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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Jun-2009
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
USA Celebrates World Accordion Day
Mary Tokarski tours China with Mantovani Orchestra
UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra presents 48th Annual Concert
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA
ATG Offers Pre-Festival Seminar on Accordion Repair Basics
AAA Competition & Festival in Memphis, TN July 15-19, 2009
ATG "Accordion Renaissance" Sunday Sightseeing August 13-16
Frédéric Deschamps Seminar & Grayson Masefield Concert
20th Anniversary of National Accordion Awareness Month in June
15th Annual American Accordionists’ Association Master Class and Concert Series
John Moceo: Busy Young Accordionist!
Contributions Needed for AAA Archives

Voci Armoniche

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

Lidia Kaminska Performs with Placido Domingo
Rob Howard Publishes “An A to Z of the Accordion & Related Instruments Volume 4"
Stas Venglevski Releases New CD
Emilio Magnotta: Accordion Repair, Sales, and Performance
Bella Ciao Releases New CD

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

AAA to Sponsor Fundraiser for Earthquake Victims in Italy
Dr. William Schimmel: World Premiere of His New Work
The Stereo Strings Perform in Maryland
Joe Soprani to Premiere His New Arrangement of the “William Tell Overture”
Frank Busso Jr. to Perform for WMAS in June
"Famous Accordion Orchestra" in Concert in June
Valtaro Accordionists’ Reunion in August
USA Accordionists Invited on Accordion Cruise, April 2010

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



Editor's Note

by Rita Barnea
June is a month filled with very interesting accordion news: New CD releases, New accordion book published, Young accordionists, Festivals, Concerts, Competitions……………….the world of the accordion offers something unique to everyone!

In addition………..June is National Accordion Awareness Month!

I hope you will take the time to read about, participate in, listen to, or attend an accordion event.

Enjoy the best instrument in the world……….the accordion!

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

USA Celebrates World Accordion Day

by Rita Barnea
World Accordion DayOn May 3rd, 2009, the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) presented an afternoon of Music, Food and Fun at the Magnanini Winery in Wallkill, New York.

Dedicated to the celebration of World Accordion Day, featured artists included Mario Tacca and his wife, International Vocal Artist - Mary Mancini, Frank Toscano, Frank Carrozza, Dominic Karcic, Ray Oreggia, Lenny Feldmann, former CIA Coupe Mondiale Champion Beverly Roberts Curnow (held in 1965 in Malta), Dr. Lou Persic, Dr. Robert Young McMahan, Emilio Magnotta and The Connecticut Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Linda Soley Reed.

This annual event raises money for the AAA Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund. Over 200 people enjoyed this sold out event. Carmen Carrozza was present and delighted all when he conducted a large ensemble of accordionists.

For further information and photos please visit the World Accordion Day web site. Click on "Pictures and Reviews" followed by "USA Celebrations".

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

Mary Tokarski tours China with Mantovani Orchestra

by Rita Barnea
Mary TokarskiMary Tokarski, concert accordionist, recently returned from a successful concert tour of mainland China with the Mantovani Orchestra both as an orchestra member and as a soloist This was her second tour with the group. Tour report: 2009 Tokarski China tour.

Mary Tokarski performs as a soloist, and as a member of “Buttons & Keys” (a piano/accordion duo). Mary was United States Champion twice, and represented the U.S. in the 1971 and 1973 Coupe Mondiale events in Belgium and France. Mary serves on the Board of Directors for both the American Accordionists Association and the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, Intl. Mary also teaches and travels throughout the U.S. presenting workshops and Master Classes on improving musical skills, and coaches on all aspects of performance.

For a fascinating report on her experiences in China, please read 2009 Tokarski China tour.

Titano Accordion Company

UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra presents 48th Annual Concert

by Harley Jones
UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra, soloist Kevin Friedrich
The University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) Community Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Joan C. Sommers presented a spectacular 48th Annual Spring Concert in Kansas City on May 31st.

Performing a variety of works, the concert program included: Tambourin from Fêtes d’Hébé by Rameau/Motti, Film Noir: City at Night by famed Los Angeles composer Leonard Stack, Serenade, (Andante Cantabile) Op. 39 by Alexander Comitas, Keniade (I. On the Safari with Herbert, II. Love Play of the Hippos, III. Jumping Gazelles and IV. Meeting of the Maassai Warriors) by Fritz Dobler, Gem of the Kaipara by Gary Daverne with Kevin Friedrich as Accordion Soloist, Suite from Video Games Live (featuring music from “Halo Suite”, Coronation & Baba Yetu from Civilization IV, Bounty Hunter Theme from Advent Rising Suite and Kingdom Hearts”, arranged by Joan C. Sommers, with the Video Presentation by UMKC Professor Caitlin Horsmon, Faust Walzer by Gounod and Brasilia Potpouri, both arranged by Willi Munch.

The 16 member group received a well deserved standing ovation for their concert from the large audience in attendance. The members of the UMKC Accordion Orchestra for this years concert were Betty Jo Simon, Ron Barrow, Joyce Davis, Kevin Friedrich, Don Lipovac, Christine Jarquio, Bob Eichkorn, Miceky Eichkorn, Karen Boocock, Samantha Jarquio, Amy Hatfield, Cathy Sue Weiss, Mary Ann Covone, Laura Lee Crandall, Nick Baker and Brian Steever.

The orchestra has performed in many countries throughout the world as well as across the United States. Now, even after director Professor Joan Sommers retired from her teaching position, the University still strongly supports the orchestra and continues to provide rehearsal and storage space as well as the use of it’s many concert facilities. The orchestra recently performed in Washington DC at the AAA/ATG sponsored CIA Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships, where it performed at the festival as well as at the famed Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The UMKC Accordion Orchestra has released a series of six CD’s, and for more information about ordering these, or some history of the orchestra, please visit UMKC Accordion Orchestra website.

Voci Armoniche

Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA

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

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

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

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

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

Accordion Jazz Chords

ATG Offers Pre-Festival Seminar on Accordion Repair Basics

by Dee Langley
Harrington ARTS Center
Helmi HarringtonThe ATG is offering a pre-festival seminar on accordion repair basics at the Harrington ARTS Center in conjunction with A World of Accordions Museum in Superior, WI. from August 9-12, 2009 .

The seminar will be introduced by a tour of the museum and its resources on Aug. 9, 2009, 4:00-7:00 PM. This tour offers invaluable information on accordion-family-instruments history and evolution, the connections and interrelationships of all members of the instrument family, recognition of decade/era/ethnicity of manufacture, assessing value, companies vs. brand names, worldwide dissemination and use, aesthetic considerations, and demos of acoustic types and tuning standards.

Participants will have opportunity for hands-on work with button diatonic-, and piano-accordions. Button chromatic accordions, concertinas and bandonions will be included in demonstrations on:
1. Instrument handling procedures
2. Understanding how they play and should sound according to quality rankings (Beginner, Intermediate, Professional, Fine, World-Class)
3. Assessing condition: determining problems/solutions
4. The worktable/workshop and basic equipment
5. Disassembly/reassembly procedures in basic
6. Maintenance and cleaning procedures
7. Grill cloth replacement and cosmetics
8. Treble keyboard work: pulling the axle, key removal and cleaning, pallets issues
9. Understanding how reeds work, their types and problems
10. Reed-banks and reed-blocks layouts
11. Denoting pitches; understanding shift functions
12. Stradella (Standard) bass machines
13. Basic tuning procedures
14. Rewaxing and releathering
15. Common bellows issues
16. Storage, traveling, shipping, crating
17. Preventing problems: care of your instrument

Maximum number of participants will be ten, minimum number will be four. Sessions will begin at 9:00 AM and continue until 1:00, then resume from 5:00-7:00 PM. Snacks and coffee will be provided.

Studies flow best when our instruments are used. If you wish to work on yours, prior approval is required. Students are encouraged to work with a partner, may use our tools or bring their own, and we will furnish basic supplies.

Participants will need to arrange for their travel and accommodations during the seminar and afterwards, if attending the ATG Festival and Competition in Minneapolis. We often work with a motel in walking distance to HARTS for reduced rates. Many types of food service are nearby.

Participation fee is $300.00. If the seminar attendee is an ATG member, 10% will be contributed to the ATG general fund. Registration and $50 deposit are required by July 27, 2009.

Please indicate your intent by contacting:
Dr. Helmi Harrington, Harrington ARTS Center, 1401 Belknap Street, Superior, WI 54880
Phone: 715-395-2787

The enrollment form, schedule, (optional) tools list, protective items, (suggested) preparatory reading, and other details will follow. A notebook and folder for hand-outs is suggested. Still photography is permitted; video/audio taping is not.


AAA Competition & Festival in Memphis, TN July 15-19, 2009

by Rita Barnea
AAA logo
The 2009 AAA Competition and Festival in Memphis will be from July 15 – 19. The events will take place at the Holiday Inn Suites at the University of Memphis, TN. The Holiday Inn is an all-suite hotel located on the campus of the University of Memphis and adjacent to the Fogelman Executive Conference Center. Mary Tokarski, Chairman of the 2009 AAA Competition and Festival, is presenting a very fascinating and unique festival.

The Festival features competitions, concerts, workshops, Festival Orchestra, a performance at Graceland and much more! Among the top entertainers will be: Tony Lovello, {Liberace of the Accordion}, Joe Natoli {winner of the recent Roland V Competition in Los Angeles} and Randy Martin, director of the Martin School in Fullerton, California, who will conduct the AAA Festival Orchestra. Frank Busso, Sr. will conduct the performance at Graceland which will include “Love Me Tender” and “Blue Suede Shoes”. Frank is a noted accordionist and educator, First Vice-President of the American Accordionists’ Association and Director of the Staten Island Music School in New York.

The Thursday evening entertainment will feature “Riders in the Sky” who have been playing original and classic cowboy songs for more than thirty years. They are keepers of the flame passed on by the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, reviving and revitalizing the genre. While remaining true to the integrity of Western music, they have themselves become modern-day icons by branding the genre with their own legendary wacky humor and way-out Western wit.

The Jeff Lisenby Ensemble will perform on the Friday evening concert on July 17. Lisenby holds a master’s degree from The Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His experience runs the gamut of styles. He has twice been the national accordion champion and a bronze medalist in the Coupe Mondiale international classical accordion competitions. But classical music wasn’t the only style he practiced. Lisenby used his genius on the accordion and keyboards to carve a niche market for himself, and gained performances with the Nashville, Kansas City, and Los Angeles Symphonies, the Palm Beach Pops Orchestra, and a gig accompanying Luciano Pavarotti during part of his U.S. tour.

New to this year's program will be Bruce Gassman performing on the Luncheon Concert program together with a duo featuring Mary Tokarski and Joe Natoli. No stranger to entertaining, Bruce is the accordionist with the New Jersey-based Holiday Express, a group of professional musicians whose mission is to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness. Bruce will also entertain during the Saturday night banquet at the Festival.

Several new categories will be included in this year’s events including: AAA Digital/Electronic International Entertainment Competition, as well as a solo category honoring “The King”, Elvis Presley. There will be an International Piano Accordion Competition with prizes funded by the Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund, Maddalena Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionists. This competition is sponsored by the Mauro Greco family, under the auspices of the AAA.

This year also marks the beginning of the Elsie M. Bennett Composition Category whose general purpose is to encourage young students of the accordion and those who just enjoy the sound of the accordion, to create literature for accordion either as a solo instrument, or with other instruments. There is no directive for the style of the composition, ONLY that it is written for the acoustic accordion, not electronic accordion.

This year the 2009 AAA Festival Orchestra will be conducted by Randy Martin from CA. If you would like to perform in the 2009 Festival Orchestra, please e-mail Linda Reed at and be sure to include your mailing address, approximately playing level (for example, you may use the Palmer-Hughes Accordion Books as a guide), and e-mail contact address.

The Graceland performance will take place on Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 12 PM. After the performance at Graceland, there will be a Graceland tour with additional sightseeing time.

All entry forms and information are available now as .pdf files on the AAA web site. Simply download the file, and mail to address listed below. You may also contact the AAA at this address to request printed forms to be sent to you

Mary Tokarski, Contest Chairperson
15 Maplewood Lane
Northford, CT 06472 USA
Phone 203-484-5095
Fax: 203-335-2048, E-mail:

Come to the 2009 AAA Festival! You will hear some of the best accordionists in the country! Enter the competitions! Play your accordion with the band at Graceland! Attend the workshops! Meet new accordion friends!

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

ATG "Accordion Renaissance" Sunday Sightseeing August 13-16

by Dee Langley
RivercruiseThe “Accordion Renaissance” Festival is presented by the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International at the Hilton Mall of America Airport, 3800 American Blvd East, Bloomington, Minnesota from August 13-16, 2009

In addition to the wonderful line up of accordion activities Thursday through Saturday, the ATG is proud to offer a special sightseeing day on Sunday. We’re all about the water in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Science Museum of Minnesota & Omnimax Theater - TITANIC: Includes admission to the Science Museum of Minnesota, special Titanic touring exhibit, Omnimax theater presentation of ‘Titanica’, and a special behind the scene tour of the Science Museum Exhibit Shop.

Begin the Science Museum of Minnesota with a behind the scene tour of their world class Exhibit Shop culminating in a Q & A session hosted by one of the museum’s prototype experts. Learn how exhibits are developed from an idea to being on display in the museum. Discover the unforgettable story of the most famous ship of its time. Travel back to 1912 to experience the legendary story of RMS Titanic through photographs, sound, and over 200 genuine artifacts.

Explore first-class and third-class accommodations and see personal items recovered after 80 years on the ocean floor. Complete your journey by visiting the Omnitheater's domed, giant-screen to see Titanica, a moving film that takes you to the wreck of the Titanic, almost 3 miles beneath the surface.

Padleford Riverboats Sunset Dinner Cruise – MISSISSIPPI RIVER: Includes dinner and accordion entertainment. Imagine cruising up the mighty Mississippi River on a paddleboat while taking in the beautiful scenery, gentle breeze and watching the sun set across the Minnesota sky. Enjoy a fabulous and share an evening everyone will remember. Come aboard!

For further information:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Frédéric Deschamps Seminar & Grayson Masefield Concert

by Patricia Bartell
Washington Seminar by Frédéric Deschamps
Grayson MasefieldUSA delegate of the CMA, Patricia Bartell and her students were honored to host the President of the CMA Frédéric Deschamps and his student Grayson Masefield (New Zealand - picture left).

Master classes started Tuesday of May 26th and ended with a fantastic concert May 30th with Grayson Masefield.

Throughout the Seminar, students gathered to observe and participate in the new pedagogical technique approach of Frédéric Deschamps.

All were amazed with the results of the technique and thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of learning that Frédéric produced. We all say again to Frédéric Deschamps: Thank you!

Grayson Masefield was a total inspiration to all. During the seminar, students were able to watch Grayson during his training with Frédéric to better understand and see the technique in full action. Very impressive.

For the concert, he performed both a Classical Program and Variety Program. With his great personality and amazing technique he won the hearts of the audience who gave him standing ovations and great appreciation.

Everyone was in awe as they left the concert. From Spokane, Washington State (USA), we wish Grayson Masefield all the best!

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

20th Anniversary of National Accordion Awareness Month in June

by Rita Barnea
Tom TorrigliaJune is National Accordion Awareness Month (NAAM). National Accordion Awareness Month was established in 1989 to promote the accordion, help spread the word about the resurgence in popularity in the accordion and to educate people about the accordion. Tom Torriglia of San Francisco, CA. established the month of June as National Accordion Awareness Month. (Photo left)

Did you know?

1. The piano accordion is the official musical instrument of the city of San Francisco and has been since 1990.
2. Actress Lucy Liu plays the accordion
3. Guitarist Nils Lofgren started on the accordion.
4. Billy Joel and Barry Manilow also play the accordion.
5. The accordion is a member of the reed family, not the keyboard family.
6. The first United States-made piano accordion (ones with the keys on it) was manufactured in San Francisco back in 1907. It was at the Guerrini Accordion Company on DuPont St. (Grant Ave., near Columbus Ave.)
7. In addition to the piano accordion, the accordion family also includes Cajun button boxes, chromatic and diatonic button accordions, the concertina, the bayan, and the bandoneon.
8. Shania Twain's immensely popular Come On Over CD has accordion on a couple of tracks. Los Lobos. Bruce Hornsby plays the accordion and uses it in shows. Counting Crows uses accordion a lot. In San Francisco, the show Forever Tango was a huge hit and featured two bandoneonists.
9. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of accordions in the world.
10. The cities of Detroit, Skokie, Illinois, and St. Paul, Minnesota have designated the accordion as their official instrument
11. Singer Bobby McFarrin works frequently with accordionist Gil Goldstein.
12. John Smoltz is a Major league baseball player who plays the accordion.
13. Famous people who played the accordion: Richard Nixon and H. Ross Perot; actors James Stewart, Drew Carey and Charlie Chaplin; novelists Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy; baseball pitcher John Smoltz; and Mahatma Gandhi.
15. Former Boston Celtics player Tony Lavelli (1926-1998) used to play his accordion at half time.
16. Elvis Presley played the accordion.

For more information:
Tom Torriglia,

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

15th Annual American Accordionists’ Association Master Class and Concert Series

by Rita Barnea
15th Annual American Accordionists’ Association Master Class and Concert Series
On July 24, 25 and 26, Dr. William Schimmel will be the Moderator/Curator of the 2009 Annual Seminars. This will be the fifteenth year and the event is sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association.

The title is: "WELCOME HOME SKINNY almost (not) (t)here". It takes place on July 24, 25 AND 26 2009 at the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, 43A West 13th St. between 5th AND 6th Ave.

Each afternoon master class will begin with an interactive segment: four or five accordionists from the audience who wish to perform will receive comments, advice and encouragement from the seminar participants, members of the audience and from William Schimmel.

Reserve a place early! Performances will be in a staggering variety of styles, genres and angles. Many well known accordionists will be performing!

Master classes are at 3:PM . Concerts are at 7:PM. The fee is $20 for each master class, $25 for each concert or $40 for each day. The entire weekend is $110.

For further information, reservations or for reserving a place to perform at a master class, call:
Dr.William Schimmel at 212-876-0827 or Email:

Come and enjoy this special accordion weekend!

Titano Accordion Company

John Moceo: Busy Young Accordionist!

by Rita Barnea
John MoceoThis is the second article in our new series about young accordionists and their musical activities. Each month young accordionists will be featured. We intend to bring special attention to their many and varied musical ventures. One of our purposes is to inform our readers of the numerous opportunites that are available to all types of accordionists. All have their unique place and destiny.

Meet John Moceo:

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

John Moceo attends Monsignor Farrell All Boys Catholic High School, Staten Island, NY. He is a member of the award winning marching band, concert band, and jazz band and has performed many accordion solos at his high school concerts playing classical, jazz, ballads, and holiday music. This spring he will perform a Tribute to the King, Elvis Presley, who has been one of John's musical inspirations. John plays the snare drum for the Monsignor Farrell High School Marching Band which is one of the top three high school bands in the United States Scholastic Band Association. He also plays the piano, vibraphone, xylophone, and drums for the school band.

John appeared on the NBC, daytime talk show, "Ellen Degeneres", which was filmed in Burbank, California. He performed so well on the show, that they invited him to stay and close the show with Ellen Degeneres. John has also appeared on "Mallets Place", which is a Staten Island Cable Jazz Television Show, and "Toastmasters", another Staten Island Cable Talk Television Show. John has also performed at "The Cutting Room". He has played at the Staten Island Music School Recital every year since the age of 5. When John was just 7 years old, he was invited to the Julliard School, in New York City where he recorded a CD of his favorite tunes. He also has performed at restaurants, catering halls, social organizations, parties, and family gatherings in the Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens, New York areas. John has been featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Staten Island Advance, and New York Times. He appeared in a brief video which was filmed by the Washington Post interviewing him at a national competition.

John has his own band, "1000 Voltz", which will give its first performance in June at "Battle of the Bands". His band records in a recording studio he organized in his home which he calls "Record On the Wall". He composed all of the bands original music and is hoping to make this a success. John plans to attend college in the year 2010, and study all aspects of music and performance. His dream is to be a world famous music producer, walk the red carpet, and win a grammy award someday. He will credit his success to his love of music, the accordion, and to his dedicated teacher, AAA First Vice-President, Frank Busso, who has inspired him and given him guidance and support through the years.

For further information contact:
John Moceo:
Frank Busso:

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

Contributions Needed for AAA Archives

by Rita Barnea
Joan GraumanJoan Grauman, the historian for the American Accordionists’ Association, is looking for contributions to the AAA archives. She welcomes old journals, flyers, photos, programs and shared memories. Within the next year, she will have all of the photos and much of the historical information on the AAA website.

Joan will present a workshop on the archives at the AAA Festival in Memphis in July and hopes to see all of you there! All original documents, photos, and memorabilia will be copied and returned to the owner as requested.

Joan Grauman is on the governing board of the American Accordionists' Association, vice president of the Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society and co-directs the annual Frank Marocco Accordion Event with her husband, Dan.

For further information please contact Joan Grauman:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

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

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Lidia Kaminska Performs with Placido Domingo

by Rita Barnea
Lidia Kaminska with Placido DomingoAccordionist and bandoneónist Lidia Kaminska recently performed in a concert entitled "From My Latin Soul," with legendary tenor Plácido Domingo in Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall. She played the bandoneón in the tango section together with Pablo Zinger on piano, and Pablo Aslan on bass.

A winner of Astral Artists’ 2007 National Auditions, accordionist Lidia Kaminska has performed extensively in both the U.S. and Europe. Astral has presented her in recital, and features her on its series in February 2010 season. Ms. Kaminska’s chamber music, concerto, and solo performances explore the complex and expressive range of the accordion as a classical instrument, and her repertoire includes a broad range of classical, contemporary, and avant-garde music.

She conceived her first album, Breaking Boundaries, as part of her mission to change the perception of the accordion from parlor entertainment to a serious classical instrument; Philadelphia Magazine claims “she transforms the accordion into a massive force – more pipe organ than squeezebox – and burns through [classical repertoire] with virtuosic speed and technique.”

The recipient of 2009 Career Advancement Award from the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, Ms. Kaminska will debut at the Merkin Recital Hall New York next season, and will appear with the Lancaster Symphony, and Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players.

For more information:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Rob Howard Publishes “An A to Z of the Accordion & Related Instruments Volume 4"

by Rita Barnea
An A to Z of the Accordion & Related Instruments Volume 4
Rob Howard has written a new book, “robaccord04.htm" target="_blank">An A to Z of the Accordion and related instruments - Volume 4 which is now available. It is the latest in this popular series of books about the accordion and accordionists, presenting more accordion related articles and biographies.

Some of the entries are extensions of topics and biographies featured in the three previous volumes, adding further information, and from fresh angles. There are some specially written articles, plus some evergreen archive magazine articles written by such eminent British experts as Gerald Crossman, Conway Graves and Douglas Ward. The attachment is an itemized list of the contents of the book robaccord04.htm" target="_blank">An A to Z of the Accordion and related instruments - Volume 4.

The four volumes of “An A to Z of the Accordion & Related Instruments” contain a number of archive articles written by experts plus some written specially for the series, contributed by present day players. Rob’s purpose is to make available a wide range of accordion related articles, building up a resource of knowledge.

The accordion has been around in one form or another for well over a century and a half and in its time has produced many characters and a fund of interesting stories. It has taken a book like this one to bring them all together, and is the only one of its kind available today. Until the publication of “An A to Z of the Accordion & Related Instruments”, there has never previously been a work of reference written about the British accordion scene. The accordion movement in England is very diverse and its history is rich with interesting characters.

Rob, who lives in England, researched accordion magazines over the years concluding that people have spent much time preparing, writing and crafting articles that, for the most part, are read and then discarded. His sources were many of the British magazines such as “Accordion Times”, “Accordion World”, “Box & Fiddle”, “Accordion Review”, “World Accordion Review”, “Accordion Monthly News” and “Accordion Profile”. They are a rich vein of knowledge about the accordion and its players.

Rob Howard is an accordionist and editor of Weekly News. He is the concert secretary, compere and 'public voice' of the Stockport Accordion Club which is in England. He has experience playing in folk groups, accordion bands, entertained in restaurants and for French-themed evenings. Rob performed in musicals, accompanied ethnic dancing, has been a member of a Bavarian Oompah Band, played in several ceilidh bands, and leads 'wartime sing-a-alongs' at Stockport Air-Raid Shelters. For 20 years he has contributed articles and reviews to specialist music magazines, and above all, is an enthusiast for the accordion.

For more information and to order this informative and fascinating book contact:
Rob Howard,

Titano Accordion Company

Stas Venglevski Releases New CD

by Rita Barnea
Accordion Blend CD by Stas Venglevski
Stas VenglevskiThe most recent CD by Stas Venglevski entitled “Accordion Blend”, is available now. The CD consists of a “blend” of easy listening melodies – French musette, waltzes, Latin, novelty, polka, etc. The selections are all original compositions by Stas Venglevski, performed on solo bayan by Stas, with duets on accordion and bayan with Judy Moriarity, John Simkus,and Mary Tokarski. John Babbitt is on bass,Terry Smirl on percussion, Richard Moriarity on conga and Josh Tovar on guitar. The original cover art is by AAA board member Joan Grauman.

Stas Venglevski was born in 1964 in the Republic of Moldova, part of the former Soviet Union. When he was just five years old, he began studying the bayan (button accordion) with a friend of his father's. His first instrument was a quarter-size bayan with only a few buttons. In 1992 he entered the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow and received a Master's Degree in Music under the tutelage of the famed russian bayanist Friedrich Lips. He twice won First Prize in the bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova. In 1992 he emigrated to the United States.

Stas' repertoire includes his original compositions, a broad range of classical, contemporary and ethnic music. He has toured extensively as a soloist throughout the world. He performed the world premiere of Concerto No. 2 by Anthony Galla-Rini and also the world premiere of Bayan and Beyond, composed for Stas by Dan Lawitts. He is a regular participant of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Arts in Community Education Program (ACE); has done television commercials and performed in theater productions; produced numerous recordings including transcription of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite for bayan as well as one of original compositions. He has published several books of original compositions.

Stas also performs as a member of the A Sta Sera Duo where he combines talents with accordionist, John Simkus, known primarily for his smooth jazz renditions. Their musical partnership has resulted in a unique repertoire and as a duo they have toured the United States and Europe extensively and collaborated on a CD of original compositions, Seasonings.

Stas is a past president of the prestigious Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) which was established in 1940 with the purpose of furthering the progress of the accordion by improving teaching standards, music, and all phases of music education. The ATG is a member of the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA) International Music Council (IMC-NESCO) which holds an annual competition and festival in various cities around the United States.

The CD is $17.00 which includes shipping. For further information and orders:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Emilio Magnotta: Accordion Repair, Sales, and Performance

by Rita Barnea
Emilio MagnottaEmilio Magnotta, from Stamford, Connecticut, is an expert in accordion repair. His expertise ranges from small repairs and fixing cracks to complete overhauls making the accordion new again. He also does installations of Musictech Midi and Snnheiser pickups.

Emilio sells new and used quality accordions which are checked and fully repaired before selling. Emilio's teacher was Cliff Scholl, who was a prize student of the great Pietro Frosini. Cliff Scholl was an arranger for the accordion and a great inspiration to Emilio who has been playing for 25 years.

Emilio is a professional accordionist with the following performances which are open to the public:
June 12,13,14 Haverstraw Italian Fiesta (Rockland County, NY)
June 27 Cioccemagiore Fiest (Waterbury, CT)
June 28 St. Rocco Fiest (Glen Cove, Long Island NY}
July 18 Mt. Carmel Fiest (White Plains, NY)
Sept. 5,6 St. Joseph Fiest (Lodi, NJ)
Most performances begin around 5pm.

For further information contact Emilio Magnotta: or Phone: 914-400-7972

Bella Ciao Releases New CD

by Rita Barnea
Tom TorrigliaBella Ciao, the San Franciso-based six piece band has released their second CD. The new CD “Festivus Italiano”, is available and contains such hits as “Oh Marie”, “Mambiambo”, “Rina”, “Danielle Polka”, "Sway", and many more. It contains a wonderful mixture of classic Italian hits as well as some American Italian songs.

The Bella Ciao band is unique in that it concentrates on Italian and Italian-American music of the late ’50 and early ‘60s and today’s Italian-American hits that are reminiscent of the retro music from that period.

Bella Ciao’s musical goal is to revive, promote and continue the rich heritage of the musical genre known as Italian-American music, the genre of music that included famous Italian-American songs from Jerry Vale, Dino, Louis Prima, Al Martino, Connie Francis, etc. Bella Ciao also pays homage to Italian artists of the period including Renato Carosone and Mina.

Tom Torriglia is the accordionist with Bella Ciao. Tom has been in the music business since the late 1960s and has been an avid accordion promoter over the years. He was an original member of Those Darn Accordions, is responsible for making June “National Accordion Awareness Month,” and campaigned to make the accordion San Francisco’s official instrument.

Tom is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He volunteers his time for Music In Schools Today. Tom specializes in both playing and singing Italian and Italian-American favorites. The fact that Tom sings, especially in Italian, enhances the ambience of Italian-themed events.

Bella Ciao performed the Star Spangled Banner at AT&T park on August 7, 2007, the night Barry Bonds broke the home run record. They have given performances at the Virginia Beach (VA) Italian festival, SBC Park (playing the Italian National Anthem before a Giants' game), Cotati Accordion festival, San Francisco Accordion festival, Stockton Asparagus festival and the San Rafael Italian Festival.

During the entire month of June, as part of National Accordion Awareness month, the Bella Ciao band is donating 50% of the profits from web-site sales of its two CDs, "Legends of the Italian Lounge" and "Festivus Italiano", to the earthquake relief effort in L'Aquila, Italy.

For more information about the CD and the band, Bella Ciao:
Tom Torriglia: 415-440-0800 and

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

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AAA to Sponsor Fundraiser for Earthquake Victims in Italy

by Rita Barnea
Earthquake Benefit Flyer
Mary Mancini & Mario TaccaOn Monday April 6, 2009, the Abruzzi region of Italy, including the Capital City of L’Aquila and twenty-six villages, were struck by a violent earthquake.

One cannot imagine the devastation that has occurred to this beautiful region of Italy. The tiny villages are nestled into the majestic mountains, and you can sometimes see the peaks covered with crystal white snow, even in the month of June. And in summer one can hike into the mountains, pick snow white mushrooms or a flower that one has never seen before. The silence of these mountains brings solace and peace to anyone who has been there.

Such is not the case now. Village upon village has been destroyed, homes and churches demolished; the Piazza, a gathering place where fresh mountain water springs from the fountains, no longer exists. Hundreds of tents cover the grassy fields and gardens where the people once harvested their crops.

On Monday evening June 22, 2009 at 7:30 PM, internationally acclaimed performing artists, Mary Mancini, vocal artist, and Mario Tacca, renowned accordion virtuoso, will bring their magnificent talents to the Paramount Center for the Arts, 1018 Brown St., Peekskill, New York for the benefit of the people in Abruzzi. Bringing their great talents to the show as well, are “Uncle” Floyd Vivino, radio and TV personality and comic, Steve Ritrovato, singing songs of Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin, and the sensational City Rhythm Orchestra.

For ticket information, call Paramount Center for the Arts: 1-877-840-0457

For additional information: Call 914-737-8872 or American Accordionists’ Association:

Donations can also be made payable by check to: “AAA - Abruzzi Earthquake Fund” and mailed to: 175 King St. Chappaqua, NY 10514 – Attn: Dr. Joseph Ciccone.

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

Dr. William Schimmel: World Premiere of His New Work

by Dr. William Schimmel
Dr.William Schimmel“Harold is Alive in Lisbon” – for chamber orchestra and accordion will be performed by the North South Consonance chamber orchestra conducted by Max Lifchitz with Dr. Schimmel on accordion. It was written and dedicated to North/South Consonance in honor of their 30th anniversary of presenting new works especially by composers of the Americas.

The premiere will take place at Christ and St. Stephen’s Church on June 9 at 8 pm. Admission is free. The address is: 120 West 69th St – New York.

The Long title is: Harold is alive and doing (seemingly) OK somewhere in Lisbon. Dr. Schimmel states:
“I composed it as a piece of “automatic writing” as I was being stranded in a Bard College dorm room during my stay at last summers’ Bard Festival (I was performing in a Prokofiev Cantata). I realized, when the viola came in, that Harold was no longer in Italy and when I found myself not only composing a Fado for my accordion, but specifically a Lisbon Fado (slower and sadder than a regular Portuguese Fado), I knew where Harold was lurking – somewhere in Lisbon – and he was OK – seemingly”.

“In the piece there are two ‘whisper to shout choruses’ using the text: Ha! Ha! Haro! Harold! This text was the opening headlines of the first newspaper review of Berlioz’s Harold in Italy. Somehow the writer saw something in it that was ironic, humorous and at times frivolous. I’m sure it egged me on as well, to compose a work that seemed to be an update of a then controversial masterpiece”.

“Most of my compositions today are ‘realities’ – compositions about other compositions. Blame it on my accordion. When I strap it on and decide to play some Mozart – it may go into a tango. In this case, it went in to one of those sad songs of Portugal, the Fado, always in 4/4, always sad (but not overly depressing – more like Portuguese blues) and always conducive to drinking, hence the many ‘Fado Bars’ in Portugal. Look for Harold. He may be in one of them, enjoying the sadness”.

The concert is presented by North South Consonance – Max Lifchitz, founder and director.

For further information:
Dr. William Schimmel at

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

The Stereo Strings Perform in Maryland

by Rita Barnea
Stereo StringsThe Stereo Strings are now performing Sunday brunch at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor . The management is offering a special promotion until the end of June to friends of Stereo Strings only.

If you are interested and would like to receive a coupon, please contact Lou Coppola at Whether you come for brunch or not, you should visit this location and marvel at the soaring 18-story glass-enclosed atrium (always a perfect 72 degrees inside!) with an expansive and breathtaking view of the bridge, harbor and Potomac River.

A vital part of the nation’s music scene for over 30 years, Stereo Strings offers a wide range of services- from strolling musicians to chamber ensembles. Stereo Strings has two full-scale musical revues.“Around the World with the Stereo Strings” and “Stereo Strings Salute to Broadway.”

Lou Coppola was the first accordionist to win three consecutive national championships and also the first American to represent the U.S. at the world accordion competition in Brighton, England. He performed with the acclaimed USAF Strolling Strings for over 28 years, ultimately becoming the leader of the organization. He played for nine U.S. Presidents at the White House and for hundreds of heads of state.

Lou manages his own company, Stereo Strings, providing music entertainment both local and national. Stereo Strings performed with 28 violinists at the opening of the new National Airport. The group was involved with Atlanta’s Olympic committee, traveling to Seoul, Tokyo and Barcelona as the U.S.’s sole musical representative in this successful effort. Lou and his ensemble had one of the longest consecutive engagements in the country, performing at the Officers’ Club at Fort Myer, VA for 44 years.

For further information:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Joe Soprani to Premiere His New Arrangement of the “William Tell Overture”

by Rita Barnea
Joseph SopraniAccordionist Joe Soprani will make his third consecutive appearance at the St Anthony's Italian Festival Concert in Wilmington, DE Sunday, June 7 at 3 PM. where he will premiere his new arrangement of Rossini”s “William Tell Overture” with the Festival Orchestra.

Joe will participate in the magnificent Gala Concert, a major event on the local cultural calendar featuring world-class musicians and a special atmosphere. Concert goers will be greeted by ushers attired in classical Venetian garb. The concert features music of Italian composers including Verdi, Mascagni, and Rossini, under the baton of Concert Director/Producer Jordan Irazabal. Classically-trained soloists will be supported by three well-known choirs and the Festival Orchestra, surely providing a memorable musical experience.

This is the opening day event which takes place in the St Anthony Church of Padua, 901 N DuPont ST., Wilmington, DE. Featured on the concert will be the Wilmington Symphony, Opera Delaware, Church
Choir and other artists. The concert is free to the public. If you plan to stay for the food, games and music on the grounds there is an additional fee of $5.00.

Joe performed for the dedication ceremonies for the Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia to celebrate the Kappen Aquatic Center Grand Opening on May 1. 11 million dollars was raised for this state of the art project.

Joe is also the in-house accordionist on the Don Giovanni Italian Radio Show, "A Big Old Fashion House Party", which originates from Binghamton, NY. It can be heard on the internet at, every Saturday from 9 to 12 noon. Don loves the accordion which is evident by the variety of players he features on his program.

A noted accordionist, educator, and arranger-composer, Joe Soprani has dominated the accordion scene in Philadelphia for over forty years playing in major concert halls, theatres, TV Shows and Hotels. He holds the distinction of being the only accordionist in the history of the Philadelphia Orchestra to appear as a featured soloist under Eugene Ormandy.

While accordion soloist with the USAF Band in Washington, DC under Col. George S. Howard, he won the "The Air Force Roger", the most prestigious entertainment award in the US Air Force. He also was the first accordion soloist with the PA Army National Guard Band "The Adjutant General's Own" for over eight years.

On five occasions, Joe Soprani appeared with opera singer Luciano Pavarotti at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and performed for President Eisenhower at the White House. To add to his impressive list of credentials, Soprani was invited to arrange the opening selection for Rock star Jon Bon Jovi's 1996 world tour and has also written the official song for the International Rotary Club.

For further information: Joe Soprani,

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Frank Busso Jr. to Perform for WMAS in June

by Rita Barnea
Technical Sergeant Frank J. Busso, Jr.Frank Busso, Jr. will perform at the WMAS meeting on Sunday, June 14, 4 PM, June 14, at 4 PM a the
Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church, 3435 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church, Va.

Frank is the accordionist of the U.S. Air Force. He will talk about growing up in an accordion school environment. His father, Frank Busso Sr., owns the Staten Island Music School where he teaches accordion. As an added bonus, Frank, Sr., will join his son for some duets.

Technical Sergeant Frank J. Busso Jr. is the accordionist with the United States Air Force Strings, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. Originally from Staten Island, NY.,his Air Force career began in 2005.He attended Boston University receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2001. He studied accordion with Frank Busso Sr. at the Staten Island Music School in New York.

Prior to joining the Air Force, Sergeant Busso was 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.

As a competitive accordionist, Sergeant Busso received numerous regional titles from the Accordion Teachers Association of New Jersey, including the organization's virtuoso championship in 1995. He also earned multiple national titles from the AAA in classical, popular, and ethnic competitions. Since 2001, Sergeant Busso has performed in concert as a member of The Busso Trio at numerous summer festivals hosted by the AAA and the ATG.

Sergeant Busso's military awards and decorations include the National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

The mission of WMAS (Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society} is to bring together accordionists and promote accordion music in the national capital region. They meet on the third Sunday at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church in Falls Church, Virginia.

For further info:
Call 703-671-5395 or

"Famous Accordion Orchestra" in Concert in June

by Rita Barnea
Genevieve Leloup, Carl Riehl, Bob  Goldberg, Mark Nathanson
Bob GoldbergAs part of Make Music New York, the "Famous Accordion Orchestra" will perform in a large-scale accordion event, "Mass Appeal: Accordions", with the Main Squeeze Orchestra. The event features performances by both groups, as well as participatory events for any accordionists who wish to join in.

The event takes place on Sunday, June 21 at 5 PM in Washington Park at the Old Stone House (3rd Street between 4th and 5th Avenues, Brooklyn).

The "Famous Accordion Orchestra" will premiere “Neighborhood Suite”, a new piece written by Bob Goldberg for 12 accordions, and will create an “Accordion Forest” for all available accordions.

The "Famous Accordion Orchestra" is an accordion quartet (and on occasion a larger group), that bridges the traditional and the post-modern. Led by composer/accordionist Bob Goldberg, the group is suited a wide range of styles and performing venues.

The "Famous Accordion Orchestra" developed out of a series of collaborations using multiple accordions, most notably "Angels and Accordions" at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (an annual event since 2004) site-specific performances at the Brooklyn Museum; and marching band performances at the River to River Festival (2005) and Art Parade (2007), and have backed up accordion legend Guy Klucevsek at Green-wood. The “Orchestra” has recently been awarded grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council to create new work and perform in outdoor public venues this spring.

For information about Main Squeeze's component, contact Elaine Yau:

Bob Goldberg is a composer, performer and music educator, born in New York, and based in Brooklyn since the 1980's. He has studied piano, composition and electronic music, and performs mainly on the accordion. Bob has directed large accordion ensembles at Green-wood Cemetery ("Angels and Accordions"), led occasional marching bands (Art Parade 2007), and created site-specific pieces in subway stations ("Music for Subways"). He has composed scores for films ("The Bentfootes"; "A Girl's Best Friend"), collaborated with dancers and choreographers, including Elise Long; Jessica Nicoll and Barry Oreck, Kriota Willberg, and Martha Bowers, and written and produced jingles and songs for Nickelodeon and Disney Channel ("The Book of Pooh").

"Famous Accordion Orchestra" 2009 Spring Gardens Tour
Saturday June 6 / 6:00 pm
Red Hook Arts Festival
Louis J. Valentino Pier & Park
Coffey and Ferris Streets
Red Hook, Brooklyn

Friday June 12 / 5:30 pm
Local Produce Festival
President Street Garden
President St. and 5th Avenue
Park Slope, Brooklyn

For further information:

Valtaro Accordionists’ Reunion in August

by Rita Barnea
The twentieth edition of the Valtaro Accordionists’ Reunion will be held on Sunday, August 23rd at the Magnanini Winery (Wallkill, NY).

This event was originated by the late great Valtaro accordionist Gelso Pellegrini who was a great advocate of the Valtaro Musette style. Gelso played at the winery for many years and was directly responsible for transforming the winery into a “musical Mecca” for accordionists of all kinds. His legacy continues and this year’s corps of performers is a fitting tribute to what he initiated two decades ago. Every year this very special day is always a sell-out.

Valtaro gets its name from the town, Borgo Val di Taro, where the folk music of the region was born. Nestled in the valley of the Appenine Mountains, this tiny burg's claim to fame rests on its original music only in part.

It is a widely known fact that the "Borgo," as it is referred, has produced some of the finest, most gifted accordionists. It was in the "Borgo" that both homegrown and accomplished accordionists composed songs and dances expressly for the accordion.

The music has a unique style and is an art form in itself. The distinct sound and festive character possess an energy that has become its hallmark. The Valtaro repertoire consists of waltzes, mazurkas, polkas and some paso doubles - all very singable and exceptionally "catchy" tunes. Listeners find themselves tapping their feet, swaying to the music. It makes you want to dance (even if you have two left feet!).

This year’s guest accordionists and vocalists will include Vicki Atwater, Phil Battiston, Aldo Bruschi, Frank Carozza, Carmen Carrozza, Lou Coppola, Danielle Delgrosso, Andy Ferretti, Dominic Karcic, Emilio Magnotta, Mary Mancini, Ron Morton, Marino Nicolich, Ray Oreggia, Bruce Reed, Linda Soley Reed, Pete Spagnoli, Tom Stallone, Mario Tacca, Frank Toscano and Mike Zeppetella. Preparations are being made to make this year’s event something special.

For more information:
Magnanini Winery call 845.895.2767

USA Accordionists Invited on Accordion Cruise, April 2010

by Rita Barnea
Asso ArtistiFor the first time, the International Accordion Forum, in partnership with Costa Cruises and the sponsorship of Asso Artisti, will present the festival ACCORDIONS CRUISE. The cruise will be from April 17-24, 2010. The cruise will leave from Venice, Italy traveling to Greece, Croatia, and concluding in Venice.

All USA accordionists, friends, and family are invited to participate in this musical and fun filled trip.

The International Accordion Competition "Accordions On Sea" will be hosted by International Accordion Forum on the Costa Victoria Ship during the Accordions Cruise Festival .

"Accordions on Sea" is an international accordion competition for soloist, chamber ensembles and orchestras. The competition is for acoustic accordions and MIDI accordions. Entries will close on January 31, 2010.

During the festival, there will be concerts every day, accordion competitions, accordion master class directed by Romano Viazzani, product presentations by MusicTech, Vignoni Accordions, Beltrami Accordion etc.
In addition there will be all of the regular events of Costa Cruises.

For further information: Donato Di Tullio,
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