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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Jan-2024
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
Latest News: Ready to Pursue your Childhood Dream and Compete for $100,000?
“Moments with Leonard Bernstein” by Dr. William Schimmel
2024 National Accordion Convention: Celebrating the Return of Live Music!
Kevin Friedrich & Friends 2023 Christmas Concert, Dargaville - New Zealand
Cory Pesaturo Performance in Saudi Arabia Televised to Millions
Stas Music Foundation Presents Houston Accordion Orchestra Concerts 2024
Innovative Accordion Music Productions Presents Winter Accordion Wonderland Performance
Vitor Goncalves Performs on The Jazz Cruise

Voci Armoniche

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

The Impact of Rob’s Accordion…a Story to Remember...
Latest Article on AAA Commissioned Series, Prelude and Caprice by Joel Brickman - USA
Accordion Summit Includes 6 Accordions to Entertain All!
Lori Beth Brooke Performs at Colorado Cowboy Gathering
Denis Novato receives the "Tony Petkovsek Award" - Italy/USA
Vancouver Squeezebox Circle Begins New Year on January 3
Dr. Jeffrey Grosser to Perform at the Arizona American Italian Club

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Warm Invitation to 2024 NZAA South Pacific Accordion Championships & Festival - New Zealand
Flogging Molly “Road to Rebellion” USA Tour 2024
The 2024 Accordion Seminars with Dr. William Schimmel, Curator
2024 Stowe Tango Music Festival August 6 - 11

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



Editor's Note

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Happy New Year
Rita and TullaAccordions Worldwide (AWW) wishes all our readers a Happy and Healthy New Year. We hope you have enjoyed the news over the last year. AWW will continue to keep you informed about accordion events wherever they are happening.

I like to begin each new year reminding us all that playing music at any level is a unique and special gift which we all possess. It is never too late to begin learning the accordion (or any instrument) and the joys, which include meeting new friends, are priceless. Think of all the wonderful people that you have met this past year because of the accordion. (Even if you met them virtually online, one day you will actually meet them!)

Here are your 2024 New Year's Resolutions! Have some suggestions? Please send them along with your ideas/comments to me at

1. I promise to practice my accordion every day. (Or, as often as possible).

You can find at least 20 to 30 minutes a day to practice your accordion if you really want to. If you find time for watching the news on TV, or talking on your cell phone, enjoying your tablet, computer 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, a stress reliever and also good exercise! And you don't need a doctor's appointment or a prescription!

2. I promise to play my accordion for friends and family at least once a month.

Everyone who has ever seen me perform has always commented on the beauty and 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 by your playing and admire your commitment to learning the accordion. Share your music. It is a good deed!

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

Try to expand your repertoire. It doesn't have to be a concerto! What about a new 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 on the internet: 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 or more live or zoom accordion events in 2024.

There are many accordion festivals, concerts, accordion clubs etc. around the country. Fortunately we are back to live accordion events but if you prefer online attendance it is so easy to register, attend, or participate from the comfort of your own home! Consider making an online donation to help support musicians whose livelihood was greatly reduced due to the cancellation of so many live events over the past few years. Search the USA News each month for live and online events. 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.

5. I will purchase at least two accordion such as iTunes, books, sheet music, mp3’s, CD’s etc…

There is so much wonderful accordion music to purchase. 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 online offerings. Visit to find your favorite accordion items!

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!

7. I promise to send news about my accordion club, association, concert, event to for an article in the USA News. We can also include photos and videos. We want to know all about your accordion activities. The submission deadline is the 27th of the previous month for consideration of a first of the month publication.

8. I will think about treating myself to a new accordion! Why not? When you have a new instrument, you sound better!! Well....some old fashioned practice would also help.

9. I promise to read the USA News every month and the Weekly News ( regularly. All past publications are available in archives. Just click on "Past News Index" at the top of the page.

10. I promise to get in shape this year!

Being in good physical health leads to a better mental and spiritual outlook on life. Watching your diet, losing weight, exercising are all positive and beneficial activities. Not only does it benefit your daily life, but also your musical abilities. Why is this true? As you may already know, playing the accordion requires upper body strength to lift the instrument to play and perhaps to stroll with. Using the bellows requires arm muscle movement, etc. You will feel better, look better, and play better! My suggestion: Take a photo of yourself/video of your playing the accordion. Get on a regular exercise program as well as a regular practice schedule. Take a photo/video of yourself three months later. You will notice a great improvement in your physical appearance and your musical performance. Let me know how it works for you.

11. I will reread Resolutions 1-10 again and again!

Let’s bring more kindness and good feelings to our world in 2024. A caring word and your accordion playing will go very far to make someone enjoy their day and feel better. Playing a song on your accordion for someone brings positivity and enjoyment. Don’t be shy. You do not have to be a virtuoso. Put you and your accordion on the many online platforms and you can easily send your musical message of peace and happiness all over the world!

Happy New Year to All! Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy 2024!

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Latest News: Ready to Pursue your Childhood Dream and Compete for $100,000?

by Frank Busso Jnr, AAA President
Second Act
Frank Busso JrThe American Accordionists' Association (AAA) is proud to collaborate with Casting Duo, a premiere unscripted casting company of hit shows like Project Runway, The Glee Project, and The Great American Baking Show. Casting Duo is now casting a new, heartwarming talent competition show for the Max streaming network: "Second Act"!

"Second Act" is on the lookout for an incredible accordionist deserving of their second act! The show will celebrate everyday, exceptionally talented people whose dreams were never pursued because life had other plans for them. SECOND ACT seeks non-professional – or formerly professional – singers, instrumentalists, dancers, comedians, and visual performers of all kinds, aged 29+, who want to share their talent and story of why they never had a chance to fully pursue their destiny.

The winner of the show receives a life-changing cash prize of $100,000. Filming will take place in March 2024 (non-consecutive days within that month) and all expenses will be paid for those selected.

To view further information, the “Deadline” article, the “Variety” article, and application information, go to:

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

“Moments with Leonard Bernstein” by Dr. William Schimmel

by Dr. William Schimmel
Bill SchimmelBernsteinEditor Rita Barnea shares, "After seeing the movie “Maestro” which I highly recommend all to see, I thought about how the accordion might be related to Leonard Bernstein. I remembered that Dr. William Schimmel has been the accordionist for the New York Philharmonic for decades. Maybe he played under the direction of Leonard Bernstein?

I called Bill and we had an amazing conversation about his relationship with Leonard Bernstein. I asked if he would be willing to share his experiences performing on accordion with the New York Philharmonic directed by Bernstein. Bill immediately and enthusiastically agreed. Here are his special memories. Thank you, Bill!"

“Moments with Leonard Bernstein” by Dr. William Schimmel

In 1977, I was called in to play with The New York Philharmonic. It wasn’t my first time, And I have played with them for the past 50 years with many conductors. but, this one was with Leonard Bernstein. It was the premiere of a new work by Lukas Foss, “The American Cantata”. It was scored for Chorus and Orchestra (with an accordion part).

I had just finished giving the first reading of Foss’s “Curriculum Vitae” (a new AAA commission) at an AAA meeting in which Foss attended on last minute notice). Bernstein was loved by the orchestra and they were happy about his return for this concert. Before the rehearsal, the members of the orchestra gathered around him calling him “Lenny”.

Foss managed to get me through the crowd of musicians and introduced me to him by saying that I premiered his new accordion piece. Bernstein replied, “Yes, and I heard that it was a great success” How did he know? Or did Foss tell him ahead of time. I didn’t ask. Leonard then said, “They have been trying to get me to write a piece for the accordion. I don’t know anything about the instrument. There has been this lady chasing after me for quite a while. She had bright red hair”. Of course that was none other than Elsie Bennett. I can still see her today trying to get past the doorman to see Bernstein. She apparently did, but no piece was written.

Then, something strange happened during the break. I heard “Hey Schimmel” and it sounded like Bernstein’s voice. I turned around quickly and he was busy looking at the score. Was it him, or was I imagining it, a sort of “wishful thinking”? The accordion part was small. But it wasn’t the point. It was me playing my accordion with The New York Philharmonic in a work by Lukas Foss conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Even though the Foss family fled from Europe when he was a child, he started off as an American composer, like Aaron Copland and others in that genre. And then it seemed that overnight he switched to The Avant Garde and created a whole culture of “Creative Associates” at the University of Buffalo. The quick switchover was an over simplification, sort of an easy target for critics.

The American Cantata juggled between his older “American” style and the “Avant Garde”. It had Fanfares coming from the Chorus, holding up large cue cards with section numbers. The conductor could choose at random, any section or to combine any section. There was a poem by Walt Whitman and a section about The New York Stock Exchange. It was The Westminster Choir College, a school with religious roots. At one point in the rehearsal, the Maestro yelled out, “I can’t hear a F——— thing”. There was a dead silence. The choir blushed and the Maestro realized that he was talking to Seminary students. Another long silent moment and he continued the rehearsal as if nothing happened. At the end of the piece, there was a recording of a soldier dying on the battlefield writing to his parents with the help of another Soldier. He ends the letter with “Your beloved son, John”. At the dress rehearsal, as the piece progresses to “your beloved son”, the maestro blurts out, “Irving”, Of course everyone laughed hysterically - except Foss.

The orchestra knew his every move and followed him perfectly. If it was your first experience with him, one might find him hard to follow. It was for me. I stopped looking and realized that I had to step into his energy and go along for a good ride. It had nothing to do with following a beat.

At the final performance, he pointed to all the choir Fanfare sections in a totally haphazard way, perversely enjoying every minute. Total 'controlled' chaos. Glassy eyes. You know what I mean. He was shorter than I expected. He became large - and larger than life at the podium. At each rehearsal, I looked to see how he would make his entrance to the podium to start the rehearsal. Somehow I would always get distracted and as I turned around, he was already there - every time.

The movie, “Maestro”, is a good movie. Of course, it’s just a movie but it does show a complex human being, his amiable personality to everyone that he encountered. In my own short experience, I suspected that this may actually be a way of distancing himself. Calling him “Lenny” may seem close but it can also have a distancing quality about it as well.

I will tell a few more stories - and they are all true:

In the late 1960’s into the early 70’s I was a student at the Juilliard School in composition (Read my bio on ). On my free days, I and a songwriting partner would pound the pavement trying to peddle songs at various publishing companies. We worked as staff writers with Paul Leka at Mercury records. Paul wrote “Na Na Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye “and “Green Tambourine”. We met Leiber and Stoler and we 'almost' did a project with them.

But, BMI sent us to meet John McClure who was interested in producing Rock and Roll. He was Bernstein’s producer, as well as Stravinsky’s. He liked our stuff and produced a demo. This was to be on Columbia Records. Nothing happened with it.

At the end of "Maestro" as the credits are rolling, they play a segment of his "Chichester Psalms". That plaintive voice is John McClure’s (then) wife. She sang background vocals on our demo.

And that’s my story!

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

2024 National Accordion Convention: Celebrating the Return of Live Music!

by Norman Seaton, NAA President
Click each picture to see full size
2024 National Accordion Convention
Hilton Garden Inn - 785 SH 121 - Lewisville, Texas
This hotel is 8 miles North of DFW Airport
March 20-24, 2024

Celebrating the Return of Live Music!!!!!
Now is the time to register for the 2024 Party-Driven National Accordion Convention. Training for all levels of musicians!

New Concepts for 2024:
The new "Pathways to Success" program is open to all accordionists!
The year 2024 is providing a new movement of “live music” opportunities. As a result, The 2024 planning committee has developed several “pathways to becoming a successful musician.” Read about the “optional pathways” that are detailed on the convention landing page. Then complete the survey so the committee can prepare an efficient pathway of learning that will work for all conventioneers. If a 2024 conventioneer does not learn any new musical skills in 2024, then do not blame the committee members!

Tell the Committee what you want to learn in 2024

If you are planning to attend the 2024 National Accordion Convention located in the Lewisville, Texas area, please complete this Interest Survey before January 14th. The 2024 presenters have agreed to make minor modifications in their presentations that will address the training desires of the conventioneers. The link:

Other Important 2024 Links:
NAA Home Page: National Accordion Association at
Convention Landing Page:
2024 Convention/Hotel Registration: 2024NAARegistration
Pathway Descriptions & Survey: 2024 Pathways

Now is the time to renew communications among all accordionists, accordion teachers, vendors, and the accordion associations.

For complete information, visit the National Accordion Association website at

Voci Armoniche

Kevin Friedrich & Friends 2023 Christmas Concert, Dargaville - New Zealand

by Kevin Friedrich
Click each picture to see full size
Dargaville Concert PosterThe Dargaville Museum which houses the superb Accordion Gems by Kevin Friedrich ... A Master Collection of Accordions through Time... was also the venue of the Kevin Friedrich and Friends 2023 Christmas Concert on December 3rd, 2023. Report at: 2023Dargaville

For this production ‘Making Spirits Bright', the Lighthouse Function Centre was once again filled with people, music and community friendship as the talented variety of performers delighted concert goers with their musical and dance offerings.

The concert featured both up and coming performers, some taking to the stage for the first time, thru to seasoned professional artists and groups. Performers included: North Shore Accordion Orchestra, Anna Collins, Laura & Annie Carey, Leah Newlove Kaipara Ballet, Lionel Reekie, Jone Yelcich, Take 6, Linda Emmett Litt, Ruth & Hans de Man, Martin Rhodes, Elizabeth Card, Rivertown Singers, Roslyn Gilmour, Alanah Jones, Maurice Jones, Nolene Osbaldiston, the Dargaville Tamburica Orchestra and Karyn & Ken Inder.

Sincere thanks go to committee member and Concert Organiser Margaret Tier. Many of the attendees offered feedback that the Show was so professionally presented and were interested to hear that Margaret conducts behind the scenes rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the Concert, to ensure that the artists are in top form on the day of the production.

In addition to Margaret, special thanks go to the Sound, Lighting and Video Team including Kerrian Russell, Mike Collins and Ken Cashin, who kindly donate their expertise. Continuing with this community spirit, additional thanks go to the Dargaville Little Theatre and CARTERS - Dargaville for providing all the materials used to construct the Concert Stage.

Plans are already underway for the fundraising series to continue in 2024 where the concerts are sure to fill the Lighthouse with more incredible music performed by an array of talented artists. Report at: 2023Dargaville

Picture below: Santa (Lionel Reekie) and Kevin Friedrich performing Christmas Carols with Take Six, Rivertown Singers, vocalists Jone Yelcich, Anna Collins & Alanah Jones and Linda Emmett Litt (percussion).
Dargaville Concert Ending

Accordion Jazz Chords

Cory Pesaturo Performance in Saudi Arabia Televised to Millions

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Click each picture below to see full size
USA accordionist Cory Pesaturo had the honor to be Guest Artist in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia before an audience of some 7,000 in the Abu Bakir Salim Theater, for a concert televised to tens of millions across the Arab World. The concert was performing the music of Egyptian composer Riad Al Sunbati (1906-1981) conducted by Hany Farahat.

Cory said, “The Egyptians created the event, the Saudis organized the event, the Ukrainian Brass section and other countries musicians were all just A+ to work with.  One of the other soloists to be brought in was Andrea Bocelli and Chris Botti's violinist Caroline Campbell, and classical guitarist from Kosovo, Petrit Ceku. 

Pesaturo was enthralled by Saudi Arabian Conductor Hany Farahat who "Is truly is in my Top 5 favorite people I’ve ever worked with in the music world. It was heartfelt to know that all of these Arab cultures were both so incredibly welcoming to me, and thoroughly enjoyed my outgoing personality haha. May our cultures keep using the Wonders of Music to join hands in Peace & Laughter for all.”

For further information:


Stas Music Foundation Presents Houston Accordion Orchestra Concerts 2024

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
The Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat 2024 will be held at Kemah, TX on January 11-14, 2024.This year the special Guest will be Joan C. Sommers and her Nine Zero birthday year will be celebrated. There will be 2 public concerts in Houston, Saturday 's concert will be live streamed (see Attached flyer), and people can purchase a ticket to view the event.

The Houston Accordion Orchestra Concert with Stas Venglevski takes place on Sat, Jan 13th, 2024, 2:30 PM at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Houston, TX. The concert, is titled “Gamers Music Galore" from vintage to contemporary video game melodies inspired by the sights & sounds of video game throughout the years.The second concert takes place on Sun, Jan 14, 2024, 2:30 PM at Lambert Hall, Houston, TX.

Stas Venglevski shares, “Will you join me in attending this fantastic live-streamed concert event? I will be conducting the orchestra along with Joan C. Sommers, who will be celebrating a special birthday. “

The number of youth participants is growing every year with new and returning participants. See poster for details.

The mission of the Stas Music Foundation is to “popularize the accordion in the following ways: attracting young people to fine art, giving them the opportunity to play music, increasing their experiences in performance as a soloist and with orchestra as well as providing opportunities to compose and premiere new music.

Alongside this mission we wish to also expand the public’s horizon of knowledge in the field of art and music and to support any initiative worthy of attention in this way - to bring culture to the public in all parts of the world.”

See posters for further details and ticket information.For more info:

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

Innovative Accordion Music Productions Presents Winter Accordion Wonderland Performance

by Laura Niland, President of the San Antonio Accordion Association
Innovative Accordion Music Productions (IAMP), a Texas-based non-profit, is proud to sponsor a Winter Accordion Wonderland concert by renowned accordionists Sergei and Maria Teleshev and by Elena Fainshtein. Also performing will be the Fainshtein Accordion Ensemble, comprised of students enrolled in Elena’s accordion school, Musical Expressions, as well as guest performanc by Martina Li. You are invited to an afternoon of fabulous entertainment with music from around the world presented by these talented musicians.

The Winter Accordion Wonderland will be held at on Saturday, January 27, 2024
3:30 - 5:15 PM Central Time
Kawai Piano Gallery, 601 W. Plano Parkway #153, Plano, Texas.

Tickets: $25 for adults. Age 18 and under are free. Tickets at the Door: $30. Tickets may be purchased in advance via a link at the Innovative Accordion Music Productions (IAMP) website. CD's will be sold at the concert.

The family duo Sergei and Maria Teleshev, “Two Accordions”, is a unique collaboration between father and daughter, both renowned musicians and accordion champions from the United States. Sergei Teleshev is a professional accordion player from Eugene, Oregon living and performing in the United States since 1996. He has Ukrainian roots and was classically trained at the Academy of Music in Voronezh, Russia. Sergei has collaborated with many internationally recognized artists, ensembles, and orchestras, as well as composing and arranging music and participating in recording projects of different genres. Sergei provides online accordion lessons, master classes, and educational school programs for all ages.

Maria Telesheva was six years old when she started to play the accordion taught by her father Sergei Teleshev. Two months after Maria started playing, she won her first International Competition and has enjoyed continuing successes. Maria’s talent is not limited to her exceptional duet and solo accordion performances, as she is also a talented singer. To learn more about Sergei and Maria Teleshev and to purchase CDs go to the Teleshev website.

Elena Fainshtein is an energetic driving force in the accordion world as a master performer, conductor, and teacher. She started playing the bayan at age 5 and attended a school for gifted children in Minsk, Belarus. At age 15 she was accepted to the Music College in Minsk and graduated with highest honors, then attended the Belarusian State Academy of Music. She performed many concerts with her husband Gregory as they traveled to Russia, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Germany, Israel, and the United States. Elena has performed at the National Accordion Conventions (NAA) in Dallas, the Las Vegas International Festivals, and the Accordionists and Teachers Guild (ATG) Conventions. She has worked collaboratively with numerous musicians and presented many workshops throughout her career.

Last summer Elena performed in Salt Lake City at the International Trombone Festival, and then at the ATG Festival in Lisle, Illinois with trombonist Dr. Lucas Kaspar, Professor of Music at Cameron University. She has been teaching piano and accordion for over 30 years. Elena resides in Plano, Texas where she maintains a private home studio called Musical Expressions and has been working with the Fainshtein Accordion Ensemble for many years. For more information about Elena Fainshtein and her music studio:

For more information about this concert:
Additional information contact: Shirley Johnson (IAMP Director) at
or Laura Niland (IAMP Director) at

Innovative Accordion Music Productions (IAMP) is a Texas-based non-profit formed in 2021. The mission of IAMP is to promote accordion music “to entertain, educate, and inspire every audience.” Our accordion programs include but are not limited to: concerts, workshops, performance opportunities, instructional programs, and community outreach. Visit our website for more information about The Mobile Accordion Classroom (MACr), an exciting new community outreach project.

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Vitor Goncalves Performs on The Jazz Cruise

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Jazz CruiseVitor GoncalvesVideo: "Pro Zé Nogueira" (Vitor Gonçalves)
Recorded at St Ann and The Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn, NY, filmed by Nicholas Rubin

The Jazz Cruise is a full-ship Cruise charter dedicated to “straight-ahead” jazz. After more than two decades of producing a jazz-only festival, The Jazz Cruise is hailed as a Jazz Heaven.

The cruise takes place from January 18 - January 25, 2024 going to Miami • Labadee • Puerto Plata • St. Thomas. Since 2001, The Jazz Cruise, has become a significant event. One hundred jazz musicians. Two hundred hours of music. It is the Field of Dreams of jazz. Currently, ’24 sailing is fully reserved but you can contact them to see if there are cancellations.

This year accordionist Vitor Goncalvez is included among the line up of jazz performers. Vitor is a pianist, accordionist, composer and arranger from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After an illustrious career as an in demand musician in Brazil, playing with such icons as Hermeto Pascoal, Maria Bethânia, Itiberê Zwarg, and many others, he made the move in 2012 to New York City, where he currently resides.

Vitor will be performing at Lunatico on Jan 7, 2024. Lunatico is located at:
Bedford Stuyvesant, 486 Halsey Street, Brooklyn, NY.
718 513-0339

Vitor will be performing at Lunatico on Jan 7, 2024.The project is "Yahalom/Boccato/Gonçalves trio" He has performed in NPR’s Jazz Night in America, hosted by Christian McBride and The New York Times as a guest of the renowned Spok Frevo Orquestra. A frequent resident on the stages of Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Jazz Standard, and the Jazz Gallery, he both leads his own projects, and collaborates with figures in the New York scene such as Anat Cohen, Vinícius Cantuária, Anthony Wilson, Cyro Baptista, and Yotam Silberstein. He also has played in Jazz Festivals and venues around the world, such as Newport Jazz, Jazz à Vienne, Umbria Jazz Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and the Coliseum in Lisbon, Portugal.
Vitor moved to New York to deepen his pursuit of Jazz and its connection with Brazilian music, and to explore the diverse musical melting pot that is New York City. It is here that he began leading his own group and forming new collectives, while pursuing a Masters Degree at City College. In 2017 he released his debut album on Sunnyside Records, Vitor Gonçalves Quartet, featuring Dan Weiss (drums), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Todd Neufeld (guitar). The album was reviewed with 4 and half stars at Downbeat jazz magazine.

Other groups he co-leads are “SanfoNYa Brasileira”, a trio with Eduardo Belo on bass and Vanderlei Pereira on drums, and “Regional de NY”, representative of Choro music (a rich Brazilian genre) in the USA. Both groups released an original album, the former with Steve Wilson as a guest and the latter with Fred Hersch. He received two nominations for the Grammy Awards 2020, for Best Latin Jazz album with Thalma de Freitas and for Best Large Jazz Ensemble with Anat Cohen Tentet.

Photo by Samuel Johnson
For further information:
USA & Canada: 888.852.9987

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

The Impact of Rob’s Accordion…a Story to Remember...

by Paul Ramunni
New England Accordion Connection
Paul RamunniNew Year’s Day 2024: We have many accordions in our collection here in Connecticut at the New England Accordion Connection & Museum Co. ( Along with the accordions that have come to us, are the backstories. Each unit has a history and story and it’s usually quite personal. Some stories, like the one that follows here, can have a profound meaning for the original owner and the people who heard that accordion’s music. My hope, in this new year, is that we too can benefit from the original experience of the story of Rob’s accordion.

About 15 years ago I received a call from a Navy veteran, Rob, who still had his small Hohner button box accordion that he kept with him during WW II. He was a mechanic on one of the aircraft carriers that operated in the Pacific during the war. His ship was attacked on many occasions, but he always managed to escape getting severely injured. He spent most of the war on that ship. He was eventually promoted to chief mechanic near the end of his tour.

Beneath the flight deck, was a cavernous area where the damaged planes would be lowered by elevator to be repaired. Rob’s quarters were in that lower deck area. He got into the habit of playing his accordion late in the day usually after mealtime when he had some downtime. Since the whole ship was made of steel, the acoustics in that repair area were unbelievable. Consequently, the sound would carry and his accordion could be heard in many parts of the ship. At first, Rob did not realize that so many people could hear him play. He would play songs that were memorable to him as a child growing up. It turns out that those songs were very special to many others on that ship as well.

Before long, men who were scheduled to fly bombing missions, would come down to Rob’s area early in the mornings, just before their mission, to thank him. The music affected them deeply as they knew their missions were very dangerous, and many would not be returning. But the songs and sound of the accordion would encourage them and remind them of why they were there. They were fighting to save their families and America itself.

Eventually, the ship’s captain came to Rob and told him that he would approve “piping” his music throughout the ship, via intercom, each evening at a specific hour. He heard about the positive impact the songs were having on the fliers and crew, including all of the support personnel. Rob teared up as he told me this story. He said that the experience was beyond his ability to understand it, and at times, even to bear it. He knew that he was playing for soon to be dead soldiers. He played a song or two for me that he still remembered and yes, we both teared up a little.

We are now moving into 2024 and it promises to be a tumultuous year for many of us. I am finding that with all of the folks who visit our museum, music is one of the last things that we can still all agree on and enjoy together. The accordion is a fabulous tool for delivering those songs and music. Coincidentally, the root word for accordion comes from the German word “akkord.” It means to come together in harmony and agreement, something we are in desperate need of these days.

Rob was by no means a virtuoso player. He was self-taught and very modest about his playing ability. But it was his dedication and desire to help his fellow soldiers get through their tasks and survive. He wanted to give them a little bit of happiness at such a dark time. He succeeded, as did our veterans.

Your accordion can have an important impact as well. If you can play, then by all means, take it out and play it, especially for others. If you don’t play, then this would be a good time to learn and begin.…………Happy New Year everyone!!

Paul Ramunni
Curator and owner of The New England Accordion Connection & Museum Co.………860-833-1374

Titano Accordion Company

Latest Article on AAA Commissioned Series, Prelude and Caprice by Joel Brickman - USA

by Dr. Robert Young McMahan Chair, AAA Composers Commissioning Committee
AAA Header
Joel Brickman, Carmen Carrozza, Elsie BennettThe latest upgraded and expanded article to be published this month in easy-to-read web page format unveils the first composer from the "Baby Boomer" generation (commonly defined as a member of the generation born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s) to be commissioned by Elsie Bennett and the AAA to write a contemporary work for accordion.

He is Joel Brickman, born squarely on that sociologically proclaimed initial year after World War II of 1946. His first contact with Bennett occurred completely by chance 26 years later, soon after Brickman had earned a master’s degree in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music and makes a wonderfully interesting and fun story to read in its own right. (So now you must read the article to learn more!)

Picture left: Joel Brickman, Carmen Carrozza, and Elsie Bennett discussing a draft of the Prelude and Caprice, June 21, 1972.

The outcome of this fortuitous engagement was a highly idiomatic and challenging atonal accordion solo, Prelude and Caprice. Published in 1973 by Pietro Deiro Publications, it represents the first of a string of AAA-commissioned Boomer and later generation composers that followed over the next fifty years, including Roger Davidson, José Halac, George Katehis, Dave Soldier, Timothy Thompson, and accordionist/composers John Franceschina, Karen Fremar, Will Holshouser, Guy Klucevsek, Joseph Natoli, William Schimmel, and myself, all conservatory - or university-trained professional composers.

Supplementing this expanded version of the original 2018 article is an excellent recording of the Prelude and Caprice by Mary Tokarski which may be heard on the AAA site webpage at:

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

Accordion Summit Includes 6 Accordions to Entertain All!

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Accordion Summit
Accordion SummitVideo: Accordion Summit on December 26, 2023

“Accordion Summit” happened on December 26, 2023 at Hebrew Union College in NYC. Accordionist Will Holshouser, one of the performers, said, “It was a special night at Yiddish New York -- such a joy to play with these great accordionists and lovely people! L to R: Ilya Shneyveys, me, Lauren Brody, Ira Temple, Rob Curto, Peter Stan, and (not pictured) David Licht on percussion. Many thanks to Frank London for dreaming this up (and the photo) and Ilya for leading the band!”

My son, Daniel Davidson, and I attended the event. We were enthralled every minute. Over 150 people were in the audience, singing, dancing, and listening to the lively and heartfelt music. So much spirit and enjoyment! Probably the first time six well known accordionists shared their Balkan, Brazilian and Klezmer talents. There were many combinations of performances: solos, duets, trios and in ensemble. You could feel their happiness at performing together.

I am looking forward to more events like this. Thank you to MC Ilya Shneyves who educated and enabled all to walk away with a greater appreciation of so many types of accordion music. We hope to see more programs like this in the near future.

For further information:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Lori Beth Brooke Performs at Colorado Cowboy Gathering

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Lori Beth Brooke
CD cover Lori Beth BrookeVideo: Lori Beth Brooke - “Guys Love Chicks Who Yodel “(Official Music Video). CD cover right.

Lori Beth Brooke will open the Friday evening January 12, 2024 show at the 2024 Colorado Cowboy Gathering. Singer/songwriter Lori Beth got her start at a very young age. Her accolades include the award for 2016 International Western Music Assn. Female Yodeler of the Year! Lori (as well as additional 2024 CCG Performers) will be performing all throughout the Gathering.

Lori Beth Brooke is an accordionist, yodeler, singer, and song-writer from Austin, Texas. A native Texan with German heritage, she grew up on a dairy farm in Nordheim, just southeast of San Antonio. Lori Beth started playing piano before she started elementary school. Then, at seven she was finally big enough to hold an accordion and learned to play her first polka from the Palmer Hughes series. By age 12 she was writing her own songs.

Lori graduated with a B.A. in Music and a M.S. in Computer Information Systems. She now works in the computer industry managing a database team for the data analytics division at an Austin-based company. However, Lori Beth's true calling is music and during the past 20 years she has performed in a broad range of genres: classical, big band, German folk, country, and most recently, Western music.

Learning to yodel after college, Lori Beth has used this unique singing technique extensively in both German folk music and Western music. In 2016 the International Western Music Association named Lori Beth Female Yodeler of the Year. Lori Beth continues to write songs and believes that the Western music genre allows her to realize her full potential as both a songwriter and a performer. In August 2020 she released an album of Western/Western Swing music with 10 original songs called "Texas Star" which was awarded the 2020 International Western Music Association Cowboy Western Swing Album of the Year! Most recently the Academy of Western Artists named Lori Beth the 2020 Female of the Year in the Western Music category. And her original song, "Knock Knock", a playful spin on a romance and sung as a male/female duet, has been named the winning humorous song for the 2021 Walnut Valley Festival NewSong Showcase.

Dave Alexander's review of her album, "Texas Star”: “One big perk I have enjoyed over the years as a nationally syndicated weekly radio host is that I get a lot of music in the mail for my consideration. To be brutally honest, the majority of it does not make the cut.  However, once in a great while, something will grab my attention, and I just cannot put it down.

Lori Beth Brooke is one of those exceptions.  Her “Texas Star” CD caught me by the “Traditionalist” button. This singing, yodeling and squeeze box performer is right on point if you love Traditional Texas Music with a touch of German influence.  If you are a real Texan, in the words of my friend Gene Autry, “Well, Son, you should!” Lori Beth is an “Austinite” who grew up in Nordheimn-, just southeast of San Antonio. Her musicianship speaks for itself, and her choice of musicians and producer, Dave Martin, of Carolyn Martin, give way to impeccable balance, mix and tuning.

Lori is an educated musician who has obviously studied her craft since childhood and knows how to deliver a great package. Her songwriting tells of her stories from driving all night after a gig, to what it takes to live the cowgirl lifestyle.  They all seem honest and real, which is another true Texas Tradition. I say give it a listen, maybe with a cold German brew and your best Cowboy hat. Happy Trails.”

Future performances include:
Thursday, January 11, 2024
7:PM,Colorado Cowboy Gathering

Friday, January 12, 2024
1:PM, Colorado Cowboy Gathering - Kickin' It Off
7:30 PM, Colorado Cowboy Gathering

Saturday, January 13, 2024
1:PM, Colorado Cowboy Gather - Round Robin
1:00 – 1:45PM at Buffalo Rose Event Center, 1119 Washington Ave, Golden, CO
3:45 – 4:30 PM at Buffalo Rose Event Center, 1119 Washington Ave, Golden, CO

The Colorado Cowboy Gathering (CCG) is dedicated to exploring, presenting and preserving the diverse and dynamic cultural heritage of the American West. CCG is an organization that believes in a world where a handshake means something and that the Code of the West is a powerful way to teach our children to live a life of integrity, commitment and respect. CCG celebrates the wisdom, artistry and ingenuity of Western folkways through exhibitions, statewide outreach educational programs, and a premier annual event held in January – a vital link to the past, present and future, and where the traditions of the cowboy and the Code of the West are shared through stories, poetry, song and verse.

For further information on CCG:
For further information on Lori Brooke and ordering her CD:

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Denis Novato receives the "Tony Petkovsek Award" - Italy/USA

by Diatonic News
Joe Valencic, Denis Novato, Denny Bucar
Denis Novato, presenter Joey TomsickDenis Novato with AwardTrieste, Italy accordionist Denis Novato received this award for his musical career and the international dissemination of music.

During the Thanksgiving celebrations, accordionist from Trieste Denis Novato, received a prestigious award in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo above Cleveland Polka Hall of fame committee members Joe Valencic and Denny Bucar Denis Novato and on the bottom left photo presenter Joey Tomsick)

He is the first non-American person to receive this prestigious award. Before him it was awarded to several musicians, journalists and the governor of Ohio Georg Volnivich.

For the accordionist from Trieste, this award, the "Tony Petkovsek Award", confirms his fame in the USA and after having already entered the hall of fame of world accordionists in New York, his name has now also entered the Polka Hall of fame in Cleveland.

In 2021 Novato was nominated Knight of the Italian Republic and the cast of his hand was exhibited in the museum of the great accordionists in Recoaro Terme.

Novato will be performing son at the ski world cup events in Val Badia, Cortina d'Ampezzo and Kitzbühel.

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Vancouver Squeezebox Circle Begins New Year on January 3

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Vancouver Squeezebox Circle
The first Squeezebox Circle accordion get-together for 2024 is happening on Wednesday Jan 3rd 7 - 9 PM at the Longhouse: 2595 Franklin (corner of Penticton), East Vancouver - lots of free parking! All invited - free, but in keeping with the location, there's a collection at the end.

Vancouver, Canada has a busy, vibrant accordion community. Since March of 2007, Rowan and Bruce from Accordion Noir Radio along with Alan Zisman have hosted a monthly get-together to bring squeezebox enthusiasts together in a room to demonstrate variances among their instruments, share hard-earned technical, historical, technological and musical knowledge with newer players, and learn and perform squeezebox music solo and together.

Squeezebox Circle is a regular series of low-impact social gatherings for squeezeboxes including accordions, bandoneons, bayans, concertinas, melodeons etc. and the people who squeeze them. An evening to share songs in all styles, trade tips and stories for novices and old hands alike. By donation. In addition to music, doubtless history, stories and jokes will be shared and swapped.

When: First Wednesday of each month, 7-9 pm
Where: Longhouse Council of Native Ministry
2585 Franklin Street (corner of Penticton)
Vancouver BC Canada

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

Dr. Jeffrey Grosser to Perform at the Arizona American Italian Club

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Jeffrey GrosserDr Jeffrey William Grosser, just returned from his tour in Scotland, ending a year of playing in England, Ireland, France, Switzerland and Italy. He recently completed his Christmas Concert with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra in Augusta, Maine.

He will be performing as the invited Guest Artist and Headliner for the Arizona Accordion Club Saturday, January 13, 2024 for their monthly meeting at the Arizona American Italian Club 7509 N. 12th St Phoenix, AZ 85020. The meeting starts at 2:00 PM that afternoon.  His performance will include jazz standards, country, and classic accordion specialties. 

Dr Jeff Grosser has a wonderful career as a dental surgeon and professional musician. Growing up in New York City provided him with many opportunities to learn and perform music of many genres, from classical, jazz, and ethnic styles with formal training from Kleon Rapatikis who made it possible for Jeff to open many doors for his music. He now lives in Wiscasset ME. He has presented performances at Carnegie Hall three times, working with many famous entertainers, playing at Radio City, doing TV, radio, theater, club, convention, festival, and private party performances, guest artist appearances at The Chicago, Phoenix, New Hampshire, Maine Accordion Clubs, The Augusta Symphony Orchestra and other musical events around the USA are all a small part of his musical resume, as well as performing his music in Europe.

Jeff is now looking forward to a new year of music making, inspired by everything music offers, and the wonderful availability of instruments upon which to perform. He will be one of the guest artists for the Phoenix Accordion Club in March and is expecting to do an accordion tribute to Fat's Waller with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra in May. He will be going to Europe in April, and looks forward to many booking engagements when he returns.

Grosser, whose musical career started in his native New York City and includes three appearances at Carnegie Hall, promises an enjoyable experience featuring lively music played by talented musicians who are also great entertainers. Born and raised in New York City, Grosser’s first instrument was the accordion, at least partly because a piano wouldn’t fit in his parents’ apartment. After beginning his musical career as an accordionist – he played that instrument during his first appearance at Carnegie Hall – Grosser switched to the plectrum (four string) banjo in 1968. At the time, banjo music was popular but there weren’t a lot of good banjo players around, so the switch offered the prospect of steady work.

For the next 13 years, he was the leader of the Rush Street band, a regular banjoist at the famed Red Onion and also played at the Banjo Inn, Chester’s, the Golden Banjo, The Bourbon Barrel and Calamity Jane’s. In the 70’s, he worked with notables Ed Sullivan, Jerry Lewis and Sammy Davis Jr.

A busy dental career pulled him away from the music scene for about 15 years, but his love of music brought him back and he has been playing with New England groups ever since. Most recently, Grosser has enjoyed playing the violin as part of the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.

For further information:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Future events


Warm Invitation to 2024 NZAA South Pacific Accordion Championships & Festival - New Zealand

by Heather Masefield, Secretary, New Zealand Accordion Association
NZAA header
Sonja PalinichRenee JeffriesThe New Zealand Accordion Association (NZAA) has organised the NZAA South Pacific Accordion Championships & Festival since 1971.

The 2024 NZAA Championships & Festival will be held at the superb Raye Freedman Arts Centre (picture below), Silver Rd, Epsom, Auckland. The excellent acoustics and lighting present every performer at their best.

The NZAA extends a warm invitation to accordionists from USA and Canada to travel to beautiful and friendly New Zealand to be part of this exciting and sociable event. There is a variety of age group classes for soloists, duos, trios, ensembles and orchestras and festival performance opportunities.

In the last few months, a number of USA major airlines have started direct flights from USA to New Zealand. These include American Airlines, Delta, United, joining the traditional Air Canada, Fiji Airlines, Air New Zealand and Qantas to this very popular destination.

The rules for the international solo categories closely follow the rules of the Coupe Mondiale. The South Pacific international concert music category has exactly the same rules as the Coupe
Mondiale Masters category and the South Pacific entertainment category has exactly the same rules as the Coupe Mondiale Virtuoso Entertainment category.

Similarly (under 18 years) Junior South Pacific entertainment category. The South Pacific Junior solo concert category has the same rules as the first round of the Coupe Mondiale Junior category.

Entries close on April 19th, 2024.
Download the rules and competition prospectus and festival information at: 2024nz_prospectus.pdf

For further details email NZAA Competitions Secretary Renee Jeffries at:
Raye Freedman Arts Centre

Flogging Molly “Road to Rebellion” USA Tour 2024

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Flogging Molly
Click picture to see full size
Video: “If I Ever Leave This World Alive / What's Left Of The Flag Punk Rock Holiday 2.2”

The seven piece Celtic punk band “Flogging Molly” will begin their “Road to Rebellion” 2024 tour on February16th in Mashantucket, CT.

A further 22 concerts during 2024 will be held during the tour, with the final two concerts at the Shamrock Rebellion Festival in Silverado, California on March 16, 2024 and the Las Vegas, Nevada Shamrock Rebellion Festival on March 17, 2024.

The group includes Matt Hensley (accordion, concertina, vocals) along with players of a variety of instruments such as guitar, bodhran, violin, tin whistle, bass guitar, mandolin, banjo, drums, percussion and vocalists. Matt Hensley’s art reflects a wide spectrum of passions and motivations. He is an influential member of the skateboarding community and accordion player of the Celtic Punk Band Flogging Molly. Matt’s hands are constantly in a creative motion, working to build, create and learn. His art not only reflects his passions through block prints and paintings, but also his craftsmanship, as they are each presented within a handmade frame.

For details email:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

The 2024 Accordion Seminars with Dr. William Schimmel, Curator

by Dr. William Schimmel
Bill SchimmelThe 30th Anniversary Year of the Accordion Seminars with Dr. William Schimmel as curator takes place July 26, 27, 28, 2024 - virtually.

More is better! This has been our Philosophy for 30 years - and we’re proud of it: Staggering Variety, Overflowing Ideas, Developed Ideas, Ideas in process, Success, Failure, Encouragement, Styles, Brands, Blah, Blah Blah, Blah - - - !

And all of the ISMS around - yes, even (would you believe) outdated Minimalism (ironic statement of course).
We’ve build a culture. We’ve built a community.
Some call it a non culture - some call it a non community.
Some call us Weird - Some say it’s all been said and done.
We do still do weird - and we do new takes on old stuff ( most of them new to the Music
Community - Non Accordionists at large - therefore new to them ), which still raises the
question: “What is this thing called “New Music ?”

There are a few points to ponder:
The great director Peter Brook talked greatly about “The Empty Space”.
Accordionists start with a “Full Space” and add more and more s - - t.
Great artists start practicing slowly until they are ready to play at tempo.
Great Accordionists start faster and eventually slow down due to tangled fingers.
We think they all lead to the same place.

We’re not a Fringe Group - We never were. We put on our lab coats and get to work and so can you - virtually.

Topics will include: The Art of Audience Participation/The Sing - a - Long; Embracing the
Maximallst Dimension (The Art of Clutter); Faking/Improvising - are they the same?; Working
In the Video Dimension; The Varieties of The Mexican Hat Dance and The Hokey Pokey;
Classical orClassic; Cassettes are back - giving “Ye Olde Accordion Sound” a return. The
Artificial Intelligence of the Accordion before Artificial Intelligence, The Pot of Gold at the end of
The Rainbow — and much more to follow - with participants, in future articles to follow:

Our team will include: Micki Goodman, Paul Stein, Will Holshouser, Dr. Denise Koncelik, Dr. Robert Young Mc Mahan, Corn Mo, The Main Squeeze Orchestra, Bachtopus, Carl Riehl, Mary Spencer Knapp, Godfrey Nelson, Lorraine Nelson Wolf, Melissa Elledge, Doug Makofka, Rita Davidson, Erica Marie Mancini, Benjamin Ickes, Dan Cooper, Gene Pritsker, Milica Paranosic, Peter Flint, Mayumi Miyaoka, Robert Duncan, Jeanne Velonis, Bob Goldberg, David Stoler, David First, William Komaiko, Sari Karin, Jack Di Bennidetto, John Foti, Dr. Hugo Goldenzweig, Brian Dewan and many more to follow.

July 26, 27, 28, 2024 - virtually

$165 for the Entire weekend
Master classes from 3 to 4:PM
Concerts from 4 to 5:PM

A link will be sent to you prior to each event.

This event is sponsored by the Accordion Global Association

For further information:

The Seminars, They Never Bore- Our Favorite Words Are: More! More! More!

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

2024 Stowe Tango Music Festival August 6 - 11

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Stowe tango festival
Save the dates! Announcing the schedule for the 2024 Bandoneon/Piano Intensive and the Tango Academy.

Bandoneon/piano Intensive Workshop: August 6 - 11, 2024

Tango Academy: August 12 - 18, 2024

The Stowe Tango Music Festival is a sponsored event of the Argentine Society.

For further information:
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