The Texas Accordion Association was the recipient of the first "Frosini Award".

As part of their entry for this event, held at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, the TAA outlined details about their association and their activities.

We would like to share some of their IMPRESSIVE resume with you!

You can also visit their website at www.accordions.com/taa

History of the Texas Accordion Association

The Texas Accordion Association (TAA) was initiated in 1986 and incorporated and accepted as an IRS-rated non-profit organization in 1987. It has grown from the original 45 members living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to an average membership of 1000 accordionists from all over the United States of America.

Foreign membership is accepted, but not actively promoted.

The Association produces quarterly newsletters, holds numerous monthly meetings throughout the state, and conducts an increasingly popular annual convention that attracts accordionists from numerous states and foreign countries. Our convention has grown at a rate of 10% since it originated.

The quarterly newsletter (Accordion-Gram) is now mailed to all 50 states, Guam, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Primary Purpose of the Texas Accordion Association The primary purpose of the Texas Accordion Association (TAA) is to serve the various aspects of the accordion world, including enthusiasts, accordionists, other accordion organizations, and accordion dealers. We strive to promote the accordion to the general public by providing quality programs with quality musicians.

The TAA serves the general public through enhancing the public's image of the accordion by training and developing professional accordionists. Such training includes the following:

  • Public relationship training (timeliness, dress standards, mannerism, etc.)
  • Increasing musical training opportunities, musicianship, and repertoire
  • Increasing the level of communication between individuals and other accordion organizations
  • Serving as a referral service for accordion-related information

We polled (1998) the TAA membership to determine how long the accordionists have been playing the accordion. 24 percent have played the accordion less than 5 years and 19% had played the accordion between 5 and 10 years.

Primary Focus of the Texas Accordion Association

The primary focus of the Texas Accordion Association is to provide educational training for accordionists. Since the "disappearance of many accordion studios" has become a major problem for accordionists, the TAA has responded by the production of educational training through newsletter articles, tours, and the annual convention.

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Local Cluster Activities

"Cluster" is a non-legal term that indicates a "Chapter"

Statewide Monthly Meetings and Public Activities:

Monthly meetings are all open to the public, and normally consist of special performers and open mike Those who call about accordion appraisals, sales, services, and/or lessons are encouraged to attend one of the monthly meetings.

A. Austin-based Clusters:

a. Central Texas Accordion Association (CTAA)
Monthly meetings, Conducts the annual June Squeeze-off held in a local senior citizens center, Produces a "local-interest" accordion newsletter.

b. Third Coast Accordion Network web site www.3can.net (Paid TAA membership is not a consideration) (Steve Wise, web manager) This loosely organized group consists of accordionists and accordion aficionados who do the following:

  • Promote the accordion to other accordionists and the general public
  • Share the common bond because of their interest and love for this versatile instrument Maintain Internet e-mail and quick messaging medium
  • Support an in-depth discussion forum of accordion issues
  • Provides coverage for a wide population of accordionists and aficionados locally, nationally and throughout the world 3CAN'S Monthly Activities (Free service for all participants)
  • 3CAN Accordion Roundup: 3rd Tuesday at Broken Spoke, a historic and world-famous C&W dance hall in Austin, Texas
  • Accordeon Rendezvous: Event that features accordion-based bands designed to expose accordionists to the wide variety of music played on the accordion and a demonstrate to club owners that there is an active audience for accordion music

Other Related Accordion Activities: 3CAN also notifies members of jam sessions, workshops, concerts, and festivals where accordions will be prominent. Personal note from Sam Gentry and Steve Wise: "3CAN is a network, not an organization; no dues, no officers, AND no members...only participants. You can become a participant by Participating! Subscribe to the Squeezenet by sending us your e-mail address." Contact 3CAN by e-mailing Sam Gentry at: SGentry@texas.net

B. Dallas-based Clusters

a. Dallas cluster monthly meetings Contact point for request for accordionists and accordions for sale Conducts annual picnic; public invited Sends occasional "local interest" mailings to local TAA members and accordionists Local TAA members are contacted monthly with an automated phoning system called a "phone tree" Manages the "Accordion Booth" at the annual North Texas Irish Festival (total attendance in 2000 was 20,000 people

b. New Trick Band (formerly Trick Accordion Band, originally formed in 1928) 1999: Performed in nursing homes, retirement centers, churches, and Octoberfest activities 2000: Currently modifying musical styles, techniques, and bookings The Trick Accordion Band is the only musical organization that has participated in every Fort Worth OctoberFest since it originated nearly 30 years ago.

c. New Announcement: A Dallas-area MIDIed accordion cluster is currently being formed!

C. East Texas Cluster

(formerly called the Longview Cluster) Bi-monthly meetings Bi-monthly newsletter to members and interested parties Annual Christmas party; general public invited Members play in nursing homes, preschools, and general meetings such as the German Club During 2000, two members were musical guests at the "Squatty Pines Storytelling Festival" at Camp Tyler Maintains a private web site www.EastTexasAccordions.Homestead.com

D. Fort Worth Cluster

Monthly meetings Often makes monthly phone calls to local members

E. Houston Cluster

Monthly meetings Works with Houston Balalaika Association on Russian concerts Occasional "local interest" newsletters to area TAA and Houston Accordion Association members

F. Plano Cluster

Monthly meetings Monthly mailing or phone calls to those who expressed an interest in attending monthly meetings

G. San Antonio Clusters

a. San Antonio Cluster Monthly meetings Regular "local interest" mailing to local accordion enthusiasts Currently serving as a local contact for upcoming 2001 ATG convention Primary accordion contact for International Folk Culture (Lady of the Lake - San Antonio) Numerous members work with the International Accordion Festival - San Antonio

b. Excelsior Accordion Orchestra and San Antonio Accordionaires Provides training for both intermediate and advanced level players Provides an opportunity to gain experience in public performance Used as a professional method to serve the general public and to promote the accordion"

H. West/Waco Cluster

Conducts monthly meetings Conducts statewide annual Squeeze-Off and Accordion Contest Participates in the annual WestFest and coordinates an award-winning parade float

Cluster Support for Accordion-friendly Organizations

Of utmost importance for "promoting the accordion to the non-accordion playing public beyond the Texas Accordion Association" is the on-going support for accordion-friendly organizations. The following is a partial listing of the Texas-based organizations that are supported by various members of the Texas Accordion Association clusters:

  • Texas Polka News (The primary source for Texas-based polka activities)
  • North Texas Irish Festival Various Czech festivals including WestFest, Ennis Polka Festival, Rosenberg, and the Fort Bend Festival Of course, we cannot forget the various Czech-dominated kolache/klobase festivals and accordion contests
  • Other polka festivals including the Addison, Fort Worth, New Braunfels Wurstfest, and Munster OctoberFest
  • Texas Folklife Resources activities including the "Accordion Kings" events, festivals and accordion camps
  • South by Southwest Conference (an extremely popular musical event often used by agencies to find new talent)
  • POLK of A Texas-based events (One of TAA's charter member is the current North Texas chapter president)
  • Texas Music Directory: A musical directory produced by the state of Texas and the TAA is listed there for general public interest
  • International Folk Culture (Lady of the Lake - San Antonio)
  • International Accordion Festival - San Antonio
Texas Accordion Association General Office (Dallas) Public-related Activities International Accordion Activity
Worldwide Web Activities

A. TAA maintains an extensive e-commerce web site with Accordions Worldwide

a. TAA profile of our activities such as the annual convention and cluster activities
b. Contains contact information for clusters and general office

B. TAA officially recognizes Accordions Worldwide as the world's largest accordion information center and recommends that all other accordion organizations and individuals subscribe to its services

C. TAA supports the international accordion associations (AAA/ATG) through advertisements

D. TAA is sending a representative to the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention

E. TAA is working with the New Zealand Accordion Orchestra to establish an Accordion Orchestra Tour that encourages local accordionists to participate.

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National Accordion Activities

I. Our quarterly publication, the Accordion-Gram, is distributed to all 50 states, Guam, Canada, and Puerto Rico

A. Emphasizes "accordion history" and "current accordion activities"
B. Outstanding achievements of accordionists are covered
C. Other accordion organization activities are promoted "free of charge"
D. All aspects of accordion music (classical versus folk music) are promoted on an equal basis

II. The TAA sponsors a National Accordion Convention that has attendance from 30 different states and several foreign countries. In 1999 and 2000 we had visitors from New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, and Norway.

A. Youth given free admission, including food
B. Designed as "hands-on" training sessions with the masters
C. Accordion orchestras directed by the world's top directors
D. Great attempts have been made to equalize the following training:

a. Classical and competition music
b. Folk music on both the button and piano accordions
c. Training on "how to entertain" on the accordion (repertoire, dress codes, bookings, ethics, etc.)

E. Accordion dealers were given private display areas for only $50.00 for the entire convention
F. Individual and dealer sales were strongly encouraged and the TAA did not collect any commission

III. On-going friendships with other accordion organizations

A. promote each other's activities
B. Assist other accordion organizations in establishing their own clubs
C. Participate in the newsletter exchange with all the other willing accordion organizations
D. Share information and ideas with

a. American Accordionists' Association (AAA)
b. Accordionists and Teachers Guild (ATG)
c. Las Vegas International Accordion Convention

Statewide Accessability and Public Events
The TAA state clusters work together to conduct the Texas Accordion Tour

A. Several outstanding accordion artists have completed this prestigious tour in past years 1999: Cathy Sommers, ATG U.S.A. Classical Accordion Champion
2000: Jason Stephen, ATG/AAA U.S.A Entertainment Champion

The TAA shares information and assists Texas Folklife Resources (TFR) as they "focus on the accordion-driven roots music of Texas," especially the TFR Accordion Kings Camp and Jamboree.

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) 1999/2000 Public Relations Activities

News releases: A total of 86 DFW area news media sources received convention information (newspapers, radio, and television stations)

Veterans: Free convention concert admission was granted and all DFW veterans associations were contacted. Several veterans attended the Friday evening concert
13 American Legion posts
3 Disabled Veterans Associations
10 Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations
3 Vietnam Veterans organizations

Youth: Youth under the age of 20 are allowed free National Accordion Convention admission (including meals)
Approximately 20 young people under the age of 20 attended the 2000 convention
Approximately 10 college-aged people attended the convention at a discounted/working rate Several of these young people performed at the convention including two on the Saturday evening concert

Military Appreciation Night: The 2000 convention Friday evening program featured military music, and anyone who has served, or is currently serving, was granted free concert admission. (See Veterans)

Music Stores: As a public service, the TAA is registered with area music stores
Public Information: TAA maintains an accordion-related listing with the Dallas Public Library system (23 different libraries)

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