one quite like Wayne Toups, as any attendee of his 125 sold-out shows a year can attest. Capturing the outrageous energy of his performances with the Cajun tunes of his boyhood, Wayne Toups's CD the Little Wooden Box continues to be a top seller.

"I thought it would be good to touch my roots again," says the musician who is equally revered by Nashville stars who hire him to play on their records and critics who raved about seven prior albums. "This album is my roots, but I wanted to give the people something extra. It's not an all-French record. I wanted to reach back, yes, but I call this creating tradition within the tradition. So we took these old songs and made them 'Wayne Toups' songs. I'm trying to reflect our live show, so it's a party record."

Toups calls his band Zydecajun, which is an attempt to describe his distinctive fusion. He draws on French-language traditional material of his Cajun ancestors, but adds the unmistakable r&b textures of Zydeco music. Add to that his undeniable charisma as a rocker and you begin to understand why he's been dubbed "The Cajun Springsteen" or "Le Boss."

His CD "Little Wooden Box" is an album that captures all of that. Wayne Toups pours a lifetime of talent a energy into the 13 performances on Little Wooden Box.

Born to a French-speaking rice farmer in Crowley, LA. Toups was steeped in bayou music from boyhood. He learned to play Cajun accordion at age 13 and was soon on stage in local talent contests playing the tunes of Iry LaJeune and other heroes of his culture.

As he matured as a musician, Toups began incorporating the soul music of Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge and Wilson Pickett into his sound.

By the 1980's he'd picked up influences from rock bands such as The Doobie Brothers, Lynard Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers.

He decided he wanted to make music for "the younger generation," as he puts it, by stirring all of this into his musical stew.

This year promises more concerts and festivals with sold-out shows everywhere he goes.

For a timetable, please visit:

Dick Contino in Bridgeport, CT
Accordionist Dick Contino performed in Bridgeport, Connecticut at the new Harbor Yard Arena on Saturday, April 26th.

The program featured tenor - Michael Amante and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

Joan Sommers to adjudicate at NAO Festival in the UK

Accordionist and director of the UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra Joan Sommers will be the international guest adjudicator at the National Accordion Organization of the United Kingdom (NAO) National Championships and Festival to be held in Scarborough, UK from May 3-4, 2003.

During the course of the weekend, hundreds of contestants will compete in various categories such as solo, duo ensemble and orchestra.

Held in the quaint seaside town of Scarborough, in addition to the competitions, this annual event also features nonstop trade shows of instruments and music, as well as a grand dance with popular Scottish Music and dancing.

In addition, CIA President Kevin Friedrich will serve as adjudicator for the NAO Festival. This will be his third time as guest adjudicator for the competition which attracts entries from all over the United Kingdom.

AKORDEONAM takes to the Radio Waves

In Louisville, Kentucky, there is a classical accordion ensemble known as AKORDEONAM.

Formed in 1995, the ensemble comprises piano accordions and one bass accordion and their mission is to promote the acceptance of the accordion as a viable instrument for the presentation of classical music. The ensemble seeks to accomplish this goal though the performance of suitable transcriptions as well as original works for the instrument."

The groups name comes from "Sonata Akordeonam" a solo for free bass accordion by Janis Medins. The Latvian literally means "for the accordion". Akordeonam members include: seated left to right - Paulette Venhoff, Dexter Haynes and standing left to right - Linda Klein, Tom Blanford, Todd Hildreth, Jay Landers and Malinda Rawuls.

Akordeonam has performed for the Accordion Club of Peoria, IL and on May 7, the group will make its second appearance in 7 months in WUOL 90.5 FM of the Public Radio Partnership in Louisville, KY. The concert will be at Noon (ET) and in addition to a limited number of seats available in the studio audience, listeners may also take in the concert on-line by tuning in to (The concert will also be archived for several weeks for those unable to listen live.)

On May 18 the accordions take stage once again in the Bird Recital Hall of the University of Louisville School of Music. This marks the beginning of their third year of full-length free, public concerts. Among the works will be the familiar CHACONNE by J.S. Bach and Brahms' Scherzo.

For more information about AKORDEONAM and to inquire about CD's of their concerts, please contact Dr. Thomas Blanford, 1905 Charbdin Place, Louisville, KY 40207
Phone: 502/893-5702.

Dr. William Schimmel and Small Hotels

Dr. William Schimmel announces the release of his most recent CD entitled Small Hotels. Dubbed "A Seantic Reality" the CD is a homage to Phil Baker; An accordion star and Radio personality of the 1930's. The CD, available on IPS Records features Dr. William Schimmel on accordion and vocals.

Dr. William Schimmel earned his doctorate of Music from Julliard. A composer, author, lecturer, philosopher and virtuoso accordionist, he performs in a wide variety of styles from classical to pop and has appeared with many major symphony orchestras and recorded with such noted performers as Sting and Tom Waits, whose celebrated remark, “Bill Schimmel doesn't play the accordion—he is an accordion,” has entered accordion legend.

An authority on Kurt Weill, Dr. Schimmel has recorded all of Weill's music with accordion. He is a prolific composer from the concert stage to Broadway theater and is founder of the renowned Tango Project. In 1992 he was named “Best Accordionist” by Keyboard Magazine and recognized as the figure who has done the most to elevate the accordion's otherwise tawdry image.

In August, Dr. Schimmel will present a series of concerts and lectures entitled Bad Renaissance People featuring daily workshops and concerts. Full details will be available online soon by visiting For information on upcoming events with Dr. Schimmel please visit or contact:

Polka de Mayo

The duo dubbed the cheesiest accordion duo in Portland Oregon USA ... possibly even in the world..Samsonite & Delight-Ya will be appearing at the annual "Polka de Mayo" festival in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, May 3rd, 2003 from 6:30pm - Midnight at Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th, (NE 11th/Couch) in Portland.

Portland's best polka party since 1985, the Polka de Mayo is endorsed by Uncle Otto's Oktoberfest. Polka de Mayo is not your grandfather's polka party! It is a polka carnival featuring power polka music, polka dancing, original polka videos, polka games and events.

Featured performances include music from San Francisco's 9 piece power polka band, Polkacide; tropical flavored polkas from Tropicante and of course the wacky polka fun by Samsonite & Delight-Ya.

Samsonite & Delight-Ya play wacky renditions of all your favorite songs. They believe that corn and cheese are good, and boy, do they lay it on thick! Their repertoire is filled with a wide range of songs ranging from Stairway To Heaven to The Chicken Dance, with TV theme songs and commercial jingles thrown in.

For a tour of the wonderful and interesting world of Samsonite & Delight-Ya which includes CD's upcoming concerts and more, please visit

For booking information:
P.O. Box 6714
Portland OR 97228-6714
Phone: (503)282-4058

Flower and McLaren in Berkley
Flower and McLaren will be appearing at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on May 17th, 2003.

Robin Flower & Libby McLaren (Flower and McLaren) are two talented musicians who joined forces to redefine the boundaries of contemporary music. This duo is always full of musical surprises. Together they perform a progressive folk fusion of highly original songs influenced by a variety of world musical traditions.

As instrumentalists, vocalists and songwriters, these women let their imaginations run wild by combining fiddle, piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo and accordion with soaring vocal harmonies.

lower & McLaren are a delightful and dazzling blend of technical proficiency mixed with humor, hope and heart.

Libby McLaren is an exceptional vocalist and keyboard player. She has toured extensively with the nationally acclaimed recording artists, The Roches, kiddingly yet convincingly introduced as "Suzzy's daughter...and a fantastic musician."

She brought her unique personal style and warmth, as well as hot solos and rhythmic punch to their show. In addition to appearing on the Tonight Show, the Dick Cavett Show and the Late Show, Libby's keyboard, vocal, songwriting and arranging talents have appeared on albums released by Warner Bros., RCA Records, CBS Records and various independent labels. Stylistically Libby's keyboard playing is both richly melodic as well as rhythmically driving. Vocally, she touches hearts, and brings down the house with her exciting scat singing.

For information on the upcoming concert on May 17, 2003 at the The Freight & Salvage,
1111 Addison in Berkeley, please call: 510-548-1761 or visit

For further information on Flower & McLaren, please visit:
11th Annual Fort Lauderdale Cajun Festival

The 11th Annual Fort Lauderdale Cajun/Zydeco Crawfish Festival will take place in Fort Lauderdale from May 8 - 11, 2003 at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium Festival Site.

The timetable for the festival is as follows:

    May 8, 7:00 PM– 11:00 PM, Free Sneak Preview featuring Sean Vidrine & Swampfyre
    May 9, 5:30 PM - 1:30 AM, (Late night Fais Do Do)
    May 10, 11:00 AM - 1:30 AM, (Late night Zydeco Jam featuring Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band)
    May 11, 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM, (Happy Mothers Day!)

Discounted Advance Tickets are available at: Daily $15.00, 2-Day $23.00, 3-Day $28.00 or tickets are available at the gate: Daily $20.00, 2-Day $30.00, 3-Day $40.00. Children 12 & under are free. Blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. You may order tickets at: 1-866-337-8849 (Toll Free).

One of the featured performers this year is Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers.

Brian Christopher Jack is from Dayton, Texas and was born on August 10, 1979 to Eugene and Geneva Jack. At the young age of 13, Brian picked up his first instrument, the guitar. Having family members who were great musicians, it was a challenge for Brian to follow in their footsteps.

Brian's love and passion for Zydeco landed him a job in his uncle's zydeco band, The Zydeco Two-Step. While Brian was a sophomore in high school, he decided that he did not want to limit himself to the guitar so he picked up an accordion. With his dedication and commitment to music, he taught himself to play the accordion.

Three months later, he formed his own zydeco band, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Two-step Throughout the course of a year, Brian went through many musicians before his band eventually became Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers.

Today, Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers consist of five members: Eugene Jack, Jr., Brian's brother, on drums and background vocals; Jody Lemelle, on rubboard and background vocals; Ben Black on lead guitar; Anthony Rowell on bass guitar; Brian Jack on accordion and lead vocals.

Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers have played in Texas, Louisiana, Nevada, California, Washington and many other states. Their media appearances include: Texas Justice on Fox, Weeknight Addition on PBS and many morning news shows. They have also performed at many major festivals including: The Big Easy Festival in Sparks, Nevada, The Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival in Plaisance, Louisiana, Zydecopalooza in Humble, Texas, The Original Zydeco Festival in Crosby, Texas, Conroe Catfish Festival in Conroe, Texas, and The Old Town Spring Crawfish Festival in Spring, Texas.

You can catch Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers around town in Houston, Texas at Jax Bar and Grill, Rawhide Saloon, Arthur's Ice House, Club BMW, Dusters Saloon, Catholic Churches, Trailrides and of course the hole in the wall clubs! For the performance schedule, please visit:

John Smoltz's Journey to Excellence Began at 4 Years Old!
Atlanta Braves team member John Smoltz is pictured here with his father, also an accordionist.

Born in 1967, Atlanta braves pitcher John Smoltz won the Cy Young Award in 1996 and pitched in the World Series for the Braves in 1991, '92, '95, '96 and '99. He helped the Braves win the 1995 World Series. John also earned the Players Choice Award as the NL's Outstanding Pitcher in 1996.

John won the Rolaids Relief Fireman of the Year award in 2002, along with the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award from the players. He was also chosen the NL's co-Comeback Player of the Year along with the Phillies' Mike Lieberthal.

No stranger to hard work and practice, Smoltz who grew up in Michigan was an avid accordionist. As a kid, he played the accordion for "three to four hours a day." This might not be something completely out of the ordinary, but if one asks how old he was when he was playing the accordion for those three to four hours a day you might be surprised to learn the answer...
John was four years old!

Gary Dahl releases new Italian Book with Mel Bay
This newly released 80 page Mel Bay published book which is graded at "Intermediate" level, contains many arias as well as traditional favorites that have never been arranged for accordion, utilizing all of its superb orchestral capabilities.

Some of the world's greatest composers and singers have expressed themselves in this sublime musical language. The contents include arias such as Nessun Dorma, Quando men vo, and O mio babbino caro, to name a few.

Gary Dahl is widely known as a virtuoso accordionist as well as a composer, arranger, recording artist and music educator, with an extensive background in music theory, composition and harmony. Gary has now developed an impressive body of work including hundreds of individual arrangements and more than a dozen books currently in publication by Mel Bay Publications.

As a recognized teacher, Gary provides specialized training for all levels of students. Gary's students have won national and state competitions as well as achieving professional status. While Gary resides in Puyallup, Washington near Seattle he provides lessons by correspondence for students worldwide.

Gary currently performs as a single for private functions. The Gary Dahl trio plus vocalist performed regularly at private clubs, hotels and the lounge circuit from 1960 through 1991. Gary is a graduate of the University of Washington specializing in composition and theory and is a former commercial corporate pilot, flight instructor and corporate sales manager.

For ordering information, please visit:

Kim and Dan Christian to tour Texas and Oklahoma

Accordionists Kim and Dan Christian and their children will embark on a tour of the Midwest with performances in Texas and Oklahoma.

For further information on Kim and Dan Christian, please visit and for concert details, please contact please contact TAA President: Norman Seaton:

Concert Dates
May 29 - Austin, TX.
May 31 - San Antonio, TX.
June 2 - Houston, TX.
June 3 - Dallas, TX.
June 6 - Oklahoma, OK.
June 8 - Dallas, TX.
June 10 - Fort Worth, TX.

25th Annual Rudy Burkhalter Accordion Jamboree
On May 4 hundreds of accordionists, musicians and music lovers will gather to celebrate the 25th annual Rudy Burkhalter Memorial Accordion Jamboree in the Oregon, Wisconsin High School Auditorium from 12:30 PM to 5 PM. (Doors open at 11:45am)

Nine years ago, the polka was written into law as Wisconsin's official state dance and every accordion and polka lover is keenly aware of the bond between the accordion and the polka.

For information on the 25th Annual Rudy Burkhalter Memorial Accordion Jamboree
please call: 608-831-7234 or 608-249-3108.

Just for Fun

May Dates at a Glance
For important dates in May, please refer to the Future Events page located on this site, by selecting from the menu to the right, or by clicking here.

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