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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Jul-2020
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
Highlights 2020 Annual Master Class and Concert Series Online Presentation July 31-Aug. 2
Frank Busso Jr. Performs With US Air Force Strolling Strings on Social Media
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Plays the Accordion on Sesame Street
GDTLC’s Digital Essentials to be Released August 1
Kevin Friedrich Organizes Free Concert: Mid Winter Melodies in New Zealand
Stas Venglevski Presents World Premiere and Tango Workshop at AWAM July 19, 20
Peter Jarvis and Dr. William Schimmel’s New CD: “Dragonfly”
Michael Bridge: Concerts in Care, Ontario
This Old Accordion - A Tribute to Ilmar Kuljus on His 90th Birthday
Video: Frank Busso Jr., Luke Wedge and Victor Holmes Trio - USA
Terry Cavanagh Online Accordion Festival

Voci Armoniche

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

Final World Accordion Day Broadcast 6th June
Judging a Virtual Competition, the 58th Annual New England Music Festival
ATG Announces Results of 2020 Election for Board of Directors.
AAA Archivist Joan Grauman Articles All Listed On AAA Site - USA
Catching Up With “Creosote”
Into The Wild Blue Yonder!!!
Stas Venglevski’s New Tango Book Available Now
Star Spangled Banner with Accordion and Balloons!
Poeluev Live Online Concert
Technician’s Fun: “The Coughing Flea”
Frank Busso’s Accordion at Alex’s Birthday Party!
Jon Hammond from Pandemic Quarantino
Accordionist Dan Newton Performs on Bastille Day with Cafe Accordion Orchestra
Vancouver Squeezebox Circle Meets July 2nd

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

2020 Coupe Mondiale in Portugal
Celebrate Chubby Carrier's Birthday on July 1

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 July 4th
Dear Readers,

Wishing you all a Happy 4th of July! Time for fireworks, celebrations, and accordions! Now that indoor concerts are not yet happening many accordionists are offering street performances and drive-in concerts. Have you tried doing that?

As conditions improve and more indoor events are scheduled, please email me at with details of your upcoming live rehearsals or performances so we can let accordionists and enthusiasts around the world know the positive news about our beloved instrument.

Read the USA news this month for new CD releases, online concerts, competitions and future performances.

It is exciting to see the accordion world slowly starting to open up again! In the meantime, continue your practicing, taking lessons, and how about performing for friends and family in a socially distant setting?

Enjoy the summer!

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Highlights 2020 Annual Master Class and Concert Series Online Presentation July 31-Aug. 2

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
AAA Master Class
Dr. William SchimmelDr. William Schimmel and lThe American Accordionists' Association (AAA) will present a 2020 Master Class & Concert Series with Dr William Schimmel, moderator and curator from July 31st to August 2nd,2020. The event will take place on ZOOM.

For the first time, this event will be presented online and will consist of 2 one-hour segments each day: 1st hour (3:PM): Master Class: Talks/Workshops and the 2nd hour (4:PM): Concert/Performances.The cost is $25 per one hour session or $40 per day; $110 for 3 days.

Please provide your email address so we can provide directions on “how to tune in.”

Download flier: 2020AAAMasterClass.pdf
Purchase your tickets online at: AAA Shopping Cart

Dr. William Schimmel, one of the principal architects in the resurgence of the accordion, holds Bachelor of Music, Master of Science, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition from the Juilliard School. Schimmel's music has been featured in a number of television shows and films, perhaps most notably 'Scent of a Woman' starring Al Pacino, where Schimmel appears in the famous Tango scene.

Schimmel performs music in many genres, has commissioned and premiered hundreds of new works, has written a number of books and articles and has made numerous recordings and videos. He has served and continues to serve as Artist in Residence of The American Accordionist's Association (AAA) where he also serves as Distinguished Lecturer in Residence and member of the Governing Board.

The Seminars were brought to the AAA by Dr. William Schimmel with the idea of presenting all facets of the accordion to The New York Artistic Community, with the notion of finding ways to find new angles of expression, composition, video art, performance, dance, design, trapeze, as well as new takes on old ideas and bringing the Accordion Ancestry into fresh new light.

The response has been overwhelming in the establishment of an accordion culture in New York City and its influence has gone global.

For further information please visit
or contact Dr. Schimmel at:

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

Frank Busso Jr. Performs With US Air Force Strolling Strings on Social Media

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Frank Busso JrnThe United States Air Force Strolling Strings, which includes accordionist Senior Master Sgt. Frank Busso, continues to connect with fans on social media. In these current and unprecedented times of social distancing, The United States Air Force Band has had to temporarily cancel its public performances.

However, the organization has found exciting and innovative ways to inspire and connect with audiences and strengthen its international presence through social media performances and outreach initiatives. Its Strolling Strings ensemble is no exception.

Already with 40,000 views across multiple social media channels, Jay Ungar’s “Ashokan Farewell” was recorded by each member of the Air Force Strings in their respective homes, and turned into a unique project for the performing group.  This piece gained recognition as the title tune to Ken Burns’ 1990 PBS television miniseries, "The Civil War," and has become a staple of the Air Force Strings repertoire.

The Video Editor for this project was Master Sergeant Emily Wellington, and its Producer was Senior Master Sergeant Frank Busso Jr., who is also the accordionist with the ensemble.

Excerpts from the “Meet Our Players” of the US Air Force Strolling Strings Facebook Page: MEET THE STRINGS | Senior Master Sgt. Frank Busso has been playing the accordion for over 35 years! His vast experience has been an incredible asset to the Air Force Strings since he joined the ensemble in 2005. Rising up through the ranks, he now oversees the group's personnel and scheduling matters, in addition to his performance responsibilities.

Hailing from Staten Island, New York, Sgt. Busso began playing the accordion when he was just 5 years old! It was a natural choice for him, coming from a musical family of accordionists - Busso's father is a professional accordionist, and his older sister and an uncle also play!

Prior to joining the Air Force, Sgt. Busso attended Boston University where he studied Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Operations Management. After completing his studies in 2001, Busso served an instructor and arranger with the Boston University Athletic Bands. He was also an instructor at the Staten Island Music School, where his students earned many regional and national titles in competition.

A talented arranger, a career highlight for Busso was performing his arrangement of "Piano Man" with the Strolling Strings for Billy Joel himself at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors! What a memorable evening that must have been! Another career highlight is one that hits close to home for Sgt. Busso.

Following the incredible devastation that Hurricane Sandy dealt to the Northeast, the Strolling Strings embarked on a humanitarian mission to perform at shelters and schools in Busso's hometown of Staten Island. The ensemble performed nine missions in just two short days, providing hope and comfort to those affected by the storm.

During his off-duty time, Busso is active as a board member for the American Accordionists' Association (AAA). He enjoys spending his down time with family, giving music lessons, and performing as a freelance musician.

Next performance: Details on poster below.

Titano Accordion Company

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Plays the Accordion on Sesame Street

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Dr. Sanjay Gupta (a practicing neurosurgeon and multiple Emmy award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN) brought his accordion along to accompany vocalist Erica Hill singing a Covid-19 song with Sesame Street characters.

The video clip shows Elmo, Big Bird and Abby Cadabby of Sesame Street performing the song to help children remember how to protect themselves and others from coronavirus.
video from June 19, 2020. After just a little bit of convincing from Elmo, Big Bird and Abby Cadabby, Gupta bought out an accordion to play a big opening song about caring. He took ten years of accordion lessons.

Sanjay Gupta is an American neurosurgeon, medical reporter, and writer. He serves as associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and as associate professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN.

Gupta is known for his many TV appearances on health-related issues. First and foremost, he is the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN. During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, he has been a frequent contributor to numerous CNN shows covering the crisis, as well as hosting a weekly Town Hall with Anderson Cooper. Gupta is the host of the CNN show Sanjay Gupta MD for which he has won multiple Emmy Awards. Gupta also hosted the 6 part mini series, Chasing Life. He is a frequent contributor to other CNN programs such as American Morning, Larry King Live, CNN Tonight, and Anderson Cooper 360°. His reports from Charity Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina led to him winning a 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast.

He is also a special correspondent for CBS News. Dr. Sanjay Gupta also Co-Hosts the health conference, Life Itself, along with Marc Hodosh (Co-Creator, TEDMED). Gupta published a column in Time magazine and has written four books: Chasing Life, Cheating Death, Monday Mornings: A Novel, and Keep Sharp (Jan 2021).

Voci Armoniche

GDTLC’s Digital Essentials to be Released August 1

by Dennis O'Toole
Tris GourThe Gary Dahl–The Legacy Continues (GDTLC) organization curates the large collection of Gary Dahl’s accordion arrangements.  After Gary’s passing, GDTLC was founded by accordionist Tris Gour (picture right) and engraver Dennis O’Toole, with the support of the Dahl family. Not simply an archive of arrangements, GDTLC has expanded and modernized its offerings and services.  GDTLC will soon be releasing its latest product, Digital Essentials, developed by Tris Gour.

GDTLC’s Digital Essentials is a foundation collection of sound programming for digital accordionists.  This initial product is for the Roland FR-8X and the Bugari Evo.  The Digital Essentials collection includes both accordion Sets and User Programs.  There are two refined accordion Sets that deliver distinct and rich sounds based on a sampled 2013 Borsini SuperStar IV with musette tuning.  These unique sounds are not available elsewhere. The first Set is a faithful, “as sampled” (stock) Set with a digitally added third middle reed and two levels of tone chamber.  It includes both dry and wet settings.  The second Set is a similar instrument, but with digitally adjusted tuning for a noticeably milder musette.  These sounds were created with a careful and exacting process of sampling and sound programming to reproduce the timber and characteristics of the Borsini SuperStar.  These Borsini Sets are a great addition to the instrument sounds already available. 

GDTLC’s Digital Essentials  includes 112 User Programs built on top of the Borsini Sets and carefully layered with orchestral sounds in both treble and bass.  Each combination is carefully crafted for an effective musical impact, and has been acoustically adjusted and balanced for best results. This collection provides rich and professional sounds, suited to a wide range of musical styles and interests.

The User Programs are grouped into 8 User Program Banks for fast and convenient installation.  They are also available as individual User Programs for installation wherever you’d like. 

GDTLC’s Digital Essentials collection will be available beginning August 1, 2020 and can be ordered on GDTLC’s website at at that time.

Accordion Jazz Chords

Kevin Friedrich Organizes Free Concert: Mid Winter Melodies in New Zealand

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Dargaville Concert July 12
Kevin FriedrichAAA and ATG Board Member Kevin Friedrich is always involved in accordion events and projects throughout the world! International accordionist Kevin Friedrich and the Dargaville Museum have organized a free concert entitled “Mid Winter Melodies” at the Lighthouse Function Centre in Harding park, Dargaville on July 12, 2020. Excerpts from the Dargaville Kaipara by Andy Brenton:

New Zealand is open again following their Covid-19 lockdown and this concert is being held to thank essential service workers and the Dargaville community residents for uniting together during the lockdown. Kevin will entertain at the event as well as other popular entertainers Jone Yelcich, Roslyn Gilmour, Lynn Walters, Thomas Koloi and the Rivertown Singers & Take Six.

The free performance comes as Kevin, usually based in New York, continues to find ways to entertain in his home town of Dargaville. The popular musician is unable to return to his adopted homeland while travel restrictions remain in place, so he’s kept busy, recording the music of Kiwi composer Gary Daverne, organizing a live broadcast for World Accordion Day on June 6, and adding to the collection of classic instruments at Dargaville’s museum.

“I wanted to do something to lift the spirits of the community, and to thank everyone for helping us pull together and reach this point,” says Kevin. “We’ve all done an amazing job dealing with the unknown threat of coronavirus.”

It’s his primary passion for music, which has seen Kevin gather friends such as the Rivertown Singers, Take Six, Thomas Koloi, Lynn Walters, Roslyn Gilmour and Jone Yelcich together and instigate a concert for essential service staff. Together, these local musicians will play a varied medley of classics on Sunday, July 12,2020 at the Lighthouse Function Centre adjoining Dargaville Museum.

Those who helped out during lockdown; from supermarket staff to doctors and nurses, rest home carers to agricultural workers, emergency services and many more, can register for a free ticket by calling the museum on 09 439 7555. The musical event will be followed by light refreshments. 

For further information: Kevin Friedrich Email:


Stas Venglevski Presents World Premiere and Tango Workshop at AWAM July 19, 20

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
AWAM poster
Stas VenglevskiHelmi HarringtonWorld of Accordions Museum in conjunction with Harrington ARTS Center proudly announces Stas Venglevski in concert. Famed composer Josh Schmidt has chosen Stas to present the WORLD PREMIERE of his new suite “Eleven for Accordion” and include Stas’ charming “Petting Zoo Suite.” A World of Accordions Museum is located at
1401 Belknap
Superior, WI, 54880
(Former Church at intersection of Belknap & Hammond)
Phone: 218-393-0245

The concert takes place on July 19, 2020 3-4:15 PM on July 19, 2020. Mr. Schmidt intends to be present for this concert. Please watch the website for the link to the livestream event. Please direct your donations to

The concert program will include:

September – Stas Venglevski
August – Stas Venglevski
Christmas in Tacoma – Stas Venglevski

ELEVEN FOR ACCORDION (Suite in 11 movements) – Josh Schmidt
1. Prelude (for Summer Lee Jack)
2. First Invention
3. Chorale
4. Second Invention
5. Touch Piece/Anthem of the Time (after Julius Eastman)
6. Waltz (for Dick Scanlan)
7. Third Invention
8. Lullaby (for Maggie Jo Langs)
9. Air/Tabula Rasa (after Terry Jennings)
10. Fourth and Final Invention
11. Post/Prelude (for Summer Lee Jack

PETTING ZOO SUITE – Stas Venglevski
1. Cats’ Ball
2. Cheetahs Chase
3. Tortoise Lament
4. Cock Fight
5. Carnival of Giraffes
6. Dance of Penguins
7. Mice Party Polka
8. Tom & Jerry (Gallop)

Ice Meadow Song – Stas Venglevski
Taquito Militar (Milonga) – Mariano Mores
Rocky Top – Felice & Boudleaux Bryant
Summer Sunshine – Stas Venglevski

Stay Venglevski’s Tango Workshop at HARTS, 1401 Belknap St., Superior, WI. takes place on July 20, 2020 at 2:PM. The concert hall is spacious, allowing for 6’ distancing between audience members. Masks are requested. Stas will perform and discuss the compositions in his new book "Twelve Hot Tango Compositions for Solo Accordion:"Busy Fingers Tango, Elephants Tango, Meg Tanguera, Invite Tango,Tango for Two, Lonely Dancer, Tango Pasadena, Tango Mobile, Ecstasy Tango, One Tulip, Yellow Roses, and Meg Tango.

Stas is an accordionist, musician, arranger, entertainer and teacher. His repertoire includes his original compositions, and a broad range of classical, contemporary and ethnic music. He has toured extensively as a soloist throughout the former Soviet Union, Canada, Europe, and the United States, including numerous performances with Doc Severinsen, Steve Allen and with Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion.

Additionally, he has performed with symphony orchestras throughout the United States. He is a regular participant with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Arts in Community Education Program (ACE), has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, has done television commercials, and has performed in theater productions. Stas has produced numerous recordings and has published several books of original compositions.

You will be able to buy an autographed copy at the concert. Alternatively, the book with CD can be purchased for $30 + shipping ($3). A PDF version (without CD) is $25. You can pay through Stas’ PayPal account (, or by mailing payment to Megumi Hada, 2901 Watters Rd., Pasadena, TX 77502.

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

Peter Jarvis and Dr. William Schimmel’s New CD: “Dragonfly”

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Dr. William Schimmel,  Dragonfly CD CoverPeter JarvisWilliam Schimmel and Peter Jarvis have combined their superb talents to create a new CD, “Dragonfly” a collection of duos:  Peter Jarvis – Composers, Percussion, William Schimmel – Composers, Accordion, and vocals. "Dragonfly" consists of composed and improvised music for accordion, percussion, and voice. The digital release on NAXOS, etc. will be on September 6, 2020.

In the meantime, please contact Peter Jarvis if you are interested in a hard copy ($10.00 free US Shipping.) The release is on Composers Concordance Records #CONCOM0060. David Kerzner did the engineering and mastering. Cover photo by David Kerzner.

Peter Jarvis is a percussionist, drummer, conductor, composer, music copyist, print music editor and college professor. He is Director of New Music at William Paterson University. He teaches percussion and chamber music at William Paterson University, Connecticut College and Bergen Community College in New Jersey. He is an Associate Director of he Composers Concordance and has over 100 compositions.

Over the decades, he has performed popular and unpopular music with equal enthusiasm. He has performed as a soloist, chamber player, Broadway musician and as conductor/player with numerous chamber music ensembles, orchestras and choruses.  The proliferation of percussion literature is extremely important to Jarvis, and nearly 100 solo pieces have been composed for him, which he has performed on multi percussion, timpani, vibraphone, marimba, solo snare drum and drum set composed for him.

He has been nominated for a Golden Globe and an Academy award for “Best Score” as part of the composing team for major Hollywood films.

Dr William Schimmel is a leading accordionist, composer and academic, based in New York, where he organizes the annual ‘Master Class and Concert Series (The Seminars)’ sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association. He received a Merit Award from the AAA for his contributions spanning fifty years plus the "Accordionist of the Year" Award in 1988. He has performed with many major symphony orchestras in the US, many chamber groups, as well as with rock), jazz, and avant-garde groups.

As a Juilliard trained musician, he is frequently asked to play with the Philharmonic and other orchestras around the country. He also performs in the pit orchestras on Broadway, his most recent performance being the accordionist for the award winning production of “An American in Paris." Over the years Bill’s music has been included in television shows and films. His best known appearance is in the tango scene of "Scent of a Woman" starring Al Pacino. (See video above)

Bill Schimmel learned accordion as a child and attended Julliard School of Music where he received his doctorate in composition. While he was still a student at the school, his career was launched after he recorded songs of avant gard composer, Luiano Berio. An authority on Kurt Weill, Dr. Schimmel has recorded all of Weill's music with accordion. Beginning in 1981, Schimmel’s Tango Project has released a string of acclaimed recordings on the Nonesuch and Newport Classic labels. The first Tango Project recording went to No. 1 on Billboard’s classical charts and was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review magazine.

For further information:
Dragonfly - liner notes.pdf
Dragonfly Tracks list

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Michael Bridge: Concerts in Care, Ontario

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Concerts in CareMichael BridgeMichael Bridge is delighted to announce his new collaboration with “Concerts in Care”, Canada’s national network presenting classical music in retirement homes.

Michael is among a small group of musicians producing concert videos for national distribution to senior citizens caught in lockdowns across the country.

Musicians are finding creative ways to reach their audiences during Covid-19 and Michael is grateful to Concerts in Care for providing the infrastructure to reach thousands of people.

Michael is a recent 2020 DMA Recital Competition Winner. Lauded as “a wizard of the accordion," Michael Bridge is internationally-renowned for his warm stage personality, stereotype-smashing versatility, and blazing virtuosity. Named one of CBC’s “30 Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”, he made his solo orchestral debut with the Boston Pops and gives over 100 concerts per year in Europe and the Americas. His debut solo album, “Overture”, was named CBC Album of the Week.

More than a classical musician, Michael simply describes his repertoire as ‘concert music’ – encompassing baroque, classical, and contemporary works, plus many of his own concert arrangements of folk music. Prolific in working with composers, Michael has given over 40 world premieres. He performs solo or with orchestra, and with his two ensembles – Bridge+Wolak and Ladom Ensemble – and has toured Poland, France, Italy, the U.K., Ecuador, the USA and in every Canadian province.

While Concerts in Care Ontario is not able to perform live concerts during the Covid-19 pandemic, they are recording and distributing “live” 30-minute concert videos to any facility or home who wishes to share them with their residents. The “From Our Home to Your Home” concert series is in full swing. If you have questions or would like more information about Concerts in Care Ontario, please contact Executive Director Debra Chandler at

For further information email:

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

This Old Accordion - A Tribute to Ilmar Kuljus on His 90th Birthday

by Susan Graham
Ilmar Kuljus
Ilmar KuljusVideo: “Northwest Profiles: Accordion Icon” is used by permission of KSPS PBS, Spokane, Washington USA. Published on March 31, 2016.

Founder: My friend Dan Grauman wrote: "I received an email from Susan Graham, wife of Ilmar Kuljus. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with Ilmar. He was the teacher of Patricia Bartell, as well as AAA champions Sam Thomas (2007) and Gabe Hall-Rodrigues (2010). The attachment is a real 'feel good' story, which I thought might be worthy of publication."

I read this beautiful story and at a time in history when the world has suffered greatly from the horrific Corona-virus destruction of life and business, it's writings like this that remind us of the creators of this world, wonderful people, full of human endeavour, love of music and education. Make sure you read:
This Old Accordion by Susan Graham
Susan Graham writes:

The 6th June is the 76th anniversary of D-Day (6th June 1944) and Ilmar's 90th birthday. Everyone knows the story of D-Day, few know Ilmar's story.

When I tell him he needs to write it all down, he says that no one would be interested, that his story is the same as that of all other immigrants. I beg to differ. The story attached is my attempt to record the main elements as I have heard them.

This Old Accordion by Susan Graham

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Video: Frank Busso Jr., Luke Wedge and Victor Holmes Trio - USA

by Harley Jones
Recorded during the 2020 health crisis, we hope you enjoy the popular tango, Jalousie!

Musicians: Frank Busso, Jr. (accordion), Luke Wedge (violin), Victor Holmes (bass)
Video Editor: Dennis Hoffmann
Sponsored by Ernest Deffner Inc, US distributors of Pigini accordions.
Ernest Deffner header

Titano Accordion Company

Terry Cavanagh Online Accordion Festival

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Terry Cavanagh
Accordionist Terry Cavanagh hosted his online accordion festival on June 22nd, 2020.

This free event included performances and interviews with popular accordionists who will share their favorite tips and strategies for taking your music to the next level.

Artists are:
Day 1: Alex Meixner: “Living and Breathing Passion”
Day 2: Danny Jerabek: “For the Love Of It:
Day 3: Carl Finch: “The Master’s View”
Day 4: Michael Bridge: “The Accordion Wizard”
Day 5: Ted Lange: “The Consummate Musician”

For details email:

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

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

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Final World Accordion Day Broadcast 6th June

by Christine Johnstone
World Accordion Project
WADThe final World Accordion Day broadcast is now online at: WAD2020

Earlier broadcasts, 6th May, 9th May, 23 May are also online at: WAD2020

The 4th episode included messages & performances from past Coupe Mondiale World Champions Tutto a Dio - Augustinas Rakauskas & Greta Staponkute - Rakau, Liu Zhao, João Campos Palma, Carmine Sangineto, Mariya Kushnikova & Ma Qi.

As well as interveiws and presentations with:

Marko Štumperger- President of the Association of Slovenian Accordionists with guests Zoran Lupinc & Igor Zobin.

Jacques Mornet & Ludovic Beier from CNIMA

Blai Navarro García - International Public Relations Manager of
Associació Catalana d'Acordionistes ACDA

Yuri Shishkin & Alexander Poeluev from International Music Center 'Harmony'

President Joseph Natoli & Executive Secretary Joan C. Sommers from the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International ATG

Dr Helmi Harrington presenting A World of Accordions Museum

& CIA Vice President Jörgen Sundeqvist representing Sveriges Dragspelares Riksförbund with guest Composer Fredrik Högberg.

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Judging a Virtual Competition, the 58th Annual New England Music Festival

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
NE Music festivalI was very honored to be asked to judge accordion and piano categories by Sam and Peggy Falcetti, organizers of the 2020 58th Annual New England Music Festival. Originally, it was to take place in Massachusetts in April 2020. Because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the competition was prevented from happening as a live event. The Accordion Teachers Association of Massachusetts (ATAM) had to work very quickly and diligently to overcome the difficulties of the pandemic by transforming their annual music competition into a new virtual format which. I feel, they accomplished with great success.

For the past 57 years, the annual New England Music Festival had been held during a weekend in April where over 600 students and their families gather to compete and showcase their musical abilities. With categories for accordion, drums, guitar, piano, voice, and violin players, there was a wide variety of musicians represented. Also, just last year, the ATAM added categories for adult musicians as well.

Unfortunately, the New England Music Festival, had to be postponed due to the pandemic. While the competition had originally been postponed to July, the members of the association made the difficult decision to convert the live competition to a virtual format. This decision did not come easily, but the ATAM found it to be the safest and most effective way to hold the competition during the uncertain times of Covid-19.

With this transition to a virtual competition, the students who had invested so much time and energy to prepare their competition pieces were still able to perform. The ATAM directed their efforts to finding a virtual format that would be efficient and simple, so that all of the original contestants would have the opportunity to remain in the competition. The students cooperated with their teachers and studios to record their performance and post a video for each of their categories onto YouTube. The judges were sent a scoresheet and video for each contestant and scored and critiqued each performance. Over 800 students participated, perhaps making it one of the largest music competitions in the USA.

Over the years, I have judged many piano and accordion competitions at all levels. This was my first experience as a virtual judge for a virtual contestant. At first, I was apprehensive. How can this possibly work? How can I judge them from my computer in my home? For the 800 plus contestants, it resulted in a unique and valuable experience.

I actually enjoyed the experience of online judging. Each category was sent to me in an email including organized links to each contestant’s competition video, their music, and a score sheet. I judged over 150 contestants in categories ranging from beginner to adult on both accordion and piano. I loved every minute of it!

Of course, the best way to judge and compete is live in person. But with the excellent organizational skills of Sam, Peggy, Michael Falcetti and Mike Silvia, the transition to online judging was painless! I might add that having the ability to hear the contestants more than once helped me to fairly determine a decision in cases where the contestants were very close in their performances.

Having grown up competing in accordion competitions at an early age through adulthood, makes me feel extremely responsible and also empathetic toward the competitors. I am happy that at least the students were able, after long months of preparation, to compete. All of them were well prepared, poised, and I could tell they tried to do their very best. So, in a sense, all are winners. They learned the importance of lessons, practice, discipline… all which transfers to building good character, confidence, and self esteem.

Online virtual judging may not be the best solution for more advanced competitions since the videos, depending on their quality, may not offer a true representation of dynamics and the contestants performance etc. Also, the ability to perform before an audience while under pressure, cannot be determined via a video. Nothing can really replace the excitement of a live competitive performance. I am hopeful that in the near future, we will go back to the traditional ways of musical competitions.

I would like to conclude by saying that the excellent organizational skills, hard work, dedication, and the enthusiasm of all involved, made the New England Music Festival and Competition a very worthwhile, successful and positive experience for all the judges and contestants.

A huge congratulations and thank you to Sam, Peggy, and Michael Falcetti and Mike Silvia for creating a very successful, educational, and enjoyable event!

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

ATG Announces Results of 2020 Election for Board of Directors.

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
ATG logo
The new ATG Board of Directors includes the following musicians:

- President: Mary Ann Covone
- First Vice President:  Liz Finch
- Second Vice President: Beverley Fess
- Treasurer: Kenn Baert
- Executive Secretary:  Esther Lanting

Board of Directors: Joanna Darrow, Donna Dee Ray, Kevin Friedrich, Dr. Helmi Harrington, Gordon Kohl, Karen Lee, Joe Natoli, Cory Pesaturo, Amy Jo Sawyer, Betty Jo Simon, Joan Cochran Sommers, Stas Venglevski.

ATG announces the creation of a new "Syllabus Chair"  which will be headed by Joan Cochran SommersATG plans to start a project to upgrade it's ATG teaching syllabus with Joan at the helm.

ATG Announces location and dates for it's 2021 Festival
- July 21-25, 2021 at the Hyatt in Lisle, IL.

As always, the festival will include many concerts, competitions, workshops and great food and fellowship.  More details to come in future publications!

See article about the new ATG President, Mary Ann Covone, in the August USA news!

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

AAA Archivist Joan Grauman Articles All Listed On AAA Site - USA

by Harley Jones
AAA Header
Joan GraumanJoan Grauman became the archivist for the AAA in 2008. She has been writing articles on the association’s history and on its members ever since.

Many of Joan’s articles were featured in festival journals and online in the Accordion USA News. All these articles are now listed on one page on the AAA site at:
AAA Archival Information

Articles with titles in red are accessible now, and the others will be linked shortly. Many can also be downloaded and printed as PDFs.

These 26 articles with more coming, are an invaluable part of the history of accordion in the USA.

Accordion organizations worldwide should consider appointing archivists. Careful research, interviews, photos, videos and articles: all are very important components for documenting the very important history of the accordion.

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Catching Up With “Creosote”

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
Gabe and Jamie—The exciting accordion duo of Gabe Hall-Rodriques and Jamie Maschler

It was in early February when I had a long and enjoyable phone interview with Gabe Hall-Rodriques and Jamie Maschler. We stay in touch often and I love hearing of their many incredible musical projects, concerts and workshops held worldwide. It was time to do another of my feature articles, and I wanted it to be about this delightful couple who chose the name “Creosote” for their duo, after the fragrant Creosote bush.

As I prepared to put the article together in early March, the coronavirus changed everything for musicians throughout the world. The article was put on hold as we all learned to live with our new (and hopefully short-lived!) restrictions. My article’s main focus had to suddenly drastically change, however I am pleased to report that Gabe and Jamie are doing very well and thriving with their online concerts and workshops, teaching virtually, creating and learning new music, and working at Petosa Accordions in Seattle, Washington. More on their current projects later in this article! Time to tell you more about these two gifted musicians who met through their love of the accordion.

Jamie Maschler began to play the accordion at the age of four, thanks to a door to door salesman. Jamie happily says, “The accordion chose me!” Although this may be true, she was instantly enamored with her new instrument and began to study privately with the renowned accordionists and teachers, Dan and Kim Christian, in Colorado Springs. She studied with them throughout her youth. I spoke with Kim Christian: “As young as she was, Jamie took to the music right away. She pretty much grew up with our daughters competing and playing together in bands. Jamie always loved music and always loved performing. She won many, many trophies over the 12 years she took lessons with us!”

Jamie knew early on that she would major in music. After a year at Denver University, she transferred to the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington to study accordion under three-time Latin Grammy nominee Jovino Santos Neto. Neto, a well-respected Brazilian jazz pianist, inspired her love for Brazilian music and culture.

Seattle is the home of Petosa Accordions where Jamie has worked since 2011. There, “she is able to share her passion and actively participate in the reinvention and face of the traditional instrument”. Jamie also performs with a forró band, EnCanto, and is a frequent guest performer and presenter of workshops on stylized Brazilian and tango music at numerous festivals, including the AAA Festival in Princeton, New Jersey in 2017. She has played with the Seattle Symphony, Port Angeles Symphony, Lake Union Orchestra and the Pueblo Symphony. It was in Seattle, at Petosa Accordions, where she met accordionist and Arizona native, Gabe Hall-Rodrigues.

Like Jamie, Gabe’s lifelong love affair with “all things music” began around the age of four. By five, Gabe was certain that he was going to become an opera singer! In his family’s home in Phoenix, Arizona, Gabe loved listening to his uncle play piano, and his mother sing and play the piano and guitar. “I was always musically supported by my family”, says Gabe. He started with piano lessons at age seven. “My teacher was perfect for me as he allowed me to play by ear as well as with music”. He studied with the same teacher from age 7 to 18. In school, he sang in the choirs and played baritone saxophone in the band.

Gabe attended Arizona State University (ASU) where he received his bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy in 2011 and his master’s degree in Jazz Piano Performance in 2013. He studied under the award-winning pianist and composer, Mike Kocour.

One fateful day, Gabe was sitting outside at ASU playing an old accordion someone had just given him. His good friend since middle school, percussionist Wes Anderson, saw him and told him about the Frank Marocco Accordion Event, the annual camp that I co-directed from 2007 to 2014 in Mesa, Arizona every winter. Wes had been our amazing percussionist at the camp since he was 18 years old. Gabe came to our accordion orchestra concert that year at the encouragement of Wes. It was January, 2009. I was introduced to Gabe at the end of the concert and was so impressed by this well-spoken young man whose interest in the accordion was so genuine! By the end of that evening, Gabe was introduced to celebrated accordion teacher Ilmar Kuljus, with whom he began his studies. Also, Gabe was invited to join our camp the following winter by another person who was very impressed with him: the world renowned jazz accordionist, Frank Marocco.

The following January, at our 2010 camp, Gabe was “adopted” by all of us! He was playing incredibly well and his enthusiasm for the accordion was infectious. I spoke with Ilmar Kuljus the other day about his lessons with Gabe. “He was an excellent student, always prepared for each lesson, so eager to learn, and I recognized a tremendous amount of natural talent in him immediately”. In Gabe’s words, Ilmar taught him to “slow down and practice well”. That summer, Gabe competed and won the title of 2010 AAA Virtuoso Accordion Champion, a very prestigious annual national award, at the AAA Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He has presented workshops at various accordion festivals ever since, and performed at the 2011 AAA Festival in Charleston, South Carolina with his jazz trio “Ocotrillo” (named for another bush, the Ocotillo!).

Gabe taught in the Arizona school system and at a private school for ten years, spent a year in Recife, Brazil where he studied Brazilian music and performed with local musicians, and toured the US with the folk rock band “Jared and the Mill” as their accordionist.

While in Seattle touring with Jared and the Mill, he visited Petosa Accordions, and he met Jamie. Both loved Brazilian music and Jamie invited Gabe to open for her band EnCanto. This was the start of a terrific musical collaboration and….they fell in love.

Their duo “Creosote” has been a wonderful outlet for this virtuosic and exciting duo. It features fresh, new Brazilian pieces and world music classics. When not performing in the US and abroad, both work “with their extended family, the Petosas” at Petosa Accordions. Between the two of them, they teach about 30 private students. They have released their first album together and were planning another album this summer in collaboration with musicians from Brazil. Sadly, their travel plans were abruptly halted because of COVID-19.

In isolation together, Gabe and Jamie have been streaming live concerts, which have been a challenge, yet it has been a great way for them to stay connected with friends and colleagues near and far. They have recorded, separately and together, and they are working on “a ton of new original music and arrangements” that they will be recording soon.

Kim and Dan Christian are so happy that Jamie has found a partner who also loves and plays the accordion. “There is nothing like sharing your life’s passion with the one you love!”, Kim said. And she knows that well: she and Dan have been married and duet partners for 37 years.

I will conclude with Jamie’s inspiring words about this strange time we are all experiencing right now:

“As you can imagine, all concerts in person for the foreseeable future have been cancelled and the current economic situation has affected the music industry for years to come. Between venues not being able to stay open, potentially not being able to pay musicians, and the uncertainty of future travel, it seems like the challenge of learning some new techniques and technology is going to be worthwhile…….It’s not ideal, it’s not preferred, but art and music will continue no matter what. Change is inevitable and there is no going backwards. The great thing is that, if people are able to capture and share their art more easily, they can more easily discover new artists, music, teachers, and get inspired. That’s one of the powers of art and music, it always finds a way.

Gabe and I hope everyone reading this is taking care of their physical, mental and emotional health. Be kind to others and yourself. We are all in uncharted territory. It’s not forever, just for now.”


Into The Wild Blue Yonder!!!

by Marilyn O'Neil, Youth Involvement Program Coordinator
Will Comer
Will ComerProbably the most satisfying part of Coordinating the Bob Vitale Youth Jazz Program at the AAA festival since 2011 has been watching our young musicians grow personally as well as musically. They accomplish academically, graduate, enter chosen careers, travel the world, win at competition, and even take up the baton and conduct the jazz ensemble!

Will Comer has been a staple of the jazz program. Until last year, my exposure to Will’s musicianship strictly involved accordion. In addition to the Jazz Program, Will has graced our CAA orchestra. He competed and won titles at AAA competition taking 1st place in the Elsie Bennett Competition in 2016 and 3rd place in the Carmen Carrozza Competition in 2019.

What I didn’t know is that Will has been a pianist since the age of 8, primarily studying under Joe Utterback of Stratford, CT. Music has always tugged at Will. Piano is his staple, but he also played organ, synthesizer...and harmonica! When his mother brought an accordion home from work one day it came as no surprise that the then 15 year old Will would be drawn to it. He loved the sound of it as well as the way the instrument connected to his body.

And connect it did. So much so that he added accordion lessons to his musical studies. Referred to Sandy Zera by AAA Board Member Emilio Magnotta, Sandy nurtures Will’s love of the accordion to this day. Sandy and her late husband, Ed Zera, owned Zera Musicland for years, and she has been musical “mom” to Will and numbers of other young very talented musicians. Sandy has a way of not only tapping into her students’ skills, but providing the holding environment unique to each of her students. She makes them “mind” and helps them grow. Will cherishes her for that.

Will entered college double majoring in Jazz Performance and Human Resources Management at Rutgers University in 2016, He took his accordion with him, gigging across 10 states with it on weekends to make extra money. He graduated this past May. On February 19, 2019, I was invited to hear Will perform at a church service in his home town. The progressive and moving service featured a jazz combo with Will on piano, along with a stand up bass player, sax player, and percussionist. A full chorus sang a composition that Will wrote and arranged. It was then that I saw Will in his element. And I couldn’t stop slobbering all over myself and his parents, who were sitting next to me. He was simply brilliant.

As graduation from Rutgers approached, Will’s cousin, Dana Bowers, a vocalist and Airman 1st Class with the Mid America Air Force Band, told him about an opening for a pianist with the group. Will applied for the position. He recorded and sent in a performance tape that included Funk, Pop, Classical and Jazz selections. 27 other young musicians did the same. Will was one of 2 applicants chosen out of that group of 27 to fly to St. Louis to audition in person.

Will described the process as only Will could. “It was very nice, even given the inaccuracy of one of the lead sheets!” He arrived at 7:30am for his audition. The three round audition process included some 15 selections that involved playing along with a big band and a small combo. Some of the selections were given to him ahead of time. Others he had to sight read and play along on the spot. He chose the pieces for his solo round: Mozart’s Sonata in A Minor and Lush Life by Billy Strayhorn.

By 12:30 that day, Will Comer was offered the position of Airman First Class with the Air Force Band of Mid America stationed at Scott Air Force Base. The band performs from St. Louis to Chicago, but there’s a possibility of deployment outside of the United States as well. He’ll be playing in several groups that perform jazz, big band music...even rock and roll! He has committed to 4 years of service. He leaves for Basic Training in San Antonio, TX this September. When the judges found out he also played the accordion they were thrilled and are considering the purchase of an instrument for Will to play. His duties will be primarily music and include youth outreach projects. Some administrative duties are also likely added. Will is looking forward to “giving back to my country and serving for the next 4 years, growing musically as well as personally.”

When asked to describe his musical high points on accordion to date, he cites playing in many places across the country, meeting people. He has coined a style of his own on the accordion, using unique combinations with harmonic color. He credits several people in the accordion world as having a profound impact on him. Among them are his accordion teacher Sandy Zera, Don Gerundo, Eddie Monteiro, Bob Vitale and Frank Marocco. There are likely more, because Will is open to learning no matter what the circumstances, positive or otherwise.

Frank Busso, Jr. has served his country for the last 15 years as the accordionist with the Air Force Strings Primier Band as Senior Master Sargent. His official title is Superintendent of the Air force Strings. When asked to comment on Will’s new adventure with the armed forces, he says it’s a “great opportunity for Will to serve his country while doing something he loves.” Frank looks forward to serving in the military with Will, confident that he’ll do great things representing our country.

AAA Board member Manny Bobenrieth, who recently retired as accordionist with the United States Army Strolling Strings Band, offers Will his good wishes and these words of wisdom:
“Be prepared to put the needs of the Air Force above your own….”

I suspect this will come naturally to Will. He shared with me that he was considering obtaining an advanced degree in Social Work at one point along the way. He was instrumental in helping me recruit players for the jazz group, paying them out of his own pocket, performing at local venues at festival to promote the accordion whenever asked. He was ALWAYS THERE, always willing, always “WILL.” He consistently added a special “sparkle” to the jazz ensemble with his unique brand of humor and dazzling smile. His energy is boundless and has to be reigned in at times, as his teacher, Sandy Zera can attest to.

I had the honor of speaking directly to Will’s most influential piano teacher, Mr. Joseph Utterback. “ Dr. Joe,” as he is called, is a celebrated jazz pianist, composer and recording artist having performed throughout the United States and Europe. He taught for over 20 years at Sacred Heart University in CT. He’s been a jazz artist both nationally and internationally for over 50 years. His credits are too numerous to mention here. When I asked this fascinating, high energy man about his student, he responded thus: “Will is prodigiously gifted, one of the most gifted young musicians I know. I can throw anything at him and he’d do it!”

Will is among a group of young musicians that would regularly join Dr. Joe for “parties” in which the creative musical process was encouraged and they learned from and with each other. Music, according to Dr. Joe, is a shared adventure, playing along the same track, moving towards a musical goal.

Will has clearly benefited from his time with Sandy and Dr. Joe. Will says “all music is valid. The worst thing to say is NO when it comes to music. I’m open and have a fluid concept of music. I’m eclectic.”

Will’s parents, Tom and Charisee are bursting with pride for their son and his many accomplishments to date and his dedication to his musical journey, wherever it takes him. They have been, like his musical mom Sandy Zera, staunch supporters of this journey, putting their arms around him when he needed it as well as giving him the space to stretch and grow.

CAA Orchestra Conductor Peter Peluso is grateful for Will’s artistry both as a soloist at CAA concerts as well as a member of the CAA Orchestra. He consistently added youthful vigor and energy to the group.

Last Summer, while busking on accordion in New York’s Columbus Circle along with friends on bass, drums and trumpet, Will was stumbled upon by AAA member and CAA Orchestra member Fred Schwinger. Fred was totally surprised, as was Will. The crowd was upbeat, having fun. People were gathering and enjoying the music. He was clearly enjoying himself….a true “Will Moment.”

I must say I will miss “Will Moments” like these, whether it’s the mark he made on the Bob Vitale Youth Jazz Ensemble or the CAA Orchestra. Will has always felt like a second son to me and Sandy Zera. For that, we feel blessed.

AAA President Dr. Joe Ciccone sends Will his very best wishes on behalf of the American Accordionists’ Association. “We are proud of you, Will!”

We release Will into the Wild Blue Yonder with our love and very best wishes.

For further information:

Stas Venglevski’s New Tango Book Available Now

by Megumi Hada
Stas Venglevski has just released a new book, "Twelve Hot Tango Compositions For Solo Accordion" with 12 original tangos: Busy Fingers Tango, Elephants Tango, Meg Tanguera, Invite Tango, Tango for Two, Lonely Dancer, Tango Pasadena, Tango Mobile, Ecstasy Tango, One Tulip, Yellow Roses, and Meg Tango.

See article about Stas Venglevski in this publication, Highlights Section

The book with CD is $30 + shipping ($3). A PDF version (without CD) is $25. You can buy with Stas’ PayPal account (, or by making a check payable to Megumi Hada and mailing to: 2901 Watters Rd., Pasadena, TX 77502.

For more info, please contact Megumi (

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Star Spangled Banner with Accordion and Balloons!

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Josie Beach
Enjoy this performance on accordion! Josie Beach made her own balloon eagle and accordion!

Known as Josie with Polka Pop Balloon Stop, she entertains all with “The Star Spangled Banner”. Josie shares, “I have loved music my entire life and I was lucky enough to begin piano lessons at the age of 4 and grow up in a family that loves to play music with me. I picked up the accordion at the age of 12 when my grandparents had no piano for me to play my piano Christmas music on.

I sat on the couch with the bellows across my lap and strapped my feet to the bass with the piano end in my lap. My uncle strapped the accordion on upright to me and I went from there! I now take lessons from the amazing Betty Jo Simon.”

Have a Happy 4th of July!

For more information: email:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Poeluev Live Online Concert

by Ed Petrowski, Jr.
Liza PouleuvAlexander Poeluev held his first live online concert on Saturday May 16, 2020 at 11:00 AM New York time. If you missed this milestone you can still see the concert video at Is a live online concert exciting? I mean there is no driving, no tickets, no coat check, no looking for your seat... Well I can say unreservedly yes! The anticipation of seeing it live does make all the difference. Knowing you are seeing and hearing a concert as it happens from a Moscow time zone is really amazing.

With Alexander performing and his wife Liza as the Master of Ceremonies and sound engineer, one talented cameraman, one broadcast manager and a guest appearance of Saxophonist Machnev Andrey the 1 hour and 50 minute concert had all the elements for success. Alexander and Liza Poeluev produced their first live online concert from the port city of Rostov-on-Don to a world wide audience with viewers from 15 countries and 40 Russian cities. 2,800 views of the broadcast with as many as 350 active viewers at one time. This broadcast video has now had more than 4,700 views. Alexander’s YouTube channel picked up more than 100 subscribers after the concert and has now reached a total 11,100 subscribers. Alexander’s program was wide and far reaching with composers, mood, styles and time periods.

The concert started with two Scarlatti Sonatas: A and E major, followed by pieces by Rameau: Le Rappel des oiseaux, Couperin: L’Arlequin, Schumann: Träumerei and N.Paganini, F.Liszt Concert Etude “Hunting”. The concert continued with Arkhipovsky: Cinderella, followed by Tchaikovsky: March and Russian dance Trepak from the Nutcracker ballet.

At this point Liza explained Alexander’s use of a FX processor Looper Board (Headrush looperboard 2019 model) as the camera panned to show the pedal’s location and active display. There were no backing tracks as all the loops were created live during the performance as Alexander created layer after layer for his moving performance of Frenkel's Zhuravli. Next up an all time favorite and original rendition of Vurtner's Dark Eyes.

Forty-five minutes into the program the Poeluev’s made a dedication to the memory of their friend Lou Coppola. The concert setting disappeared from our screens and was filled with a picture of Lou. Liza Poeluev began the dedication with highlights of Lou’s life rendered in both Russian and English and when she finished, our view returned to Alexander performing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, the piece he selected to dedicate to his friend, Lou Coppola. This was a moving tribute to Lou that transcended language and cultures with both beauty and grace. The program continued with V.Semionov: Don Rhapsody (final movement) - which is a piece written about the river Don in the Poeluev’s home city Rostov-on-Don. A short intermission of 5 minutes and the concert resumed with their invited guest Andrey Machnev, saxophonist.

Andrey Machnev is not only a performer but also teacher, composer and arranger. He is a leader of both orchestras and ensembles, one of the organizers of jazz education in Rostov-on-Don and a laureate of international competitions and festivals. Mr. Machnev is well known as a soloist of Rostov’s big bands and one of the leaders of the New-Centropezn Jazz Quartet and of the Youth Big Band in Rostov.

The concert recommenced with Andrey Machnev performing a World Premier of his composition Impromptu on tenor saxophone. This was not the only World Premier on the program as next Alexander premiered his own composition Snowflakes. Galliano’s Tango pour Claude was performed next as a duet by both Alexander on accordion and Andrey on soprano saxophone. After an hour into the program we are met with a change in tempo and the upbeat sounds of Alexander and Andrey playing Vlasov’s Basso-Ostinato. At this point Liza Poeluev informed the audience that many people supported them in putting this concert together. She expressed their thanks sending their love and gratitude to everyone who attended the concert during these hard times wishing everyone to "Be happy, healthy and strong. That beauty will save the world and we will play beautiful music for you!”

We continued with Alexander and Andrey playing Vlasov’s Bossa-nova. A short break while Liza read some of the many comments and greetings recorded from all over the world during the concert. The concert then closed with Andrey on soprano saxophone and Alexander performing Andrey Machnev’s Child Game. I believe I speak for many when I say we look forward to their next production. Bravo!

About the Author: AAA member Ed Petrowski, Jr. lives in Milford CT. Ed studied stradella accordion with Bob Osso of Milford, CT for 10 years and later studied free bass with Frank Porto at the University of Bridgeport where he received the Bachelor of Music degree in Conducting. We are hopeful that another concert and workshop will be scheduled in the near future.

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

Technician’s Fun: “The Coughing Flea”

by Yvonne Marts
Coughing Flea
Coughing FleaDr. Helmi Harrington's Note: Yvonne is a multi-talented lady, a long-standing board member of AWAM, donor, and a dear personal friend. Her drawings are often featured as covers and her articles are regularly included in Norway’s “Nygammalt,” the most significant accordion magazine in Scandinavia.

A professional accordion repair specialist, she is a graduate of the 1994-95 ARTS curriculum, for which she wrote the yearbook. At my request, she rediscovered her sketches and wrote about the events leading to her “Coughing Flea” cartoon still displayed in our HARTS repair area. Its title became a synonym for the parsonage residence shared by ARTS students of that year.

By Yvonne Marts, “The Accordion Lady of Fergus Falls”

Attending Accordion Repair School required me to find a place to live in Duluth. I stayed two months at the YWCA. That was enough. Helmi opened the manse behind the church/school building, and I moved in there ASAP. Glyn, a student from England, also had a room there. I decided that he and I were not going to cause gossip, so I announced that the manse was now a Student Union, and all the students could come there for lunch, or R&R, or special occasions.

Helmi hadn’t thought of that, but it worked very well indeed, and I have lots of good memories. We named it “The Coughing Flea” (TCF) because Helmi told us, “Don’t ever tell a customer that if they have a problem to bring it back and you’ll fix it. They will hear fleas cough!” Then I drew this cartoon, in October of 1994, later incorporating it into a 2'x3' complete cartoon, which was framed, and now hangs in Helmi’s workshop in A World of Accordion Museum. It depicts the technician as a puppet, controlled by “Kof,” the Flea, and his minions, the special tools which the technician is learning to use. The Technician must “dance to Kof’s tune.” 

This particular course ran from September of 1994 until June 1st (graduation) 1995. It was at The Coughing Flea that I had the ideal situation. My housemate loved to clean house, and I had a car for running errands. He, from England, had a lot to learn about Duluth, Minnesota. One day I had eaten lunch at the Duluth Grill (only 4 blocks from the school) and brought home a large fresh generously frosted brownie. Glyn had never seen one before, but fell in love with brownies.

The next time I took him grocery shopping, I introduced him to Betty Crocker Brownie Mix. From then on every week, and in his suitcase going home to England, his list included two boxes of brownie mix. He shared with the other guys, of course. (The class consisted of five men and one woman, me.) 

We had holiday parties and our graduation party at TCF. It was just a great place. I had set up my computer and typed papers for Les Haanpaa, 45, a mechanic, who gave me a nickname, Friddle. Why? I have no idea. Pete, 35, was a graphic artist. Gary, 36, was an electrician wizard. Glyn, 55, a handyman. Dan, 21, perpetual student and dreamer. And Yvonne, 62, retired teacher. Helmi, 51, and husband, Duane, 50+, were the outstanding instructors. What a year!”

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

Frank Busso’s Accordion at Alex’s Birthday Party!

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
BussoAccordionist Frank Busso really enhanced his grandson, Alex’s 12th birthday party on June 28, 2020. Frank entertained all in a backyard party with appropriate social distancing. Frank’s performances at family events is a family tradition. Frank is an AAA Board Member and Past President of the AAA.

Alex’s mom, Christina Busso said, “Thank you to Grandma Carmela Busso and Grandpa (for being with us and for playing the music for Alex's birthday song...a beautiful tradition!)”Of their 5 grandchildren, 3 play the accordion: Alexander and Caroline Lammers (Christina’s children) and Nicholas Busso (Frank Jr.’s son). 

You also can make your family/friends celebrations more lively by playing your accordion! The accordion is portable, fun to watch, and loud enough to play outdoors for all indoors near windows to hear. The accordion is a wonderful instrument to learn when quarantined. You can easily learn with online teachers.

Send your photos of you playing the accordion outside with proper social distancing to Editor Rita Barnea.


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

Jon Hammond from Pandemic Quarantino

by Harley Jones
John Hammond
Hammond Report June 18, 2020 from Pandemic Quarantino @Jon Hammond - Original Music and Stories from organist accordionist Jon Hammond.

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Accordionist Dan Newton Performs on Bastille Day with Cafe Accordion Orchestra

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Dan Newton
The Cafe Accordion Orchestra (which includes accordionist Dan Newton – picture above) will entertain at a Bastille Day event at Crooners Supper Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 14, 2020 at 7:PM

The event will include a celebration of all things French, under the big tent with socially-distanced outdoor seating, protection from the elements, food and beverages. Dan performs in many groups in the Minneapolis area. Excerpts from his website: Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton has been dazzling audiences with his creative accordion style for over 30 years. His fresh approach to the accordion and his mind-boggling repertoire of both original and traditional material will change the mind of the most hardened accordion skeptic.

Dan draws influences for songs and tunes from such sources as French Musette, Gypsy Swing, Cajun, Jug band, Tex-Mex and Cumbia. He calls this global gumbo “ethnoclectic” music. Daddy Squeeze entertains and also enlightens his audiences with stories and colorful anecdotes about the accordion and his experiences while making a living playing the instrument he loves. Dan has produced more than 25 albums for himself, his band, and other performers. He has appeared on recordings by other artists such as Garrison Keillor, Son Volt, The Proclaimers, Peter Ostroushko, Prudence Johnson and Pat Donohue. His music was featured for one season on MTV's series The Real World: Paris. Dan has performed at the Lincoln Center, NY, Kennedy Center, Washington DC, Accordion Festivals in Vienna, Austria, San Antonio, TX and Cotati, CA, Bastille Days in Milwaukee, WI, Kaustinen Folk Festival in Finland and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Dan was also a frequent guest on the Garrison Keillor’s radio show A Prairie Home Companion. Dan spends much of his time playing accordion with his group Café Accordion Orchestra, performing Vintage Swing, Latin, American, and French Café music. He leads a number of other bands including; Jumbo Ya Ya, The Rockin’ Pinecones, The Hula Peppers, and The Daddy Squeeze Band.

For details email:

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Vancouver Squeezebox Circle Meets July 2nd

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
The July 2, 2020 Squeezebox Circle has a 15-song songlist for this Thursday's Squeezebox Circle accordion get-together which will be either live (in Vancouver's Maclean Park - or a Zoom event, depending on weather - if you didn't receive the email and would like to get a copy please send Alan Zisman a Facebook message for more information. Time of the event is 7:PM-9:PM PDT

The Vancouver Squeezebox Circle shares everything about squeezeboxes for folks in and around Vancouver (BC Canada) -- Performance tips, sheet music, lessons, repairs, buy & sell, videos, gig opportunities etc..

Rowan Lipkovits and Accordion Noir present a regular series of low-impact social gatherings for squeezeboxes (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 (and semi-musical noises), doubtless history, stories and jokes will be shared and swapped. Maybe you'll find a teacher? Maybe you'll find a student?

For further information:

Sounding Out the Accordion by Thierry Benetoux

Future events

2020 Coupe Mondiale in Portugal

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
CIAThe Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) is currently on track to welcome guests to the 73rd Coupe Mondiale and the 144th CIA International General Assembly of Delegates Congress in Castr Marim - Algarve, Portugal. The event will be hosted by the CIA member Mito Algarvio - Associação de Acordeonistas do Algarve from 5-11 October, 2020 in Portugal and will offer 20,000 Euro in prize money. The event will be hosted by the CIA member Mito Algarvio - Associação de Acordeonistas do Algarve from 5-11 October, 2020 in Portugal and will offer 20,000 Euro in prize money.
The festival will feature competitions as follows:

• 73rd Coupe Mondiale
• Masters Coupe Mondiale
• Junior Coupe Mondiale
• International Competition for Virtuoso Entertainment Music
• Junior International Competition for Virtuoso Entertainment Music
• Chamber Music - Classical
• Chamber Music - World Music

Each year, the AAA holds a Qualification round where young accordionists have the opportunity to represent their country at the Coupe Mondiale.
For complete information on Coupe Mondiale categories and requirements, please visit

If you wish to participate in the 2020 qualifying round, please contact AAA First Vice President, Mary J. Tokarski with questions and the category you wish to enter, no later than June 30, 2020. Email:

The entry fee is $30 for AAA members. Non-members are required to pay an additional $65 which will entitle them to one year membership to the AAA.

The Coupe Mondiale festival will also feature the magnificent World Accordion Orchestra XIII, to be held on Sunday, 11 October 2020 at the conclusion of the festival competitions.
With numerous cancellations and postponements of all events, organizers continue to monitor guidelines and restrictions closely. As with many events, organizers are challenged with the implications of accommodation, concert venue and artist contracts, ever changing restrictions and many other considerations. In addition, while some events have the possibility to re- schedule to the following year or other timeframes, for our CIA members, with heavy bookings of Coupe Mondiale events scheduled well into the future, there are extremely limited possibilities to adjust the timeframe of the event.

CIA President Mirco Paterini shares, “As current European Union travel restrictions are eased, travel opportunities are increasing, so the current festival is planned to go ahead as scheduled, even if operating with a more limited number of participants. Updates and changes will be communicated as soon as they become available based on the ever changing circumstances associated with the world situation.

It is less than 4 months before the 73rd Coupe Mondiale in Portugal will be held from 5 to 11 October in the city of Castro Marim, a splendid center of the Algarve.

There is a required review of national and international health issues, including confirmation of the date.

Almost daily contacts take place with the political side and national health requirements, that see Portugal, like the majority of European nations, emerge in this period from the first phase of the pandemic crisis.

However, it is logical that, since it is a world event, it will be necessary to fulfill all Government controls and understand the evolution of COVID 19 in other parts of the globe.

"Within the next few weeks we will be able to outline the guidelines in detail. There is a willingness on everyone's part to create a great World Coupe Mondiale competition and festival on this occasion - by ensuring everyone is safe."

Please visit for the latest information and meanwhile, organizers are still hopeful that they can welcome as many visitors as possible to Portugal!

Celebrate Chubby Carrier's Birthday on July 1

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Chubby Carrier
Chubby CarrierCelebrate Joseph Carrier’s Birthday on Facebook live on July1, 2020 at 7:PM. He will appear with Darryl Fontenat and Beau Thomas. Do not miss this event. Chubby Carrier is fun, entertaining, lively and will make you smile!

Carrier is a prince in zydeco royalty. His father, Roy Carrier; his grandfather, Warren Carrier, and his cousins, Bebe and Calvin Carrier, are considered zydeco legends. For more than 20 years, Chubby and the Bayou Swamp Band have toured relentlessly around the world, playing venues such as the Chicago Blues Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Cajun and Zydeco Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Montreaux Jazz Fest in Switzerland. For his steadfast dedication to zydeco music, Carrier was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame on October 16, 2011.

During the 20-year span, the band has produced and released 10 albums, “Boogie Woogie Zydeco” (1991), “Dance All Night” (1993), “Who Stole the Hot Sauce?” (1996), “Too Hot To Handle” (Live) (1999), “It’s Party Time!” (1999), “Take Me To The Zydeco” (2001), “Ain’t No Party Like A Chubby Party!” (2003), “Bayou Road” (2006), “Live at Knuckleheads” (2007), and “Zydeco Junkie” (2010).

Chubby’s Upcoming Performances Include:
Hammock Bay Estates Summer Concert Series
Thu, Jul 2 @ 6:00PM — 9:00PM
Freeport, FL

Rick's Dock On The Island Restaurant
Fri, Jul 3 @ 6:00PM — 9:00PM
Ft. Walton, FL

The Island Hotel Beach Party
Sat, Jul 4 @ 6:00PM — 9:00PM
Ft. Walton, FL

For more information:
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