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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Feb-2019
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
BLUES, HUES AND VIEWS - a New CD by William Schimmel and Elliott Sharp
Michael Bridge & Ladom Ensemble Release New Album
Meet Rachel Quirbach: Accordionist, Music Therapist, AAA Executive Board Member
Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, Ray Harris, Micah Bisson, Jamie Maschler Perform with Seattle Symphony Orchestra
"Accordion Stories From The Heart" Book Signing & Mini-Concert February 9
2019 NAA March 6-9: One-Of-A-Kind? Before, During, & After Preparation Time!
Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration 2019

Voci Armoniche

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

Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble
Paul “SQUEEZEBOX” Gluck: My Musical Journey Over 4 Decades!
Cory Pesaturo on National CBS This Morning TV
Matthais Matzke - German accordionist to Perform at NAA on March 9
Manny Corallo and Frank Toscano Ring in LIAA New Year
Gail Campanella to Present Workshop at NAA
Accordionist Dominick Surace
And All Because of a Bumper Sticker
Elena Fainshtein in NAA Workshops
Smorgasbandet Entertains at LIAA February 6
Aiden Gort Receives Scholarship for Accordion Repair
Bill Palmer III and Debra Peters Present at 2019 NAA Convention
Accordionist Jane Christison Presents Workshop at NAA
The Day of the Accordion Feb. 22-24

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

57th Annual New England Music Festival in April
AAA Master Class & Concert Series July 26-28
AAA Festival July 17-21, 2019 in PA
UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble to Perform at AWAM
Gordon Kohl Directs San Diego Accordion Camp April 4-5
Frank Petrilli Teaches at Django in June Camp
79th Annual ATG Accordion Festival in Denver July 24-27, 2019
Las Vegas International Accordion Convention 20th Anniversary Celebration

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

New and Updated Sites

New Stas Venglevski eSheet (pdf) Compositions



Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Editor's Note

by Rita Barnea
Rita BarneaFebruary is an extremely busy month for accordionists. In this publication, you will have your choice of concerts to attend in addition to fascinating articles on many types of accordionists, accordion museums and more! Email addresses are always included so you can communicate with the artists.

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

BLUES, HUES AND VIEWS - a New CD by William Schimmel and Elliott Sharp

by Dr. William Schimmel
William SchimmelDr. William Schimmel, Accordion - Elliott Sharp, Del Arte Ancuman Guitar and Mandocello, have recorded a new CD centered around the Blues. It contains Roots as well as Contemporary departures - always returning to the main scourcginalle of The Blues.

The Official release date is March 19, 2019 but pre-orders can be made on The Album will also be available for digital downloads.
The titles of each cut are:
1 "Breaking News"
2 "Clickbait"
3 "Blues in the Box"
4 "Armenia Intake" (after Scrapper Blackwell)
5 "Not a bug, It's an Amphibian"
6 "MetrOcala Modulators"
7 "Always a Ray of Sun in The Blues, Never in The Tango"

On New Years Eve, Dr Schimmel performed with The New York Philharmonic in a concert that featured the renowned soprano, Rene Fleming. Dr. Schimmel also accompanied Ms. Fleming in the Broadway run of Carousel in which the cast album received a Grammy Nomination.

In January, Dr. Schimmel performed at the Prototype Festival in New York in a new opera by Philip Venable entitled" 4.48 Psychosis" based on the play by Sarah Kane depicting her last moments.The performances took place at Baruch College. Originally from London, this was the American Premiere. It received rave reviews in every major New York Paper and Concerto. Net singled out Dr. Schimmel, calling him "The Venerable Bill Schimmel"

Also in January, Dr. Schimmel did a tour of Germany performing in Elliott Sharp's Opera, "Port Bou" - along with Jenny Lin, piano and Nicholas Isherwood, Bass Baritone. The performances took place in Bonn and surrounding cities.

On February 3,2019 Dr. Schimmel will perform with The Israel Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Zubin Mehta. He, with the orchestra will accompany Itzhak Perlman in the tango "Por Una Cabeza", the very tango that
Dr. Schimmel initiated with The Tango Project in the film, "Scent of a Woman", starring Al Pacino (who received an Oscar).

For further information: accordion

Titano Accordion Company

Michael Bridge & Ladom Ensemble Release New Album

by Rita Barnea
Accordionist Michael Bridge and the Ladom Ensemble have released a new album, "The Walls are Made of Song”. A totally unique ensemble — accordion, cello, piano, & hand percussion — Ladom Ensemble was formed 10 years ago at the University of Toronto and has toured across Canada.

You may have noticed their name is “modal” spelled backwards, which points to their Persian and Balkan musical influences, along with Tango, Classical and Celtic flavours which form their musical tapestry.

The title track, “The Walls are Made of Song”, was inspired by one of Rumi’s poems, which reads: “In the house of lovers, the music never stops, the walls are made of song, and the floor dances.” It was written by the ensemble’s pianist and resident composer, Pouya Hamidi.

Through their original music, adaptations of classical and folk tunes from Iran, the Balkans, Central Europe, Argentina (and many more), and their collaborations with Canadian composers – they do not represent any one tradition but instead present a uniquely Canadian mosaic of coming together through music in a divided world.

Available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify

Accordionist Michael Bridge has been a full-time member of the ensemble for the past five years and is pursuing his doctorate in accordion performance at the University of Toronto.

The group was co-founded by pianist and composer Pouya Hamidi, and features cellist Beth Silver and percussionist Adam Campbell. The ensemble is managed by Andrew Kwan Arts Management and based in Toronto.

Michael Bridge is a captivating young musician, redefining the sound and image of his traditional instrument. Named one of CBC’s “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”, he is internationally recog- nised for his dynamic stage-presence and unique musical versatility. His repertoire includes classical masterworks, baroque, jazz, world music, folk dances, contemporary classical, and digital accordion compositions showcases the diverse genres possible with the accordion and re- moves stereotypes concerning the limitations of the instrument.

Michael made his solo orchestral debut with the Boston Pops at 17, and has performed on four continents, now playing over 100 concerts per year. He is a founding member of Double- Double Duo having toured Ecuador, Poland, France and across Canada with his collaborator Dr. Kor- nel Wolak (clarinet). Their debut album launched in 2015, entitled ‘Rock Bach’. He performs in Ladom Ensemble, an acoustic Iranian-Serbian-classical-tango quartet.

An ardent supporter of new music, Michael has over thirty world premieres to his credit, including works by Anna Pigdorna, Airat Ichmouratov and Pouya Hamidi. As a composer, he wrote and recorded two folk albums and is the primary arranger for several of his chamber ensembles.

He has gratefully received support for his academic work and touring from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, The Sylva Gelber Music Foun- dation, the Government of Alberta and the University of Toronto.

The American Accordionists’ Association presents the 2019 Festival Orchestra with guest artist Michael Bridge in July 2019.

For further information:
Ladom Ensemble

Voci Armoniche

Meet Rachel Quirbach: Accordionist, Music Therapist, AAA Executive Board Member

by Rita Barnea
Rachel QuirbachRachel Quirbach is an enthusiastic musician. A lifelong accordionist, she is employing her skills as an accordionist in her first full-time position as Rachel shares, "Activity Therapist at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center (yes, a supermax prison) under the Massachusetts Department of Correction. As many of you know, I’ve dreamed of working in the corrections sphere for quite some time now - especially thanks to my experiences at the Maricopa Reentry Center and the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program. I’m so excited to put all of my music therapy knowledge to work at this facility and soak up even more knowledge through my experiences as an Activity Therapist! Here’s to supporting ex-offenders in their wellness, recovery, and reentry."

Rachel has actively promoted awareness of the accordion within the music therapy and collegiate musician communities by incorporating the instrument into her practice and advocating for it via her social media. Rachel has advocated for accordion and music therapy at the local, regional, and national level, most notably through her program "Building Hope Through Music", which brings music therapy informed interventions into the corrections system. Rachel looks forward to bringing more live music experiences into the correctional sphere in the years to come.

1. How long have you been playing accordion?
I have been playing accordion since I turned 6 years old - so over 17 years now! I actually started piano lessons first (on my 4th birthday) since I wasn't considered "big enough" at the time to start on the accordion.

2. What got you started playing the accordion? Who were your teachers?
I started playing the accordion largely because my mom used to play the accordion when she was younger, and she had started me from the age of four on piano lessons with her former teacher: Donna Michael (public school music teacher and creator of the Miguel School of Music in Dracut, Massachusetts). When I was large enough (age 6), I was finally allowed to pick up accordion for the first time! Donna was my one and only accordion teacher from the first day I picked up the instrument all the way until I moved to Arizona for college. The accordion was such a unique instrument, and got me a lot of positive attention in school and in the community, so I stuck with it! I was also highly motivated by the annual ATAM (Accordion Teachers' Association of Massachusetts) Festival, which I attended every single April. For my entire life, the accordion has been tied to my personal identity, as many people know me as "the accordion player".

3. What made you decide to pursue a career in music therapy?
I actually found the field of music therapy by accident at first - I was searching through a long list of majors when applying for college, and happened to just click on "music" in general to see what was out there. Alphabetically, "Arizona State University" was one of the first schools to pop up on my search, and under their list of majors was "music therapy". From a brief Google Search of "music therapy", I found that - in very broad terms - music therapy was a combination of music, medicine, psychology, and service to others.

Although my background in solo, competitive playing was strong, when it came time to choose a career path I strayed from music performance and searched for a service-driven field. From my many practice performances at a large number of assisted living facilities and church events growing up, I noticed how much joy I could bring to other people by playing my accordion – there was something more to music that I did not fully understand at the time, nor do I now. When I learned of a profession that tied music to helping others directly with particular medical and psychological ailments, I knew that I had found my ideal career choice: music therapy.

I decided to stay in the field of music therapy because I continue to understand and appreciate the power of music and healing more and more each day. From a culmination of research projects, service endeavors, and clinical experiences, I have never once been bored with music therapy, and instead I am constantly learning something new every single day.

4. How do you actually use the accordion in your therapy sessions?
In my music therapy sessions, I use the accordion mostly for relaxation and songwriting experiences. For relaxation, I improvise music on the accordion that matches the relaxation script and/or guided meditation script I am using. The music I create in those scenarios follows the content of what I am saying in order to enhance the relaxation experience. For songwriting, I use the accordion to accompany myself and/or my clients singing during group and/or individual songwriting experiences. Often in my groups, participants will be guided to write song lyrics that express some aspect of themselves based on the theme given during the group; having the opportunity to hear their words come to life through song and/or through a group signing experience provides a significant amount of therapeutic validation, confidence, and satisfaction.

5. Why did you decide to join AAA?
I decided to join the AAA because I am incredibly passionate about advocating for the accordion in our community, specifically to young musicians, and this passion aligns with many of the current goals of the AAA. I also really want to help encourage young accordionists to continue to play the accordion and demonstrate that professional performance is not the only avenue that you can take if you want to keep playing. For kids today, it is really difficult to fit music in along with all the other general education requirements, and even then accessibility to the accordion is still a major barrier. As a relatively young accordionist myself, I can bring a different perspective to the AAA and help add to the outreach the AAA is doing.

6. What are the benefits of belonging to AAA?
Belonging to the AAA means having a reliable resource to remain to connected and aware of accordion-related events at a national and even international level. By attending AAA festivals, you can connect with accordionists from all over the world and revive your passion for playing the accordion and improve upon your musicianship!

7. What would you like to bring to AAA or see happen in the future with AAA?
I would like to help the AAA develop a stronger social media presence, and then to use social media platforms to advocate for accordionists all over the world. The AAA is in a unique position to help advocate for and connect local accordion clubs from coast to coast, and to help voice various areas of progress and innovation with the accordion to the general public. In the future with the AAA, I would like to see more encouragement of young accordionists (especially in non-competitive settings), increased collaboration and involvement with musicians of different instruments and voices, improved communication and connection between accordion clubs across the country, and increased creative advocacy of the accordion as an instrument.

8. Any ideas on how to involve more young people?
I am excited to say that as a AAA Board, we are constantly working together to think up new and exciting ways to involve more young people! In brief, a few of my ideas on this are increasing the quality social media presence of the accordion (that way young people are exposed to the wide variety of musical things the accordion can do), promoting the accessibility of the accordion itself (as accordions are difficult to try out for a lot of kids, especially if they are not included in the general music classrooms), and finding ways to make the accordion fun for young audiences (i.e. playing music young people enjoy listening to, as opposed to sticking strictly to the accordion vernacular).

9. Do you have a favorite piece to play on the accordion and if so what is the title and why?
Currently, I do not have a favorite piece to play on the accordion! However, I do currently have a preference for free bass pieces (in order to improve my skills on that system) and for pieces that involve playing with other musicians (as I love playing with other musicians).

10. Any accordionist you admire or recommend we listen to? ... no obligation to answer if you are uncomfortable with the question.
No comment on the "admired accordionist" question ;) But I highly recommend going on social media and searching for accordion groups or "#accordion" to see what is out there and recent! One of my favorite things to do during my free time is search on Instagram "#accordion" for videos of people from all over the world, of all different experience and skill levels, playing accordion! It's always refreshing and inspiring me to see so many different kinds people playing the accordion.

11. What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have in practicing ?
When practicing, I like to experiment a lot with phrasing of different sections (or "chunks") of music that I am working on. I find it fun to make up stories and play the dialogue of my stories, which helps me really think through my musical options and choose what I think sounds best. Something else I do to improve my overall musicianship is to pretend that I am playing as a different instrumentalist or vocalist; so for example, if I'm pretending to play the piece as a trumpet player, I'll work on being mindful on when the trumpet player would have to breathe and what notes logistically build up to one another.

12. What's the best advice you received about playing music/accordion?
The best piece of advice I've received about playing music (specifically the accordion) is to play from and with your heart. Technique and virtuosity are important, but without heart and emotion music loses its meaning. I'd rather make a few technical mistakes and connect emotionally with my listeners than play flawlessly and come across as robotic.

Also, another great piece of advice I received to improve overall musicianship is to listen to other musicians play the piece and/or style of music you are playing. For us accordion players this is especially important, as not all songs (or even genres) have quality recordings of accordionists playing for us to reference. There is so much that we can learn from listening to other musicians, even if their instrument of choice isn't the accordion.

13. Any thoughts which you would like to share with readers about you, your future aspirations, thoughts on the future of the accordion?
a) I'd love to share with readers that music therapy and accordion mix incredibly well, and to keep it as an open option for young accordionists to consider growing up. In general, we need to do everything we can to encourage young accordionists and give them opportunities to be featured in a positive light.

b) My long-term professional goal is to develop and implement my own music therapy-based program in the corrections system at a national level. I want to make sure that persons in state hospitals, prisons, community reentry centers, and victim shelters are exposed to quality music therapy services because victims and perpetrators of crime are often the most overlooked persons in our communities, yet are some of the most important people in our society to reach out to and serve. Through the accessible, welcoming medium of music, so much positive change can be made in these people’s lives. However, successfully advocating for such a program can be incredibly difficult without the credentials or real-world experience to back up its creator.

c) I think the accordion has a bright future!! There are a lot of accordionists working tirelessly to advocate for the accordion worldwide, and many people willing to try out the accordion and treat the instrument with respect. We will have to constantly work to find new and current ways of advocating for our instrument, and as a result we will continue to expand and creatively innovate the possibilities of the accordion.

14. Education Credentials, Honors, Awards, etc.
-I am a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC)
-I was the recipient of the Barrett Honors College Outstanding Research Award in 2018 for my "Building Hope Through Music" project
-I was a 2018 Mouer Award Recipient (graduated from ASU in 4 years with a 4.00 GPA)
-I received the 2017 STARS Undergraduate Music Therapy Student Award (from the American Music Therapy Association for Students, AMTAS)
-I was awarded Arizona State University's 2017 Outstanding Music Therapy Pre-Clinical Student Award
-I received the 2017 ASU School of Music Presser Foundation Award

15. A Note on How I Found Forensic Music Therapy & My "Building Hope Through Music" Program:
For my undergraduate degree, I attended Arizona State University – an institution known for its large-scale service and innovation. It was there that I found my passion population within the field of music therapy: incarcerated persons. I discovered forensic music therapy almost by accident during my Introduction to Music Therapy course with Professor Robin Rio. During that first semester, we students were instructed to read all but two chapters of the Davis, Gfeller, and Thaut “Introduction to Music Therapy” textbook. One night in my dorm, I happened to turn to one of the two chapters we were not required to read and started reading the chapter for fun. It just so happened to be the chapter on music therapy in correctional psychiatry. I remember being astounded at the long list of goal areas music therapy addressed for the population coupled by the lack of research reflected in the textbook, especially compared to the other populations covered. From that point on, a spark was lit within me to learn as much as I possibly could about music therapy in forensic settings – and about incarceration in general. In order to help me with this endeavor, I added on a Minor Certificate in Criminology and Criminal Justice so I could learn through the perspective of the criminal legal system as well as the mental health system.

While in attendance at Arizona State University, I was constantly reminded to think outside the box and find a way through the university’s resources to make my dreams become a reality. Thanks to this encouragement and flexibility, I was able to research, conceive, propose, and implement my own music therapy-based program, named “Building Hope Through Music”, at a nearby minimum-security prison in Phoenix, Arizona. From September 2017 to May 2018, I volunteered my time for six one-hour groups per week – which encompassed all residents at the Maricopa Reentry Center. During my groups at that facility, I utilized music therapy techniques including lyric analysis, songwriting, singing, musical games, and guided visualization in order to improve self-awareness, provide a medium for self-expression, increase teamwork and collaboration, promote relaxation, facilitate emotional processing and awareness, and improve tolerance of non-preferred activities in participants. This volunteer experience was unlike any other. In total, I ended up seeing over 400 different inmates on the course of my 800+ group hours at that facility. From my experience with that facility, I knew for certain that I wanted to pursue a career incorporating music therapy in correctional settings. From my experiences with the men I worked with, I was motivated to study hard, work even harder, and advocate until I find a way to make more music therapy programs like this happen in even more facilities.

The AAA is pleased to encourage young accordionists to become involved in accordion associations to assist in promoting the accordion. Rachel is the youngest person to be on the Executive Board of the AAA serving as Secretary as of January 1, 2019.

For further information:

Accordion Jazz Chords

Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, Ray Harris, Micah Bisson, Jamie Maschler Perform with Seattle Symphony Orchestra

by Rita Barnea
4 accordionists
Accordionists Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, Ray Harris, Micah Bisson and Jamie Maschler performed with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra on February 2, 2019 at 2:PM at Benaroya Hall in "Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 2" which has parts for 4 accordions in the 3rd movement. See Top Photo.

Ray Harris said, "The accordion section of the Seattle Philharmonic! The Tchaikovsky was a stunning performance. The conductor insisted the accordions stand for their parts in the Scherzo and the audience erupted in vigerous applause after the movement. (Full disclosure: probably because the orchestra rocked(!!!!) as well did the accordion section.) What a blast!!"

Excerpts from the Seattle Symphony Orchestra website: Although Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's four orchestral suites are exemplars of everything that is loved about his music, they still remain relatively unknown to audiences in spite of their great potential appeal. This concert features a rare performance of the Orchestral Suite No. 2, a boistrous, tuneful and joyous work deserving of more popularity.

Joseph Haydn is represented by two contrasting works: the rousing overture to his opera L'incontro improvviso, and a tempestuous dramatic "scene", Berenice, che fai?, featuring soprano Linda Tsatsanis. The concert also includes music by French composer Elsa Barraine, whose Symphony No. 2 was given its second U. S. performance during the Philharmonic's 2017-18 season; her Funeral Music for "The Entombment" of Titien will receive its U. S. premiere. The soloist will be pianist Sophie Lippert, a former winner of the Philharmonic's Don Bushell Competition.

The entire program consists of
Haydn Overture, L'incontro improvviso
Haydn Berenice, che fai? (Scena di Berenice) Linda Tsatsanis, soloist
Barraine Musique funèbre pour La Mise au tombeau du Titien
Sophie Lippert, soloist
Orchestral Suite No. 2 in C, Op. 53
The Play of Sounds”: Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 2

Founded in 1944 by George M. Ross, the Seattle Phil is a mainstay in Seattle arts and culture. The Phil is a member-owned orchestra, and draws talent from throughout our Puget Sound community to create engaging and memorable classical music. Recognized for creative programming which marries time honored classics and lesser known master-pieces, a concert with the Phil is something that you won’t experience anywhere else in the Northwest.

Current Music Director Adam Stern joined the SPO for the 60th anniversary season in 2003. With a heart driven by music and a life steeped in its study, Stern has brought a new energy to the Seattle Philharmonic story. He has been active in the local music community since 1992. He is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts, where he teaches composition and orchestral studies. Stern also serves as the Music Director and Conductor for the Sammamish Symphony Orchestra.

More than six decades after it was founded, the SPO continues to thrive as an assembly of professional and non-professional performers bringing affordable performances of classical music to the community. The orchestra is still composed of accountants, physicians, teachers, homemakers… people from all walks of life who share a love of music.

Gabe has been teaching privately for over 10 years as an in-home instructor and at Arizona Piano Lessons. In 2016, he became Music Director for Gateway Academy after working as a music teacher and therapist since 2006. He developed a rock band and music technology curriculum with fellow music therapist Mike Plunkett. Gateway Academy is a private school in Scottsdale, Arizona for K-12 students on the autism spectrum.

Gabe has presented workshops at the American Accordionists’ Association and the Frank Marocco Accordion Event highlighting the use of the accordion in music therapy as well as elements of jazz language and harmony for accordionists. He is a Petosa artist and was featured in 2014 in their monthly newsletter. Gabe also currently works at the Petosa shop at their new location in Lynwood, WA.

Gabe Hall-Rodrigues is an Arizona-native accordionist, pianist and vocalist currently residing in Seattle, WA. He began playing the piano at age 7 and quickly realized his love for music and performing. In 2010, after only studying the accordion for a year, Gabe won the American Accordionists’ Association’s Virtuoso Solo Competition. In 2011 he graduated from Arizona State University with his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy. In 2013, Gabe graduated from ASU with a Master of Music in Jazz Piano Performance under the award winning pianist, composer and professor, Mike Kocour. During his time at ASU, Gabe received the Special Talent Award and Jazz Bird scholarships. He was a frequent guest vocalist with the ASU Concert Jazz Band and Jazz Repertory Band. Gabe was also fortunate to study with world-renowned professor and tubist Sam Pilafian during his time on accordion with the traditional jazz ensemble, the ASU Dixie Devils.

Carving her name in the music scene as Sanfoneira or accordionist, Jamie Maschler is among Seattle’s few female lead instrumentalists. Jaimie said, “Hello friends, Gabe and I are releasing an album which is now available on iTunes. This project has been dreamy to say the least and captures the shared love we have for the accordion. Take a listen, I bet you’ll like it”

Maschler, accordionist for the forró band En Canto in Seattle, WA., has played in venues all over the world including St. Lucia, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico. She has played with the Seattle Symphony, Port Angeles Symphony, Lake Union Orchestra, and the Pueblo Symphony. In December, Maschler took a nine city tour of Alaska with the performance group Letters Aloud. Jamie’s original music has been aired on the Radio in Seattle, Austin, Salvador BR, and Canada.

Jamie has been featured performer and presented workshops on stylized Brazilian and Tango music for the Leavenworth Accordion Convention, National Accordion Association, Accordion Teachers Guild (ATG), American Accordion Association (AAA), Port Townsend Accordion Festival, Seattle Flute Society and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in AK.

In January 2019 Jamie and Gabe played Brazilian music for the Museum of Making Music at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim, California.

For further information:


"Accordion Stories From The Heart" Book Signing & Mini-Concert February 9

by Rita Barnea
Book coverNew England Accordion Connection and Museum Owner and author Paul Ramunni has just released "Accordion Stories from the Heart". He will conduct a book signing and mini-concert at Geer Village Senior Community in his hometown of Canaan, Connecticut on Feb. 9, 2019. This is the first book signing event. See link for future appearances.

Angelo Paul Ramunni of Canaan, Connecticut, author of his recently-published book "Accordion Stories from The Heart," will present a free book signing and mini-concert at The Lodge at Geer Village Hollenbeck Room at 77 South Canaan Road in Canaan, Connecticut, on Saturday, February 9, 2019, from 2-3:PM.
Full schedule: 2019BookSigning.pdf
Reservations requested by calling 860-824-2625.

Founder of the New England Accordion Connection and Museum Co. in Canaan, Conn., Mr. Ramunni will share stories from his new book. He will also perform a number of accordion songs, and answer questions from attendees. Books will be available for purchase along with the author's autograph before and after the mini-concert.

"Accordion Stories from The Heart" provides a wealth of stunning photos and loving insights into the exceptional, very emotional stories involving many featured accordions from around the world. In his book, Mr. Ramunni tenderly describes the extraordinary people who played and listened to this beautiful musical instrument over the past two centuries.

The 143-page hard-covered "Accordion Stories from The Heart" is appealing to all with his warm and fascinating accordion-related stories. The book features more than 70 photos of spectacularly decorated hand-built accordions of multiple colors and ivory-like keyboards. They originate from many countries around the world and date back as far as 1829.

Mr. Ramunni's privately-operated "New England Accordion Connection & Museum Company" showcases over 500+ stunningly beautiful accordions plus a studio where he repairs, buys and sells remarkable hand-crafted accordions. He also offers for sale over 10,000 pieces of sheet music and accordion-related books.

"Accordion Stories from The Heart" is filled with very personal and easily-read, in large print, accordion stories. The book's retail price is $39.95 and is available from Amazon and Barnes Noble.

Autographed copies of "Accordion Stories from The Heart" can be purchased at the February 9th book signing and mini-concert at Geer Village or by calling the New England Accordion Connection & Museum Company at 860-833-1374 or Email:

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

2019 NAA March 6-9: One-Of-A-Kind? Before, During, & After Preparation Time!

by Rita Barnea
2019 NAA Convention header
Video 1: "Beautiful Face / Flick Flack” performed by Cory Pesaturo and Gary Blair

Are you making plans to attend the NAA Convention March 6-9? This convention will have something for everyone, all styles of performance, many well known performers, workshop presenters, concerts and more. It is not too late to register.

Registration closes on February 15, 2019 for the 32nd Annual National Accordion Association (NAA) Convention being led by NAA President Norman Seaton. The convention is at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Richardson, Texas.

Here are some helpful hints on what you can do:
1.Practice and perfect your music in advance to be prepared to:
2.Attend the training and social sessions
3.Perform your public solo somewhere during the convention (if desired).

Prepare before coming to the convention by:
1.Viewing workshops to learn leader's qualifications, training materials (including lesson plans), and printed music.
2.Preselect activities of interest and self-print a personal convention packet now!
3.Practice the music in advance for maximum learning experiences.

2019 National Accordion Convention Learning Pathways:
Digital Training: Updates, equipment available, playing techniques, sound modules, and attitudes.
Improvisation: Musical enhancement skill development using multiple techniques, including Jazz.
Group Training: Accordion orchestra and band experiences.
Traditional training: Numerous training sessions associated with all accordion conventions

1.Enjoy New Talents:
2.Use new techniques as you prepare for future engagements!

Grab Your Hat or Cap and Enroll Today:
National Accordion Association: National Accordion Convention

Going to a concert? All included at the National Accordion Convention.
Besides all the learning sessions there the NAA will host several concerts and performances:
Wednesday evening: Welcome Reception in the Digital Suite
Thursday evening: Circle of Champions
Friday evening: Dance Party and Concert in the Digital Suite
Saturday evening: Gala Concert
Make sure you see some great accordionists at the convention. Here is an example from the Circle of Champions from 2018: Cory Pesaturo and Gary Blair playing a duo: "Bel Viso and Flick Flack".

Photo below: The 2019 Association Board and Convention Management Team includes Norman Seaton, Nick Ballarini, Rebecca Ratliff, Sharon Seaton, Nancy Bernstein, Markus Baggio, & Sabine Baggio.

Photo below: The 2019 NAA Presenters in alphabetical order: Dick Albreski, Markus Baggio, Sabine Baggio, Nick Ballarini, Nancy Bernstein, Paul Betken, Nickolas Bratkovich, Gail Campanella, Jane Christison, Jerry Cigler, Elena Fainshtein, Jessica Faltot, Max Frauenthal, Marcia Godwin, Kami Gunnoe, Gabe Hall-Rodrigues, Tiia Kerttunen, Greg Klugiewicz, Gordon Kohl, Brett Lane, Shelia Lee, Jamie Maschler, Matthias Matzke, Randy McPeck, Mike Middleton, Eddie Monteiro, Joseph Natoli, Larry Nickel, Bill Palmer, Cory Pesaturo, Debra Peters, Rebecca Ratliff, Lionel Reekie, Jim Rommel, Norman Seaton, Sharon Seaton, Michael Soloway, Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni, Ron Uhlenhopp, Arlyn Visentin, Tom Visentin, Mary Wright twice.

For further information:
Norman Seaton, NAA President
2019 NAA Convention pictures

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration 2019

by Kathleen Falco
Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration 2019, June 20-23, 2019

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

Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble

by AAA Newsletter: Editor Kevin Friedrich
Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble
The Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble invites you to enjoy their upcoming performances to bring the New Year alive with music and friendship.

The team of Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini have launched The Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble in response to demands from many of Mario's students who range in age from 10 to 70, who wanted the chance to hone their skills playing gigs with a mix of professionals. “The seed was planted,” Mario said.

In an interview in WAG Magazine conducted by Jena Butterfield, Mary and Mario provided insight into the background of the Hudson Valley Ensemble. “We’re keeping true to our total commitment to live music,” Mancini says. “And with accordion, there’s just no end to what you can do. I hear different styles of music coming from every student. Mario emphasizes each student individually, ex- posing them to all styles.” And the styles are vast. There is always something new to learn, even among professionals.

“The Hudson Valley Ensemble will get together once a month,” Mancini says. Tacca envisions it as a combination workshop. “I always input some musical knowledge added to what they’re play- ing,” he adds. Plans now are for about a dozen players in the group. “When we started out there were three or four,” Mancini says. “Now there’s a dozen and I know it’s going to grow.”

The Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble will be performing at Taormina Restaurant, 59 Hudson Avenue, Peekskill, NY, on the second Thursday of every month.

Dinner reservations are required and can be made by calling: 914-739-4007, with the next peformance scheduled on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 6:30 PM with special guest tenor Rinaldo Toglia.

Performers consist of accordionists playing on both acoustic and digital instruments and range in level from intermediate to advance players with two to 10 years’ experience, including someone who travels once a month to be part of the group.

The Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble is pictured above in a photo by Bob Rozycki: from left, Bruce Naylor, Suzana Beites, Monique Brooks and Mario Tacca; and back, from left, Bill Jordan, Dario Ebbri, Don Simons, Bob Duffy and Fred Schwinger. (Not pictured, Joseph Ciccone, Don Gerundo and Bruce Nielsen).

For more information, please contact

Titano Accordion Company

Paul “SQUEEZEBOX” Gluck: My Musical Journey Over 4 Decades!

by Paul Gluck

It all started when I was about 4 years old listening to my grandfather playing songs on his violin. He immigrated to the United States as a child with a violin that his grandfather gave him. I loved listening to music. He would take me as a child to
Mountain Park on Sunday afternoon and we would listen to the band playing in the

Almost every week there would be an accordion player in the band and I
would always watch him play and loved the sound the accordion generated. My
grandfather wanted to teach me the violin but I insisted I wanted to learn the
accordion. Eventually I got an accordion on my birthday and when school ended
for the summer I went to the Falcetti Accordion Studio in Indian Orchard and
started lessons with Don McMahon.

I practiced about 4 hours every day. Sometimes my grandmother got tired of my practicing scales and told me to practice out in the barn. The horses seemed to enjoy my playing for they would run into the barn and stay until I was done practicing. I enjoyed playing along with my grandfather on his violin whenever I could.

At age twelve I entered the ATAM accordion competition in Boston and took home
a second place trophy. It was a fairly new event with hundreds of accordionists
entered in various age groups. I also played in a band at such venues as the
Northampton Three County Fair and many weddings during my High School days.

I even played the accordion with Ludlow High School Stage Band for a couple of
shows they did. During my college days, to help subsidize my tuition, I played
almost every weekend with a band named Phoenix. I bought a Cordovox accordion
and did solo work at many restaurants performing ethnic Italian, French, and German music.

After college I joined the MELHA Shriners in Springfield, Massachusetts and played in their German Band and the MELHA ORIENTAL BAND. That is where I got the nickname SQUEEZEBOX, for I was always playing it on the bus to parades, ceremonials, or parties at the Shrine center. I would even put my head on a pillow on the floor and play the accordion upside down while I was doing a head stand to amuse the crowd. My tips were donated to a special fund for the “LADDER OF SMILES”, a special fund for Shriner ‘s Hospitals for children.

Wherever I went with the Shriners the accordion traveled with me all over the USA,
Canada, and Mexico. I still recall playing the accordion about 3 hours on a flight from Calgary to Dallas with the whole plane singing along. I wrote a song called “BODY OF THE SEA”, which is what MELHA means in Arabic. Over 20 oriental bands played it in a competition in Las Vegas.

I played many years at a local German restaurant in Springfield called the Student Prince or The Fort as originally it was the site of a fort along the Connecticut River. One day I met the Aqua String Band, a Mummers Band from Philadelphia, and jammed with them while they were here in Massachusetts. They liked me so much that they invited me to play with them the following year in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I would get done playing accordion with them and return to the start of the parade to play with MELHA. I traveled to Philly many times over the past 15 + years to play with AQUA at various places such as the Little League World Series, NASCAR races, Atlantic City SHOW OF SHOWS and their big Mummers New Year’s Day Parade in Philadelphia.

When Sam Adams beer started I played for the events they had many times. Most
recently at a hoisting of the Stein event they held in Boston and other parts of the

I have been invited to Germany to perform in the beer gardens and the famous
Hofbrauhaus in Munich. I currently play in a couple of German bands, the BMW
(Berkshire Mountain Wanderers) and the OPROB (Old Post Road Oktoberfest Band).

A few years ago Sam Falcetti started the NEW ENGLAND DIGITAL ACCORDION ORCHESTRA in which he invited me to join. I gladly accepted and play in the group of all various Roland digital accordions. Sam is one of my accordion idols. At the age of 80 plus years he brings so much enthusiasm to the group. He truly is one that loves the accordion as much as I do.

I still play at the Big E Beer Garden (Eastern States Exposition-7th largest fair in the US) and at some local restaurants and retirement homes.

Recently I played for an event at the Student Prince Restaurant in Spfld, Mass. for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (photo above) and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito after winning their re-election. In the photo I am playing along with my friend Brian Elliott and tuba player, Tom Greene.

For further

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

Cory Pesaturo on National CBS This Morning TV

by Rita Barnea
Cory Pesaturo on CBS TV
Herbie Hancock & Cory PesaturoCory Pesaturo received national attention on CBS This Morning on January 31, 2019. The segment was about highlighting unique things about the two Super Bowl cities, Boston and LA. CBS contacted Cory. They had recorded Cory in front of the Grauman Theatre in Hollywood.

Cory also performed for three days at the MoMM (Museum of Making Music) stage at the 2019 NAMM Convention in Los Angeles, California. He also managed to meet and spend time with Herbie Hancock! And Micheal Buble! Cory will be attending the 2019 Grammy awards because he is part of the Academy.

Cory performed on January 22, 2019 at Vibrato’s, a great jazz club in Bel Air owned by Herb Alpert.

How do you do this, Cory? More Cory events in future publications.

For further information:
Cory Pesaturo & Michael Buble

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Matthais Matzke - German accordionist to Perform at NAA on March 9

by Rita Barnea
Matthais MatzkeVideo 1: "Samba Italiano" (Frank Marocco) Accordionfestival Stadskanaal 2015
Video 2: “Big Band Medley”

Matthias is one of the international guests in the Digital Suite at NAA this March. He will present a workshop, "Chances of the Digital Accordion on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 11: AM during which he will demonstrate his approach to increase the accordion’s attraction with the help of the digital accordion. He will showcase how to work with different sound and arrangements, talk about access to modern literature and new ways of playing the digital accordion.

He lives in Gingen an der Fils, Germany and was one of the first Jazz Accordion Bachelors in Hans-Günther Kölz’s class at the Hohner Conservatory Trossingen and the Institute of Music at the University Osnabrück. Versed in many musical styles his repertoire reaches from classical music and original works to jazz, pop and rock. Besides solo projects on classical and digital accordion Matthias works as an arranger, composer and songwriter; amongst others for his Crossover Band „Synthonic Rock“ and different duo projects with Leonie Kratz featuring classical soprano and movement.

Milestones of his career are first prizes of numerous national and international contests such as "Deutscher Akkordeon Musikpreis“, "Jugend musiziert“, "Roland V-Accordion Festival“ and " Coupe Mondiale“. His musical activity also includes journalism, education and lectureships.

As a soloist, Matthias played works for accordion and symphony orchestra and is a member of Germany’s Federal Accordion Orchestra. Matthias has gained experience in radio and TV shows and played concerts all over the world (Shanghai, Peking, Seoul, Tokyo, Ankara, St. Petersburg, Costa Rica, the USA and Europe).

Matthias Matzke is known as pioneer for the digital accordion and also studied electronic music at the Hohner Conservatory. Finding modern ways to express music on his instrument has always been his vision. The accordion may sometimes be underestimated - this, however, makes the instrument the more promising in his eyes.

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Manny Corallo and Frank Toscano Ring in LIAA New Year

by Dominic Karcic
The Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) ushered in their 2019 New Year at La Villini Restaurant (East Northport, NY) on Wednesday, January 2nd with the fantastic accordion duo of Manny Corallo and Frank Toscano as guest artists. This was Manny’s and Frank’s seventh year of appearing as guest artists at a LIAA event. They definitely did not disappoint the full house of accordion music lovers.

Their virtuoso performance featured outstanding arrangements of Espana Cani, Beer Barrel Polka, a tango medley of Chittara Romana and Addios Muchachos, Tico Tico, and some “Val Taro Musette” favorites (Tutti Mi Chiamano Bionda, Allegro Waltz, Parisienne Polka). Dominic Karcic joined them at the close of the session in performances of two Tony Murena compositions (El Cascador and Indifference) and Mindie Cere’s well known Mantillas Paso Doble.

The next Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) event will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 featuring an evening of Klezmer Music with guest artists Smorgasbandet.

The Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) meets the first Wednesday of the month at La Villini Restaurant, 288 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY 11731 (631.261.6344) and is in its eight year of bringing accordion music to the Long Island community.

Photo: (left to right) accordionists Frank Toscano (Seaford, NY), Mary Tokarski (Northford, CT), Manny Corallo (Centerreach, NY) and Dominic Karcic (Commack, NY) at the Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) January 2, 2019 event.

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Gail Campanella to Present Workshop at NAA

by Rita Barnea
Gail CampanellaAccordionist Gail Campanella from Santa Barbara, California will present a workshop, "Connecting with the Audience Ideas and Suggestions for enhancing the performer's and the audience's experience. Before - During - After Demonstration" - followed by input from participants on Friday, March 7, 2019 at 10:AM.

Gail has been performing on accordion soon after beginning lessons at the age of 10. Her Italian grandfather was her biggest booster. From community parades to baby showers to club meetings and church functions, she was often preparing for a performance or a competition.

Gail majored in piano at Loretto Heights College in Denver while continuing her study in classical accordion with Robert Davine at the University of Denver. Her senior recital was performed on both accordion and piano.

Recently, she has been guest artist for accordion clubs in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Diego (in 2019), in addition to the Cotati Accordion Fest, Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, the Orange County Big Squeeze, and the Accordion Teacher Guild (ATG).

Gail gives private lessons in accordion and piano, and is currently involved in teaching accordion classes to children in two Santa Barbara elementary schools. Gail’s solo CD entitled, "Discovery" (2016), is dedicated to her family and life on the farm in Weldona, Colorado.

Titano Accordion Company

Accordionist Dominick Surace

by Frank Surace
Dominick SurfaceDominick Surace, age 82 of Norwalk, Connecticut passed away peacefully at his home on November 12, 2018 surrounded by his loving family. He was born on March 5,1936 in Southern Italy, in a small town called Solano Inferiore. As a young boy, he excelled in school and took a particular interest in music.

His curiosity in music led him to discover the accordion. A complex instrument with a unique sound. Dominick developed a passion for the accordion and devoted many hours to learning the instrument. He would ride his Vespa an hour away to lessons, often with a friend in tow. As his talent developed, he was known to perform frequently for church functions, weddings and parties for family and friends. On special occasions he would serenade around town providing fond memories for those who listened.

Dominick eventually ventured to America in search of a better life for himself and his family. He worked for Nash Engineering as a Mechanical Designer. His love for the accordion never left him.

While building a new life in America, he continued to play and began teaching the accordion at a local music center. He taught music for several years. Dominick continued entertaining with his accordion playing weddings, parties and local events. As he aged, he loved to practice and play with friends who shared the same passion for music. He would often say that “the accordion is a challenging but beautiful instrument”.

Top Photo: One of Dominick’s favorite photos; performing with his cousins Maestro Carmen Carrozza, Anthony Carrozza, Joseph Ciccone and John Vita

We hope that you all find the same love and devotion that Dominick had for the accordion!

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

And All Because of a Bumper Sticker

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
Art and JoAnn“Who is this crazy person tailgating me??”, thought my good friend and fellow accordionist, JoAnn Pankow. She was driving to the Carver Center in Purcellville, Virginia to return containers that she uses to prepare and deliver meals through the center’s home-delivered meals program. The woman behind the wheel, Karen Michaels, was not going to give up. She pulled into the left lane of the road (yes, where oncoming traffic could be an issue!) and asked JoAnn to please stop. She did, and what a sweet meeting that turned out to be!! Why did Karen tailgate and stop JoAnn? Karen had been desperate to find other accordionists to play with her father. Then she saw JoAnn’s “I’d Rather Be Squeezin’” bumper sticker.

Karen’s father, Art Piel, is an accomplished accordionist. Art now has Alzheimer’s and has moved near his daughter to a dementia facility. Karen wanted to keep her father busy and fulfilled, so she signed him up as an official volunteer in Loudoun County, Virginia. Karen and Art were on their way to — you guessed it — the Carver Center where Art would play accordion for an adult daycare group. JoAnn returned her containers, then walked over to where Art was playing the popular music of the 1940s. She sat at the piano and joined him. Art was so pleased!

“My father lives in the moment,” Karen said. “If it’s a joyful moment, he will remember being happy.” She spoke of her father’s love of the accordion and of music in general. Art taught himself to play the accordion at the age of 5, then took lessons on and off, but he mainly plays by ear. Art worked on his sight-reading skills when the Connecticut Accordion Orchestra was formed. He loved playing with this group, then under the direction of Linda Soley Reed. Linda described Art as “the sweetest person I have ever met. He always volunteered to help with everything and anything and was always the first to arrive at rehearsals and performances.” It was sad for all when it became apparent that Art was losing his memory.

“My father is still physically fine, but the dementia has become very advanced. This doesn’t take away his passion for music and he still plays with feeling,” Karen noted. She asked JoAnn if she would consider accompanying her father again. JoAnn drove to the facility where Art now lives. His roommate is an accomplished guitar player and they frequently play together. JoAnn joined the duo playing the hits of the 40s. This time she brought her accordion. Art was thrilled!

Karen reflected on that first amazing meeting with JoAnn, which she feels was “God’s intervention.” Karen was running late that day, and she is almost never late for anything. “That car with the bumper sticker was RIGHT in front of me! If I had been on time....”

Elena Fainshtein in NAA Workshops

by Rita Barnea
Elena's Band
Elena's studentsAccordionist Elena Fainshtein will present a workshop and conduct at the 2019 NAA Convention in March. Elena will be conducting the Mix youth /adult orchestra on March 9, 2019 at 3.30 PM. Their program will include:
1. America the Beautiful - arrangement for orchestra... by Elena and Gregory
2. Accordionist playing Jazz, Derbenko
3. Let's Dance the polka in my arrangement from Palmer/Hughes book
4. Yankee Doodle

In addition, Elene will lead a workshop: "Teaching Music with Passion” . Elena formed the "Happy Fingers Accordion Orchestra” in 2013 when I" began directing a group of musicians, some new & others more seasoned, who equally expressed the love of the accordion.Through our shared determination & collective practice, we have performed in various venues, including my students’ semi-annual recitals, The Accordion Club, and at the Plano Accordion Convention."

Elena and her husband, Gregory, are a wonderful duo together performing all types of music in a dynamic and engaging way. Greg Kligiewicz said, "Elena and Gregory are among the most exciting and talented accordionists that I have had the pleasure of hearing. They are each virtuoso bayanists , but the magic really begins when they combine as a duet. Their beautiful knack for matching dynamics and attack is delightful. With a repertoire ranging from classical, to jazz, to traditional, you will never tire of listening to this couple. Cleanly executed runs, perfectly interlaced passages, and interesting harmonies are hallmarks of the Fainshteins.”

From the NAA website: Teaching Music with a Passion! Saturday 2:30 pm. By Norman and Sharon Seaton (Doctors of Education): Elena Fainshtein has developed an action-driven technique for teaching music to students of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.Elena's teaching style involves all kinds of movements, stories, flash cards, and symbols. Adults and young children alike enjoy Elena's teaching techniques while learning more music in a simplified method. Words cannot describe her teaching; you must experience it!

Who should attend Elena's "Passion" workshop? Everyone including teachers, beginning students, and experienced musicians who want to refresh their basic skill sets in the musical world! Don’t bring your instrument to this session: Just bring your smile, you will laugh, you will play the games and without notice, you will learn a lot!

2. Concert by Musical Expressions Studio Band Saturday 3:30 pm.
The Musical Expression Studio that is based in Plano, Texas, will be showcasing students of all ages on Saturday at 3:30 pm. This session will include both band selections and solos.

Elena Fainshtein is a professional musician. Elena's musical instrument of choice is the Bayan (also known as the chromatic button accordion), she started to play it at the age of five. She attended a school for Musically Gifted Children in Minsk, Belarus. At the age of 15 she was accepted to Musical College in Minsk, graduating with highest honors. After music college she attended the Belorussian Academy of Music and graduated in 1987.

Elena has been teaching piano and accordion for over 30 years, giving lessons in three different languages. She worked with children and adults in Belarus, then Israel, and in the United States for the last 15 years. Plano, Texas is her current home and she works in her private home studio, called “Musical Expressions”, where she provide private Accordion and button (bayan) accordion lessons, including accordion Skype lessons. She also established, leads, and conducts various accordion orchestras. Elena loves to share her passion for music with everyone!

For further information:
Elena Fainshtein
Phone: 469-450-6153

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Smorgasbandet Entertains at LIAA February 6

by Rita Barnea
LIAA logo, Smorgasbandet group
La Villini Restaurant of East Northport, NY is sponsoring the next meeting of the Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. The featured guest artists will be the very entertaining Scandinavian group “Smorgasbandet.” They are a lively accordion band based in Long Island, New York performing in the Tri-State area and beyond.

Excerpts from their website: The group specialize in Scandinavian music with American music mixed in too, customizing personal Sing-A-Longs, Audience Participation with Songs & Dances.

Jeanne, the daughter of the late maestro Walter Eriksson, was brought up in the very Scandinavian community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She has been dancing since age 5 and playing accordion & piano since childhood. Swedish-American of the Year 2005, Jeanne was knighted by the King of Sweden in 1996 with the Order of the Polar Star medal.

A member of the Vasa Order of America, she is emcee & ringleader at the annual Swedish Midsummer in Manhattan with thousands attending, and is a member of Sons of Norway, SWEA, FAWN, and Society Åland of NY. Her grandparents immigrated to America in the early 1900s from Sweden and Finland.

Wayne Söderlund´s paternal grandparents were from Sweden, and Wayne has been playing accordion all his life. Specializing in jazz, Wayne discovered Scandinavian music through the Scandinavian Accordion Club of NY, where he met Jeanne and Chad.

Chad Widman is Jeanne´s son and is a “natural”. A very animated percussionist. He creates all of our Video & Social Media & Website Creations – “Widman Productions”

Johnny Soderlund is Wayne’ Son and he TOO is a “natural”. A percussionist and guitar player for Smörgåsbandet since he was a very young boy. He is the SRS Sound Engineer for the latest recordings of Smörgåsbandet.

Walter Eriksson jr is the son of the late maestro Walter Eriksson, ( ) – Walter was brought up in the very Scandinavian community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. “Wally” has been involved in the scandinavian community since childhood and plays several instruments, Nyckelharpa, Drums, Guitar and the violin.

Ingrid Olsson is is a specialist in Scandinavian folk music and art song. She began performing in the Scandinavian community in Brooklyn when she was four years old. She was a life long friend of Jeanne. Sadly, our beloved Ingrid passed away in 2016. They continue to play the scandinavian music she loved to be a part of.

For Bookings, Call/Text Jeanne at 718-415-0602

February 6: La Villini Restaurant, 288 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY 11731
Phone: 631 – 261 – 6344
Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at 6:PM

Reservations are recommended.

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

Aiden Gort Receives Scholarship for Accordion Repair

by Helmi Harrington
AWAM header
Aiden GortIn honor of Ronny Setniker’s life, his daughter Shelby suggested the monies raised at the A World of Accordions Museum (AWAM) memorial event, be used as a scholarship to benefit a promising accordionist who has expressed interest studying accordion repair at the institution.

Ron Setniker, who died in 2018, was a professional accordionist, beloved by the crowds he entertained, and active in many aspects of the accordion world. He performed often in support of AWAM with his Button Box Showcase Band that included his daughter.

Sixteen year old Aiden Gort of South Range, WI, has been chosen as recipient of this $500 award enabling six two-hour apprenticeships at the museum and Harrington’s book, A Technician’s Manual for Understanding Procedures. His studies will include familiarity with major members of the accordion family, their quality criteria, and basic handling and repair procedures.

Aiden is now in his second year as student of Helmi Harrington at Accordion Concertina Music (Superior site). Helmi calls Aiden “a courteous, intelligent, attentive and self-motivated young man intent on precision and detail—an ideal student. During his music sessions, his ambition grows as his skills progress with speed and ease. His curiosity extends to exploring various members of the instrument family which has led to purchases of piano- and button diatonic accordions, laudably, from his own savings.

He has often expressed interest in understanding reed and machine characteristics that distinguish accordions in construction and performance quality.”

He says it was interest in Eastern European culture that inspired his accordion studies. It also spurred his application to the Department of State's NSLI-Y language program. He is currently a semi-finalist in their Russian language program to be held abroad during 2019.

Aiden also enjoys playing trumpet and euphonium in his Northwestern High School band as well as participating in choir. An exceptionally well-rounded teen, Aidan is involved in his school's track, cross country, drama, and musical programs. He is an honor student considering a career in engineering.

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

Bill Palmer III and Debra Peters Present at 2019 NAA Convention

by Bill Palmer
Bill Palmer and Joan Sommers
Debra PetersIn 2010, I got a phone call from Dr. Norman Seaton, asking if I would do some kind of presentation about the work my father (the Bill Palmer of the Palmer-Hughes Accordion Course) had done. To be frank, I had never even heard of the National Accordion Association, and I'd been away from the accordion for quite a while, but after giving it some thought, I decided to appear and do the presentation. It changed my life.

Many of you may know that from roughly 1968 until 1992, my father basically retired from playing the accordion. Instead, he concentrated on his devotion to baroque, classical and romantic music as well as to piano pedagogy. However, in 1992, he decided to pick up the accordion again. This time, he did in style. He had Faithe Deffner build him a custom Titano accordion with a super extended piano keyboard (45 treble keys) and a 160 bass converter quint system. This instrument was the first Palmer Super Emperor Convertor model. It was made by the Pigini company.

More importantly, it had a MIDI system installed in it. During the 1980's when MIDI (the Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was in its infancy, I had founded the MIDI Special Interest Group of the Houston Area League of PC Users.

As Dad saw what could be done with MIDI, he realized that the accordion was uniquely suited to be a MIDI controller -- the right hand could provide the treble while the chord buttons could provide chord signals and voices and the bass buttons could provide the bass instruments. Not only that, it could be possible for the shift registers to provide significant MIDI information as well.

Before my first presentation at that convention, I walked into one of the dealer's rooms and watched Shelia Lee give a demonstration of the Roland FR-7x. This instrument was basically what Dad had been looking for. It provided not only all the common accordion voices, it had lots of orchestral and organ voices. It had several free bass systems, and it even provided some simple percussion sounds.

A few months later, I purchased one of these instruments, and became hooked on digital accordion.

At the 2019 NAA convention, I will be giving an expanded version of some material that I presented in 2017 and 2018 concerning building sounds on your digital accordion, using your digital accordion with various accessories, and getting the most out of your instrument. I will be participating in some of the roundtable discussions on digital accordion, and I will be available to help people with their instruments.

I will also be co-presenting a program about Conjunto music on the accordion with Debra Peters (picture right) and will be presenting my part on piano accordion and chromatic button accordion. I'll show you how this type of music is especially relevant to the state of Texas.

March 7-9, 2019 we plan to share a few luxurious accordion melodies straight from Texas very own music genre called Conjunto music. Conjunto music was primarily played on the diatonic accordion with Bajo Sexto and a Bass. Few have played these melodies on chromatic accordion and/or piano accordion. Until now!

In addition to the workshop, Debra Peters and friends will present a portion of the Friday evening Dance program organized by Nancy Bernstein. Debra will lead a set of Tex-Mex Conjunto and Tex-West for our dance night.

In other Debra Peters news: Debra Peters & The Love Saints will continue in 2019 to perform and host every last Tuesday of the month residency at Austins finest Honky-Tonk, The Broken Spoke!

Debra Peters will return to Cotati Accordion Festival, Cotati Ca. August 2019 and she plans to once again join Joan C. Sommers accordion orchestra at ATG 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Debra will soon have a new website where every song she ever wrote and recorded will be for sale directly from her own website! Sheet Music for some original songs will also be there.

A message from Norman Seaton…. "Let's all plan to wear our finest Texas style cowboy hats Friday evening!” Maybe Nick Ballarini will start a contest with a prize give-a-way for BEST COWBOY HAT.

Hope to see you all at the 2019 NAA Convention!

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

Accordionist Jane Christison Presents Workshop at NAA

by Rita Barnea
Jane ChristisonJane Christison will present a workshop at NAA on March 8, 2019.

"I Love Playing Accordion and So Can You! (Workshop)" on Friday, 2:30 PM
Playing the accordion is what Jane loves to do,
Smiling and squeezing and singing for you!
But what if you’re tired and feeling a bit blue
About playing “Beer Barrel Polka” until you are one hundred and two?

Come to Jane’s workshop, and before she’s all through,
She’ll give you ideas, some things you can do,
To keep your playing interesting, to keep having fun,
Come to Jane’s workshop to learn how that’s done!

Jane studied serious accordion literature with Joan Cochran Sommers at the University of Missouri- Kansas City Conservatory of Music and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in accordion performance.

She has been featured as a guest artist and workshop presenter at:
The National Accordion Association, Inc.
The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG)
The American Accordionists’ Association
The Las Vegas International Accordion Convention

Video versions of two of her workshops, “Playing the Accordion for Fun and Fame!” and “Squeezing Money Out of Your Accordion,” are available through her company, Music With A Smile Productions, L.L.C., as is her children’s CD “Come Sing Along with Janie Next Door™.”

Norman Seaton says: "While Jane loves every performance, one of her favorite workshop presentations is "Planning and Playing Programs for Seniors.” She has played over 1,500 programs for senior citizens. Jane will be talking about this as well as some of the other occasions she’s played for in her career as a professional accordionist!"

Jane Christison is an accordionist and singer known for her trademarked “Music With A Smile®.” Her performances are filled with personality and an enthusiasm for playing the accordion that shines through. Jane enjoys sharing her music with seniors in upbeat and engaging 45-minute “Music With A Smile®” programs at retirement communities and nursing homes.

Jane has fun wearing costumes and playing music for theme parties, open house events, conventions and other celebrations. Jane also stays busy introducing a whole new generation to the joy of music by writing songs for children and performing as Janie Next Door®.

For further information:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

The Day of the Accordion Feb. 22-24

by Rita Barnea
The Day of the Accordion
The Day of the Accordion presented by the Northwest Accordion Society takes place February 22-24, 2019 on the Market Stage, 15600 NE 8th Street, Bellevue, WA.

Free admission, dancing, listening, All are welcome!

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Future events

57th Annual New England Music Festival in April

by Rita Barnea
New England logo
The 57th Annual New England Music Festival will be held from April 5-7 2019 at the Boston Marriott Newton, Newton, Ma. The New England Music Festival is an annual musical competition sponsored by the Accordion Teachers Association of Massachusetts, Inc, (ATAM). The festival averages more than 3000 entries and 800 contestants from all across New England.

Starting this year, the ATAM NE Music Festival will be opening a category for adults.
Download information at: 2019ATAM.pdf

All events are free and open to the public, while entry fees for contestants vary by category. During the festival, contestants, ages through 22, take part in accordion, guitar, bass guitar, drum, percussion, piano, violin and voice competitions. Solo, duet and group categories are also offered. Non Competitive Categories include evaluation solos and festival group divisions. Contestants must be students of ATAM teachers.

The three-day event takes place Friday through Sunday. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday a “Battle of the Bands” is held in the Grand ballroom. Cash awards are given to the Junior, Intermediate and Senior winners in their divisions. The Accordion, Guitar, Drum, Voice, and Piano Championships are also held Friday evening and Saturday with cash awards given to all competitors.

On Saturday and Sunday continuous group competitions are held in the Grand ballroom. Solo and duet competitions are ongoing. An awards banquet is held on Saturday evening with more than 500 in attendance. A $500.00 and a $250 cash scholarship is awarded to a contestant accepted as a Music Major in college. More than $5,000 in cash is awarded to winners throughout the weekend. Contestants are evaluated by judges from all over the country.

At the event, students will have an opportunity to participate in workshops, compete in age-level categories, perform for evaluation, and attend concerts. One of the best things about the event-contestants can participate regardless of their experience level or ability.

For more information please call Peggy Falcetti-Chairperson-1-413-204-1022.

AAA Master Class & Concert Series July 26-28

by Dr. William Schimmel
AAA logo
William Schimmel2019 Accordion Seminars "That Means What!?"
American Accordionists' Association (AAA) Master Class and Concert Series
William Schimmel, Moderator and Curator
July 26 27 and 28, 2019

VENUE: The Tenri Cultural Institute
43A West 13th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue

2019 Flyer available soon.

Three-Day Session, all Master Classes, Workshops and Concerts for 26-28.. $150.00
Daily Full Session, Master Classes, Workshops and Concerts - $60 per day
Daily Master Classes and Workshops - $30 per day
Daily Concerts only - $35 per day

Picture below from 2018 event.

Purchase your tickets online at: AAA Shopping Cart
2018 pictures

AAA Festival July 17-21, 2019 in PA

by Rita Barnea
AAA 2019
The American Accordionists’ Association presents the 2019 Festival Orchestra with guest artist Michael Bridge.

Exciting Competitions Workshops
Youth Involvement Jazz Ensemble
Junior & Senior Festival Orchestras
Plus the Premier of new chamber work by Joseph A. Natoli

Save the Date:
July 17-21, 2019

Come join the AAA Festival at the
Valley Forge Casino Resort (Radisson Hotel)
1160 First Avenue
King of Prussia, PA 19406

$119 Single or Double Adult*
Children w/parents in same room, no charge *3 & 4 adult in same room addtl. charge

More information on the AAA Festival in future publications.

Voci Armoniche

UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble to Perform at AWAM

by AAA Newsletter: Editor Kevin Friedrich
UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble
The University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC) Chamber Accordion Ensemble are excited to announce that they will appear at the upcoming World Accordion Day celebrations to be held at the World of Accordions Museum in Superior, WI on the weekend of May 4-5, 2019.

All players are alumni of the University of Missouri - Kansas City, and former members of the renowned UMKC Accordion Or- chestra. The players make their living in various careers, but each have remained devoted to promoting the accordion and its varied repertoire, which includes transcriptions, commissions and other original works.

They have recently performed in Chicago, San Francisco, Kansas City and at the recent 80th Anniversary of the AAA in Alexandria, VA. In addition, they have participated in the USA contributions to previous World Accordion Day events, when videos of their performances were broadcast during the live presentations.

Joan C. Sommers has held numerous positions in several music organizations, including the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International (ATG) and the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA – IMC-UNESCO) where she was recently awarded lifetime Honorary Membership.

The UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble performs under the direction of Joan C. Sommers who also plays as a member of the ensemble. Joan C. Sommers was awarded the title of Professor Emerita upon her retirement from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music (USA), where she established and taught the accordion degree program for forty years. She has arranged innumerable works for both Accordion Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble over many years, works that have been performed around the globe.

Today she enjoys performing with fellow accordionists in duo, with other instrumentalists, with the UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble and as guest Conductor with various orchestras around the world including leading the magnificent World Accordion Orchestra XI in Shenzhen, China on August 18, 2019.

UMKC Community Accordion Ensemble, left to right top row: Mary Ann Covone, Kevin Friedrich, Cathy Sue Weiss, Ron Barrow and Ron Dake.. First row: Betty Jo Simon, Samantha Wagner, .Joyce Davis and Joan C. Sommers, Director

For more information please contact:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Gordon Kohl Directs San Diego Accordion Camp April 4-5

by Rita Barnea
Gordon KohlThe 2nd annual San Diego Accordion Camp (SDAC), under the musical direction of Gordon Kohl, will be held April 4-6, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM at the Mangia Italiano Restaurant, 248 Third Ave., Chula Vista, CA.

This year’s camp will use “First 50 Songs You Should Play on the Accordion” arranged by Gary Meisner for the textbook. We will review and play several popular tunes including “Libertango,” “Cherokee (Indian Love Song),” “The Phoenix Love Theme (Senza Fine),” etc.

Gordon will explain the application of chord cadences and progression, building introductions, harmony, rhythm, bellow technique, expression and theory. Each song has select measures where improvisation will be incorporated. The use of harmonic tones and design of short introductions and endings will be studied and played by participants.

The enrolment fee is $189/person which covers: textbook (“First 50 Songs” arranged by Gary Meisner), parking, course ma- terials, notebook and lunch. Sign-up by March 15, 2019. The textbook will be mailed in advance so that you can practice the selected tunes ahead of camp. Gordon will distribute extra class notes and exercises at camp in your notebook.

Gordon has combined the use of a reed accordion style with the electronic and digital world new age accordion technology. He uses skills from piano, keyboard, and ac- cordion in his continually evolving professional style design. He always wants to mix the voicings of the reed instrument with the modern pop and orchestral sides of digital instrument capability in his music arrangements. This conceptual idea has helped him and his combo remain popular today.

The SDAC emphasizes building accordion musicianship skills, enjoyment and self confidence in playing an accordion solo. A goal of this camp is to enhance the music arrangements we learn and to make them enjoyable to play. Both acoustic and digital accordionists are welcome to attend the 3-day camp. Suggestions for possible acoustic reed switch settings and digital voice choices will be given.

Gordon Kohl (SDAC camp director (pictured on right) is a professional accordionist and teacher. He has performed and presented invited workshops at numerous accordion conventions and camps across the U.S. He is on the Board of Directors of the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International. He continues to play solo and group engagements for conventions, clubs, dances, and special events.

Gordon Kohl's playing credentials include TV commercials, videos for projects such as the AIDS Foundation and radio and TV shows, including work with Shirley Jones, Andy Griffith, and the KPBS Radio Ethnic Hour. He has appeared in Las Vegas, at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego on stage with Mr. TV Accordionist, Myron Floren and at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego for the first July Fourth event.

Gordon has been teaching at his own accordion and piano school since the age of 20, allowing him to stay in touch with changing trends in music education. Students today want to explore ideas of what the accordion left hand can do to add harmony and rhythm to dance styles such as Salsa, Java, Latin Tango and Beguine, as well as jazz, boogie, Zydeco, Klezmer, Tex Mex, Cajun, Musette and classical selections, challenging both students and teacher.

Download SDAC Enrollment Form: 2019SanDiegoEnrol.pdf

Contact: Gordon Kohl
Phone: (619) 395-0454 (voicemail and text)

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

Frank Petrilli Teaches at Django in June Camp

by Rita Barnea
Frank PetrilliFrank Petrilli is a jazz accordionist based in Los Angeles, California who is highly active in both the accordion and wider jazz communities on the West Coast, and throughout the US. A protégé and close friend of the late great jazz accordionist Frank Morocco, Frank has performed with renowned artists such as guitarist John Chiodini at top venues such as “Herb Albert’s” Vibrato’s Grill and Jazz.

Frank Petrilli will be an instructor at the 2019 Django in June Camp, Five Days of Gypsy Jazz Workshops, Concerts, and Jamming with World-Class Artists from Across the Globe. The camp runs from June 10-16, 2019 on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Frank has performed at many of the major accordion festivals and clubs in the US. In October of 2011. Excerpts from the Django in June Camp website: Frank appeared on the TV series Mad Men. In 2012, Frank recorded his debut CD, “Totally Frank.” In addition, Frank performed at the Accofestival in Kiev, Ukraine, and at the Fif Castelfidardo, the prestigious annual festival at Italy’s home of the Accordion. As the booking agent and artistic director of the Vibrato Jazz Club, Pat Senator wrote, “Like his mentor, Petrilli gives new life to the accordion with impeccable phrasing and a smooth, fluid style.” That’s exactly what you hear here, as Frank performs one of the tunes in our Core Repertoire this year, “Blusette.”

Frank’s interest and experience with jazz is long and deep. But his study of the Gypsy jazz niche is more recent, starting more or less with his attendance at Django in June in 2017.

Since 2007, Django in June’s full-immersion offering—Django Camp—has held out an unparalleled opportunity for newcomers and very accomplished players alike. We aim to help you take both your understanding and your enjoyment of this music to the next level in two ways:

First, we offer a gathering place for players from all over the continent and abroad. A place to meet face-to-face, learn from one another, and djam to your heart’s content. By centralizing all of Django Camp’s activities in one place we have easy, constant access to one another for the better part of a week, all with the comfort of private dorm rooms and three squares a day provided.

Second, we offer the chance to study with real experts in a sustained, intimate setting. While a two-hour clinic is far better than no instruction at all, that format has its limitations. We want to offer you the opportunity to get more guidance from more artists/instructors at a better value than anywhere else.

Join Frank Petrilli at Django in June Camp for an educational and unforgettable experience.


79th Annual ATG Accordion Festival in Denver July 24-27, 2019

by Rita Barnea
ATG poster
Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International (ATG) President Joe Natoli invites all to the 79th Annual ATG Accordion Festival in Denver July 24-27, 2019.

The event will feature concerts, workshops, competitions, exhibits, the ATG Festival Orchestra, Banquet and more!

See future USA news publications for more information.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Las Vegas International Accordion Convention 20th Anniversary Celebration

by Rita Barnea
Paul Pasquali, Friedrich Lips, Joan SommersThe Las Vegas International Accordion Convention – where everyone is a STAR! Event organizer Paul Pasquale shares:

"October 14 – 17, 2019 we will celebrate our 20th year in Las Vegas with an Accordion Event (Party) of a lifetime! There are a few great reasons to attend – but perhaps the biggest reason is this year’s lineup of Accordion Stars including Prof. Friedrich Lips (Russia)!

Yes you read that correctly - Friedrich Lips – a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear and be in workshops with this most famous performer/teacher, renowned throughout the world - famous author, performer, teacher, 29 CD's.

Of course we will be featuring the BEST of the BEST – with talent like Cory Pesaturo and MORE, plus Prof. Joan Sommers conducting the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra!

Come join the FUN – and be a part of our ROARING TWENTIES Celebration. The Las Vegas International Accordion Convention – where everyone is a STAR!

Those who have attended come back year after year because they know what fun and what a great value! If you have not attended then come find out why nothing else compares to the Accordion Celebration in Las Vegas!"

When? – October 15-18, 2019 – Rooms only $47 per night on our block with a special $12 per night resort fee savings!
Plus we will take $50 off your registration when you book on the convention block – in addition to the Early Bird savings by registering before March 15!

There are 4 options to choose from!

Single Attendee Package – $680.00
All events
All 7 concerts
7 Meals
Single Attendee & Evening Partner – $1025.00
Same as Single Attendee Package
Adds One guest admission to each of the four evening concerts/meals
Double Attendee Package – $1175.00
Same as Single Attendee Package
Adds all events, all 7 concerts and 7 meals for an additional person
Evenings Only Package – $440.00
4 Concerts with dinner

Key Benefits of Attending the Convention:

Join the fun and make new friends from all over the World.
See the latest in new accordions with factory exhibits.
Hotel accommodations are very inexpensive.
Be inspired by some of the finest.
Learn from the masters.

For registration details contact event organizer Paul Pasquali at

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

New and Updated Sites

Titano Accordion Company

New Stas Venglevski eSheet (pdf) Compositions

by Megumi Hada
Stas VenglevskiNew Stas Venglevski eSheet (pdf) compositions sent to you by email.

Catalog: vstas057 Sunshine Return, accordion (solo)
Catalog: vstas058 In the Garden, accordion (solo)
View samples pages of the music and listen to sample sound files.

Recently released eSheet music by Stas Venglevski:
Catalog: vstas051 Meg Tango (solo) with music page sample and sound sample.
Catalog: vstas052 Maurisa (solo) with music page sample and sound sample.
Catalog: vstas053 A Song (solo) with music page sample and sound sample.
Catalog: vstas054 Stas' Tune (solo) with music page sample and sound sample.
Catalog: vstas055 Octobler Rondo (solo) with music page sample and sound sample.
Catalog: vstas056 Summer Sunshine (solo) with music page sample and sound sample

CD/albums available:
Catalog: vstascd001 Adagio, Romance And Beyond CD
Catalog: vstascd002 My Main Squeeze CD
Catalog: vstascd003 The Nutcracker Suite CD
Catalog: vstascd004 Accordion Illusions CD
Catalog: vstascd05 Awakening CD by Stas Venglevski and Joan Sommers
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