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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Aug-2010
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA
Gabe Hall-Rodrigues ....2010 United States Virtuoso Solo 1st Place Winner
Gao Yi Cheng, First Place Winner in Galla-Rini International Classical Accordion Competition
Last Call to Register for ACCORDIONS NOW! 2010
Passing of Accordionist Shirley Evans, 78
Interview with Dr. Daniel Kott to be Aired on PBS Network
20th Anniversary of the Accordion as the Official Instrument of San Francisco

Voci Armoniche

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

70th Anniversary ATG Festival in California
Darien Williams……The Accordion Enlightens His Life!
2010 AAA Festival: Fun, Fantastic, and Fabulous!
Manny Bobenrieth, Accordionist for U.S. Army Strolling Strings
Michael Bridge's Thoughts on Performing with Boston Pops Orchestra
Bruce Gassman: My Experiences at the 2010 AAA & ATG Festivals
John Baricevich “Accordionman of Sea Cliff, Long Island (NY)”

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

New Long Island Accordion Club
Busy Times for Cory Pesaturo

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

CD Reviews

Zevy Zions Releases New CD



Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Editor's Note

by Rita Barnea
The end of summer is approaching but Accordion Summer bellows on! In this issue, you will read about the July AAA and ATG festivals which were huge successes. Make sure you plan to attend them next summer. Details for 2011 will be available on Accordion USA News very soon.

A new feature of the Accordion USA News includes accordion artists personal reflections about festivals, concerts etc. This month you will read about the young Canadian accordionist, Michael Bridge, who recently performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra. He will tell you all about his great experiences.

Additionally, Rock and Roll Accordionist Extraordinaire, Bruce Gassman, shares his thoughts about the 2010 AAA and ATG Festivals where his new CD was released.

Reminder: The Accordion USA News is for you! Please send me information about your upcoming performance, accordion club news, or suggestions……..what else can the USA news provide for you?

I am easily accessible at or call me…… 201-675-4861

Enjoy the summer!!

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

Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA

by Heather Masefield, Secretary, New Zealand Accordion Association
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival
Paul PasqualiNewsletter cover, Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion FestivalI am writing this on the plane flying internationally to Las Vegas for the Octoberfest Las Vegas International from 15th to 18th October at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.

Paul Betken & Jerry Cigler are newly added to a great line up of stars (list below) with lots of great seats still available! Want to hop a plane to come and enjoy this exciting festival?

Newsletter (picture right) with full information: 2018LVACnews.pdf
Picture left: Event organizer Paul Pasquali

The lineup starts with visionary accordionist Cory Pesaturo and bookends with a grand finale starring Grayson Masefield and the International Accordion Orchestra under the direction of the legendary Prof. Joan Sommers.

You can register online at or contact Paul Pasquali, event organizer, by phone at 1-800-472-1695 or (801) 485-5840, email:
Footer Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival

Titano Accordion Company

Gabe Hall-Rodrigues ....2010 United States Virtuoso Solo 1st Place Winner

by Rita Barnea
Gabe Hall-Rodrigues and AAA President Linda Soley ReedGabe Hall-Rodrigues is the new AAA 2010 United States Virtuoso Solo - 1st place winner. Gabe is an Arizona native and an ASU Music Therapy student who graduated in May 2010. Although only 22 years old, Gabe is very focused on developing the use of the accordion in music therapy and very involved in playing the accordion.

Gabe comes from a very musical family: His mother plays piano and guitar, his father is very into Brazilian music, his brother and sister both play the piano and sing. All through his childhood, he was exposed to all kinds of music.

Gabe has been using the accordion in his student music therapy practices for several years. Gabe has had the opportunity to use the accordion as a useful therapy tool by using the unique nature of the instrument to draw people in and form personal connections which is an important aspect of music therapy.

In order for therapy to take place, the client must first be comfortable with the therapist and in many ways using the accordion has helped to break the ice for a variety of client populations including: Older adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, older and younger adults in the hospital with cancer, teens attending a school for at-risk youth, an adult with severe brain damage, refugee children, and teenagers and children with autism.

Gabe is also a local piano instructor and uses the accordion frequently in lessons which has inspired some of his students to begin taking beginning accordion lessons.

The accordion, in many ways, allows Gabe to stand out among many other student therapists by allowing him to utilize a new instrument capable of catching people’s attention not just in sound but also with its visual appeal and complex physical system of playing.

Most adults comment that the accordion reminds them of their parents, relative, or loved one who played. This allows Gabe to use the music as a way to reminisce which for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can be difficult. Most teenagers and young children have never even seen an accordion in person or heard it played and because of this the accordion has some kind of exotic appeal to adolescents. This is especially helpful for keeping the attention of children with short-attention span and concentration. Gabe benefits from many of the therapeutic potentials of the accordion but also is very fortunate because of its practicality for traveling music therapists.

Being a student therapist, Gabe has witnessed many facilities that have little to no music instruments or resources. Therefore the more portable an instrument the better and although the accordion is heavy it is much more portable than a full sized piano or even an electric keyboard.

In general, the accordion has been successful for a wide variety of music therapy settings and has benefitted him greatly in connecting with a diverse array of people both young and old.

Gabe hope’s to continue studying at ASU in the area ofr accordion performance and plans to continue using his accordion in music therapy practices as well as local performance groups. Gabe currently plays with the ASU Dixie devils which have helped him pay tuition for his music therapy degree.

He has also performed with the ASU Sun Devil Marching Band, and other local bands including Som Brasil (Brazilian traditional music group), Another Day (reggae-rock band), the Bad Cactus Brass Band. Gabe currently studies with Ilmar Kuljus.

It is an interesting chain of events that brings Gabe to the accordion world. Not too long ago, Gabe came to watch his friends, Wes Anderson, who plays percussion and Sean Brogan, who plays bass for the Frank Marocco Accordion Event (FMAE). He saw an accordion orchestra for the first time and introduced himself to Joan Grauman. Gabe was a piano and music therapy major, a jazz pianist, and was teaching himself to play accordion. Joan introduced him to Dan Grauman and Frank Marocco.

Frank was so impressed with Gabe that he invited him to participate in the event gratis. Joan then introduced Gabe to Ilmar Kuljus who was so impressed with Gabe that he offered to teach him. This year, Gabe played with the FMAE Orchestra and also presented a workshop on Music Therapy.Gabe is enjoying his accordion so much that every Friday he plays in a jazz group at ASU. The other musicians enjoy performing with him.

Since practice rooms were not always available, Gabe would bring his accordion outside to practice and always draws a crowd of students. The ASU students say, “The accordion is so cool.” Gabe says he is happy to play the accordion. Gabe Rodrigues……….the new, cool generation of accordionists. And now he is the USA Champion! Congratulations, Gabe!

Voci Armoniche

Gao Yi Cheng, First Place Winner in Galla-Rini International Classical Accordion Competition

by Rita Barnea
Gao Yi ChengGao Yi Cheng, age 20, is the First Prize Winner of $5,000 in the recent Anthony Galla-Rini International Competition for Classical Accordion sponsored by the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, Int'l. during its Festival held in Santa Clara, CA July 21 - 25.

Gao Yi Cheng began to learn the piano accordion with the accordion professor at Mianyang University, China, when he was 4 years old. In 2007, he began studying the button accordion with Professor Chen Jun, Vice-chairman of the Chinese Accordion Association, at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu.In 2008, Gao entered the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu as a student.

Gao has earned the following awards:
October 2008: 3rd Prize in group for Soloists up to the age of 18 in Castelfidardo, Italy International Competitions
October 2008: 4th Place in the Junior Coupe Mondiale
May 2009: 2nd Prize in "The Spring of Shanghai" Accordion Competitions
July 2009: 1st Prize in the Kun Ming "Spring City" Accordion Competitions
August 2009: 2nd Prize in the Coupe Mondiale

He will compete in the October 2010 Castelfidardo, Italy International Competition and in the Coupe Mondiale being held in Verazdin, Croatia. And in 2011, he will compete in the Coupe Mondiale to be held in Shanghai, China.

Gao Yi Cheng is an outstanding young representative for the accordion, both in his own country and throughout the world. His repertoire is varied and difficult, yet exceedingly interesting to everyone in his audiences. He makes a very professional appearance and will undoubtedly be heard from for many years to come.

This is the fourth time the ATG has sponsored The Anthony Galla-Rini International Competition for Classical Accordion and is proud of the several entrants who performed with great musicianship and technical proficiency during the demanding three rounds of the event. All the soloists were well prepared and could easily present a full solo concert of serious accordion repertoire which included some of the foremost original compositions for the instrument as well as outstanding arrangements prepared from other sources.

The competition was of such a high standard that the judges and ATG unanimously decided to award a previously unannounced 4th prize, with results as follows:
•1st: Gao Yi Cheng – China ($5,000)
•2nd: Martynas Livickis – Lithuania ($3,000)
•3rd: Jelena Milojevic – Serbia/Canada ($1500)
•4th: Michael Bridge – Canada ($500)

ATG President Dee Langley announced that plans are already well underway for the 71st ATG Competition and Festival to be held in Orlando, Florida from July 19-23, 2011. Details will be available soon on the ATG Website at

For further information:

Accordion Jazz Chords

Last Call to Register for ACCORDIONS NOW! 2010

by Rita Barnea
Accordions Now! LogoCo-sponsors New Hampshire Accordion Association and Accordion Connection LLC are pleased to present: ACCORDIONS NOW! 2010 Event to held Friday-Saturday, August 6 – 7 at the Highlander Inn & Conference Center, Highlander Way, Manchester, New Hampshire.

The festival fun starts Friday evening with Open Mike Night in the Inn's Veranda Room. Play, listen, or just mingle with accordion-loving friends old and new while enjoying a meal or beverage. Concerts, workshops, jam sessions, vendor displays, demonstrations, door prizes, and more will fill the Conference Center with musical activity from morning till night on Saturday. Accordion entertainment at the luncheon, cocktail reception, and gala dinner will add further zest to the weekend's festivities.

The ACCORDIONS NOW! Festival Orchestra conducted by Donna Maria Regis is a popular highlight of Saturday afternoon's concerts. Call for details on how to participate in the orchestra. 1-800-328-5227

Accordion fans everywhere are invited to visit beautiful New Hampshire and discover why the motto of ACCORDIONS NOW! is "LOTS OF ACCORDIONS, LOTS OF MUSIC, LOTS OF FUN!!"

The third annual accordion music festival offers a superb lineup including the Gala Concert stars “Living Legend” Tony Lovello, jazz artist and Roland V-Accordion specialist Don McMahon, and international multi-champion Cory Pesaturo.

Daytime performers include Roger Allen, Lynda Fish, Nils Lundin, Mario Pedone, Donna Maria Regis, Mary Tokarski, Jerry Tramontozzi, the New Hampshire Accordion Association Small Ensemble, the ever-popular ACCORDIONS NOW! Festival Orchestra, plus perhaps a surprise or two. The music of Aldo DeRossi will be featured, including a world premiere.

Workshop presenters are Sam Falcetti, Don McMahon, Mary Tokarski, and Arthur Welch who will offer these topics among others:

•“How to Memorize a Song in 5 Minutes”
•“Building Effective Bass Lines and Other Essential Elements of Improvisation”
•“How to Play the Accordion: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask”
•“What to Look For in a New or Used Accordion"
Additional attractions include open mikes, jam sessions, door prizes and vendor displays. Don McMahon, whose appearance at ACCORDIONS NOW! is sponsored by Roland Corporation, will demonstrate their latest V-instruments.

A festive luncheon, cocktail reception [cash bar] with music by ALAMBIC, and a gala dinner buffet will foster social interaction among accordion friends old and new.

In addition, the performing artists will be available for CD signing and/or photo. For attendees who don't want to miss a beat, The Highlander Inn offers comfortable lodging at a great group rate – only $99 per ROOM [1-4 persons], including a Continental Breakfast Buffet. To reserve, call TOLL-FREE 1-800-548-9248 and mention "accordion festival."

And for those flying in, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport [MHT] is right next door with complimentary 24/7 shuttle service provided by The Highlander.

For more information about the ACCORDIONS NOW! 2010 or the New Hampshire Accordion Association: or 1-800-328-5227


Passing of Accordionist Shirley Evans, 78

by Rita Barnea
Shirley Evans
Shirley Evans played accordion for British royals at Buckingham Palace, Flamenco great José Greco, diners at Key Biscayne's Rusty Pelican, 4,000 Shriners in Pittsburgh -- and the Beatles.

Evans was born Jan. 29, 1932, near Liverpool, England, came to South Florida in 1976 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. She had a unique career performing, writing childrens' books and ballet music. She also recorded polkas and worked with International Artists Series Inc. as director/consultant.

Shirley Evans died July 10, 2010 of breast cancer at Baptist Hospital, according to Robert Owens, her companion of 34 years and partner at International Artists. Evans met Owens in 1972 en route to a cruise-ship gig with her former professional partner, Donald Hulme, a two-time accordion World Champion.

In addition to Owens, a brother and two sisters in Australia, Evans leaves two accordions-- a Scandalli that John Lennon once played and a rare, extended-keyboard Hohner -- and a unique musical legacy.

Shirley was backed by George, Paul and Ringo, with John as the producer in an Abbey Road Studios recording session. Other career highlights included backing Cliff Richard at the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest, when he came in second with Congratulations.

According to program notes from the Greco concert at the Dade County Auditorium in 1978, Evans appeared with Engelbert Humperdinck, Victor Borge, George Jessel and Liberace. At 26, she hosted a British quiz show called Claim to Fame. She played the accordion on top of Mount Fuji in a bikini and appeared as Mabel, the Black Label girl, in Carling beer commercials. She also toured in USO shows, and was "Auntie Shirley'' in a Hong Kong children's television show.

In 1999, she composed 40 minutes of music for the world premiere of the ballet “Twin Flame” at Texas Tech University. She wrote additional music, “Pretty Snowflakes”, for a St. Petersburg Classic Ballet Theatre performance of “The Nutcracker” last December at the Dade County Auditorium.

She considered the Beatles "her brothers,'' Owens said, and they liked her because she was ``sweet and nice, not pushy.” "To me they were lads from the same neighborhood with the same sense of humor,'' she once said. They gave her 45 rpm pressings of Wild Accordion and told her, `We want you to make a lot of money from this,' '' Owens said. She never did, but had hoped to put the song on a CD with her own compositions and release it with a memoir.

Evans fell in love with the accordion as a small child. In an interview with Rob Howard, she said she was discovered by a sheet music vendor who introduced her to a booking agent. An entertainment agency signed her and sent her to Austria and Italy with the Tessie O'Shea Show! to entertain British troops. Shirley toured the Middle East with Radio Bandbox Show and had her 21st birthday in the middle of the Sinai Desert billed as the “Accordion Starlet”.

She said that the Beatles found her while she was touring in Scotland in 1967. ``When I got back to London, I got a call from someone asking me if I wanted to entertain with the Beatles on a bus. I thought someone was making a joke, so I said, `Let me think about it.' A few days later, she received another call and was convinced.''

Owens said that Evans was "spiritual and kind,'' traits that served her well during a USO tour to Vietnam War wounded at Veterans Administration hospitals.

Shirley had a long career and her accomplishments included playing the accordion in the Beatles film 'Magical Mystery Tour' and three Royal Command performances, one of which was at Buckingham Palace. She has the unique distinction of having an accordion solo, 'Shirley's Wild Accordion', written for her by John Lennon. The recording of this piece, which features backing by George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, was deleted from the final edit of the film, and to this day lies unissued in the vaults at EMI in London.

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

Interview with Dr. Daniel Kott to be Aired on PBS Network

by Rita Barnea
Dr.Daniel Kott and Samantha SalvadorDr.Daniel Kott, director of MECCA (Multi Ethnic Cultural Association of Central Texas)and Samatha Salvador (MECCA princess) were interviewed on the regional PBS network KNCT-TV for the August Hispanic Perspective program.

This program will be broadcast on Friday, August 6th at 8:30 PM and Sunday, August 8th at 10:00 AM. It will then be available for viewing on the KNCT-TV web site.

Samantha plays three instruments, dances, and sings in Spanish and English. She is presently learning how to play the piano accordion by taking lessons from Shelia Lee using the ooVoo, free Internet service. One other MECCA accordion student is located in Rockville, Maryland.

A discussion on the program included the MECCA activities for August and September. Dr.Kott will teach old time music in August at the Lions Park Senior Citizens Center which will include the accordion, fiddle, and guitar.

The use of the Internet for long distance learning was also discussed. MECCA is using ooVoo, youtube, the ning social network, and Ustream to instruct music and dance. Shelia Lee recently taught on Ustream from the Fairbanks Summer Alaska Festival. All sessions were recorded and are available. To stay informed of this new technology, email for further information.

MECCA is preparing for a music/dance festival on Saturday, Feb 26, 2011 to celebrate Texas Independence Day (March 2). This will be a community wide event. Anyone with an interest in learning Texas/bluegrass/old-time music and dance can contact or 254-526-9464.The music will be published in electronic print, audio, and video format. Instructional webinars will be transmitted starting in January 2011.

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

20th Anniversary of the Accordion as the Official Instrument of San Francisco

by Rita Barnea
Tom TorrigliaDid you know that 2010 is the 20th anniversary of the accordion being the official instrument of San Francisco? Well, now you all know this interesting fact! On April 26, 1990, the Board of Supervisors voted 6 to 4 in favor of designating the accordion the city’s Official Instrument. This is all due to Tom Torriglia’s intense campaigning at City Hall to make the accordion the official instrument of San Francisco.

Tom even took the witness stand in a mock trial to testify on behalf of all things accordion while being booed by a chorus of kazoos! This all happened in 1990. At that time, San Francisco did not have an official instrument. Thanks to the efforts of Tom Torriglia, the accordion is San Francisco’s official instrument!

How did this happen? In 1989, Tom met San Francisco Supervisor Willie Kennedy at an event, told her of his intent to make the accordion the official instrument and asked her for guidance and assistance. She guided him through the process. The first step was to write a support paper talking about the history of the accordion in San Francisco and how the piano accordion got its start here and why it should be the city’s official instrument. After reading his paper, she felt his request had merit and introduced a measure to the full Board of Supervisors asking that the accordion be named the city’s official instrument. The supervisors then held a public hearing on the issue. Many people showed up in City Hall to speak for and against the proposal.

The Board of Supervisors passed the measure which then went to the mayor’s office for his signature. Realizing what a hot-button issue this was, the mayor, Art Agnos, decided not to act and the measure became officially approved by default.

Tom has been in the music business since the late 1960s. He is a tireless accordion promoter and was an original member of Those Darn Accordions. Additionally, he is responsible for making June “National Accordion Awareness Month.” Today, he plays a variety of gigs around the Bay Area, often with his popular retro-Italiano band, Bella Ciao.

For further information:

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

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

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

70th Anniversary ATG Festival in California

by Kevin Friedrich, CIA Ambassador
ATG Board of Directors
A full Review of the event with many photos is on the ATG website, 2010 Review.
ATG President Dee Langley welcomed members and guests to the 70th Anniversary of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) which was held in Santa Clara, California, July 21-25, attracting people from across the United States as well as countries such as China, Lithuania, Austria, Canada and New Zealand.

Held for the first time in California, in honor of ATG President Emeritus the late Anthony Galla-Rini, the festival featured Meetings, Concerts, National and International Competitions, Trade Shows and Social Events such as Gala Banquets, Receptions and the new after-hours Bootleg Lounge Jam Sessions.

Numerous workshops were held on topics such as The Life of Galla-Rini (Esther Lanting), Music Notation Software (Liz Finch), World of French Musette (Bernard Metais), Book Release – ‘What is an Accordion?’ (Mary Tokarski & Karen Malan-Uribe), Music of the Professional Musician (Gordon Kohl), Film Documentary Screening of ‘Behind the Bellows’ (Steve Mobia), Understanding and Playing Balkan Rhythms (Dee Langley), Bass Patterns (Betty Jo Simon), 50’s & 60’s Music (Bruce Gassman) and Developing Technique (Alexander Sevastian).

The 3rd edition of the Anthony Galla-Rini International Competition for Classical Accordion was won by Gao Yi Cheng from China, a student of Chen Jun. Performing a series of three rounds, the competition was of such a high standard that the judges and ATG unanimously decided to award a previously unannounced 4th prize, with results as follows:

1st: Gao Yi Cheng – China ($5,000)
2nd: Martynas Livickis – Lithuania ($3,000)
3rd: Jelena Milojevic – Serbia/Canada ($1500)
4th: Michael Bridge – Canada ($500)

Featured guest artists included CIA World Champions Alexander Sevastian (Coupe Mondiale) and Cory Pesaturo (International Competition for Digital Accordion). Alexander was also the winner of the first edition of the Anthony Galla-Rini International competition for Classical Accordion held in 2001. Other guest artists included Accordion Chamber ensemble (conducted by Joe Smiell, Jr.), The Great Morgani, Patricia Bartell, Ron Borelli, Steve Albini Duo, Stas Venglevski, Lionel Reekie (New Zealand), Peter Di Bono Trio, Bruce Gassman, William Cosby, Betty Jo Simon, AbsolutAccord and Amy Jo Sawyer.

Two Festival Orchestras were presented in concert including the Galla-Rini Festival Orchestra conducted by Esther Lanting which performed at both the ATG Festival and at the Great America Theme Park and the ATG Executive and Friends Orchestra conducted by Joan Cochran Sommers.

Hailed as a tremendous success by all who attended, ATG President Dee Langley announced that plans are already well underway for the 71st ATG Competition and Festival to be held in Orlando, Florida from July 19-23, 2011. Details will be available soon on the ATG Website. Full 2010 Competition and Festival Review is also on the ATG website. 2010 Review

Photo at top is: Betty Jo Simon, Amy Jo Sawyer, Liz Finch, Kevin Friedrich, Dee Langley - President, Norman Seaton, Mary Tokarski, Jeff Lisenby, Joan C. Sommers, Stas Venglevski and Esther Lanting

Titano Accordion Company

Darien Williams……The Accordion Enlightens His Life!

by Rita Barnea
Darien Williams, mother StarleneThere is a saying: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.

If anyone is an optimist, it is Darien Williams, one of the many contestants and participants in the July 2010 AAA Festival in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Darien is nineteen years old, born blind and autistic. But does that stop him from loving music and particularly, his accordion? Definitely not!

According to his devoted mother, Starlene Williams (pictured), who accompanies him to his accordion lessons with Mary Kathryn Archuleta in San Antonio, Texas, “Darien was born with perfect pitch and a love of music. At the age of 10 months, he played the organ. He only has to hear a song once and then plays it correctly. He is a true gift to our family. We are so proud of him.”

Darien has played the piano for many years. He only started the accordion about six months ago. He loves playing his accordion, and singing in church and with friends.

At the AAA Festival not only did he win a trophy but he also played with the Alamo Angels Accordion Ensemble, the accordion grouped organized by Mary Kathryn Archuleta, Executive Director of Dreams Fulfulled through Music whose mission is to develop personal accomplishment, social growth, and self-esteem through Music Education and Performance Opportunities.

Darien reads Braille and is a positive thinker with an excellent self image. And, why not? He is handsome, talented and much loved by his mother, Starlene, three older brothers, Najja, Nahshon, and Sammil, and all of his many friends.

Darien has a busy music schedule ahead. He is performing at Morgan's Wonderland and will play with the Alamo Angels Accordion Ensemble at the San Antonio Spurs game on August 4th.

For further information about the remarkable Darien Williams: 210-815-7798 and

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

2010 AAA Festival: Fun, Fantastic, and Fabulous!

by Rita Barnea
AAA Logo
2010 Photos. AAA participants and guests were welcomed by President Linda Soley Reed to the 2010 AAA Festival held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from July 14-18. The event attracted people from all over the USA and Canada, Lithuania, and Russia.

The festival had something to please everyone ranging from concerts, meetings, new accordion music premiers, competitions, social events, dealer displays, banquets and receptions.

Many informative and entertaining workshops were creatively presented:
Midi Basics and Application-Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Accordion (Joe Natoli)
New Book Presentation of “An Accordion, What is That?” (Karen Malan-Uribe, Joan Grauman, Mary Tokarski), The Evolution of the Accordion Concerto: From Before Deiro to the Present (Dr.Robert Young McMahan), Remembering Art Van Damme (Ray Oreggio assisted by Dominic Karcic), Music Therapy and My Accordion (Gabriel Hall-Rodrigues) , Inside a Judge’s Head, Answering Questions from Contestants (Joe Natoli and guest judge, Patricia Bartell from Washington), Classic Rock Accordion 2 Bruce (Bruce Gassman), Accordion- More Than One, Lots of Fun! (Mary Kathryn Archuleta).

Various prestigious competitions were held. The winners in the AAA scholarship categories were as follows:
United States Virtuoso Solo - 1st place - Gabriel Hall-Rodrigues
United States Piano Accordion - 1st place - Christopher Gorton; 2nd place - Albert Manginelli
Maddalena Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionists - 1st place - Danielle Renzi
Electronic Entertainment - 1st place - Danielle Renzi
Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition - Junior - 1st place - Albert Fry
Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition - Senior - 1st place - Michael Bridge; 2nd place - Peter DiGiovanni; 3rd place - Joseph Ciccone

Featured guest artists and ensembles included:
The Potomac Ensemble (Joan Grauman director and conductor, Mara Cherkasky, Karen Malan-Uribe, Peter Di Giovanni, Phil Fox, Yimeng Huang, Lee Paulson, Meryl Benanati, Mark Nejako, Jo Ann Pankow, Louis Silvia), Dominic Karcic and Ray Oreggia, Dr.Robert Young McMahan, Joe Natoli, John “Elvis” Moceo, Bruce Gassman, Beverly Roberts Curnow, Ilana and Daniel Pavlotsky , brother and sister Tango dancers with the AAA Festival Orchestra, Chris Gorton, Vladimir Mollov(accordion) and Annie Moger(violin), Peter Chudolij, The Busso Trio, Martynas Levickis, winner of the 2009 AAA Piano Accordion Competition, the Alex Meixner Band, Massed Band directed by Frank Busso, Jr., and the AAA Festival Orchestra conducted by Dr. Emilian Badea.

The premiere of the AAA Commissioned Work by Roger Davidson, “Tango Blues”, a quartet with Christina Busso Lammers (Flute), Alice Bish (Viola), Yulia Zhukovay (Cello) and Mary Tokarski (Accordion) was presented on the Friday night concert.

People who attended were amazed by the versatility of the accordion. Festival attendee Sam Adler from New York said, “I loved the variety of the programs. Whatever level the accordionists were at and whatever type of music they were into-was very successful. The acoustic accordion held its own alongside the electronic.”

Below is the weblink for WABC of the massed band performance in front of the Sheraton.

President Linda Soley Reed and Contest Chairperson, Mary Tokarski both agreed that it was a very successful event and encourage all of you to attend the 2011 AAA Festival next summer. 2010 Photos.

For further information about the 2010 or 2011 AAA Festival:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Manny Bobenrieth, Accordionist for U.S. Army Strolling Strings

by Rita Barnea
Manny BobenriethThe U.S. Army Strings celebrated their 60th Anniversary at Brucker Hall, Ft. Myer, VA on June 26, 2010. The U.S. Army Strolling Strings is one of the most requested musical ensembles and has played for every commander-in-chief since President Dwight Eisenhower.

Sgt. Maj. Manuel Bobenrieth, accordionist with the Army Strings was born in Concepcion, Chile, and began studyingthe accordion at age five. He studied at Montgomery College and received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Performance
from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In his off-duty hours, the Manny Bobenrieth Ensemble has been featured at Blues Alley Jazz Club, The Argentinean Embassy, The World Bank, The Kennedy Center, and others.

His CD “Tangata” has been heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” In April 2004 he became the Group Leader of The U.S. Army Strings. Manny is also an AAA Board Member.

The U.S. Army Strings is one of the premier elements of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, DC. The Army Strings provides a musical backdrop for many of the country’s most notable events. Its mission is to serve as a musical ambassador for high-level military and government events at home and abroad as well as in concert for public audiences. This versatile ensemble of 20 world-class musicians performs as the Strolling Strings, The U.S. Army Orchestra, and various mixed small chamber ensembles and combos.

The U.S. Army Strolling Strings is one of the most requested musical ensembles by our nation’s military leadership. Since its inception during the Eisenhower administration, the group has provided musical entertainment at the White House for every president. Missions include performing for the Department of Defense, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, kings and queens, and heads of state from countries worldwide.

The Strolling Strings offers audiences the unique perspective of being amongst the musicians who elegantly move about the venue playing their instruments. A distinctly unique member of its instrumentation, the ensemble boasts an accordion, which adds rich color and texture to the group’s sound. The Strolling Strings offers a wide array of memorized repertoire, including patriotic, classical, international, jazz, Broadway, bluegrass, and exclusive music arrangements for special guests and events. Chamber music is a core element of The U.S. Army Strings’ mission. String quartets provide a backdrop for significant official functions as well as public performances.

Duos, trios, quartets, and mixed chamber ensembles perform in venues throughout the year, including Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon, the Lyceum in Alexandria, the Mclean Community Center, and Brucker Hall at Fort Myer—all in Virginia. The U.S. Army Strings joins with instrumentalists from other elements of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” to form The U.S. Army Orchestra. This group performs works from a diverse repertoire at some of the nation’s finest venues, including the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, Lincoln Center in New York City, the Music Center at Strathmore, in Bethesda, Maryland, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at Maryland, College Park, and the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

They will perform on Thursday, August 12, 7:30 PM on the Washington-Lee Summer Concert Series at Washington-Lee High School Auditorium, 1301 North Stafford Street, Arlington, Virginia and Friday, August 13th, 8 PM on “Sunsets with a Soundtrack” on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol, Washington. These performances are free.

For further information:

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Michael Bridge's Thoughts on Performing with Boston Pops Orchestra

by Michael Bridge
Michael BridgeSeventeen year-old Canadian accordionist, Michael Bridge, performed with the highly-regarded Boston Pops Orchestra on June 8, 2010 as part of the 10th anniversary special of the popular National Public Radio show “From the Top.” Michael shares his experience with us below.


I had the true honor of being one of six young musicians featured on a special program recorded to celebrate the 10th anniversary of “From the Top,” an NPR show which promotes classical music in pre-collegiate students from across North-America.

Several months ago, I received a phone call from Gerald Slavet, Executive Producer and CEO of “From the Top”, and he explained that his radio show was doing a special tenth anniversary concert and he had hired “a local backup band” to help.

As we continued talking, I realized that he was completely serious about having me come to Boston to play one song. Having kept me in the dark for long enough, he explained who this “backup band” was and asked if I would be interested, and I said, “Absolutely!!”

A month later, in Boston, I had one of the greatest pleasures of my life - working with world-class conductor Keith Lockhart to perform Vittorio Monti’s “Czardaz”. I had decided that it would be better if I played the solo violin part with both hands rather than add in Stradella bass chords that the orchestra would not be expecting.

That much worked well, but it soon became apparent that the orchestra’s arrangement was too busy and did not allow the melody to sing, whether it was me or even the first violins.

So during the rehearsal, we completely changed the parts distribution. Though this was only slightly last minute (as in, concert in three hours), it worked beautifully and the performance was received with wonderful enthusiasm from the audience. I was so honored to perform with an orchestra of that caliber in such a beautiful concert hall.

I was also interviewed on-stage by “From the Top” host, concert pianist Christopher O’Riley, and had the chance to explain to an essentially non-accordionist audience about free bass as well as my right hand chromatic keyboard and the many possibilities it offered. I also had the opportunity to emphasize that the accordion is a complete instrument that is fully capable of playing all types of music.

It is of course incredibly important for the public to realize that our instrument, though it is excellent for polka music, is also the perfect instrument to play jazz, classical... everything! For that reason, I felt like the experience was not just a success for me, but also for the instrument!

The show will be broadcast on an estimated 250 radio stations to 700,000 listeners in September as the new season opener. Keep watching for details on the dates and times in your area. After the broadcast date, the show will also be available online from the “From the Top” website.

I have already had a busy year of musical studies: I completed my grade 10 Royal Conservatory of Music Piano exam in June under my long-time piano teacher Donna Holoboff and I plan to complete my grade 10 RCM free bass accordion exam in January.

I have also been occupied with RCM theory courses including analysis, counterpoint, history, and harmony classes and, of course, regular lessons with my accordion teacher in Calgary, Beverley Fess. I have also greatly appreciated some internet coaching from accordion master Peter Soave.

In October, I am looking forward to representing Canada at the CIA Junior Coupe Mondiale in Croatia and also appearing at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention in early November.

I am going into my final year of high school and plan to study classical accordion at university. I also have two CD's available of my own compositions for accordion as well as my music book.

For further information, email:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Bruce Gassman: My Experiences at the 2010 AAA & ATG Festivals

by Bruce Gassman
Bruce Gassman
“July was a wonderful, exciting and very busy month for me”, said Bruce when asked about his experiences at two of the premier accordion events in the country. Being able to perform solo, be a part of three orchestras, present workshops, be surrounded by magnificent national and international accordionists and have an East Coast and West Coast opportunity to introduce my 1st solo CD was more than one fortunate “rock ‘n roll” accordionist could wish for.

It started on Wednesday, July 14th in Hershey, Pa with the AAA Festival Orchestra rehearsal and then the famous press & squeeze party and it was non-stop from there. Massed band the next day and a sun-drenched trip to Hershey Park. Then it was Cabaret Night followed by open mic and ending with a trip to the Dog & Pony Lounge.

Friday featured a wonderful luncheon concert, workshops, competitions, orchestra rehearsal and a Gala Concert & Reception. Then, more than a dozen accordionists serenaded guests in the Dog & Pony Lounge till -------. That was fun.

Saturday brought the event to a high-pitched finally with more workshops, then the Awards Ceremony and concert, ending with the AAA Evening Banquet which had several surprises including “Momma” Joan Grauman & “Daughter “Emily dancing to the Bulgarian music performed by Vladimir Mollov – (Vlado even strapped on his accordion and strolled tables with me during dinner – cool). Then Sunday breakfast and so long till next year.

Then came the long plane ride to San Jose, CA on Wednesday, the 21st but who cares; the weather was so beautiful in Santa Clara that the three extra hours where a blessing. It was great seeing some of the same people who attended AAA the week before but also wonderful seeing folks from the West Coast and Mid-West who I had not seen in many months.

I knew Hershey would be hard to top but ATG sure knows how to throw a party. I missed the sight-seeing tour but caught the 1st round of international competition and finished at the hospitality suite (who needs sleep)?

Thursday started with a 9:00AM ATG Executive Festival Orchestra Rehearsal (still trying to find out who picked 9am – but it gets better later). The day was chock full of workshops, more competition, Anthony Galla-Rini Orchestra rehearsal, social hour and then the ‘California Here We Come Concert’. Then the hospitality suite (did I mention, who needs sleep)?

Friday had more great workshops, competition, orchestra rehearsal, social hour, banquet with live music (Steve “the Great” Albini Trio) and then a magnificent concert followed by, you guessed it; the Hospitality Suite (help – sleep).

Remember, I said it gets better. Saturday started out with a (are you ready) 8:00 AM Orchestra Rehearsal (still investigating). Then a very well organized trip to Great America Park, where the Anthony Galla-Rini Orchestra, conducted Esther Lanting, and Cory Pesaturo played at Jack’s Juke Box to a “standing-room only” crowd. Then it was back to the hotel for more workshops, social hour, another Banquet with live music and a Gala Concert which was preceded by the Award Ceremony.

Every show just got better and better. The Executive Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Joan C. Sommers, not only did “Star Wars Themes” and an original composition by Amy Jo Sawyer but also performed “Video Games Music” while the audience watched the video game in real time on a large screen – That was real 21st Century stuff – WOW !!! This magnificent evening ended at THE HOSPITALITY SUITE! (How do you spell S-L-E-E-P)?

Once again, Sunday morning breakfast and "so long" till next year. Well, that’s my story and I’m stuck with it !! Needless to say, I slept well the next day but I would not have wanted to miss a moment of these two weeks – THANK YOU Linda Soley-Reed, Dee Langley and the rest of the gang(s) at AAA & ATG. LET’S DO IT AGAIN SOON!!!

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

John Baricevich “Accordionman of Sea Cliff, Long Island (NY)”

by Dominic Karcic
John BaricevichAfter I made an appointment to see John Baricevich (Barry) on February 21st, 2010, I called my two accordion buddies, Ray Oreggia and Mike Zeppetella, and cued them in and both said “Yeah, we’re also coming.” Yes, everybody loves to visit John.

Going to the John’s waterfront Sea Cliff domicile is always a great event especially if you are an accordionist. Going there becomes a “gab fest” about accordions, accordionists, accordion events and music in general. You never get bored and, make sure that you don’t have other appointments because a planned short visit becomes open ended.

It’s fun, entertaining, educational and becomes “an event.” Our visit was no exception - we talked, we ate and then we jammed. Five and a half hours later we were exchanging goodbyes.

In his own way John, over the years, has become a legend on Long Island because of his vast accordion collection. You name the brand and even the model and he probably might have it. Piano accordions, button boxes, chromatic accordions (two row, three row etc.), new ones, old ones, antique accordions, reeds, accordion parts - yes - they’re all there! In 1996 after the death of Giulio Giulietti, John and his wife Anne made five visits to Mrs. Giulietti and on each excursion filled their car to capacity with Giulietti accordions which he still has.

When I asked John “How many accordions do you have?” He kind of hesitated, thought and said “Well, I started counting them one time but then gave up.” “Well, I reiterated, about how many do you have?” “Maybe 300, no 350, no 375.” was his reply. “I sold a lot of them. Maybe I used to have well over 400.”

John Baricevich was born in New York City in 1928. His mom was from Slovenia and dad was from the island of Ilovik (Sveti Petar / San Piero), Croatia. He attended Chelsea Vocational High School, a trade school, and he became an expert in auto mechanics. He served in the Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948 and his mechanical expertise resulted in his being selected for working in the motor pool shop.

He served eighteen months in Tsingao, China as part of the occupational force after World War II. He has lived in Sea Cliff (Long Island), NY since 1956 where he established himself as an excellent car mechanic and accordion collector.

He never really studied the accordion formally and always played by ear. He received his first accordion at the age of ten – a two row - Hohner button box. Over the years he has played parties with many different performers and friends and in recent years was part of an annual “accordion fest weekend” at Villa Vosilla in the Catskill Mountains in New York.

John started collecting instruments about the year that he got married (1955). That first instrument was a Baldini and Bartoli accordion. He says that he has an accordion in his collection that could be about 100 years old. He has sold instruments to many professional musicians. Noted among these is Canadian accordionist and Grammy nominee Walter Ostanek who bought a white three row Strasse button box from him. John welcomes your visit to see his collection!

For further information: John Baricevich 516 -671 -0237 or e-mail:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Future events

New Long Island Accordion Club

by Rita Barnea
On Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 at 7 PM, the Long Island Accordion Club will hold its very first meeting. You and your friends are invited to attend this “historic first session.”

If you play the accordion, please bring your instrument and play a “song or two.” This is open to anybody that plays the accordion no matter what your level of capability (beginner, intermediate, amateur or professional). Everyone is welcome to participate!

The purpose is to get accordionists together to share their love for playing the “best musical instrument in the world.” We all can learn from each other no matter what our abilities are. Additionally, people who love to just listen to accordion music are most cordially invited to attend.

The meeting will take place at 7 PM at the Campagnola Restaurant,6546 Jericho Tpke.,Commack New York,(Commack Corners Shopping Center). (631) 499-0088.

Since the meeting is in a restaurant / pizzeria all attendees are asked to have a bite to eat that evening. Please e-mail or call Dominic Karcic: or 631.864.4428

Share this with your friends and be part of this new accordion adventure!

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Busy Times for Cory Pesaturo

by Rita Barnea
Cory PesaturoCory Pesaturo will perform at the Rocky Mountain Accordion Festival, held from July 29th to August 2nd, in Phillipsburg, Montana. For the 2nd year in a row, Cory will be at the Rocky Mountain Accordion Festival. It is one of Cory’s favorite events of the year since the people involved are truly wonderful and the setting is gorgeous.

International multi-champion Cory is also a featured performer at the ACCORDIONS NOW! 2010 Event to held Friday-Saturday, August 6 – 7 at the Highlander Inn & Conference Center, Highlander Way, Manchester, New Hampshire.

On August 7th, 3 PM, Cory will perform for the 8th time in a row at the Sergio Franchi Memorial Concert in Stonington, Connecticut.

From August 10th to August 16th, show times to be announced, Cory will entertain at the Pebble Beach Concour d’Elegance Week.

Cory will participate at KlezKanada from August 16th to August 22nd, show times to be announced. Cory will be jamming and performing with some of his favorite accordionists in the world, including Peter Raichev.

2009 World Digital Accordion Champion Cory Pesaturo is a graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, where he was the first musician to major and graduate in the accordion. Upon winning the Championship, he became the first American to win any World Accordion Championship in 25 years.

Accordion Legend Dick Contino said, "Of all the accordionists I've seen over the years, Cory is the one to pass the torch to, the only one who has all the tools to bring the accordion back to its former glory."

2009 was also a fantastic year for Pesaturo, as he won the five International Competitions he entered, including two International Jazz Accordion competitions.
They are: 2009 WORLD DIGITAL ACCORDION CHAMPION, 2009 Leavenworth International Champion, 2009 Leavenworth International Jazz Champion, 2009 Kimberley International Jazz Champion, and 2009 US National Digital Accordion Champion He has also performed in many different countries including Japan, New Zealand, and Tunisia.

For more

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CD Reviews

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

Zevy Zions Releases New CD

by Rita Barnea
Zevy Zions, Lakewood, NJ resident, has recently released his newest album of accordion solos, ‘William Tell”. You will enjoy every selection on this CD. They are familiar popular solos which will elicit joyful feelings each time you hear them.

Zions was a student of the great performer and teacher,Charles Nunzio, who was a student of the legendary Pietro Frosini. Zevy Zions performance is technically accurate and emotionally expressive. His newest CD is devoted to accordion classics. The selections include:
1. William Tell Overture - Finale
2. March Militaire #1
3. Malagueña
4. Serenade
5. Alla Turca
6. Moment Musicaux #3
7. Flight of the Bumble Bee
8. Cleopha
9. Schön Rosmarin
10. Klezmer Suite #3
11. Minute Waltz
12. Voi Che Sapete
13. Flute Minuet
14. Le Basque
15. Under the Double Eagle

Zevy Zions has been playing music since he was four years old. Starting with the piano, on which he was given a year of formal piano lessons with a local teacher, he was basically self-taught. His mother loved the accordion, so she bought him a used, smaller sized instrument.

Fast forward to 2001. For eight years Zevy studied with the great accordionist and teacher, Charles Nunzio. Emphasis on technique, expression and overall musicianship was covered over that period of time. Zevy considers himself very fortunate to have been taught by Mr. Nunzio, and still has a fond attachment to him.

In addition to performing as a soloist and with various musical ensembles, he is the accordionist for “Klezmerfest”. They have recorded two albums: “Party Music” and “Life of the Party”. Zevy has also previously released two solo albums, “Olive Blossoms” ( and "Dizzy Accordions".

If you want to hear accordion classics at their best, you need to hear Zevy Zions performance. You will be delighted with his renditions that are faithful to the composer’s intent. More information can be found on his new web site at

For further information email:
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