||Myron Floren Passes Away at Age 85|
||AAA Announces $10,000 Winner|
|Guinness Book of Records Broken in Canada|
||65th ATG Festival in Texas|
|Alexander Sevastian Releases New CD|
|Tony Lovello Shakes his way into Georgia|
|Those Darn Accordions Midwestern Tour|
|15th Annual Cotati Festival|
|New Release by Ralph Stricker|
|Accordionists Perform in Circus Spectacular|
|New Book and CD by Mario Tacca|
|Bernadette Conlon in the USA|
|Accordions at Irish Music Retreat|
|11th Master Class and Concert Series|
|Henry Doktorski Releases New CD|
|Sizzling Tango Ensemble Concert|
|New Books by Stas Venglevski|
|Verne Meisner Passes Away|
|Myron Floren Passes Away at Age 85|
accordion world is mourning the loss of Myron Floren who passed away at his home
in Rolling Hills Estates, California surrounded by his family. He succumbed to
cancer at his home on Saturday, July 23, 2005 and was 85 years old.|
Myron, Lawrence Welk's longtime accordionist, joined Welk's orchestra in 1950 and appeared throughout the popular TV show's 27 year run. Although the "The Lawrence Welk Show" ended in 1982 and Welk died 10 years later at age 89, the shows were repackaged and still show on PBS stations around the country.
Myron was born on 5 November 1919, in Rosalyn, South Dakota. At age 7, he talked his father into ordering a Sears accordion and by the time 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 his 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.
He attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where he met Berdyne Koerner, his future wife. Myron worked his way through college by teaching accordion and playing over local radio station, KSOO radio in Sioux Falls, performing on the early morning show that featured waltzes and polkas of Polish and Scandinavian origin.
When World War II began, Floren tried to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps, but was turned down for medical reasons. He enlisted instead in the USO and entertained the troops overseas.
When he returned from the war, Floren and Berdyne lived in Sioux Falls where Myron had a radio show. In 1946, they moved to St. Louis. One night in 1950, they danced in a ballroom where Welk was appearing, and Welk spotted Myron in the audience and asked him up to the stage to play. That night Welk offered Myron a job to play with his band.
Myron joined Welk and stayed with him until the show ended in 1982. He 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. Reruns still play on more than 200 public television stations around the United States. Myron Floren was the consummate performer for over 28 years on The Lawrence Welk Show". Myron is pictured here performing with the band, while bandleader Lawrence Welk dances with the 'Champagne Lady' Norma Zimmer, in this June 25, 1964 photo.
In 1992 at a General Assembly in Trossingen, Germany, the Confédération International des Accordéonistes (CIA) awarded Myron Floren (USA) their Merit Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the International Accordion Movement.
In July 1996, the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) Festival honored Myron Floren, as the widely acclaimed as the star of the Lawrence Welk TV Show which ran for 28 years. As part of the AAA festival, Myron Floren conducted a massed band of hundreds of accordionists at Independence Park in downtown Philadelphia, performed at the Myron Floren Tribute Concert (which starred Myron Floren with the Tim Laushey Orchestra) and he enjoyed the AAA Testimonial Banquet in his honor.
The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) inducted Myron into the ATG International Accordion Hall of Fame. The ATG Award read: MYRON FLOREN, In recognition of the extraordinary prominence you have brought to the accordion and the world of accordionists during a legendary career as an entertainer, you are hereby inducted into the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) "International Accordion Hall of Fame" - July 24, 2004, at the 64th Annual ATG Competition and Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Myron is pictured here sharing a light hearted moment with Anthony Galla-Rini at his 99th Birthday Party in San Diego.
Over the years, Myron was a great supporter of the ATG and the AAA and other accordion events across the USA. One regular performance for Myron was at Wurstfest, New Braunfels, Texas. In all, Floren played at Wurstfest for 34 years, only missing 1998 to recover from heart surgery.
Myron was the quiet-mannered, fast-fingered accordionist from the popular Lawrence Welk Musical Family. Myron will long be remembered for his charm, graciousness and smile but mostly for his wonderful talent to make people happy playing the accordion.
Myron is survived by his wife, Berdyne, five daughters and seven grandchildren. A memorial service will be set in California at a later date.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a special fund that will be set up to benefit the United Service Organization or USO, which books entertainment for American troops overseas.
|AAA Competition Announces $10,000 Winner|
Michigan was the venue for the American
Accordionists' Association annual Competition and Festival which sponsored
one of the biggest prize pools for any accordion competition, with an impressive
$10,000.00 First Prize, $3,000.00 Second Prize and $2,000.00 Third Prize.
hearing 19 contestants over the course of almost 10 hours, many of them already
international champions, the jury was extremely impressed with the very high standard
of the contestants and stated that it was almost impossible to choose three prize
winners, when the standard was so high. (Pictured right is Brian Hubrich from
Salt Lake City).
|Guinness World Record Broken in Canada|
July 7, 644 accordion players lined up to help break the Guinness book of World
Record at the Kimberley Civic Center before a standing room only audience. Helping
to break the record were several international accordionists including Bernadette
Conlon of Australia, Gary Blair of Scotland, Igor Zavadsky of Ukraine, Janet Todd
of USA and Serge Duchane of Canada. |
The previous record held for the largest accordion ensemble was organized by the Stedeker Dansers. This consisted of 566 musicians playing the accordion for 22 minutes, during the International Folklore Festival in Diepenheim, The Netherlands, on June 1, 2000. In Kimberley , 644 accordions played for 29 minutes and 30 seconds.
an interview with Anders Johnson, Jeany Irvin said: "I think a lot of the
people who came last year, came this year and brought friends with them, and brought
more accordions with the, so we did not have the problem of running out of accordions.
Last year we had enough people, and not enough accordions.
|65th ATG Competition and Festival in Richardson, Texas|
Jazz was in the air when the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) held its 65th Annual Competition and Festival in Richardson, Texas (Dallas). Featuring Jazz legends Art Van Damme and Frank Marocco, the festival also featured an International Jazz Competition for Accordion which attracted contestants from the United States and Europe.
The $3,000.00 First Prize in the Art Van Damme International Competition for Jazz Accordion was won by Julien Labro (right) from Detroit, Michigan. Originally from France, Julien is student of World Champion Peter Soave at Wayne State University. The 2nd Prize was won by Peter Martin from California. In addition to the Art Van Damme International Jazz Competition, there was a special International Jazz Competition category honoring Frank Marocco which was won by Jérôme Richard (left) from France.
In addition to Art Van Damme and Frank Marocco, the festival concerts featured artists such as Mirco Patarini (Italy), ATG President Stas Venglevski, Dee Langley, Dr. Karen Fremar, the UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra, Jim Rommel, John Simkus, Gordon Kohl, Sharon Seaton and popular Texas artist Ginny Mac. The 2005 Festival Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Joan C. Sommers performed at several concerts during the festival including the Taste of Musical Excellence Press Concert, an appearance accompanying Frank Marocco and closing the Saturday night Gala concert.
Workshop presenters included Frederic Deschamps (France), Art Van Damme, Frank Marocco, Ginny Mac, Jim Rommel, Dr. Sharon Seaton, Gordon Kohl, Jeff Crilley, Misha Litvin and Dee Langley.
Joan C. Sommers was inducted as the new ATG President at the conclusion of the festival with Dee Langley re-elected First Vice President and Stas Venglevski Second Vice President.
Plans are already underway for the 2006 Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota which will workshops, displays, concerts and competitions. In 2007 the ATG will join forces with its sister organization and fellow CIA member - the American Accordionists Association (AAA) to co-host the 60th Anniversary Confédération Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA) Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships in the United States.
|Alexander Sevastian releases New CD|
Accordionist Alexander Sevastian has just released a new CD highlighting his extensive concert program. Entitled 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', the CD includes works by Bach, Scarlatti, Schubert, Goubaidulina, Repnikov, Berinski, Derbenko, Kachaturian, Mendelssohn and Rachmaninov.
Born in Belarus and a graduate of the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters in Performance degree studying with renowned concert artist and teacher Friedrich Lips, Alexander now makes his home in Toronto, Canada.
A winner of three International competitions including the 'Oslofjoird' in Norway, the 'Cup of the North' in Russia, and the ATG 'Anthony Galla-Rini International Competition for Classical Accordion' in the USA, Alexander has performed in Belarus, Russia, Canada, Ukraine, Italy, France, Germany and the USA.
In addition to his solo career, since 2002, Alexander has been a member of the Internationally recognized group Quartetto Gelato. He has toured with this group to over a hundred cities in the USA, Canada, Italy, Korea and Japan.
For information, please visit www.accordions.com/sevastian or e-mail: Alexander at: email@example.com
|Tony Lovello to Bellowshake his way into Georgia|
are encouraged to fasten their seatbelts as Tony Lovello bellowshakes his way
into Georgia in August. Often dubbed the 'Liberace of the Accordion' Tony is to
perform in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, August 27th, 2005 at 7:00 PM as the newly
Accordion Association kicks of with its first event.
IS LIMITED - ADVANCED REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED BY AUGUST 5, 2005.
|Those Darn Accordions Midwest Tour|
Darn Accordions return to beer-and-sausage country for a sizzling summer Midwest
mini-tour featuring intimate shows at select clubs as well as big-stage appearances
at several music festivals.
For press photos and more information, please visit http://www.thosedarnaccordions.com or conatct: firstname.lastname@example.org
|15th Annual Cotati Accordion Festival|
15th Annual Cotati Accordion Festival featuring Queen Ida and Flaco Jimenez will
take place from August 27-28th, 2005. This two day event held at La Plaza Park
in downtown Cotati, California is the largest West Coast accordion festival with
2 stages, 13 performers each day, an all day polka tent for dancing, and an all
day zydeco dance party.
|New Release by Ralph Stricker|
Ralph Stricker has just released the second edition of his popular book "Jazz Theory and Improvisation Studies for Accordion". The new edition has been rewritten and re-engraved and has been expanded to 164 pages of valuable material. The book contains many wonderful ideas covering the full spectrum of jazz; the book also features special arrangements and compositions by Frank Marocco and Eddie Montiero.
The book is available from the following sources:
|Accordionists Perform in Circus Spectacular|
Guy Klucevsek and Jean-Francois
Baez will perform in 'Cirque Lili' at the Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California,
July 1st to 27t. 'Cirque Lili' features French circus artiste, Jerome Thomas,
with a commissioned score composed by Klucevsek.
|New Music Book and CD|
Mario Tacca has just published a book titled 'Mario Tacca - Original Compositions
for Accordion, Solos and Duets'. Each of the 10 pieces in the book reflects a
distinct musical style and ethnic background.
|Bernadette Conlon in the USA|
Conlon, Australia's Ambassador of the Accordion, performed her first concert on
a five-stop US and Canadian tour to several standing ovations, and encore-demanding,
cheering audience at the Salt Lake Area Accordion Club Tuesday June 21.
|Accordions at O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat|
you love Irish music and want to learn to play it or play it better, we invite
you to spend an enjoyable, but productive, weekend with some of the best traditional
players you'll find anywhere. People like Mark Kenneth teaching piano accordion,
Ken Fleming teaching diatonic classes Liz Carroll on fiddle, John Doyle on guitar,
Jerry O'Sullivan on uilleann pipes, Roger Landes on bouzouki and three dozen other
teachers from around our region on nearly every instrument Irish music can be
visit the retreat's website at http://www.irishtradmusic.org/oflaherty.htm. The
retreat will be held October 29-30, 2005 in Midlothian, Texas, just 30 minutes
south of Dallas,
For more information, please contact the Retreat at (972) 238-8724 or e-mail its organizers at email@example.com
|11th Master Class and Concert Series|
August 26th, 27th and 28th Dr. William Schimmel will present his annual master
class and concert series sponsored by the American
Accordionists' Association. This year's title will be: 'At Least You Can Get
|Henry Doktorski Releases Classical Accordion CD|
concert accordionist Henry Doktorski's latest recordings have been released as
a compact disc titled Classical Accordion Recital, which includes transcriptions
and original works written for the accordion. The CD presents stylistically diverse
transcriptions and original works for accordion spanning a historical time frame
from the mid-eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries.
Order from Henry Doktorski at http://henrydoktorski.com
|Stas Venglevski's Tango Ensemble Concert|
is never to early to pencil in a concert date for the fall, and anyone passing
through Wisconsin in November, might like to set aside November 12 for the Sizzling
CLASSIC TANGO with THE STAS
VENGLEVSKI INTERNATIONAL TANGO ENSEMBLE and Vocalist Laura Crotte. The concert
will take place at 8:00 PM on Saturday November 12, 2005 at the Cedarburg Cultural
Center in Cedarburg, WI.
|New Books Released by Stas Venglevski|
Milwaukee based accordionist Stas Venglevski has just released five books of his original compositions including both solos and duets.
two-time first prize winner of bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova, Stas
is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his
Masters Degree in Music under the tutelage of the famed Russian bayanist, Friedrich
Lips. In 1992 he immigrated to the United States and now makes his home in Milwaukee.
|Verne Meisner Passes Away|
Verne Meisner, 66, whose accordion-propelled polka tunes kept the upper Midwest dancing for 57 years and who won international accolades for his musical skill, died June 10 of cancer at St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee.
Mr. Meisner was considered one of the greats in the world of polka, second only to Frankie Yankovic, who gave him his first big break. His Slovenian, or Cleveland-style, polka featured infectious melodies that were widely popular in the world of taverns, dance halls and festivals where the music was a standard celebration of the week's end.
Verne Meisner of Milwaukee started his career as an accordion player as a child and played other genres as well as polkas. He also wrote more than 60 songs.
"He set the tone and groundwork for a lot of other musicians and bands. He was a major influence," said Rick Gundrum, vice president of the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame.
Mr. Meisner, an inductee into five polka halls of fame, played at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 1998 and was featured on a Smithsonian Folkways recording, "Deep Polka: Dance Music from the Midwest."
Polka is the go-go music of Wisconsin. It's the official state dance, it's a staple of the state fair and lakefront summer festivals and it's what the band strikes up at weddings. Mr. Meisner, born in Milwaukee, the axis of oompah, grew up with the sound.
When he picked up an accordion at age 8, he began playing for neighbors, ice cream socials and church events. He knew only 10 tunes and would run through them over and over until he learned more, he once told the publication Polka News.
His son Steve, who followed him into polka music, recalled: "He had a photographic memory. He could remember people's names from 20 years ago and play a song for them. They'd be falling over him. He was always able to get people dancing even if they weren't a dancing crowd."
Mr. Meisner started his own band in 1950, at age 11. Five years later, he so impressed the "King of Polka" Yankovic that he briefly traveled with the Yankovic band. He also benefited from airtime on the local "Fritz the Plumber" radio show.
After high school, Mr. Meisner's National Guard unit was activated and he found himself in Tacoma, Wash. His after-hours gigs at the officers club and nightspots became so popular that the musicians union began to complain.
Back in Wisconsin, wielding a Milwaukee-made black Baldoni accordion, Mr. Meisner played 200 to 250 dates a year for more than 40 years. His engagements included stands at clubs in Branson, Mo., Las Vegas casinos and Caribbean cruise ships and several European tours.
He made 30 singles, 20 CDs or LPs and five videos, as well as writing more than 60 songs. Over his career, he sold about a million recordings, his son said. His biggest hits were "Memories of Vienna" and "El Rio Drive."
He also could play country, jazz and standards, and musicians of all genres often sat in with his band.
"He was very versatile and recorded in Nashville using studio musicians," Gundrum said. "Some polka musicians will do a country song but it still sounds like a polka. Verne was one of the few that could pull it off and make it sound like a country song or a jazz song."
That ability to play across genres kept him working. For 14 years, he played 90 days in a row at a Wisconsin resort and averaged only two or three polkas each night.
Early in his life, when the polka scene was more competitive, Mr. Meisner struggled with his lack of recognition. He was an alcoholic but quit drinking 20 years ago, coinciding with the period in which he received his greatest professional recognition.
"He was a person who made people happy," Steve Meisner said. "I don't think he would have chosen any other form of music because they weren't always expressions of happiness. Other than some good old sad country songs, he never wanted to play the sad songs."
He played his last date April 7 at the American Serb Hall in Milwaukee. The audience didn't expect him to appear, but "people were overjoyed to see him. When he did show up, people were just elated," Steve Meisner said.
Survivors include three children, a brother and sister, all of Wisconsin.
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