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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Jan-2011
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
New Horizon-New Challenge for the World of DIATONIC Accordions
World Accordion Day to be Held on May 6th
2011 New Year's Resolutions for Accordionists
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA
AAA 2011 Festival is July 13-17 in Charleston, SC
2011 ATG Festival to be held in Orlando, Florida July 27-31
Mary Tokarski to be Honored at MAMTG Festival
Cory Pesaturo to Perform at 2011 NAMM Show in California
Stas Venglevski in January Concert in Wisconsin
Connecticut Accordion Orchestra Provides Christmas Joy

Voci Armoniche

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

Fall & Winter In and Around Washington, DC
Another Wonderful Season with Holiday Express
Update on John Moceo
Dr. William Schimmel and Dr.Ulla Soukko at Lincoln Center
Jay Landers Brings Joy to All
MECCA Brings Holiday Spirit to Texas

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Zev Zions to Perform on East Village Klezmer Series
Victor Prieto: New Performances
Long Island Accordion Alliance Meets January 11
Texas Mid Cities Accordion Association (D/FW Area) Activities

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



Editor's Note

by Rita Barnea
Happy New Year to all our readers. 2011 looks like a great year for accordion activity and the USA News will be bringing you all the information direct to your computer screen.

In this month's news, you will read about many accordionists who generously donated their musical talents to make others happy.

Please remember that it does not have to be a special holiday in order for you to volunteer to play.. When you perform on your accordion and cheer people up, YOU make that moment in someone's life a special holiday!

Remember to make 2011 the year of the accordion….... support accordion artists by attending concerts, accordion festivals, competitions and conventions, purchasing CD’s and, most importantly, sharing YOUR gift of music.

Learn new music, go out and perform!. Not only will you make people happy, but you will feel good about yourself knowing that you have contributed something positive and wonderful to our world!

If you have any news, please send it to me:

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

New Horizon-New Challenge for the World of DIATONIC Accordions


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

World Accordion Day to be Held on May 6th

by Harley Jones
World Accordion Day logoFestival, concert and competition organizers, accordion orchestras, all performers. What are YOU doing for World Accordion Day 2011 to promote the accordion in your area and country?

World Accordion Day is on May 6th, which is the day the accordion was patented in 1829.

World Accordion Day first started in 2009 and has been a huge success, generating enormous positive publicity for the accordion. A key part of this event is the World Accordion Day website.

Every association, group, orchestra, performer and teacher, is asked to actively support this event by encouraging national and local accordion activities to happen in their country on this day or the weekend either side of Accordion Day if that should be more convenient.

Everyone can register their World Accordion Day activity on the website and send a report of their event after, for that website. This site is already a very valuable resource for the media reporting World Accordion Day.

CIA President Raymond Bodell stated “No event is too big or too small. ALL accordion events celebrating World Accordion Day are welcome. This is a promotion for the accordion in which every accordion enthusiast can participate and help bring our accordion world together as well as strongly promote the accordion to your population.”

Therefore, I urge you to make plans now for next May and encourage broad support from all levels of accordionists for this exciting new project. Let all accordionists work together to make strong promotion to our populations with World Accordion Day.”

Titano Accordion Company

2011 New Year's Resolutions for Accordionists

by Rita Barnea
1. I promise to play my accordion every day.

You can find at least 30 minutes a day to practice your accordion. If you find time for watching the news on TV, or talking on your cell phone, enjoying your iTouch, iPad or just sitting on your couch, you can find the time to take your accordion out of its case! With a little effort, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Practicing your accordion is relaxing and a stress reliever and is also good exercise!

2. I promise to play my accordion for friends and family at least once a month (more would be even better!)

Everyone who has ever seen me perform has always commented on the complexity of the instrument{as if there were something very magical about playing the accordion. But it is magical, isn't it?

Going to a family dinner or having the family and friends over?....... take out your accordion and play for them.

No matter what your level of proficiency is..........people will be amazed about your playing. Trust me on that one.

3. I promise to learn at least one new song every 2 months.

Try to expand your repertoire. It doesn't have to be a concerto! What about a popular song or one from the past that you always wanted to learn. Don't have the music? Look it up on the Internet or e-mail your accordion friends. If you want the song........ it is out there: however, if you really cannot find it, try to play it by ear, sound it out, write out the notes. It may take time, but it is a good experience to learn it on your own.It is possible, don't be afraid to try it.

4. I promise to attend at least two accordion events in 2011.

There are many accordion festivals, concerts, accordion clubs etc. around the country.Search the USA News and you will find an event in your area. Not only will you have a wonderful time listening to great accordionists, but you will be able to participate on any level from beginner to advanced. There will be accordion bands, ensembles, people who will enjoy meeting you and hearing about your experiences with the accordion. If you want to meet interesting people who share your love of the accordion, you will find them!
You will not only hear great music but you will go away with new friends.

5. I will purchase at least two accordion CD's this year!

There are so many wonderful accordion CD's. Again, search the Internet and you will find lists of accordion artists. It is important to show our support for these outstanding musicians by buying their CD's!

6. I promise to introduce the accordion to people who have never heard one before.

This is a special opportunity for you to expand the musical horizons of someone. The accordion is so versatile, found in cultures all over the world and running the gamut from folk to classical and everything in between! There is a visual fascination with the accordion that no other instrument can claim. How do we do it? Keys, buttons, bellows, It is a coordination of fine motor skills that places an accordionist at the top of the list of the best multitaskers in the world!

Make 2011 the Year of YOUR Accordion!!

Voci Armoniche

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

Accordion Jazz Chords

AAA 2011 Festival is July 13-17 in Charleston, SC

by Rita Barnea
AAA festival header
Joan C. SommersThe American Accordionists' Association is proud to announce the 2011 AAA Festival from July 13-17, 2011 at the Sheraton at Charleston Airport, Charleston, South Carolina.

At this time, the International Accordion Orchestra Competition will take place. The competition is open to all accordion orchestras. There is no restriction as to the number of members in the orchestra. The minimum requirement is eight accordions. Please remember that International Orchestra Entries must be confirmed by 2/28/2011.

Join us as Joan C. Sommers is honored with the AAA's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

There will be cash awards, workshops, exhibits, concerts, and competitions for all ages. The tentative schedule includes:
Wednesday.....Registration, Press & Squeeze event
Thursday........Luncheon Concert, Cabaret Night
Friday.............Massed Band Performance conducted by Frank Musso, Gala Evening Concert
Saturday.........Awards Concert, Banquet, Lifetime Achievement Award Presentation, Festival Orchestra conducted by Joan Sommers.
Sunday...........Breakfast Meeting and Farewell

The AAA Festival Coordinators are: Mary Tokarski, Frank Busso, Linda Soley Reed.

Make sure you attend for wonderful, memorable music, friendship, and more!

For more information:


2011 ATG Festival to be held in Orlando, Florida July 27-31

by Rita Barnea
ATG Header
Anthony Galla-RiniThe ATG (Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International) welcomes you all to their 71st Annual Competition and Festival to be held in Orlando, Florida, July 27-31st at the Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel.

The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) was established in 1940 by a group of 29 founding members (including ATG President Emeritus, the late Anthony Galla-Rini, pictured right) with the purpose of furthering the progress of the accordion by improving teaching standards, music, and all phases of music education. 

The ATG is strictly a nonprofit, noncommercial, educational organization and is governed by the teacher members and accordion professionals. 

The ATG has presented many important seminars, lectures and concerts in conjunction with its annual competition and festival and has brought the accordion to the attention of many top musicians and music educators across the country.  The ATG has also been instrumental in promoting the acceptance of free bass accordion into several important universities and colleges where a student may work toward a degree with accordion as their major instrument.

The festival hotel offers free parking for ATG Guests and Free Airport Shuttle from Orlando International Airport.

Further details will be announced very soon. Mark your calendars!

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

Mary Tokarski to be Honored at MAMTG Festival

by Rita Barnea
MAMTG Festival FlyerThe Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild will hold their Spring Festival from April 1-3, 2011 at the Marriott Hotel in Whippany, New Jersey. Competitions will be held on accordion, piano, voice, strings, woodwinds, guitar, percussion, brass, keyboard, and bands.

On Saturday evening, April 2, 2011, the American Accordion Musicological Society, in conjunction with the Mid Atlantic Music Teacher's Guild, will honor Connecticut accordionist and teacher, Mary Tokarski, with a Testimonial Dinner and Concert at the Marriott Hotel in Whippany, NJ.

The Westmount Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra, The Potomac Accordion Ensemble, and the Connecticut Accordion Orchestra will also perform on the program. Bruce Gassman will provide dinner music. Lenny Feldmann will be the Commentator and Master of Ceremonies.

Mary performs both nationally and internationally as a soloist with symphony orchestras and as a member of the K Trio. Mary served as Director of Music Education at the Tokarski Music center in North Haven, Connecticut for twenty years where she taught piano and accordion as as conducted the choral and ensemble programs.

Mary currently teaches accordion and piano in her home in Northford, Connecticut. She also serves a a music educator in the North Haven Department of Education's Early Childhood Development Program. Mary also serves on the governing boards of both the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) and the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG).

Mary has released several CD's, narrates a new book which is also on a CD, "An Accordion! What is That" and can be seen on "Connecticut Style" daytime TV program. Mary  Tokarski CD's are available online.

The Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild (MAMTG) was founded by a group of professional music educators from the Tri-State area to establish and maintain high professional teaching and ethical standards, exchange music-related ideas, information and fellowship among colleagues, promote music education in our area, and to provide a platform for area music students to display their talents in a competitive environment.

The Guild has been recognized as a viable musical organization throughout the entire Mid-Atlantic and New England States.

For more information:
Mary  Tokarski CD's

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Cory Pesaturo to Perform at 2011 NAMM Show in California

by Rita Barnea
Cory PesaturoRoland artist, accordionist Cory Pesaturo, will perform on the Roland accordion for the third consecutive year at the NAMM Show held from January 13-16, 2011 in Anaheim, California. Also performing will be Steve Albini, Roland Artists Sergio Scappini and Danilo Dipaolonicola from Italy.

The NAMM Show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world, founded in 1901. It is held every January in Anaheim, California, USA at the Anaheim Convention Center. Its only major competitor is the Musik Messe in Frankfurt.

The January 2010 show had 1,373 exhibitors and 87,569 attendees. The NAMM Show is not open to the general public, only to members of the music trade and/or those who have been invited.

The acronym NAMM originally stood for the National Association of Music Merchants, but has evolved from a national entity representing the interests of music products retailers to an international association including both commercial, reseller members, affiliates and manufacturers.

Therefore, the long form of the name is no longer used, and it is simply known as NAMM, the International Music Products Association.

Each NAMM Show is heavily covered by the music-industry press. Thousands of new-product introductions and demonstrations are made at the NAMM Show, making attendance by trade journalists a necessity. Some publications, such as Music Trades, publish special NAMM issues for distribution at the show. NAMM produces a show directory and a show map.

Cory Pesaturo has successfully competed in accordion competitions throughout the USA. This year he was chosen to perform for inauguration of the Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee. He performs at festivals, concerts, and private functions all over the world.

Roland Corporation is a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments, including accordions, keyboards and synthesizers, guitar products, electronic percussion, digital recording equipment, amplifiers, audio processors, and multimedia products. See the Roland display at the NAMM show and talk with Steve Albini (Roland US accordion product representative) and Corey Pesaturo.

For further information:

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

Stas Venglevski in January Concert in Wisconsin

by Rita Barnea
Stas VenglevskiStas Venglevski will perform in a concert to be held at Wisconsin Lutheran College (8815 West Wisconsin Avenue, Wauwatosa, WI) on Monday, January 31, 2011, 7:00 p.m. 

Titled “An Evening of Tango,” the program is devoted to the history and mystique of the Tango and will be presented by Frank Almond, violin; Roza Borisova, cello; Nell Buchmann, piano; and Stas Venglevki, bayan.  

The program will include the music of Astor Piazzolla in addition to the composition “Dark Rose” by Russian composer Tatianna Sergeyeva. The music of jazz accordionist Richard Galliano will also be performed.

For tickets and additional information contact the Wisconsin Lutheran College box office (414-443-8802) or

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Connecticut Accordion Orchestra Provides Christmas Joy

by Rita Barnea
Connecticut Accordion Orchestra
The Connecticut Accordion Orchestra under the direction of AAA President, Linda Soley Reed, performed on Channel 3 on December 24th. The program was aired several times during the holiday season. The accordionists were part of the Joy for the Kids Christmas show that TV Station WFSB sponsors each year.

There were many good entertainers but it was difficult to miss 20 accordions and one reindeer with antlers that lit up while conducting them!

The CAA members are:
Marilyn O’Neil, Walt Ziemba, Hasmik Zamgochian, Ken Reed, Mary Mascolo, Dorothy Gondek, Bob Czarnecki, Jeanine Cariri, Pam D’Angelo, Sandy Zera, Bob Vitale, Kathy DiCocco, Zita Rossi, Judy Sehnal, Art Piel, Mary Tokarski, Linda Reed, Karen Buccitti, Gerry Hertel. Missing from photo – Julie Cardona and Mike Rasimus (percussion).

The  Connecticut Accordion Association is dedicated to the promotion of the accordion through all musical genres and all variations of accordion instruments. They welcome musicians who play various types of accordions including piano accordion, diatonic, chromatic button etc. and invite accordionists at all levels, and people who may not play the accordion, but love to listen.

The goals of the CAA are:
* To promote public interest in the accordion through
public awareness.
* To hold monthly meetings, workshops, conventions, concerts and other activities throughout the state of CT.
* To act as a resource to provide referrals in accordion instruction, repair, sales and/or trade, sheet music, accessories, etc.
* To network with fellow associations throughout the USA in an effort to provide unity within the accordion world.

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

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

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

Fall & Winter In and Around Washington, DC

by Joan Grauman Morse, AAA Historian
The past few months have brought many exciting accordion events to the Washington, DC area. Joan Grauman has made a report (Fall & Winter) with photos which are attached of the many very interesting accordion performances and activities from Fall until now. Photo above is the Potomac Accordion Ensemble. (Fall & Winter)

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Another Wonderful Season with Holiday Express

by Bruce Gassman
Bruce GassmanMission – The Holiday Express mission is to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Founded in 1993 by Tim McLoone, Holiday Express is a grass roots, non-sectarian, registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

It is comprised of more than 1,300 volunteers – including 80+ professional musicians – Holiday Express delivers music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to adults and children who are physically and mentally disabled, living with AIDS or homeless, as well as the isolated elderly and others in need.

We travel throughout the Tri-State area in November and December bringing approximately fifty "interactive private parties" to clients who might otherwise be overlooked during the holiday season. Our events include a rock 'n' roll band, costumed characters, choreographed parodies, crafts, games, food, good cheer, gifts and lots of hugs!
Once again, a feeling of sadness came over me as I finished the last Holiday Express event at the Trinity Church Soup Kitchen on Christmas Eve.  When an organization does 50 shows in 30 days, you get real close to the other musicians, vocalists and volunteers.

More important are the smiles, the joy and the faces of the clients that always leave a lasting impression; the “Older Adult Orphans” at psychiatric facilities, the Young Adults and Teenagers at halfway houses one step from jail and the Children; especially the Children at the specialty schools.

As I began to write my memories of my 3rd season (Holiday Express’ 18th Season), I re-read my first year’s recollections I was asked to write for the 2008 yearbook – I had just begun to play again after a 15 year break and although I had performed at thousands of weddings, parties, nightclubs, etc. in my career, I had never experienced anything like this before. So here is a reprint of the article. The only thing that’s really changed is that I’m no longer the “new kid on the block”, but the emotions never change – Hope you enjoy my story:

I am positive that what I’m about to say has been said many times before; but I will say it anyway: “without hesitation, this was my most rewarding holiday season since my kids were little and still believed in Santa Clause and the Hanukkah Fairy. 

There, I’ve said it! Having known Tim McLoone for more decades than he and I would be willing to admit, and after a short break (fifteen years) in my musical career, it was time for me to find a way to give rather than receive. What better way than Holiday Express!
But wait; I’m an accordion player and why would I think that Holiday Express would want an accordion player. So what that I won a national music scholarship through the Boys Clubs of America at the age of 13 and, on weekends, studied with Maestro Joseph Biviano from Columbia University all through high school.  So what that I was the youngest member ever admitted to the national renowned orchestra, the Accordion Symphony Society of New York at the age of 15. So what that I toured the mid-west with The Escorts, Doc & the MD’s and The Broadway Clique for 4 years while in college.

So what if I was part of the early Jersey Shore rock scene jamming at the Student Prince, Pandemonium and the Upstage and was the original keyboard player (Hammond B-3 & Fender Rhodes piano) for the very popular cover band, Waterfront (the first rock band ever to play the Tradewinds). 

So what that I played more than 100 gigs a year with the Bruce Gassman Orchestra from 1975-1992. This is all ancient history and the only thing musical I’m doing now is performing with the Accordion Pops Orchestra. Not that this is a bad thing, but it is what it is.
Holiday Express is chock-full of talented, professional musicians who haven’t had a recent 15 year musical sabbatical AND in the history of Holiday Express, never had an accordion player (never had a tuba player either, but I heard they came close once). Not know for my shyness, I reached out to Tim and was invited to a kick-off meeting in October.

There I was in a room full of volunteers and as Tim looked over at me, announced “and there’s Bruce Gassman, accordion player”. As I prepared for the proverbial Lady-of-Spain jokes, the room did not burst out in laughter – WHEW!
Then came the audition. What do I play? I surely know lots of Christmas (oops, Holiday) music, but what else; Beatles; Motown; Ethnic; Jazz; No, I’ll play something a little more difficult (light classical) to display my technical ability. As I let the dais know, Tim, in a way that only Tim can, says “oh sure, make us all feel bad that none of us studied classical music”. I thought to myself, nice move, Bruce. Then there were the looks in Amy’s and Rick’s eyes as I tried to let my fingers to the talking. I could only guess what they were thinking.

As I was leaving, Joe Petillo reminded me that we had performed together many times in the Boys Club Reviews (back in the day). I was thankful he remembered and secretly, hoped he would put a good word in for me.

I did not hear back from anyone for a week, so I e-mailed to “just check in”, thinking the whole time that playing “Dance of the Comedians” by Frederick Smetana from the opera “The Bartered Bride” was definitely not a good move. A few more days went by and I resigned myself to the fact that this wasn’t looking good. But as fate would have it, Tim did reach out and invited me to a rehearsal and the rest, as they say, is history (or was it)?

Now I had to fit an accordion in with Rick’s horn section, Jim’s guitar players, Amy’s group of vocalists, and a killer rhythm section while making sure not to step on Tim’s piano parts. At the same time, try to keep the Beer Barrel Polka comments in check.
First, the guys in the horn section seemed to be ok with me, as many of them may have worked with an accordion player in the past and many of them new Art Bressler, who plays a few shows each year and had been my high school sax player. I felt more at ease when I met baritone Tom, who let me know he had a Titano accordion like mine and he was a player. Then the “Legend” made me feel welcome as we reminisced about the late-great trumpeter, Rafael Mendez.

The jury was still out with Rick (more on that later). The percussion section is great; Bob, Jim, all of them. I even had some fun playing Brubeck with Jim only to find out he had studied with the great Joe Morello. I also love bass players, but one of the most difficult things an accordion player must remember is; do not play bass when there is a bass player.

Jerry reminded me of that very early on in his own subtle way. Vocalists are a special breed and I wasn’t sure how it would go with them. But I’m happy to say that as more time went by, the warmth that only an accordion can provide in some songs seemed to win most of them over.
You noticed I saved the guitar players for last. I felt this would be my biggest challenge since rock & roll accordion died out with Gary Lewis and the Playboys. It does not matter that accordion players are revered in Europe and Asia.

In the USA it is still, you guessed it: Lady of Spain and The Beer Barrel Polka, although there is Zydeco, Tex-Mex and Cajun making a big splash in some parts. I was reminded of my age again when I showed Roger a picture of the Metrotones, my high school band with Art Bressler. He looked at it, pointed to the guitar player in the photo and said “hey, that’s Mike Trocy; I took lessons from Mike Trocy”! Oh well, any connection can’t hurt, right? I would be remiss if did not thank Jim for making me feel at home. Jim does have a pleasant way about him and that was greatly appreciated.
As I said in my opening comment, “this has been my most rewarding holiday season in many, many years”. I’m astounded by the coordination of volunteers behind the scenes, the commitment each and everyone has to the mission and the overwhelming community support – if only government could take a lesson from Holiday Express. My first year memories are many.

Some of the faces in the audience have left a lasting impression – some good and some heartbreaking. Watching physically and mentally challenged people explode with joy while they dance and sing with the group and knowing that tomorrow will be a very different day for them takes you through a litany of emotions that’s hard to explain to someone unless they experience it for themselves.

And of course there are the children, oh my. You wish you could just take them home, click your heels together and all would be right with their world. The current economic situation is nothing in comparison to their current situation. You see, the economy will eventually get better.

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Update on John Moceo

by Rita Barnea
John Moceo18 year old John Moceo from Staten Island, New York, is now majoring in music at Five Towns College, located in Dix Hills,Long Island, New York. He is attending the college on a music scholarship.

He just finished his first semester there and really enjoys being in a place where his heart can be filled with music all the time. He has met some really talented musicians, vocalists, and artists like himself. 

On Tuesday, December 14, John performed at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center located at Five Towns College, for an evening of Jazz. John performed his own accordion solo, "Fly Me To The Moon" accompanied by the Five Towns College Jazz Swing Band. 

The Swing Band also performed Mack the Knife, It's Only a Paper Moon, My Funny Valentine, Embraceable You, and Woodchoppers' Ball.  The Swing Band was directed by Professor Demetrius Spaneas. 
On Thursday, December 16, at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center, John performed on his accordion with the Five Towns College Guitar Ensemble.
John is also minoring in audio recording production.  He continues to write the music and record artists in his home studio and at the college facilities. He will be working on several different types of music, for his upcoming Recital at Five Towns College for his next semester, date and time to be announced soon.

John Moceo has been performing and competing with his accordion since the age of 5. He attended tri-state and national competitions yearly, winning top awards and scholarships. His love of accordion music happened on his first day of kindergarten when his music teacher of 12 years, Frank Busso, walked into his class and started to play the accordion. John knew from that moment that this was something he had to do. After some persuasion, he convinced his mother to let him take accordion lessons.

John appeared on the NBC, daytime talk show, "Ellen Degeneres", which was filmed in Burbank, California. He performed so well on the show, that they invited him to stay and close the show with Ellen Degeneres. John also appeared on "Mallets Place", which is a Staten Island Cable Jazz Television Show, and "Toastmasters", another Staten Island Cable Talk Television Show.

John also performed at "The Cutting Room". He played at the Staten Island Music School Recital every year since the age of 5. When John was just 7 years old, he was invited to the Julliard School, in New York City where he recorded a CD of his favorite tunes.

He also has performed at restaurants, catering halls, social organizations, parties, and family gatherings in the Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens, New York areas. John has been featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Staten Island Advance, and New York Times. He appeared in a brief video which was filmed by the Washington Post interviewing him at a national competition.

John's dream is to be a world famous music producer, walk the red carpet, and win a grammy award someday. He will credit his success to his love of music, the accordion, and to his dedicated teacher, AAA First Vice-President, Frank Busso, who has inspired him and given him guidance and support through the years.

For more information:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Dr. William Schimmel and Dr.Ulla Soukko at Lincoln Center

by Rita Barnea
Dr. William SchimmelAcclaimed accordionist Dr. William Schimmel and distinguished flutist, singer and storyteller Dr. Ulla Soukko performed to a packed house on December 9th at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, New York.

The concert was part of a Thursday evening series sponsored by Target and was designed to present an unusual variety of presentations in a setting different from the usual concert hall varieties.

The concert entitled, Ulla-La, focused in on Romantic Ballads from various countries worldwide, but it also included vocals, instrumentals, latin numbers, Finnish folk music, songs of love and loss, cabaret pieces as well as Peruvian inspired improvisations. The concert was designed for all ages.

Drs William Schimmel and Suokko have performed these concerts as part of Lincoln Center's Meet the Artists Program as well as The Midori Foundation in special versions designed for younger audiences.

In October, they toured the Washington DC area performing in various embassies. They are currently working on a DVD. Other Schimmel CD's and his accordion compositions are available on the William Schimmel website.

Both William Schimmel and Dr. Soukko are graduates of The Juilliard School with Doctor of Musical Arts degrees.

For further information email:
William Schimmel website for his music and CD's.

Titano Accordion Company

Jay Landers Brings Joy to All

by Rita Barnea
Jay and Pat LandersJay Landers, Director of Development for the past 2 years at Brother James Court, a residential intermediate care facility for 98 intellectually disabled men in Springfield, IL, donates his musical services to monthly in-house events (23 consecutive birthday and Christmas parties), as well as the Annual Family Picnic and the Chili Cook Off.

He is often joined by his wife, Pat, who sings and plays the penny whistle in their Celtic performances.  Jay also co-produced a CD in 2009 with one of the residents of BJC who sings Beatles’ tunes. Jay and Pat have donated their music to 7 consecutive Festival of Trees events (2004-2010), which raises money for programming funded by the Memorial Medical Center Foundation in Springfield. 

On January 29, they’ll travel to Poplar Grove, IL, to perform for a benefit in support of a local war veteran.  They performed at a benefit in January, 2008, for the infant son of a co-worker of Pat’s who was born with many physical challenges.

Most of Jay’s 38-year career has been in the non-profit sector, starting with 23 years in public radio FM station management at 4 state universities; a community arts organization; 2 national voluntary health organizations and he is currently Director of Development for Brother James Court. Jay plays a 2-hour program at Brother James Court every month for their birthday party after regular business hours.

Jay and his wife, Pat who plays tin whistle and sings, have performed authentic Celtic music since 1983 as a duo called Donnybrook. Jay and Pat made a CD in 2008, called "Smiling Eyes" dedicated to their late son, Ryan. Jay recorded a solo CD in 2003.

To learn more about Jay, please refer to the November 2009 news. The article is called : Jay Landers: Accordion Activity From Illinois: Abridged Version.

For further information: or call 217-899-9157

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

MECCA Brings Holiday Spirit to Texas

by Rita Barnea
MECCA group
Many individual accordionists and accordion ensembles generously shared their joy of music during this holiday season. The MECCA (multi-educational cross cultural association) performers conducted a program of international Christmas music at the Killeen, Texas City Hall for the annual lighting of the Christmas tree.

The members were dressed in traditional dress from USA, Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, and Columbia. The program ended with the singing of Silent Night in several languages. The City Hall building is one of the several  historic land marks in Killeen. It was a school house, called the Ave. D school.
On the last weekend in Feb, Killeen celebrates Texas Independence Day with music and dances from the West and Texas. There will be jam sessions of accordion and blue grass music for beginners and intermediate players. Sheet music will be provided. There will also be shows by accordion, bluegrass, and conjunto bands.
On Wed. March 2, MECCA will webcast a music/dance program into the schools.

For more information about these events:

Future events

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Zev Zions to Perform on East Village Klezmer Series

by Rita Barnea
Zev ZionsOn Tuesday, January 18th, at 8:30 PM Zev Zions will present a solo recital followed by flautist Adrianne Greenbaum at the Sixth Street Community Synagogue.

Klezmer and Yiddish Music returns to the East Village, where it once was king, at a new series curated by Aaron Alexander at the Sixth Street Community Synagogue.
The series are co-sponsored by Workmen’s Circle/Arbeiter Ring of NY, Living Traditions/Klez Kamp, and Center for Traditional Music and Dance. 

Opening the night will be accordion virtuoso Zev Zions performing a solo set of music drawn from his 3 solo accordion CDs. Zevy is a master of the accordion. He grew up in the Orthodox world of The Bronx and Brooklyn, listening to the likes of Rudy Tepel and the Epstein brothers in his childhood, and old 78s on his record player or on WEVD.

He has been involved in Klezmer and Jewish music his whole life, working in the top wedding bands in New York, including Neshoma, Neginah and many others.

Zev recorded an instructional klezmer DVD with Andy Statman in the 1980s, and has been in important part of the the NY klezmer group, “Klezmerfest!” since 1995, including co-producing their CDs and contributing original material. He began a project to record Accordion Classics, and has completed 3 CDs to date to much acclaim. He has an interesting day job; he is a practicing professional Mohel.

Zions was a student of the great performer and teacher,Charles Nunzio, who was a student of the legendary Pietro Frosini. 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.

In addition to performing as a soloist and with various musical ensembles, Zevy has also previously released three solo albums: " William Tell", “Olive Blossoms” and "Dizzy Accordions".

The program will be held at the Community Synagogue/Max D. Raiskin Center, 325 E. Sixth Street, (between 1st Ave. and 2nd Ave.)NY. Cover is $15 which includes a drink.

For further information about his concerts and CD's:

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

Victor Prieto: New Performances

by Rita Barnea
The Trio w/ Richie Barshay and Jorge Roeder in NY
Victor Prieto has a busy concert season planned for 2011. He performs with his group, The Trio, which also includes Richie Barshay and Jorge Roeder. Victor will perform with his Trio and on different projects led by pianist and composer Emilio Solla.

Victor's schedule includes:
Victor Prieto Trio 
March 10th at 9:30, Miles Cafe, NY, V. Prieto, acc and company, Jorge Roeder, bass, Eric Doob,drums
Emilio Solla and the NY Jazz tango Conspiracy 
January 6th. Winter Jazz Festival of NY at Zinc Bar NYEmilio Solla, piano and comp, Chris Cheek, sax, V. Prieto, acc,Jorge Roeder, bass, Richie Barshay, drums

Emilio Solla y La Inestable de Brooklyn 
January 10th and every Monday till March 2011 
Emilio Solla y La Inestable de Brooklyn, Miles Cafe, New York.John Ellis, tenor, flute and bass clarinet. Tim Armacost, tenor, soprano and clarinet,Alex Norris, trumpet,John Bailey, trumpet and flugelhorn,Alan Ferber, trombone 
Meg Okura, violin, Victor Prieto, accordion,Emilio Solla, piano comp.and conducting, Jorge Roeder, double bass 
Eric Doob, drums.

Emilio Solla and the NY Jazz tango Conspiracy 
January 28h and 29th at Smalls NY.Emilio Solla, piano and comp 
Chris Cheek, sax, V. Prieto, acc ,Jorge Roeder, bass 
Richie Barshay, drums

Victor Prieto is a native of Galicia, Spain born in the town of Orense in 1975. At the age of nine Victor was encouraged by his mother to study the accordion-an instrument deeply ingrained in Galician folklore. While studying classical accordion at the Orense Conservatory Victor understood the immense musical potential of his instrument and branched out from the classical education by concurrently taking harmony, arrangement and improvisation classes at Estudio Escola de Musica (Santiago de Compostela, Spain).

In 1998 Victor received a scholarship from Berklee College of Music where he majored in performance under the direction of Joanne Brackeen. Berklee, where Victor was the only one to date to specialize in accordion, did not offer any classes focusing on accordion. Uninhibited by these circumstances Victor created his own study program applying the expertise offered by educators at Berklee to the accordion.
Today Victor Prieto is revolutionizing the way that the accordion is played by creating new sounds and techniques for this instrument. His music embraces Jazz, Tango, Classical and Celtic Roots enriched with new rhythms and colors.

He is the creator of a new technique for the accordion called “chord approach on both hands”, which creates rich and elaborate harmonies.
In 2002 Victor moved to New York where he quickly established himself as one of the most prolific and versatile accordionists on the music and Jazz scenes. As a leader Victor has performed at many prestigious venues and events such as Berklee Performance Center, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Blue Note NY, New Jersey Performance Art Center, Three Rivers Musical Festival, Williamsburg Jazz Festival, Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center.
Victor has performed and recorded with Yo-Yo Ma (Songs of Joy and Peace, Sony BMG Masterworks. "2010 Grammy Winning Album"), Jeff Ballard, Chris Cheek, Paquito D’Rivera, Matt Wilson, Donny McCaslin, Lionel Louke among others and is involved in projects such as Pablo Aslan’s Avantango, Emilio Solla’s NY Jazz Tango Project, Tessa Souter and Beat Kaestli. 
He teaches Master Classes in Spain, Italy, Portugal, USA and has headed the jazz accordion studies at the Brooklyn Conservatory (2003 – 2004). He is a recipient of numerous awards and prizes for excellence in accordion performance and composition, among them are: the Creative Performer award from the Spanish Association of Artists and Performers, and the first prize at CMZK’s Concourse of Composition (Argentina).
Victor now lives in New York City dividing his time between performing, teaching and recording. He has recently introduced his third recording, "Chris Cheek and V. Prieto. Rollo-Coaster.", Cheekus Music.
For further information:

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

Long Island Accordion Alliance Meets January 11

by Rita Barnea
Long Island Accordion AllianceOn Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 the Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) will meet at La Villini Restaurant, 288 Larkfield Road, East Northport, NY.

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 idea is to encourage accordionists to share their love for playing the “best musical instrument in the world”by playing together. We all can learn from each other no matter what our abilities are. Please come!

People who love to just listen to accordion music are most cordially invited to attend. It will be a fun evening.

Enjoy a great meal, music and meet other accordion enthusiasts! Reservation are recommended. (631) 261 6344

If you are coming to perform please notify Dominic Karcic at: or 631.864.4428

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

Texas Mid Cities Accordion Association (D/FW Area) Activities

by Rita Barnea
President John MartinThe Mid-Cities Accordion Association (D/FW Area)has several interesting events planned for 2011.

On Sunday, January 16, the Mid-Cities group will meet at the Edelweiss Restaurant, 3801 Southwest Boulevard,in Fort Worth. Everyone is invited for food and friendship, and performing on stage with Mike Borelli.

The new owners of the restaurant have brought in great new European chefs, remodeled the kitchen, and expanded the menu.

Sunday evenings at the restaurant are not crowded. There will be plenty of table space around the dance floor and few dancers to bump into. The gathering begins when Mike takes the stage at about 4 P.M.

You are welcome to come earlier or later and stay as long as you like! Bring your accordion so you can be a part of the entertainment. There will be opportunities to play solos, duets with Mike, and some group songs.

On February 20 there will be a joint meeting with the World Button Box Association at the Hurst Recreation Center.

More information will follow on this joint meeting. In the mean time, please mark your calendars so you won't miss either of these accordion events.

For more information contact President John Martin email: or call 817.282.7449
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