Reports for Concerts, Masterclasses, Competitions, Festivals, etc.
Editor's Noteby Rita Barnea
|Are you ready for the February USA News? There are so many exciting events taking place very soon and past happenings to know about including Polkafest, Performances with Orchestra, New Jazz Workshops, Accordions Displayed in Store Windows, Accordion Cruises, Festivals, Films, Conventions and more.|
Oh, and it will be Valentine's Day on the 14th. Need a gift? How about an accordion CD, DVD, tickets to an accordion event or…… a new accordion?
You can find what your special someone will love on MusicForAccordion.com
As always, I look forward to hearing your ideas and comments.
Send to Ritabelll@aol.com
What Are You Doing For World Accordion Day?by Harley Jones
|What are you doing for World Accordion Day to promote the accordion in your country? World Accordion day is on May 6th, which is the day the accordion was patented in 1829.|
World Accordion Day was started in 2009 by the CIA and has been very successful, generating a lot of positive publicity for the accordion. A key part of this event is the World Accordion Day 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 Accordion Day if that should be more convenient.
Everyone can register their World Accordion Day 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.
"Accordions Rising" Debut at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festivalby Rita Barnea
|AWW continues to provide up to date information on "Accordions Rising", the important documentary on the accordion, created by prominent film maker, Roberta Cantow. So far the film has received the Winner, Award of Merit from the Accolade Global Film Competition and is the 2016 Official Selection of the Cinema On the Bayou Film Festival. Read future publications of the USA news for updates.|
Roberta Cantow said, "Accordions Rising" had its debut screening at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana in January, 2016, where it was well received by an audience of film goers, music educators, music aficionados and film enthusiasts. Within no more than a week, the very reputable educational film distribution company, Filmakers Library expressed an interest in wanting it for their collection. This is very good news for the film since Filmaker's Library is now an imprint of Alexander Street Press, Inc.
This means that the film will have the possibility of being purchased, screened, streamed and presented in university and public libraries, and for college classrooms all over the country and beyond." Roberta has a long-standing relationship with this company which has been distributing her film, Clotheslines, since 1982, and she is thrilled.
From the "Accordions Rising" Website: "Accordions Rising offers entertaining, conversational style interviews, anecdotal commentary and both formal and informal music performances from celebrated accordionists, composers and bands working in America today.
These musicians make up the colorful and thoughtful cast of characters who drive the story by tracing their uniquely personal attractions to the instrument and sharing their surprisingly divergent paths: from immigrant roots, Creole or Roma beginnings, for example, to a recognition of the very special niche this so-called “low art” form provides for inspirations in jazz, classical, new music, pop, fusion forms, operatic styles and beyond.
The film provides a tapestry of fascinating individuals, their attitudes, deep passions, and above of all else, profound dedication to the instrument. We learn that though still a rebellious lot, these music makers have an audience in some of the hippest hide-a-ways and most sought after mainstream venues. The film makes clear that the so-called “accordion world” is actually a curious continuum that includes everything from wacky and kitsch to sophisticated, serious, meditative and post modern. As Dr. William Schimmel points out, “the accordion is the icon of the 21st century.”
Someone in the audience in Lafayette pointed out that everyone in the film seemed to be saying, in one way or another, that "the roots of the rise of interest today seemed to be found in the evocative nature of the instrument."
"Roberta Cantow was recognized with her first 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 of 4 film works.
She received a NY Area Emmy for her film, Clotheslines, about the symbolic and artistic role of laundry in women’s lives. Her films and additional videos have garnered several Best of Category Citations in film festivals around the country as well as an Award of Excellence for Dreamtime, in 2008 and an Award of Merit for Not a Still Life, both in the documentary category, from the Accolade Competition. Her 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 work will be housed in the Sophia Smith Women’s History Collection of Smith College (in perpetuity).
If you would like to be informed of the film's release on DVD, go to the website: www.accordionsrising.com - click on Contact and join the mailing list or contact Roberta: firstname.lastname@example.org
2016 National Accordion Association Convention in Texas March 10-12by Rita Barnea
|The 2016 National Accordion Association (NAA) Convention takes place from March 10-12, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Richardson, Texas. A special convention rate is running to 15th February 2016.|
The 29th Convention includes concerts, organized training sessions, workshops, jam sessions, banquet, parties, dancing, Accordion Band and NAA Accordion Orchestra.
The NAA Board is: President Norman Seaton, Vice-President Nick Ballarini, Rebecca Ratliff, Sharon Seaton, Nancy Bernstein, and Laura Niland.
The training session topics will include: Know Your Accordion; Musicality; Musical Styles & Ethnic Genres; Music Theory Simplified; Effective Practice & Presentation; Strategies for Working Together with Group Applications; Solo Performance Strategies; Effective Use of Technology in Music; Personal Evaluations & Critiques; Performance.
Here is a list of the performers and workshop presenters from across the US and Canada who will be at the NAA Convention in Richardson, TX ( Dallas area). Michael Bridge, Jamie Maschler, Cory Pesaturo, Joseph Natoli, Dick Albreski, Maureen Jarosh, Elena Fainshtein, Laura Niland, Brian Berlin, Jane Christison, Ina Yakubeika, Beverly Garcia, Shelia Lee, Dale Wise, Arlyn Visentin, John Simkus, Sharon Seaton, Norman Seaton, Jim Rice, Debra Peters, Mario Pedone and Liberty Palileo, Bill Palmer, Tony Lovello, Shelia Lee, Gordon Kohl, Chad Harmon, Dr. Nicki Cohen, Dr. Ian Fries, Jay Fox. The NAA Convention features: Band Camp ( Youth Orchestra, Fun Band, Symphonic Orchestra), many great workshops, Digital Accordion Symposium, International Dance Night, “An Evening Under the Stars” Concert”, Art Show, Exhibits and more.
Details at http://www.accordions.com/naa
Now on the NAA website is:
2016 Daily Schedule
2016 Workshop Descriptions
Hyatt Regency North Dallas Reservation System. A special convention rate is running to 15th February 2016 so view the details online.
Picture right is Norman and Sharon Seaton.
Full information at: National Accordion Association (NAA)
AAA News from President Mary Tokarskiby Mary Tokarski, President American Accordionists' Association, Youth Conductor
|Hello there, fellow accordionists! 2016 marks the beginning of my second year as President of the AAA. It has been an exciting year for me, with lots of remarkable progress and tremendous events in the plan for the coming year. |
Be sure to stay tuned to the AAA website (www.ameraccord.com) – big changes are happening there with lots of updates and new posts. In addition, the AAA will launch our new YouTube Channel on or around February 10th.
Ever been to Russia? This year’s Coupe Mondiale will be held in Russia for the first time ever from September 11-17, 2016. If you (or someone you know) want to participate as a contestant, the AAA will hold a Qualifying Competition for all 7 categories at the MAMTG Festival in Whippany, New Jersey on April 2nd. Check out the Coupe Mondiale website (www.coupemondiale.org) for complete requirements for each division, and the AAA website for the entry forms.
More exciting news: New prizes for the Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition – this year’s first place winners will receive $250! Full rules and regulations will be online within days, so be sure to hone up your composition skills for this event.
Plans are shaping up nicely for our Festival in Buffalo (July 6-10, 2016). Our “Buffalo SqueezeFest” will be an event to remember! Guest artists Grayson Masefield, Cory Pesaturo, Ginny Mac and Alexander Sevastian with Quartetto Gelato will head the performers list!
Our Gala Concert will be at a local Buffalo event center – The Tralf where we will enjoy Buffalo hospitality and experience fantastic accordion music in a contemporary concert venue. Rooms at the Adams Mark Hotel (single, double, triple or quad) are $127. The reservation desk can be reached at 716-845-5100. Be sure to mention “AAA”. See you in Buffalo!!
A highlight of the Buffalo event will be the unveiling of Guy Klucevsek’s newly AAA-commissioned work for solo accordion. The World Premiere will take place on the concert at The Tralf on Friday, July 8, 2016. You don’t want to miss this!
Hands On workshops and Jam sessions are in the plan for the “Buffalo SqueezeFest” so be sure to bring your accordion and learn great things from our Guest Artists – and each other!
There are more events for you to enjoy this year as well – April 17, 2016 – Lifetime Achievement Award Event for Mario Tacca at the Colonial Terrace in Cortlandt Manor, NY; the Annual Masterclass and Concert Series at the Tenri Cultural Center in NYC on July 29-31, 2016; and a Valtaro Celebration on November 26, 2016 at the Magnanini Winery in Wallkill, NY.
Don’t forget the Open Meetings on April 3, 2016 at the Marriott Hotel in Whippany, NJ (3:00 p.m), and July 10, 2016 at the Adams Mark Hotel in Buffalo, NY (9:00 a.m. at the Farewell Breakfast). This is your chance to network with artists and students alike, and contribute to our work at bringing the accordion into the 21st Century!
Hope to see you there!
Accordions Finally Get The Respect They Deserve, CBC Radio - Canadaby Rita Barnea
|The CBC Radio - Canada website ran an article with the heading, "Accordions Finally Get The Respect They Deserve" which was about a radio documentary by Frank Faulk titled "New Squeeze" that was broadcast on The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright.|
This is an excellent radio documentary which I highly recommend that you take the time to listen to. Click "Listen" above.
Some excerpts and comments:
There's a new breed of accordion aficionados, who make beautiful music with an instrument they have to "wear", while they play it.
You will hear Michael Bridge, Alicia Baker and Alex Meixner speak about the beauty and relevance of the accordion today, the different styles of accordion music, and how it is now accepted into the halls of academia as a bona fide classical instrument, one worthy of study right up to the doctoral level.
Picture left: Frank Faulk, Michael Bridge, Alicia Baker.
First Michael Bridge speaks about his accordion studies and experiences. Alicia comments on her career as an accordionist, and Alex Meixner talks about his musical travels. All of them also perform for this radio program.
There is now a growing wave of youthful enthusiasts, like Michael Bridge, Alex Meixner, and Alicia Baker who are embracing the old squeeze box with a new gusto, pumping out all styles of music and turning on a whole generation of young listeners to its unique sound. But it's not just among the young, that it's getting respect.
"The accordion is here to stay and young people are totally accepting of the accordion. It is hip and part of our culture, world culture."
Illinois Polkafest 28, Illinoisby Rita Barnea
|The festival, Illinois Polkafest 28, takes place at the Hyatt Regency, Schaumburg, Illinois, from February 5th to 7th. Performers include George Staiduhar, Steve Meisner, Bob Doszak, Eddie Rodick, Klancnik & Friends and The Music Connection.|
The Illinois Polkafest was started back in 1988 by Bob Doszak. Bob's notion of bringing the best " Cleveland style" polka bands in the country together under one roof became a tradition for Bob and his family for 25+ years.
There will be three fun filled days of music and dancing. The cost is only $45 for a three day pass. Hotel rooms are $79/night.
Call 815-514-4041 for Polkafest information
For further information email: email@example.com
Facebook: Illinois Polkafest
For hotel reservations: 800-233-1234
Alex Meixner in National TV Commercial and Performance Scheduleby Rita Barnea
|Alex Meixner will perform at the annual Fat Tuesday at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre on February 9, 2016 at 7:30 PM. It will be the first time ever live recording for CD and DVD.|
Make sure to sign up for the Polkafest at Sea Cruise. Call Bob Landreth at 432-689-3500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex has taken on a new role as the "One Man Pep Band" for Hormel pepperoni. The commercial is on National TV! See the video above.
From his website: "Alex Meixner’s performing career began at age 6 with his two sisters and father in an ethnic folk ensemble. From these early experiences through headline appearances at music festivals throughout the US; concert performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Sandy Duncan and his own jazz and ethnic ensembles and over 50 recordings, Meixner has developed a unique musical mix that appeals to a wide cross-section of audiences.
Meixner’s formative musical studies were on piano and piano accordion, but he quickly branched out on drums, diatonic button accordion, bass and trumpet, his college major. This instrumental versatility is combined with a musical background that has included intense studies and performance of jazz, classical, pop, polkas and many ethnic folk music genres with some of the leading artists in the world. His talents in music and comedy were even featured on the Tonight Show on NBC in 2004. Most recently, his “Polka Freak Out” CD with Bubba Hernandez garnered a Grammy nomination in December, 2007."
Alex Meixner carries on a Family Tradition of music brought to the USA by his Austrian great grandfather. Building upon this foundation and extensive performances/ touring with his father in The Al Meixner Trio for many years, Alex has developed a fresh musical voice that has made him one of the most exciting performers on the American polka scene.
Alex’s high energy performances of everything from old time polkas and waltzes to more jazz and pop influenced repertoire has won over audiences throughout North America and continues to attract new fans. Equally at home with traditional and contemporary styles, performances on about a dozen instruments (including the 12 foot long Swiss Alphorn and trademark Meixner Button Box sound) and vocals in English, German, Slovenian, Croatian, Czech and more- the band’s reputation continues to grow.
From dynamic polkas and waltzes to Gypsy folk songs to Rocktoberfest parodies, Swing, Latin and Country dance music- the dizzying array of music is perfect for everything from World Music Concerts and family friendly folk festivals to a frenetic non-stop dance party."
FEBRUARY 2016 Schedule:
3 FEB HOFBRÄU BEER GARDEN PCB
701 Pier Park Drive, Ste 155, Panama City Beach, FL Hofbräu Beer Garden
4 FEB MAIN STREET CROSSING
111 W. Main Street, Tomball, TX 77375
5 FEB MARDI GRAS - ENNIS STYLE
1216 South Paris Street, Ennis, TXKJT Hall
6 FEB HOUSTON LIEDERKRANZ
5100 Ella Boulevard, Houston, TXHouston Liederkranz Hall
7 FEB POLKA BOWL 2016
VIDEO RECORDING & PERFORMANCE DURING HALF TIME
710 FM1457, Round Top, TX 78954Round Top Rifle Hall
9 FEB BRAUNTEX THEATRE
FAT TUESDAY CONCERT & LIVE ALBUM RECORDING
290 West San Antonio Street, New Braunfels, TX 78130Brauntex Theater
20 FEB GERMAN AMERICAN SOCIETY TRACHTENFEST
381 Orange Lane, Casselberry, FL 32707German American Society
"Weird Al" Yankovic Key Speaker at Grand Rally for Music Educationby Rita Barnea
|"Weird Al" Yankovic sits and talks with Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation during the first annual the Grand Rally for Music Education at the Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, California on January 23, 2016. (Top Photo)|
"Weird Al", the key speaker at the event, divulged numerous stories about his very awkward formative years and being one of the only kids around rockin’ an accordion.
"Weird Al" also spoke about taking advantage of the musical equipment available at his high school and college to hone his craft and about how an early music education had a profound impact on his almost 40-year career.
From Wikipedia: "Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic, born October 23, 1959)is an American singer, songwriter, parodist, record producer, satirist, actor, music video director, film producer, and author. He is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts, original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.
Al's first accordion lesson, which sparked his career in music, was on the day before his sixth birthday. A door-to-door salesman traveling through Lynwood offered the Yankovic parents a choice of accordion or guitar lessons at a local music school. Yankovic claims the reason his parents chose accordion over guitar was "they figured there should be at least one more accordion-playing Yankovic in the world", referring to Frankie Yankovic, to whom he is not related.
Yankovic said that "his parents chose the accordion because they were convinced it would revolutionize rock." He continued lessons at the school for three years before continuing to learn on his own.Yankovic's early accordion role models included Frankie Yankovic and Myron Floren." He feels that having an early music education greatly influenced his long career.
Grand Rally for Music Education also included performances from the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts and the CHAMPS Charter High School of Arts and Multimedia and Performing. Jamie Knight, the director of Music Media and Entertainment Technology at the high school said that Al is a great inspiration for his students. "….a tremendous role model for young people."
Top Photo by Ed Crisostomo
Right photo by Kelly A. Swift
Michigan Accordion Society, Celebrating 20 Years, Hosts Accordion For Kids Classby Rita Barnea
|The Michigan Accordion Society hosted its first Accordion for Kids Class this year at a wonderful private school, Detroit Waldorf School, in Detroit today. They were successful in getting 8 new accordion students to sign up. |
Class instructors were Michigan Accordion Society President Joe Recchia and MAS Member Jason Fligger. Lot of very happy kids really enjoyed learning about the Accordion. The children were able to take home their rental instrument today to start practicing thanks to The Michigan Accordion Society Endowment fund supporters!
The Michigan Accordion Society, was established in June, 1996, by a group of accordion enthusiasts and professionals as an association for promoting and sharing the music of the accordion.
President Joe Recchia said, "The Michigan Accordion Society was founded in 1996 and has re-emerged recently as an internationally acclaimed Accordion Society which was recognized as the best Accordion Society in the world by the International Accordion Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Michigan Accordion Society was recognized for all our efforts in creating a fresh and new Accordion Organization with the acclaimed “Frosini Award".
Currently there are over 200 members and growing monthly. Their first purpose is to promote the accordion as a beautiful and versatile instrument which is capable of accompanying music of all types, from classical, jazz, and rock, to the more traditional polkas and folk songs. More young people learning how to play and appreciate the accordion.
Their second purpose is sharing accordion music within local communities and beyond. Monthly music events include professional artists and amateurs playing a variety of music. All members and guests are encouraged to participate in their "ACCORDION JAM".
Photo of MAS President Joe Recchia
For further information: email@example.com
Amy Sawyer Performs in Premier of "Ratatouille"by Rita Barnea
|From the Belleville News_Democrat: Accordionist Amy Jo Sawyer performed on the accordion with the St. Louis Symphony’s United States Premiere of Disney’s Academy Award winning movie “Ratatouille.”|
Sara Hicks, winner of many music awards, was the conductor as the Symphony produced live music to the film viewed on a high-definition big screen. The music required a “French Musette” accordion sound on which Sawyer performed.
In this regard, Sawyer said she was “privileged” to know Frank Marocco who was the accordionist that did the recording in the original movie.“He was a wonderful friend that passed away three years ago,” she said. “He attended the Frank Marocco Accordion Event held in Mesa, Ariz., that I participated in annually for five years. He liked my original music for accordion orchestra and chose to have the 50 piece orchestra perform my music in each annual concert.”
Marocco also chose to have her original Tango, “Juntos” (Together), performed in a concert he conducted in 2011 in Castelfidardo, Italy.
Amy Jo Sawyer has become very popular and well-known in recent years for her own compositions which are usually more of the entertainment or commercial styles of music, including tango, swing, and Latin jazz, for example. She has written not only for solo accordion but also for accordion ensemble. The entertaining compositions are not normally difficult but rather quite accessible by most all groups of accordionists today and very popular with both performers and listeners throughout the world.
Photo: From left, Guitarist Steve Schenkel, Accordionist Amy Jo Sawyer and Guitarist Kirk Hanser were three musicians performing with the St. Louis Symphony for the movie “Ratatouille” recently at Powell Hall.
For further information: AmyJo@apci.net
Reports for Concerts, Masterclasses, Competitions, Festivals, etc.
Guy Klucevsek in Performancesby Rita Barnea
|From his website: Guy Klucevsek is one of the world’s most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. This outstanding composer, accordion virtuoso, and improvisor has been a major contributor to the accordion renaissance of the last 25 years.|
He has performed and/or recorded with Laurie Anderson, Bang On a Can, Brave Combo, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Rahim al Haj, Robin Holcomb, Kepa Junkera, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Present Music, Relâche, Zeitgeist, and John Zorn.
He is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Collins Fellowship, an unrestricted $50,000 award given annually to "America's finest artists."
He has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces, including his own, as well as those he has commissioned from Mary Ellen Childs, William Duckworth, Fred Frith, Aaron Jay Kernis, Jerome Kitzke, Stephen Montague, Somei Satoh, Lois V Vierk, and John Zorn.
Performances include the Ten Days on the Island Festival (Tasmania), the Adelaide Festival (Australia), the Berlin Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center, Spoleto Festival/USA, BAM Next Wave Festival, Cotati Accordion Festival, San Antonio International Accordion Festival, Vienna International Accordion Festival, and the children’s television show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Klucevsek has released over 20 recordings as soloist/leader on Tzadik, Winter & Winter, innova, Starkland, Review, Intuition, CRI, and XI. Stereo Review cited his Starkland recording, Transylvanian Software, as a recording of special merit" (1995). He can also be heard on John Williams’s orchestral scores for the Steven Spielberg films, “The Terminal,” "Munich," “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and “The Adventures of Tin-Tin,” and on A. R. Rahman's score for "People Like Us,"Rahman’s score for “People Like Us.”
Feb. 20, 2016, 6:30 PM CATSKILL, NY
Charles Busch: The Lady at the Mic
Feb. 21, 7 PM HUDSON, NY
Charles Busch: The Lady at the Mic
Feb. 26, 2016, 7:30 PM NEW YORK, NY/Lincoln Center
Charles Busch: The American Songbook Series
March 10, 2016, 8 PM BROOKLYN, NY:
Duo with Phillip Johnston, soprano sax
Barbés, 6th Ave./9th St., Park Slope
April 4, 2016 - May 2, 2016 HEADLANDS CENTER FOR THE ARTS
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Sausalito, CA
April 7, 2016, 6 PM SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Presidio Dialogues
Lecture/Demo Presidio Officers' Club
April 22, 2016, Time TBA BERKELEY, CA: Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives Guy will be part of an event curated by Sarah Cahill
BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CA.
For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dallas Vietty/Victor Prieto Workshop Success, New Jerseyby Don Gerundo
|On January 22 one of the largest snow storms that I can recall hit the North East. The blizzard stopped almost all activity except for Victor Prieto and Dallas Vietty’s Accordion Workshop. The temperature was icy cold with blizzard conditions outside but hot and tantalizing inside the ACME Accordion School in Westmont NJ where the workshop took place. |
Right Photo: Victor Prieto
Left Photo: Dallas Vietty and Don Gerundo
People from as far away as Australia, California, the Midwest and New York (yours truly) came to participate in the workshop. In addition to different locations the attendees had very different skill sets ranging from seasoned players to beginners. Dallas and Victor did an amazing job of allowing each participant to absorb as much as their ‘cup’ could hold.
Many topics were covered including Victor’s unique two-handed harmonic concept for the Stradella Bass System whereby he combines unique chord only sounds with right hand triads to create exotic polychord sounds. He also delved into various Latin American Rhythms that we seldom are exposed to here in America.
Dallas worked with the groups on various techniques in improvising as well as investigated melodic patterns that are used by Richard Galliano. We also looked at Galliano’s approach to the musette waltz and his unique rhythmic accompaniment.
Saturday evening we all went out to dinner as we watched the blizzard continue to drench the area. A few glasses of beer were able to dispel any concern with the weather outside of the hotel. Everyone was able to brave the storm inside of the restaurant.
Sunday we continued the fun by joining a bass player with Victor playing drums as each of us had our turn in playing with a rhythm section as we played solos and also practiced accompanying Dallas as he played a solo. All in all it was great experience and fun. I believe Victor and Dallas may be planning to offer this workshop again so keep a lookout for the next workshop.
Are Accordions Dangerous? Accordion Causes School Evacuation!by Rita Barnea
|This article is by Harold Reutter from The Independent.com:An accordion inside a box turned out to be the suspicious package that resulted in the evacuation of approximately 900 students and staff members from Walnut Middle School Wednesday afternoon.|
Capt. Robert Falldorf of the Grand Island Police Department said a staff member spotted the box in the band room, but could not recall seeing it there before. Falldorf said the staff member did not think the box looked like it held any kind of band instrument. He said the Grand Island Public Schools safety officer was contacted, with that person agreeing that Walnut Middle School should be evacuated as a precaution. Falldorf said all students and staff walked to Grand Island Senior High, which is just a few blocks north of Walnut.
Falldorf said the call to the Grand Island Police Department came in at about 1:50 p.m. He said the Nebraska State Patrol was then contacted, with the Grand Island Fire Department also responding to the scene. Falldorf said the State Patrol brought a canine unit, although he did not know whether the dog was used to help determine that the package was harmless.
He said the State Patrol bomb unit determined that they could open the latches on the box, which is when the accordion was discovered inside.Falldorf said he believed the incident was handled properly, with school staff responding appropriately when seeing a package of undetermined origin and whose contents are completely unknown.
Falldorf said that he is sure that school officials will review the incident as a matter of routine to make sure all the right protocols were followed.Law enforcement and the fire department blocked all entrances and exits to Walnut Middle School because they did not want any parents mistakenly trying to get to the school to pick up their children, Falldorf said. Parents of Walnut students were informed that they were to pick up their children from Grand Island Senior High.
Jack Sheard, GIPS communications coordinator, said Walnut parents were allowed to pick up their children as though Wednesday was an early out day. Students had to sign out to show school officials that they were either riding home with a parent, walking home or riding the bus.
Falldorf said that GIPS middle schools dismiss earlier than Grand Island Senior High, which he thought would minimize any traffic congestion at the high school. Sheard said that all Walnut after-school events for Wednesday were canceled. Students will return to Walnut on Thursday as part of their regular schedule.
Where There's A Will, There's A Wayby Anita Siarkowsi
|Two and a half years ago, Will Comer's mother, Charisse, brought an accordion home from a co-worker who no longer played. Will, 15 at the time, immediately sensed an instrument that he could sink his teeth into.|
"Fortunately, my mother has always been a very helpful person in my arts. She always finds amazing ways to pursue my passion.", Comer claimed.
Will's prior focus was on the piano before being drawn to the accordion by its robust physicality. I heard what you could do with the accordion, and got enthralled with it." Comer's attendance at AAA (American Accordionists' Association) meetings and concerts solidified his love for the accordion."The accordion is part of you. You're strapped in. It moves with your movements."
Comer contends, "Pianos and accordions both have keyboards, but that's where the similarities end. With the accordion, you actually mimic the singer with similar breathing techniques. 'And cellists.They might have to switch directions mid-phase - like pumping the accordion bellows. How soft or loud depends on how quickly you move them. It becomes much more of an extension of yourself."
Although Will picked up the accordion as a teenager, Will's traditional classical background began at a much younger age. The Wilton, Connecticut resident has been taking piano lessons for the past 9 years, since the age of 8, continuing until today. Additionally, Comer has been studying accordion under the tutelage of Connecticut Accordion Association orchestra member, Sandy Zera of Fairfield, Connecticut for the past 2 years.
At 15, Will performed in the Litchfield Jazz Camp and Litchfield Jazz Festivals incorporating both accordion and piano. In the past 3 years, he also participated in American Accordionists Association festivals, performing in the Youth Involvement Jazz Program.
Unlike accordionists who tend toward classical music, "My specialty is jazz. Most of my repertoire is drawn from the jazzier side of The Great American Song Book - highlighting standards from Broadway theatre and Hollywood musical film." - areas of renewed interest influencing a growing number of rock and pop musicians. During his regular performances as cocktail pianist at Wilton's Portofino Restaurant, Will found a much deeper purpose, while becoming an avid fan of singers like Mel Torme, Frank Sinatra - as well as pop composers like Cole Porter, Jerome Kerns, the Gershwins.
One of the reasons Comer loves to play jazz standards: "They are open to interpretation, providing a bare bones structure and phrasing for the musician to riff off. The tone that you convey, the dynamics, force, fluidity of the accompaniment, goals of the song - completely change by how you're feeling that day. Each time I play a song, I love it."
An enthusiastic musician, Will is very passionate regarding jazz improvisation. "When you play jazz, it doesn't matter how anyone before or after did it, but what you're doing that moment. 'Like a culinary chef..You know the ingredients, can throw anything in that will help the taste, colors, and overall appearance. With music, you determine what the song will sound like."
Although Will's parents have both dabbled in music, his Dad, Tom Comer, admitted, "Will came to music on his own. He went off to his room teaching himself to play the harmonica in 5th grade, and taught himself from theory books beginning at a young age. You can't be a jazz musician unless you have a solid understanding of theory. He really has a love for this music. That's what keeps him motivated to keep on moving. You can see it. This is what he wants to do. It just kind of calls him. Tom Comer enjoys the perplexed enthusiasm of people who are surprised to meet a teenage musician so steeped in American standards. People of my generation are always shocked to hear my son play. It's fun to hear their reactions."
Will Comer is director of the "Evergreen Performers, a teen band of Wilton High School musicians who put their own spin on classics. We have bridged the gap between ourselves and senior citizens over the past 2 years by sharing our gift of music by performing live at various facilities. We try to play music that everyone can relate to, not just older people, but younger people as well. Their reactions always make us feel great because they really appreciate what we're doing. It makes them happy. 'And that
makes us happy."
A senior at Wilton High School, Will is a member of their marching band, chorus, and jazz ensemble. In his 'spare time', Comer entertains at restaurants, bars, cocktail parties - as well as being an active participant in the Connecticut Accordion Association orchestra. A very promising 17 year old accordionist, Will was the featured guest artist for Connecticut Accordion Association's January 31, 2016 gathering at Vasi's Restaurant in Waterbury, Connecticut. The audience always appreciates Comer's impressive live accordion performances.
How does Will do it all? Where there's a WILL, there's a way!!!
Long Island Accordion Alliance To Feature Paolo Belanichby Rita Barnea
|The Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) announces their February 3, 2016 6:PM meeting with featured artist, Paolo Belanich, to be held at Villini Restaurant .The restaurant is located at 288 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY 11731.|
Paul Belanich started to play the accordion at 5 years old. Born on St. Peter's Island (Ilovik) the northern part of the Croatian Adriatic Sea, where the accordion is the center of entertainment, he played his father's diatonic button accordion as his father and uncles did.
Presently, Paul performs with his brother in the Tri State area. He entertains in Slovenian and Austrian polka styles with a blend of Valtaro Musette flavor which he grew up with. Performing and playing mostly by ear he has recently recorded some of his music which consists of different rhythms other than polka and waltzes.
Paul also sings in English, Croatian and Italian. Paul always says, "What fires me up the most and gives my heart the happiest feeling, is the polka music itself. Playing accordion since the early 60's, my love for the accordion is the same today as it was back then. I just hope that one day the American public realizes how beautiful the accordion is as a musical instrument."
Future meetings and performers include:
March 2nd ………… Mario Tacca & Mary Mancini
April 6th …………. Fabio & Fabio Lucarrelli
May 4th …………… Mary Tokarski & Nathan Chapeton
For more information: email@example.com
CAA Features Eddie Monteiro on February 28by Rita Barnea
|The Connecticut Accordion Association's next meeting will be held at |
Vasi's Restaurant on February 28, 2016 at 1:PM. Special guest artist will be accordionist Eddie Monteiro with Mitch Guido on Sax and Jack Varanelli on drums.
Eddie Monteiro has over 30 years of musical performance in classical, jazz, dance, theater, cabaret and choral ensembles. Eddie is also the youngest honoree elected to American Accordionists’ Association Hall of Fame, November 1994. Member of Bobb Rosengarden, Skitch Henderson, Peter Duchin, Ray Bloch, Michael Lanin and Marty Ames, orchestras from 1971 to present, performing in the New York Metropolitan area and worldwide.
He was a featured member of pit orchestra on stage in Broadway revival performance of "Carnival", "Evita" and recording of radio and television jingles for Sesame Street, General Foods, Colgate Palmolive, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Bennigan’s Restaurants, Pontiac and more.
He is the lead artist of innumerable society bands performing throughout the world at social events, political gatherings and corporation conventions. Eddie serves currently as the Music Teacher, Choral Director, Vocal and Instrumental Music Director for the Ann Street Elementary School.
Mitch Guido plays the Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone and C-Melody saxophones as well as the EWI (Electronic Woodwind Instrument) and compose. Currently he studies Classical music, but also performs and composes jazz, a Music Ed student at Queens College. He has been a participant in the AAA's Youth Involvement Program for several years.
Vasi's is located at 1700 Watertown Ave., Waterbury, CT 06708.
For further information and reservations:
Call 203-272-1202 by Friday, February 28.
Brooklyn Accordion Club February Meetingby Rita Barnea
|2015 was a fun year at Brooklyn Accordion Club! The first meeting in 2016 will be on Sunday, Feb 7th from 3-5:PM at 61 Local. 61 Local Cafe and Public Hourse, 61 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY.|
Admission: $5 (Due to no grant this year, $5.00 admission per person will be collected at the meeting).
Open Mic - Mary Knapp, Blyth, Mayumi... and more!
Learned new piece or two during the holiday?
Please send email to sign up to perform: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tian Jianan Guest Artist, Celebrating Chinese New Year with Musicby Rita Barnea
|Tian Jianan (China) has been a won many international accordion competitions. Excerpts follow from an article on wlfi.com. "Guests were treated to a special musical talent Saturday night in the Purdue Union’s south ballroom.|
Purdue was happy to invite Tian Jianan to perform in celebration of Chinese New Year. Tian is a 21 year old accordion player from Beijing, China.
Tian performed many traditional songs as well as a some contemporary pieces throughout the evening.
Purdue Convocation’s executive director Todd Wetzel (picture left) says by hosting events such as these, they can help to connect a community that has so many diverse cultures.
“As part of a global community want to create a place where many different voices can be seen and heard ... giving folks the opportunity to come into contact with cultures and expressions that may be different from their own,” said Wetzel.
Tian’s concert was just one part of the Purdue Chinese New Year celebration."
CD's and DVD's available online at: Tian Jianan
California Dreamin' Gary Dahl Updated Arrangement - USAby Harley Jones
|Popular US arranger Gary Dahl has released his updated arrangement of the hit song California Dreamin', Catalog: DH0126 made famous by The Mamas & the Papas group in 1966. Other famous groups such as the Beach Boys have also released this iconic song composed by John and Michelle Phillips.|
The song is #89 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and the lyrics of the song express the writers longing for the warmth of Los Angeles during a cold winter in New York City.
California Dreamin' Catalog: DH0126
Bergdorf Goodman Store Displays Accordion in Holiday Windowby Rita Barnea
|New York City department store, Bergdorf Goodman, on 754 Fifth Ave. at 58th Street is famous for their holiday window display.The start of the holiday season for many people is when Bergdorf Goodman unveils their amazing holiday windows. |
This year they partnered with Swarovski on their “Brilliant Holiday” theme using over seven million of the company’s famous crystals. David Hoey, senior director of visual presentation with Linda Fargo and his team work all year on the windows. The result is a fabulous and artistic display of creativity unlike anything you have ever seen.
We went to see the windows on Christmas Day for the first time in my life. Breathtaking, fantastic, and super sparkly are good ways to describe the windows. I was so surprised when I saw a Swarovski decorated accordion prominently displayed in one of the windows! I spoke with David Hoey who told me that they decorated this accordion with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. I hope to arrange a tour of the store's window workshop very soon.
Dr. Strong said, "Bergdorf Goodman has the finest Christmas window displays adding to their reputation as a premier company which values culture and the arts."
“This is the largest visual investment of the year, every year,” said Joshua Schulman, the president of Bergdorf Goodman, declining to specify an amount. It is such that, as with many stores, partnerships with outside companies help Bergdorf to underwrite it."
Make sure that next holiday season you are in New York City and be sure to visit Bergdorff Goodman's creative window display. Who knows? Maybe there will be another accordion!
Photos by Dr. Leslie Strong
Dominic Karcic Performs for Port Washington School Switzerland Programby Dominic Karcic
|Manorhaven Elementary School, Port Washington, NY culminated a week's long educational project / unit on Switzerland on Friday, January 29th with a school assembly program for the 460 students that featured accordionists and American Accordionists' Association (AAA) governing board member Dominic Karcic (Commack, NY). During the week the students were totally immersed in just about every aspect of Switzerland (culture, language, food, history etc.) and it all came to a close with an assembly program of German, Italian and French music performed on the accordion by Mr. Karcic. |
This "Switzerland unit" at Manorhaven Elementary School was a vast educational undertaking that involved weeks of vast preparation and planning not only by the staff but also included much parental input. One of the chief parent coordinators for the event was Mrs. Kellie Damast.
(back row - from left to right) Manorhaven Elementary School (Port Washington, NY) principal Mrs. Bonni Cohen, accordionist Dominic Karcic and Manorhaven Elementary School music teacher Mrs. Amanda Johnson (front row are three students from the school)
Dr. William Schimmel's Winter and Spring Tourby Rita Barnea
|As always, Bill Schimmel is everywhere with his accordion ranging from Broadway, to major film tracks, to unique programs. Here is his updated schedule:|
January - performances in "An American in Paris" - Broadway-open ended run
Recording of Soundtrack for new film starring Richard Gere
(title to be soon announced)
February 1 - solo performance at William Patterson University in Wayne, NJ
"Some Rainy Day" and "Five Twists" by Dr. Schimmel - Accordion Music
by Peter Jarvis
February 15 - G.F. Haas In Vain- at Eastman School of Music -Rochester, NY
February 26 - Misato Mochizuki "Interlude V for Viola and Accordion" at Scandinavia House
New York Music from Japan series
February 27 - "La Profoundier" by G.F. Haas - with the Talea Ensemble - Bohemian National Hall - New York
March 31 - Music by Hans Eisler -Kayrn Levitt, vocalist - also CD release on Roven Records- at Neue Gallerie, New York
April 4 - "Iberia" by Albinez - Hugo Goldenzweig, Pianist - Dr. Schimmel,
Accordion Orchestrations - Mannes College of Music, New York
April 15 - MATA Festival - Maxym Komomiiets
"Re-Pulse for Oboe and Accordion"
Nicolae Wasaae - "Upon Your Bod"- for Solo Accordion
April - day TBA - CD release of "Keys to the City" - Roven Records
includes Dr. Schimmel’s East Side/West Side for solo 12 bass Accordion
April 21 - music by Francesca Verunelli International Contemporary Ensemble - Miller Theater -Columbia University - New York
April 27 - Music by Roberto Toscano Columbia Composers - title to be announced
June 1 -League of Composers with Music by Huck Hodge - Miller Theater
July 29, 30, 31 - The Seminars-NO PLACE LIKE HOME - Tenri, New York
For further information: email@example.com
MAMTG Annual Festival and Competition Takes Place April 1-3, 2016by Rita Barnea
|The Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild (MAMTG) will hold their annual festival April 1-3, 2016. Their 2016 Honoree will be Linda Soley Reed, former AAA President and currently AAA 2nd Vice-President.|
April 2, 2016 – Coupe Mondiale Qualifying Categories for ALL world events will take place at the MAMTG competition at the Marriott Hotel in Whippany, NJ.
The Hanover Marriott Hotel has a spacious indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, free WiFi in lobby along with 3 computer stations, luxurious guest rooms, The Auld Shebeen Authentic Irish Pub, outdoor courtyard and is easily accessible from routes 287, 24, 78, 95 and Garden State Parkway in New Jersey. It's really a great hotel, the people are great, you'll enjoy your stay. 1401 Route 10 East in Whippany, NJ 07981. (973) 538-8811.
The Mid Atlantic Accordion Virtuoso Championship is scheduled for Friday, April 1, 2016 at 6:PM. For further information on the accordion competition please visit: http://www.mamtg.org/festival-info.html
The deadline to sign up is February 1, 2016.
New for Spring Music Festival 2016! Ensembles ShowCase! Students in bands, ensembles and chamber groups can perform live for an audience and receive feedback from an adjudicator. This is a non-competitive performance event. Play for an audience. ShowCase your talents and musicianship!
New for Spring Music Festival 2016! No more tickets needed to enter the Awards Ceremony. Performers and attendees can enter for free.
The Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild (MAMTG) was founded by a group of professional music educators from the New Jersey Tri-State area to establish and maintain high professional musical teaching and ethical standards, exchange music-related ideas, information and fellowship among colleagues, promote music education in our area, and to provide a platform for area music students to display their talents in a competitive environment.
Established in 1960, The Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild has been recognized as a viable musical organization throughout the entire Mid-Atlantic and New England States. Annually our Spring Music Festival for students is held in Whippany, New Jersey.
MAMTG is accepting ads until 2/1/16, while space is available. Visit mamtg.org for information and to submit your ad.
For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Day of the Accordion on February 27by Rita Barnea
|The Northwest Accordion Society presents The Day of the Accordion on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at Crossroads Bellevue, 15600NE 8th Street, Bellevue, WA.|
Performers include: Charlie Brown, Lenay Luzzi, Ken Olendorf Tribute Band, NWAS showcase, Bonnie Birch Trio with Fortissimo, Smilin' Scandinavians, Lyle Schaefer Band and more!
For mor info: email@example.com
AAA Seminars in New York City: NO PLACE LIKE HOMEby William Schimmel
|The American Accordionists' Association (AAA) Master Class and Concert Series:|
There’s no place like home - wherever that may be: the home you left - the home you came to - the home you adopted - the home away from
home - wherever it may be - THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE IT - STEPHEN FOSTER (or Don Amici) GOT IT RIGHT.
Join us for our 22nd smash year:
Home Sweet Home -
Heimat Klinger, Ne Casa Su Casa, etc, etc, etc -
NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
Dr Schimmel will once again be your guide through a maze a concepts, sounds, feelings, tastes and pieces - all by way of the accordion.
The Accordion had a wave of popularity in the 1950’s.
Why did to go the other way?
There were three agendas during that time:
1 What was actually going on
2 Where young people were headed
3 Where the Accordion community wanted to take it
If you were from an ethnic community SOMEWHERE UP NORTH - all of this is a non-issue.
If you lived in the mainstream of 50’s popular postwar culture, it became an issue. In this realm we were Americans first, Eisenhower Americans. Wear an Accordion and your roots show. Perfectly fine today, but not back in the
1950’s - INTERESTING
THE ACCORDION HAS A WAVE OF POPULARITY AGAIN
LET’S GO BACK AND SEE WHAT HAPPENED BACK THEN
WHAT IS THE LESSON FOR TODAY?
IS THERE ONE?
LET THE ACCORDION TAKE YOU HOME
WHERE THE HEART IS
WHERE THE SOUL IS
WHERE - WHATEVER - HOW - WHAT - WHY
no place like home
the American Accordionists' Association (AAA)
master class and concert series
our 22nd smash year
dr. william schimmel, moderator/curator
july 29, 30, 31, 2016
Master Classes 3 pm
Concerts 7 pm
Master classes $25
Full day - master class/concert $50
Entire weekend $125
reservations and info:
212 - 876 - 0827
Tenri Cultural Institute
43A West 13th Street
New York, NY
Buckwheat Zydeco in New York Cityby Rita Barnea
|Buckwheat Zydeco will be in New York City! He will perform on Wednesday, March 9,2016 at the City Winery, 155 Varick Street, New York.|
From Wikipedia: "Buckwheat Zydeco is the stage name of Stanley Dural, Jr. (born November 14, 1947), an American accordionist and zydeco musician. He is one of the few zydeco artists to achieve mainstream success. His music group is formally billed as Buckwheat Zydeco and Ils Son Partis Band[citation needed but often they perform as merely Buckwheat Zydeco.
The New York Times says, “Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural leads one of the best bands in America. A down-home and high-powered celebration, meaty and muscular with a fine-tuned sense of dynamics…propulsive rhythms, incendiary performances.” USA Today calls him “a zydeco trailblazer.”
Buckwheat Zydeco has performed with a large number of famous musicians from Eric Clapton (with whom he also recorded) and U2 to the Boston Pops. The band performed at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics to a worldwide audience of three billion people. Buckwheat performed for President Clinton twice, celebrating both of his inaugurations. The band has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, CNN, The Today Show, MTV, NBC News, CBS Morning News, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition.
Video published on Jan 4, 2016. Buckwheat says thanks to all the trick shot featured in the video edited by Jpan Goldsmith.
Check out the upcoming performance dates of the ever popular Buckwheat Zydeco:
17 Jan New York NY Highline Ballroom (with Marcia Ball)
5th Panama City FL PCB Mardi Gras and Music Festival
6th Birmingham AL Workplay Theater
9th Milwaukee WI Potawatomi Bingo Casino Northern Light Theater
11th Duluth MN Red Herring Lounge
12th Minneapolis MN Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
13th Ames IA Maintenance Shop Memorial Union Iowa St. Univ.
14th Red Wing MN Sheldon Theatre
17th Chicago IL City Winery
18th Ann Arbor MI The Ark
19th Lakewood OH Mahall’s 20 Lanes
20th Louisville KY KCD Theater
23rd Cincinnati OH Taft Theatre
24th Nashville TN City Winery
26th Kalamazoo MI Bells Eccentric Cafe
27th Buffalo NY Buffalo Iron Works
28th Pittsburgh PA Club Cafe
29th Wilmington DE World Cafe Live at The Queen
Visit Buckwheat's World at http://www.youtube.com/c/buckwheatsworld