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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-May-2010
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor’s Note
Octoberfest Las Vegas International Accordion Festival Ready to Start - USA
Vivant! and World Accordion Champion, Grayson Masefield
Grayson Masefield Concert Debut in New York
UMKC Accordion Orchestra Presents Concert to Celebrate World Accordion Day
Frank Marocco Releases New CD, “Changes"
Highlights of the AAA July Festival in Hershey, PA
The CAA Orchestra in Concerts Celebrating World Accordion Day
International Stars at ATG 70th Anniversary Celebration
Celebrate World Accordion Day with Mary Tokarski
Texas Folklife's 2010 “BIG SQUEEZE” Accordion Contest Semifinalists Announced
Lenny Feldmann in May Concert
Vivant! Releases New Album
Frank Busso, Jr. to Perform with the Air Force Strings
AAA Master Class and Concert Series
Buckwheat Zydeco wins 2010 Blues Music Award for Instrumentalist of the Year

Voci Armoniche

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

New Accordion Association Kickoff in the Greater Kansas City Area
Rita Davidson, Elena and Grigory Fainshtein Perform in Texas
John Moceo - Accepted as Music Major at Five Towns College
Spokane Accordion Ensemble Presents "Movie Themes" Concert
Dr.Ulla Suokko and Dr. William Schimmel at Lincoln Center
Henry Doktorski Performs at the University of Indiana

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Eddie Monteiro, Jazz Accordionist, to Perform at Shanghai Jazz in Madison, NJ.
New Hampshire Accordion Association Concert Series: Catfish Howl Blues Band May 18
16 year old Michael Bridge to Perform with the Boston Pops
Stas Venglevski's May and June Performance Schedule
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5, in Killeen, Texas
Mid-Cities Accordion Association Celebrates Mother's Day and World Accordion Day
Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest June 4-6 in Augusta, NJ

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



Editor’s Note

by Rita Barnea
World Accordion Day LogoMay is an exciting accordion month! We are celebrating World Accordion Day! What are you doing to celebrate? How about planning to go to an accordion festival or concert? Buy a new CD of an accordion artist or ensemble! Play your accordion! Buy a new accordion! Learn a new song on your accordion! Play a program for your accordion club or friends! Listen to accordion music! There are probably a thousand more things you could think of!

In this month’s news you will read about young accordionists who are bringing the accordion to the attention of the world! Have you thought about inviting them to perform for your organization?

I hope you were able to hear young virtuoso World Accordion Champion Grayson Masefield. He traveled throughout the USA and received more standing ovations in one tour than some virtuosos receive in a lifetime of performing!!!

Wishing everyone a Happy World Accordion Day!!!

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

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

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

Vivant! and World Accordion Champion, Grayson Masefield

by Rita Barnea
Grayson Masefield and Vivant!
Vivant! teamed with World Accordion Champion, Grayson Masefield to perform an exciting and interesting program for an appreciative audience recently in Kansas City. For this celebration concert, the festive stage was decorated in turquoise and silver balloons, turquoise being the color of the day.

Masefield took the stage and his energetic presentation and virtuosic passagework wowed the crowd. He shared some interesting tidbits about the works he performed to the delight of the audience.

Vivant! kept things lively by presenting fresh new works and arrangements by their musical director, Karen Fremar, while rolling out their new CD, Whatever You Do. Vivant! is loaded with hot percussion and brass which supports the accordions and a unique blend of interesting electronic sounds on keyboards. Vivant! members include:
Dee Sligar, Bass Keyboard;
Gail Overly, Accordion;
Julie Silfverberg, Accordion/Keyboard;
Karen Fremar, Accordion/Keyboard;
Sarrah Cantrell, Percussion/Mallets/Keyboard;
Janne Silfverberg, Trombone/Percussion.
Hannah Cantrell assisted the group as auxiliary percussionist for this concert.

Fremar explained that "Sterling Illusions", a new work for trombone, vibraphone and accordion, was commissioned by group trombonist, Janne Silfverberg, and was premiered the previous week at his senior trombone performance recital. "Herricks Road", the recent work commissioned by the American Accordionists' Association for Faithe Deffner's Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented by Vivant! in a new setting that employed additional percussion, accordion, bass, and keyboard strings and woodwinds.

Following Masefield's variety program segment, Fremar took a few moments to interview him--asking him to share with the audience some of the special aspects of his concert accordion, and also to describe a typical day in his training regimen in France. "We hit the first note at 6 a.m.," Masefield told the astonished audience, "and after a break of a couple of hours for lunch, we practice into the evening, with a lesson at 9 or 10 p.m. each evening." Vivant! then presented Masefield with a Vivant! T-shirt and a Kansas University hat, making him an "Honorary Vivanter," as the crowd erupted into cheers and warm applause.

Both Vivant! and Masefield left their audience enthused and wanting more as they were greeted with several standing ovations and encore requests. The final treat of the afternoon of musical surprises was an impromptu duo of International Entertainment Champions Masefield and Fremar with Vivant! backing them in an electric version of Piazzolla's Libertango.

The after concert CD Signing Event found many friends and relatives greeting Vivant! and fans meeting and requesting autographs from Grayson Masefield on their programs and from Vivant! on their new album. Then more than 80 balloons were trailed by a loyal Vivant! Crewmember, who was followed by several in the group from the concert venue to a restaurant on the Country Club Plaza, where, to the enjoyment of many onlookers, the colorful balloons were released by Vivant! members and Grayson Masefield into the sky to bring a joyful end to the fun and memorable day. Vivant! and Masefield, along with many friends and family then enjoyed traditional Kansas City Barbeque and visited late into the evening.

The program for the April 18, 2010, 3 p.m. “Vivant! and World Accordion Champion, Grayson Masefield Concert Celebration and CD Rollout for Whatever You Do” was held at Unity on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Works programmed were as follows: Program

Prophetic Dream.........................Viatcheslav Semionov
Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman, K. 265.....Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Hommage a Paco..........................Franck Angelis

Sterling Illusions for Trombone, Vibraphone and Accordion...............Karen Fremar

Herricks Road................ Karen Fremar
King of Siam...................Rodgers & Hammerstein 2nd (Arr. Fremar)
Something Wonderful • March of the Siamese Children •
Getting to Know You • I Have Dreamed • Shall We Dance?


Pondichery Tango...................... Jérôme Richard
Tico Tico.................................... Zequinha Abreu
Oblivion..................................... Astor Piazzolla
Notes Vagabondes...................... Claude Thomain
La Tempete................................. André Astier

September............White, McKay & Willis (Arr. Fremar)
Jammin’.................Karen Fremar
St. Louis Blues.......W.C. Handy (Arr. Fremar)
Whatever You Do..Karen Fremar
Respect..................Otis Redding (Arr. Fremar)

For a complete report and photos of the concert and weekend activities, visit

Titano Accordion Company

Grayson Masefield Concert Debut in New York

by Harley Jones
Frank Busso, Grayson Masefield, Carmela Busso
Linda Soley Reed, Concert Program for Grayson MasefieldPicture above: AAA Executive Board First Vice President Frank Busso, Sr. Grayson Masefield, Carmela Busso.

Picture right AAA President Linda Soley Reed and below the program of the event.

2009 Coupe Mondiale winner Grayson Masefield made his debut in New York on 24 April with a concert sponsored by the American Accordionists’ Association at the prestigious Kaufman Center, Ann Goodman Recital Hall.

Playing a concert of classical, original and variety music, he received 4 or 5 standing ovations from the enthusiastic audience which included some very prominent USA accordionists.

This concert is part of an 8 concert series by Grayson Masefield in the USA and each concerts so far has seen this young artist receiving multiple standing ovations from the audiences.

Concerts remaining are:

Saturday, May 1, 2010 - Concert, Silver Spring, MD sponsored by Dan & Joan Grauman. For further information:

Sunday, May 2, 2010- Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Dinner, New York. For further information: This event is fully sold out.

Voci Armoniche

UMKC Accordion Orchestra Presents Concert to Celebrate World Accordion Day

by Rita Barnea
UMKC Accordion Orchestra
Joan Sommers, Conductor of UMKCThe UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Joan C. Sommers will present their 49th Annual Spring Concert in honor of World Accordion Day on May 23, 2010 at 2:30 P at the White Recital Hall at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center1929 Cherry, Kansas City, MO. Some of the works to be presented are by: Antonin Dvorak, Geri Daanen, Ferde Grofe, Astor Piazzolla, John Williams, Fritz Dobler, Stephen Schwartz, and V. Ushakov.

Joan Sommers has directed the world famous University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Accordion Orchestra since it formed almost 50 years ago, when she established the accordion program at UMKC in 1961During its long history, the UMKC Accordion Orchestra has won many national titles in the USA, and toured to such places as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Estonia, New Zealand, Australia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Italy.

The orchestra presents regular concerts at the University and has made guest appearances at national festivals and other important engagements throughout the United States.Highlights include appearances with the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Civic Symphony Orchestra, and at the American Accordionists Association, the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, and the Accordion Federation of North America Annual Festivals.
Concert repertoire includes original accordion orchestra music, orchestral transcriptions, Broadway Music, Jazz and popular favorites.The UMKC Accordion Orchestra members consist of UMKC students, graduates, alumni and special guests who accompany the orchestra when on tour.

The Annual Spring Concert of the UMKC Accordion Orchestra on April 29th, 2001 marked the 40th Anniversary of the UMKC Accordion Orchestra which gave its first University Recital in the Spring of 1961.This landmark concert also marked the retirement of Joan Sommers from the Conservatory therefore making this concert the last official concert of the UMKC Accordion Orchestra.

The orchestra continues to rehearse and perform at the University, however, it is now called the UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra.In conjunction with this 40th Anniversary Concert, the UMKC Accordion Orchestra released a set of six CD's highlighting the 40 years of accordion greatness. The UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra performed at the 100th Anniversary Celebrations of the UMKC Conservatory of Music and in 2007 at the 60th Anniversary Coupe Mondiale in Washington DC, where they performed at both the festival headquarters Hotel and also at the famed Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Joan Sommers is sought after as a performer, conductor, clinician, adjudicator and musical director for major accordion festivals throughout the world, such as those in China, Poland, Norway, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

Joan is the immediate Past President of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, marking the third time she has led this esteemed International organization which is affilitaed with the International Music Council (IMC) - UNESCO. Internationally, Joan is the Vice President of the Music Committee of the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes, at which she also serves as an jury member on many occasions.

Joan earned the right to represent the USA in the Coupe Mondiale in both 1955 and 1956, which undoubtedly developed her interest in worldwide accordion activities. Joan has since been honored numerous times by both national and international accordion organizations, as well as other musical organizations for her ongoing dedication and contributions to the field of music.

As a performer, she uses the piano accordion, but she teaches all types of systems. Her students play both chromatic and keyboard instruments with various configurations.Her students have won numerous top awards, including the United States Championship Competitions and have been candidates to the Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships on many different occasions over a long period of time. Some of the most outstanding accordion professionals, both men and women, have been her students and have earned music degrees at the UMKC Conservatory of Music.

The concert is free!

For more information: Joan Sommers 913—722-5625 or

Accordion Jazz Chords

Frank Marocco Releases New CD, “Changes"

by Rita Barnea
Frank Marocco's CD
Jazz great, Frank Marocco, has released a new CD, “Changes”, which contains eleven original compositions on the record label, Artist Signed Records. Frank wrote his own CD notes describing his CD, “Changes”:

"The idea of this project was conceived by my Manager and good friend, Elke Ahrenholz, who thought that I should record my originals. In the past I had always recorded mostly standards or evergreens, so with this CD of originals she wanted other musicians to be able to hear my music.

On one of my last visits in Europe, Elke organized some studio time in Bologna and called Italian musicians to record with me. One of them is the Tenor Sax player, Carlo Atti, who I heard in a previous tour in Italy. I thought his style and especially his sound was exactly what I wanted. Both musically and personally, we connected immediately.

The title of the CD came out of one of my originals, a funky piece with many changing, repeated chord sequences, therefore the title "Changes". The CD involved many different musicians. Some of the tunes were recorded in LA, where I played with Ron Feuer the great Jazz Organist, and George Green on Drums. We recorded "Blue Notes" and "Black is Beautiful" ( but not in the key of C ). This tune is played in the key of Eb-minor which creates a pentatonic pattern involving only the black keys - hence the title. We recorded in the studio of my best friend, Frank Petrilli, who has always helped and supported me.

Mark Levang arranged "In the stillness", which I recorded before on the CD "Freedom Flight" with different instrumentation. There is only one standard, "Estate", which is one of my favorite tunes written by the italian composer Bruno Martino.It was a total new experience to record in the relaxed Italian atmosphere, in between good Italian food and coffee breaks."

These are the pieces (all originals except the second) "Estate" by Bruno Martino.

Get Over It
Blue Notes
Black is Beautiful
Sentimenti Nuovi
In The Stillness
Stepping Out
I Know You

In the world of accordion performance,Frank Marocco is a giant. Not only for his mastery of the instrument itself, but for his highly developed musicality. In any style, on the concert stage or in the recording studio, his playing is technically brilliant and musically superb. Frank Marocco is one of the most recorded accordionists in America (and, possibly, the world), having played on a vast number of movie soundtracks, television scores, commercial jingles and record albums, in the studios of Hollywood and beyond. He has recorded for and/or worked with artists ranging from Brian Wilson, Pink Floyd and Madonna to Luciano Pavarotti, conductor Maxim Shostakovich and composer John Williams.

Frank was nominated eight years in a row for the Most Valuable Player Award by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (N.A.R.A.S) and received that award twice. Frank is also a consummate jazz artist and a gifted composer with several of his own albums to his credit. He has played his music for audiences all over the world.

The new CD, “Changes” is available directly from Frank
It is available in Europe: contact
It will be available in about 2-3 weeks on all usual digital channels including ITunes, Amazon, and E Music as a download.


Highlights of the AAA July Festival in Hershey, PA

by Mary Tokarski
AAA Logo
Welcome! The AAA sincerely hopes you will join us for the FUN and terrific musical events we have planned for you at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, 4500 Lindle Road in Hershey, Pennsylvania from July 14-18, 2010. Hotel rates are $109 (plus tax) per night (single, double, triple, or quad), and can be reserved at or by calling 717-564-5511.

Below is a general overview of each event, so you can plan to take part in as many as you can.
MASSED BAND at Hershey Park – Join the AAA in presenting the accordion to the general public in this performance of “Candy Kisses” (in honor of Hershey’s Kisses, of course) right AT Hershey Park. AAA Vice President and Comptroller, Frank Busso, will conduct the Massed Band and coordinate the concert in the park. There will also be a concert event planned for some time during the day (details to be announced). The AAA has arranged for special ticket prices for our participants to spend the entire day at Hershey Park. Make your reservations right away!

FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA – This year, Dr. Emilian Badea will be our Guest Conductor for the Festival Orchestra. Dr. Badea is a bassoonist, accordionist, musicologist, conductor and educator with a master of music and doctor of musical arts degree from Boston University. He graduated from one of Romania’s most prestigious music academies. We look forward to some great rehearsal sessions, and a rewarding concert experience as the Festival Orchestra entertains at the AAA Banquet on Saturday evening, July 17th. The selections this year will include; “Libertango”, “Spanish Rumors”, “One of Those Songs”, and “Winter” by Vivaldi featuring soloist Chris Gorton.

COMPETITION CATEGORIES for Festival – Categories for competition are as varied as there are ways of playing the accordion! Here are a few distinguishing thoughts about the categories:
Open Solos are for those students who prefer to choose their own music for performance. The music can be classical or any standard edition of accordion repertoire. Original Solo Divisions are ONLY for music selections that are WRITTEN specifically for Accordion. For the Ethnic divisions, the performer may include music of any ethnic origin, i.e. (but not limited to) polka, tango, mazurka, Balkan, etc. Age divisions for all Open Solos are as noted in the rules and regulations.

Standard Solo divisions are included for those students who prefer to perform one of the pieces off the “Music List for Standard Categories”. These divisions are by level, rather than by age. This way, students can compete at the study level he/she is currently working in, allowing even the beginning student a chance to participate in the Festival. This also allows students to hear other performers who are more advanced, creating an incentive for improvement. Duet, Ensemble and Band categories are included on both the Open and Standard levels. Students who compete in the Open Solo Divisions are not allowed to enter standard categories. Memorization is required for all solo divisions, but NOT required for Evaluation, Duet and Ensemble or Band categories.

There are also specialized categories available to the contestant. They include the U.S. Piano Accordion Solo and the U.S. Virtuoso Solo, which are stepping stones for entering the CIA Coupe Mondiale (World Championship). Requirements are more demanding than the Open Solo divisions. The contestant must perform a program of music for these divisions (see specific rules, as times and requirements differ).

The Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition allows the “composer” in each of us the opportunity to submit original music in any genre. The general purpose of this competition is to encourage students of the accordion (and those who would like to work with and explore the many voices 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.

The Maddalena Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionists is sponsored by the Greco Family in memory of Maddalena Belfiore. Please note, one of the following selections must be included in the program – Jolly Caballero or Olive Blossoms, both by Frosini.

This year will also feature the U.S. Electronic Entertainment Division, for those who perform on the myriad of electronic instruments that are out there. Music for these divisions is for Entertainment purposes – and fun!

Cash prizes are awarded for the U.S. Piano Accordion Competition, the Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition, the Maddalena Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionists and the U.S. Electronic Entertainment Division. See rules and regulations for specific amounts.

Don’t miss the excitement – and by all means, come play for us!

THE EXHIBITS: Exhibitors will bring their wares for us to peruse and try. Exhibits will officially open on Wednesday, July 14th and will be followed by the Press and Squeeze Party. The newspapers, radio and TV have all been invited to attend this gala and receive press kits containing the highlights of the Festival. All registered participants are encouraged to bring their accordions and perform at the Press and Squeeze which will be followed by a Jam Session. So come on down, bring your accordion and jam away!

The event will feature numerous performance venues including a CABARET night on Thursday evening; Luncheon Concert on Friday; Gala Concert on Friday evening; Awards Concert on Saturday afternoon and of course, the Gala Banquet on Saturday evening. Some of the scheduled performers will include The Alex Meixner Band, Vladimir Mollov, accordionist with Duquesne University’s famous Tamburitzans, a world premiere performance of a brand new AAA Commissioned work by Roger Davidson written for accordion, flute, piano and cello featuring Contest Chairman, Mary Tokarski, The Busso Trio, Beverly Roberts Curnow, young accordion artist and winner of the 2009 Piano Accordion Competition and Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition, Martynas Levickis from Lithuania. And these are just a few of the outstanding performances we have planned.

WORKSHOPS are always an important part of the AAA Festival. This year’s agenda will include: “Inside The Judges Head” – a panel of teachers and adjudicators to answer those nagging questions – what is the judge looking for?; The Life of Art Van Damme, presented by Ray Oreggia – a look at the life of Art Van Damme who recently passed away; “An Accordion! What Is That?” – newly released early childhood reader all about our beloved instrument, presented by author Karen Malan-Uribe, illustrator Joan Geller Grauman and narrator and accordionist Mary Tokarski.; and MORE

On Friday morning, the AAA will host a group of children from the Hershey School to enjoy a fun-filled morning featuring the accordion. A hands-on session to try instruments as well as a mini lesson is planned. The youngsters will also participate in the "An Accordion! What Is That?" workshop and will visit competition and exhibit rooms.

The music-filled week will conclude with Saturday evening’s Gala Banquet featuring the performance of the Festival Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Emilian Badea. There will be an Open meeting of the American Accordionists’ Association following Sunday’s Breakfast, where observations, suggestions and participation from everyone is encouraged to help us “fine-tune” future events.

If you have any further questions, please check out the AAA website at , or contact Contest Chairperson, Mary Tokarski, at .

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

The CAA Orchestra in Concerts Celebrating World Accordion Day

by Rita Barnea
Connecticut Accordion Association Photo
Julie Cardona and Mary TokarskiThe Connecticut Accordion Association Orchestra will be featured on two TV shows on May 6th in celebration of World Accordion Day. They will perform on “Connecticut Style” hosted by Desiree Fontaine at 12:30 PM on Channel WTNH which is ABC affiliated. They will also perform on “Better Connecticut”at 3:00 PM on Channel WFSB which is a CBS affiliate. Selections will include “Meglio Stasera”, arranged by Frank Marocco, and “La Virgen de la Macarenas”, arranged by Palmer- Hughes. The CAA Orchestra is led by AAA President Linda Soley-Reed. The members run the gamut from world class players like Mary Tokarski and Julie Cardona of the "K" Trio to respected area accordionists including Bob Vitale, past U.S. Champion Monica Slomski, and AAA Board Member Marilyn O"Neill.

On Sunday, May 16th, AAA President Linda Soley-Reed will conduct the CAA Orchestra in concert with special performances by Ansonia Natives Mary Kasprzyk Tokarski and Julie Kasprzyk Cardona. There will be a buffet luncheon at 1:00pm followed by the concert at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $25.00 per person, payable at the door. The program will take place at J.J.Sullivan's Restaurant,557 Wakelee Ave.,Ansonia, CT. This concert will feature the CAA Orchestra that has performed in and out of state, and includes some of the finest musicians in the accordion world!

The Orchestra recently played for the elementary schools in Wallingford and was extremely well received. The Connecticut Accordion Orchestra was organized in 2004 and since that time has performed at various venues throughout Connecticut as well as at AAA Festivals in Washington, DC, Buffalo, New York, Memphis, Tennessee and at the Magnanini Winery for the Carrozza Scholarship Dinners in 2009 and 2010. The group consists of 25 members, many of which are outstanding accordionists and are performing regularly. The Connecticut Accordion Association is dedicated to the promotion of the accordion through all music genres and all variations of accordion instruments. Musicians at all levels who play all types of accordions are welcome to join.

RSVP for the May 16th luncheon is required by May 13. Call Marilyn at (203) 272-1202 or E-Mail:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

International Stars at ATG 70th Anniversary Celebration

by Rita Barnea
ATG Logo
ATG President Dee LangleyThis year, for the first time in the 70 years of ATG history, the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International comes west of the Rocky Mountains to California.

Alexander Sevastian (Canada), Lionel Reekie (New Zealand), and Dr. Herman Scheibenreif (Austria) will be among the stars that shine during the '70th Anniversary Celebration' of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International in Santa Clara (San Francisco Bay Area) California July 21-25. 2010.

Top artists and clinicians from across America join visitors from around the world for concerts, banquets, workshops and competitions for this five day accordion extravaganza. Among the many performers who will appear: Corey Pesaturo, Mary Tokarski, William Cosby, Stas Venglevski, Betty Jo Simon, Dee Langley, Amy Jo Sawyer, AbsolutAccord, Galla-Rini Festival Orchestra (open to everyone), plus a very special Executive Festival Orchestra comprised of the ATG Board of Directors and ATG Guest Artists under the direction of Joan Sommers.

Special events during the ATG 70th Anniversary Celebration include the 'Anthony Galla-Rini Classical Accordion Competition', with prize money of almost $10,000. It begins on Wednesday, July 21, 2010. This World Class competition should not be missed.

The ATG is also proud to sponsor an outdoor day during the celebration at California’s Great America Theme Park – an outdoor concert at Jack’s Jukebox followed by an All-You-Can-Eat picnic especially prepared for the ATG attendees!

The ATG 70th Anniversary Celebration is jam-packed with exciting events for all. Registration includes entrance to Concerts, Workshops, Displays, Competitions, Banquets and more. Registration is online on the ATG website. Please visit it for more information.

The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International is a non-profit, non-commercial, educational organization that is unique in its approach to the education of accordionists and musicians. Everyone is encouraged to share ideas and new concepts, as well as support fellow members’ efforts, creating progress and excellence in the field of music education and performance. ATG is proud of the prestige and respect the accordion has gained through their efforts and will continue to bring the accordion to the attention of many top musicians and music educators . . . and most importantly, YOU!

The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) was established in 1940 by a group of 29 founding members, one of whom was Anthony Galla-Rini, with the purpose of furthering the progress of the accordion by encouraging playing excellence, improving teaching standards, music, and all phases of music education.

The ATG 70th Anniversary Celebration will be held at the Hilton Santa Clara right next door to California’s Great America, July 21-25, 2010.
For more information: Dee Langley, ATG President
Phone: 612-781-8192
See you in Santa Clara, July 21-25, 2010!

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

Celebrate World Accordion Day with Mary Tokarski

by Rita Barnea
Mary TokarskiAAA and ATG Board member, Mary Tokarski, will present a special concert to honor World Accordion Day and celebrate music and the accordion on Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 4 p.m. The free concert will take place at the Blackstone Memorial Library, 758 Main Street, Branford, CT.

Mary will introduce her newly released BOOK –
“An Accordion! What Is That?”
Author, Karen Malan-Uribe
Illustrator, Joan Geller Grauman
Narrator & Accordionist, Mary Tokarski

There will be a free book reading and signing at 3:15 PM.

What people are saying about “An Accordion! What Is That?”?
“What a delightful early reader! Yet, comprehensive for the older child as well. It is definitely a unique approach to teaching not only the workings and complexities of the accordion, but music as well. The accompanying CD and illustrations are a treasure. This should be included in every school’s required curriculum.” (Linda Soley Reed, President – American Accordionists’ Association)

Selections on the concert will be: “Dance of the Demon” (Von Holst), “Remembering A Legend: Charles Magnante” (William Schimmel), “Ritual Fire Dance” (De Falla), some Piazzolla selections, contemporary/pop works . . . Bach/Gounod’s “Ave Maria” . . . and much more!

Mary began her music career at 7 with Michael Fernino of Ansonia, Connecticut, and performed and competed at local, state and national events throughout early adulthood . . . amassing over 185 trophies and awards, including two U.S. Championship Titles, a 3rd place in the 1973 Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA) Coupe Mondiale, and a 2nd place in that year's Coupe Mondiale Pop Category.

In 1983, Mary founded Tokarski Music Center, where she served as owner and Director of Music Education. Her students have also compiled an impressive list of awards in competition.

Mary's teaching started at an early age (before finishing high school) and over the years has fine-tuned her teaching skills by taking all sorts of music and education courses, and studied Early Childhood Education through Kindermusik International at Princeton University and Boston University at Lowell. She is currently a music teacher in the North Haven Department of Education Early Childhood Development Program at Green Acres Elementary School, where she teaches music for the 3 and 4 year old programs. Her students have included many "special needs" children over the years, and she developed a successful Kindermusik program at Tokarski Music Center.

Holding memberships in the Music Teachers National Association, the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association, the New Haven Chapter of CSMTA, the North Haven Rotary Club, and the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, Mary is a Board of Directors member for the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) as well as the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG).

Mary is a regular on the workshop circuit in the musical associations. She has been featured as a soloist throughout the USA and also with symphony orchestras.

For more information:
Phone: 203-484-5095

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Texas Folklife's 2010 “BIG SQUEEZE” Accordion Contest Semifinalists Announced

by Rita Barnea
Big Squeeze 2010The Free Concert and Playoffs will be held at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and will kick off Austin Latino Music Month on Saturday, May 1, 2-6 PM. The winners will perform at 21st annual Accordion Kings & Queens Festival held on June 5 at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre .

Texas Folklife is pleased to announce the names of the eight squeeze-boxers who will advance to the semifinal stage in the fourth annual Big Squeeze contest: Peter Anzaldua, 13, from Brownsville; Gloria Jean Cantu, 17, from San Benito; Keyun Dickson, 18, from Houston; Roger Guerra, 17, from Mission; Ignacio Isai Morales, 14, from Dallas; Ruben Paul Moreno, 20, from Houston; Christina Valdez, 11, from San Benito; and Jesus E. Zamora, 19, from San Antonio.

The Big Squeeze 2010 accordion contest semifinals for up-and-coming musicians will be held in Austin at The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum on Saturday, May 1. This is the first time that The Big Squeeze contest will be held at the popular museum that “tells the story of Texas,” and it is a perfect partner for Texas Folklife. The semifinals will fall on the first Saturday of the month when the museum offers free admission to the exhibits from 2 - 6 p.m. with Wells Fargo First Saturdays. Visitors can also view the exhibit American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music. So, make it a day and celebrate all things Texan!

Joining Texas Folklife and the Texas State History Museum in presenting this year’s Big Squeeze semifinals is the Austin Latino Music Association (ALMA). It is ALMA’s mission to increase awareness of the Latino music scene in Austin and foster the development of young musicians who keep Latino musical styles and traditions alive—another perfect partner for Texas Folklife and The Big Squeeze accordion contest! The event will help to launch the fifth year of Latino Music Month, which is featured in the city during the month of May.

The semifinalists will perform before a panel of judges and the public on the Lone Star Plaza in front of the museum, Saturday, May 1, from 2-6 p.m. The afternoon will be filled with music, headlined by Grammy award-winning conjunto band Los Texmaniacs who play Tex-Mex as well as blues and rockabilly. Also performing will be Cerronato, Conjunto Aztlan joined by local celebrity squeeze-boxer and Grammy award-winner Joel Guzman, and Mariachi Corbetas featuring 2009 Big Squeeze finalist Anthony Ortiz Jr. Dancing will be encouraged at this free, family-friendly event, and for those who want to take breaks once in a while we recommend bringing your own folding chairs.

This year, The Big Squeeze semifinals wrap up a three-day accordion extravaganza in Austin, proving once again that the city deserves its “Live Music Capital” moniker. On Thursday, April 29, master accordionist and adjunct professor of ethnomusicology at The University of Texas, Joel Guzman will hold a “tardeada,” an afternoon of music with Texas legend and conjunto standard-bearer Santiago Jimenez Jr. Another Guzman initiative, SqueezeBox Mania, happens on Friday, April 30 at Threadgill’s south location featuring accordion greats such as Johnny Ramirez, 2008 Big Squeeze champion, Ponty Bone, and Corey Ledet. You may have seen Guzman in his cameo appearance—and heard his performance on the awesome soundtrack—in one of 2009’s Academy Award-winning movies, Crazy Heart.

Each semifinalist will play two songs and the judges will choose up to four finalists who will receive a personal workshop session and dinner with Guzman the evening of the playoffs, be awarded $300 each, and invited to Houston to compete for the title at the widely acclaimed and well-attended Accordion Kings & Queens Festival on June 5. The Big Squeeze 2010 grand-prize-winner will be selected at the concert by the panel of judges with help from the audience. This year’s grand-prize-winner will receive a prize package valued at $3,000, including a $1000 cash prize, a brand new Hohner accordion, and a recording session at the historic SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston, as well as promotional support from SugarHill, Hohner, Inc. and Texas Folklife, and other professional opportunities.
“The Big Squeeze contest allows us to fulfill our mission to preserve and celebrate Texas culture in a very real way,” says Texas Folklife Executive Director Nancy Bless. “By supporting these young musicians we encourage them to continue playing the accordion, an instrument that is so central to Texas traditional music that it’s been dubbed, ‘the national instrument of Texas.’ It is so exciting to see a new generation carry on this heritage and to see the thrill that their mastery and extraordinary talent give to audiences.”

The Big Squeeze is supported by the members and Board of Texas Folklife, the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division, Austin Latino Music Association, a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board, the Houston Endowment, the Cogburn Family Foundation, and the Still Water Foundation. Additional support is provided by regional businesses including Hohner, Inc., SugarHill Recording Studios, Embassy Suites Hotel Downtown Austin, and Sign Effects in Austin.

Texas Folklife is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2010, Texas Folklife honors the authentic cultural traditions passed down within communities and explores their importance in contemporary society. Texas Folklife has been called “one of the state’s true cultural treasures” by the Austin American-Statesman for the accessible, joyful arts experiences we provide. Located in SoCo just south of downtown Austin, Texas Folklife can be found next door to the Continental Club, at 1317 South Congress Avenue. For more information contact (512) 441-9255, or visit

For Big Squeeze information:
Cristina Balli, Program Director, (512) 441-9255 /

Titano Accordion Company

Lenny Feldmann in May Concert

by Rita Barnea
Lenny FeldmannLenny Feldmann (aka The CordeenMan) will present a 1:30 PM workshop and concert for the Massachusetts Accordion Association on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at the Ciociaro Social Club, 144 Bridge Street, Newton, Mass.

The workshop portion of Lenny's program will focus on the development of a basic accordion arrangement and how musical “decorations” can be created to turn it into a "show piece". Attendees are encouraged to bring their pencils to make notations on the musical score that will be given to them.

Lenny's concert will feature original compositions and arrangements by accordion greats including Pietro Deiro, Mario Tacca, Paolo Bagnasco, Frank Marocco, Leo Fancelli, Edmund Cifani, Anthony Galla-Rini, and Charles Nunzio.

In addition, Lenny will perform his “Darkside of the Moon Suite for Acoustic Stradella Accordion” which is based on the melodies of the 1973 progressive rock group Pink Floyd.

Lenny Feldmann, AAA Board member, is a former Accordion Virtuoso State Champion (both in New Jersey and Illinois) and Accordion Olympic participant (Chicago and Cleveland) and has performed as solo accordionist with the world famous Mantovani Orchestra. He has played his accordion worldwide including Italy, Germany and Japan at the YES 89 World Exposition. He currently performs concerts and workshops and emcees at various accordion festivals across the United States, including the Florida Accordion Association "Smash" (FAA) in Orlando, Florida and the American Accordion Musicological Society (AAMS), MAMTG, as well as at previous AAA Festivals and the Accordionist and Teachers Guild (ATG) national conventions.

Lenny has appeared with many top accordionists including Myron Floren, Dick Contino, Danny Desiderio, Carmen Carrozza, Charlie Nunzio, Betty Jo Simon, Joanna Arnold, Tony Lovello, Stan Darrow, Mary Tokarski, The K Trio, Dee Langley, Tony Dannon, Joan Cochran Sommers, Mario Tacca, Joe Cerrito, Lidia Kaminska, Bobby Raye, Joseph Soprani, Peter Soave, Lou Coppola, Eric Baal, Stas Venglevski, Nick Ballarini, Henry Doktorski, Jane Christison, Kevin Friedrich, Dr. William Schimmel, and Frank Marocco to name a few. In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Accordion Musicological Society.

For further information:

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

Vivant! Releases New Album

by Rita Barnea
Vivant! CD CoverVivant!, a Kansas-based USA band, recently released their second album, Whatever You Do. Information on ordering the CD is available on their website at Vivant! members and instrumentation included on the CD are: Dee Sligar, Bass Keyboard; Gail Overly, Accordion; Julie Silfverberg, Accordion/Keyboard; Karen Fremar, Accordion/Keyboard; Sarrah Cantrell, Percussion/Mallets/Keyboard; and Janne Silfverberg, Trombone/Percussion.

Tracks include several new compositions for the group by USA composer and accordionist, Karen Fremar, as well as new covers of works, all arranged by Fremar. The new Fremar works on the album are Jammin', Whatever You Do, Herricks Road and Free. Complete track listings are as follows:
Whatever You Do
St. Louis Blues
Herricks Road
Night Train
King of Siam
Something Wonderful
March of the Siamese Children
Getting to Know You
I Have Dreamed
Shall We Dance?
You Keep Me Hangin' On
More Today Than Yesterday
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Tritsch-Tratsch Polka
Girl from Ipanema

For more information:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Frank Busso, Jr. to Perform with the Air Force Strings

by Rita Barnea
On Saturday, May 1, the Air Force Strings featuring accordionist, Technical Sergeant Frank Busso Jr., will perform in the Spotlight on the Arts Concert at
8 p.m. Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive, Fairfax, Va.

Technical Sergeant Frank Busso Jr. is the accordionist with the United States Air Force Strings, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C. Originally from Staten Island, N.Y., his Air Force career began in 2005.

Sergeant Busso attended Boston University and received 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 American Accordionists' Association in classical, popular, and ethnic competitions.

Since 2001, Frank Busso Jnr has performed in concert as a member of The Busso Trio at numerous summer festivals hosted by the American Accordionists' Association and the Accordionists & Teachers Guild. Sergeant Busso's military awards and decorations include the National Defense Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Frank is VP of Sales & Education for Ernest Deffner, Inc. and the director of Busso Music, Inc.

The Air Force Strings is one of the most diverse and flexible units of The United States Air Force Band. This wide-ranging flexibility allows the ensemble to musically respond to the requirements of almost any occasion and provide an enjoyable experience for everyone. A key element of its mission is to entertain audiences at high-level protocol events in a formation known as the Strolling Strings.

On other occasions it performs as The United States Air Force String Orchestra, presenting the standard works of the classical repertoire for strings. The ensemble often joins forces with members of The United States Air Force Concert Band, Singing Sergeants and Airmen of Note, to form The United States Air Force Chamber, Symphony and Jazz Orchestras. Additionally, members of The Air Force Strings appear regularly as soloists, and in duo, trio and string quartet ensembles, to present chamber concert performances, and provide quality entertainment and ambient music for official protocol functions.

Appearing as The United States Air Force Strolling Strings since 1954, The Air Force Strings has had the honor of performing at the White House for every president from Eisenhower to Clinton. Traditionally, a Senior Non-Commissioned officer has guided The Strolling Strings' musical direction.

The extraordinary talent of this unit is regularly displayed at official dinners hosted by the secretaries of state and defense, on Capitol Hill for members of Congress, and at official diplomatic events hosted by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Providing a multi-dimensional experience, these outstanding musicians surround the audience with music performed exclusively from memory and without the aid of a conductor. Their repertoire includes classical, popular, continental, Broadway, bluegrass and patriotic compositions.

Truly international ambassadors of music, the Strolling Strings has traveled to every continent, every state of the Union, and virtually every Air Force installation, delighting thousands of listeners. The musical virtuosity and sheer elegance demonstrated by the Strolling Strings has earned the recognition of world leaders.

The United States Air Force String Orchestra traces its roots to 1944 when Colonel George S. Howard, commander and conductor of The United States Army Air Forces Band, set out to build the best band in the world. With this grand vision in mind, he recruited the nation's top musicians of the day and created a word-class symphony orchestra-thereby distinguishing The Army Air Forces Band from all other military band organizations. Today, The United States Air Force String Orchestra is honored to continue Colonel Howard's vision of musical excellence.

The United States Air Force String Orchestra meets the need for a more intimate, but lively form of entertainment at social gatherings, such as official military, diplomatic and high-level civilian functions. The Air Force String Orchestra has performed at numerous conventions and musical conferences-most notably, the International Viola Society. These performances have afforded the Strings numerous opportunities to accompany some of the world's most-renowned artists. From 1986 to 1988, The Air Force String Orchestra was the resident ensemble of The United States Air Force Band Sinfonietta Series at the Library of Congress, Coolidge Auditorium.

The United States Air Force Strings is comprised of 22 world-class musicians. Each of these outstanding performers has studied and perfected their craft at leading colleges, universities and music conservatories around the world. Their studies successfully prepared them to excel during an intensive and competitive audition process, which led to their selection for membership in The United States Air Force Band. A performance by The United States Air Force Strings reflects a combination of immense collective musical experience with the boundless dedication to perfection.

For further information:

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

AAA Master Class and Concert Series

by Dr. William Schimmel
AAA Logo
Dr. William SchimmelAmerican Accordionists' Association (AAA) Master Class and Concert Series – 2010 Seminars: “Don’t Like Opera!?” Welcome to Our Sixteenth Smash Year!

Dr. William Schimmel is the moderator/curator of the 2010 Seminars sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) on July 30, 31 and August 1 – 2010 at The Tenri Cultura l Institute of New York, 43A West 13th St. between 5th and 6th Aves. The Master Classes take place at 3 PM. The Concerts are at 7 PM. Thefee is $20 per Master Class , $25 per Concert, or $40 per day – includes Master Class and Concert. $110 for entire weekend.

The weekend will be a fascinating and unique experience for all. Among the highlights of the weekend will be:

What better way to show the accordion’s Built in Ironic (in your face) Duality than with a performance of “Jesus G. Faust” and “Tango Mephisto” featuring King of Ragtime, Dr. Mark Birnbaum. Dr. Robert Young McMahan will take us through the history of the accordion concerto, which in reality, are more like mini-operas. He will also premiere his new yearly 12 tone work, composed for the occasion.

“La Traviaida” – an attempt to combine the two Verdi classics and to get to the essence in about 10 minutes. The accordion is the perfect force for compression of time, space and visual/sound drama. We’ll also do “Carmen” in about 4 – all of it. We’ll also do “L’odour d’espirt”, a fifty second reality on a Kurt Cobain masterpiece.

Seems like dark stuff: Anything light? Actually yes – and some of it funny. Paul Stein’s Political Satire stings, bites and at times even burns – and always laugh out loud funny. “The Tunnel of Light and Love”, a new interactive video work by the eminent choreographer,director and video artist Micki Goodman will explore the notion of nature, love and rebirth in a pastoral visual elegy – not operatic, but certainly dramatic and life affirming.“St. Mathew the Mummer” – St. Mathew’s Passion retold in a Mardi-Gras Style – in strutting upbeat tempos.

Jazz Accordion great Will Holshouser will pull you in with his non-dramatic subtlety and elegance.“Opera Josephine” – a short opera about Josephine Baker through the eyes of The Pointer Sisters – devised from a segment of “Within the Context of No Context” by George W.S. Trow. Lee Mc Clure’s digital flute will dramatize any accordion moment. “Beyond Words” – a reality on Haydn and Gubaidulina, taking the notion of “Seven Words” to new heights – dedicated to the mummer, Joseph A. Ferko, who died seconds after accepting an award for 50 years of mummer service. His Seven Last Words were: “I hope to march fifty more years.”

Humorist, Ken Laufer, making us see and “Stars, Stripes, Scars and Scrapes Forever”. “Taking Stock – A series of Realities on Stockhausen” – including “Telemix”, which includes a rap on “Surfer Bird” by the “Trashmen”. A Visual and Sound installation: “Juilliard 1960’s to Early 70’s” showing present day realities and recreations on this famous school’s most Avant Garde period- through the eyes of an accordionist who was there to experience it: CIRCLES become SQUARES, NONO becomes YES/YES, ECLAT becomes ÉCLAIR, PITHOPRAKTA becomes PITHOKRAPTA and PATIENCE becomes LACK OF IT.

Concert Virtuoso Mary Tokarski – knowing the difference between Monteverdi and Montovani. “Missa Tantra” – showing the sensual side of the liturgical dimension. Godfrey Nelson and Lorraine Nelson Wolf – new age at its highest peak. Actress Kathleen Tipton charming us with penetrating words and gestures.
.“Moritat Von Mackey Messian” – uniting Brecht, Weill and Bobby Darin as Mystics. Benjamin Ickies, the punk accordionist in your face – famous, infamous and just a dot.

“Sho West” – a work for (Japanese) sho, accordion and violin, uniting “Gagaku” with the great western violin concertos as well as Hillbilly ramblings – with Mr. and Ms. Fukui on Sho and Violin. Rock Artist John Foti – a jersey shore vibe – more Springsteen than Sopranos.“Expenses” – a work about life, death and taxes. Performance Artist Brian Dewan – the funniest person alive – and the nicest.

“Kage/Urotrasho/Pera” - one big, long, continuous melody, a nonopera, uniting whitetrash and eurotrash cultures. Drone Artist David First plays a drone – an opera emerges.

Dramatic direction for entire weekend - Micki Goodman

For more information: or

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Buckwheat Zydeco wins 2010 Blues Music Award for Instrumentalist of the Year

by Rita Barnea
Buckwheat ZydecoAt the The 31st “Blues Music Awards” on May 6th, accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco won in the category of Instrumentalist of the Year. The Blues Music Awards are recognized as the highest honor given to blues artists.

Buckwheat Zydeco is the stage name of Stanley Dural, Jr., an American accordionist and zydeco musician. He is one of the few zydeco artists to achieve mainstream success. His music group is formally billed as Buckwheat Zydeco and Ils Son Partis Band, but often they perform as merely Buckwheat Zydeco.

The New York Times says, “Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural leads one of the best bands in America. A down-home and high-powered celebration, meaty and muscular with a fine-tuned sense of dynamics…propulsive rhythms, incendiary performances.”[ USA Today calls him “a zydeco trailblazer.”

Buckwheat Zydeco has performed with a large number of famous musicians from Eric Clapton (with whom Buckwheat also recorded) and U2 to The Boston Pops. The band performed at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics to a worldwide audience of three billion people. Buckwheat performed for President Clinton twice, celebrating both of his inaugurations. The band has appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman, CNN, The Today Show, MTV, NBC News, CBS Morning News, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition.

Dural was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. He acquired his nickname as a youth, because, with his braided hair, he looked like the character Buckwheat from Our Gang/The Little Rascals movies. His father, a farmer, was an accomplished, non-professional traditional Creole accordion player, but young Buckwheat preferred listening to and playing rhythm and blues. Dural became proficient at the organ, and by the late 1950s he was backing Joe Tex, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and many others. In 1971, he founded Buckwheat & the Hitchhikers, a funk band that he led for five years before switching to zydeco. They were a local sensation and found success with the single, “It’s Hard To Get,” recorded for a local Louisiana-based label.

He began backing Clifton Chenier, one of the most legendary zydeco performers. Though not a traditional zydeco fan when growing up, Buckwheat accepted an invitation in 1976 to join Clifton Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band as organist. He quickly discovered the popularity of zydeco music, and marveled at the effect the music had on the audience. “Everywhere, people young and old just loved zydeco music,” Buckwheat says. “I had so much fun playing that first night with Clifton. We played for four hours and I wasn’t ready to quit.”

Buckwheat’s relationship with the legendary Chenier led him to take up the accordion in 1978. After practicing for a year, he felt ready to start his own band under the name Buckwheat Zydeco. They debuted with One for the Road in 1979 on the Blues Unlimited label and then recorded for New Orleans’ Black Top label. In 1983, they were nominated for a Grammy Award for Turning Point and in 1985 for Waitin’ For My Ya Ya after switching to the Rounder Records label. The band then signed to Island Records, becoming the first zydeco act on a major label, and released On a Night Like This, a critically acclaimed album that was nominated for a Grammy as well. The band appeared in the movie The Big Easy in 1987.

In 1988, Eric Clapton invited the band to open his North American tour as well as his 12-night stand at London’s Royal Albert Hall. As even more doors opened, Buckwheat found himself sharing stages and/or recording with Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, David Hidalgo, Dwight Yoakam, Paul Simon, Ry Cooder and many others, including indie music stalwarts Yo La Tengo on the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan bio-pic, I'm Not There. His music has been featured in films including The Waterboy, The Big Easy, Fletch Lives and Hard Target. BET’s show Comic View, used his live version of “What You Gonna Do?” as theme music for the program’s 10th anniversary “Pardi Gras” season. He also wrote and performed the theme music for the PBS television series Pierre Franey’s Cooking In America. Buckwheat won an Emmy for his music in the CBS TV movie, Pistol Pete: The Life And Times Of Pete Maravich.

Buckwheat Zydeco has played many major music festivals, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (numerous times), Newport Folk Festival, Summerfest, San Diego Street Scene, Bumbershoot, Montreaux Jazz Festival and countless others.
During the 1990s and early 2000s Buckwheat recorded for his own Tomorrow Recordings label and maintained an extensive touring schedule. Buckwheat Zydeco's latest album, Lay Your Burden Down, was released on May 5, 2009 on the Alligator Records label. It was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and included guest appearances by guitarists Warren Haynes and Sonny Landreth, Trombone Shorty, JJ Grey and Berlin himself. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award. says, “The CD is a vastly entertaining and appealingly diverse package. Bandleader Dural remains an ever-engaging vocalist and a whiz on any keyboard he touches. So, for Buckwheat Zydeco fans, Lay Your Burden Down finds the maestro and his group near the top of their form. For listeners with less interest in the ol' accordion get-down, the collection supplies enough interesting wrinkles to get the good times rolling.

Buckwheat’s especially powerful and haunting version of the classic "Cryin' in the Streets" appears on the benefit album for Hurricane Katrina recovery, Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast.

The Blues Foundation, based in Memphis, held the organization's 31st annual Blues Music Awards on Thursday, May 6th, 2010 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis. The annual event is an amazing event usually running more than seven hours and featuring performances by the various nominees. The presenting sponsor was The Gibson Foundation. 2010 BMA sponsors include ArtsMemphis, BMI, Casey Family Programs, Eagle Rock Entertainment, FedEx, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The Blues Music Awards are produced by The Blues Foundation, a non-profit organization established to preserve Blues history, celebrate Blues excellence, support Blues education and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. The Foundation consists of a worldwide network of 185 affiliated Blues societies and has individual memberships spanning the globe. In addition to the Blues Music Awards, the Foundation also produces the Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the International Blues Challenge and the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards. It fosters education through its Blues in the Schools programming, supports the medical needs of Blues musicians with its HART Fund, and offers health insurance access through its Sound Healthcare program. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the worldwide Blues community with answers, contact information and news.

The Blues Music Awards honor those professional artists and recordings that stand out within the eligibility period, which runs from November 1 through October 31 of each year. In addition to the awards for the past year's top recordings, additional categories honor individual, actively touring artists for their overall excellence and accomplishment in that year. On Thursday, May 7 the Blues Foundation awarded Alligator recording artist Tommy Castro four 2010 Blues Music Awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award. With his four wins, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Castro took home more awards than any other artist at the 31st Annual Blues Music Award ceremony held in Memphis at The Cook Convention Center. He also won the award for Band Of The Year, Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year (for his Alligator debut CD, Hard Believer), and for Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year. Labelmate Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr. (of Buckwheat Zydeco) won the award for Best Instrumentalist - Accordion. The band recently won the Grammy Award in the Zydeco category for its Alligator debut, Lay Your Burden Down.

Titano Accordion Company

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

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

New Accordion Association Kickoff in the Greater Kansas City Area

by Rita Barnea
Carondolet ManorThe Kansas City area is going to have a new accordion association. The kick-off date for this big event is Sunday, June 6, 2010 from 2-5: PM. It will be a gathering of accordion enthusiasts in the Midwest.

All accordionists are invited to attend this inaugural event. Be sure to bring your accordion with you. Norman and Sharon Seaton (Dallas, Texas) of the National Accordion Association will be attending as invited guests.

Whether you are a beginner, advanced, professional, teacher, sales, repair or just someone who enjoys the accordion, you are welcome to be there and make new accordion friends.

The founder of this organization is Ron Tyson. Presently Ron is a chaplain for nursing homes and hospitals in the Kansas City area. Ron has been playing the accordion for fifty years! He plays his accordion to accompany the services and also for an Alzheimers group each week. Ron notices that the patients are very responsive to accordion music. He envisions members of the association having the opportunity to perform at retirement homes to gain experience.

The meeting will be held at Carondelet Manor, 621 Carondelet Drive, Kansas City. Carondelet Manor is located on the east side, across from St. Joseph Medical Center. Driving from East or West, exit on State Line Avenue. There are many hotels and restaurants in the area. There is free parking, and refreshments will be served at the Manor.

If you are interested please contact Ron Tyson at or 816-943-4777.


Rita Davidson, Elena and Grigory Fainshtein Perform in Texas

by Harley Jones
Rita Davidson, Elena and Grigory Fainshtein
Rita Davidson, John Martin, Mike BorelliOn Sunday, April 18, Rita Davidson, Elena and Grigory Fainshtein performed for the Mid- Cities Accordion Association in Dallas/ Fort Worth, Texas. President John Martin introduced the program which began with some members demonstrating Israeli dancing with accordion music played by John Martin and Mike Borelli.

Rita Davidson, Editor of USA News, performed a varied program of light classics, novelties, and compositions by Eugene Ettore. Rita has given several concerts recently including the FMAE in January in Arizona and the March National Accordion Association (NAA) Festival in Dallas.

Rita is on the Governing Board of the AAA and has served as a judge at many accordion competitions in the USA. She is a music teacher in the West Orange, New Jersey school system where she is known for utilizing the accordion in her music lessons in Pre school to Grade 5.

Rita is currently working on a project to promote the music of her accordion teacher, composer Eugene Ettore, which includes a future CD of his virtuoso compositions as well as various concert appearances to increase awareness of his works. His music will soon be available online.

Elena and Grigory Fainshtein played several duets and delighted the audience with their virtuosity and enthusiasm. Originally from Russia, Elena and Grigory earned their Masters Degree in Accordion Performance from the Byelorussian Music Academy in Minsk.

They have been living in Dallas, Texas for the past seven years and Elena teaches both piano and accordion in Dallas. Grigory works in the computer field. The audience enthusiastically gave them a standing ovation. Rita, Elena, and Grigory then surprised the audience by playing “Czardas” and “Hava Nagila” together as a trio.

After a short break, Rita shared her ideas on entertaining at children’s birthday parties with the focus on the accordion. Rita has had many years of experience in the birthday party business in which she utilizes her accordion. She presented a demonstration of a kid’s party with one of the members serving as the birthday boy! It was in audience participation style with everyone dancing, playing instruments, marching around, and just having a great time.

For further information:

John Moceo - Accepted as Music Major at Five Towns College

by Rita Barnea
John MoceoFor all of us that remember that little 6 year old boy playing at his first American Accordionist Association Competition in Washington, DC, during the summer of 2000, John Moceo has been accepted as a Music Major at Five Towns College, in Dix Hills, Long Island, New York. John will major in Music and minor in Audio Recording Technology.

John has the distinction of being the first accordion player to attend Five Towns College. Everyone there is very excited to have him in their school. The curriculum will be designed to include John and his accordion. While in college, John will be performing with his accordion in their Swing/Jazz Band and Concert Band. He will also work with some of the vocal artists at the college.

John received the prestigious Five Towns College Music Scholarship based on his audition with his accordion and his already extensive knowledge of music. He credits his success in music to his dedicated and inspirational teacher, AAA Vice President Frank Busso. He knew from the moment he met Frank that music was going to be his dream in life. His teacher said, “I am very proud of John and his accomplishments. He is an inspiration to the other accordion students at my music school.” Frank Busso is the director of the Staten Island Music School in Staten Island, New York.

During this past year, John has established his own independent record label called "Record on the Wall Productions". He has 17 artists signed to his independent label, in which he produces, writes, records, and mixes all of the music in his studio. He has been working very hard, long hours, in his music studio which he has put together in his home. John's independent record label is planning a tour of the New York City area this summer to work on gaining recognition for his artists and music. His label presently consists of mainly hip/hop, rap, and R & B artists.

John is currently the drummer and accordion player in a mixed genre band that has been performing in several locations in his hometown of Staten Island, New York. We wish John the best of luck and we know he will make accordionists and musicians everywhere proud!

For further information:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Spokane Accordion Ensemble Presents "Movie Themes" Concert

by Rita Barnea
Spokane Accordion Ensemble
The Spokane Accordion Ensemble will present their “Movie Themes” concert on Tuesday, May 4, at the Bing Crosby Theatre in downtown Spokane, 901 W Sprague Ave. It takes place a t 7 PM. Admission is free with donations gratefully accepted.The program includes music from “Sound of Music”, “”Phantom of the Opera, “”Chariots of Fire”, “Star Wars”, “Pink Panther” and many more - - -

The Spokane Accordion Ensemble is a unique blend of players of all ages with a common love of music and the accordion. It is a close-knit group that really enjoys just being together – rehearsals are serious but fun, too.
The Ensemble had its beginning many years ago, sometime in the fifties or sixties as a group of accordion teachers and their advanced students. It is a dedicated group – several travel up to two to three hours each way to attend weekly rehearsals, coming from Usk, Careywood, Republic, Chewelah, Cheney, Spokane and Spokane Valley.

The group changes almost yearly as business and family commitments make it impossible for them to participate, but most return as circumstances permit. A strong core group is maintained and newcomers are welcomed.
The Ensemble enjoys entertaining for a wide variety of audiences, from small groups to national conventions, such as the National Studebaker convention, the Leavenworth Accordion Festival, First Night Spokane, a number of retirement centers, Oktoberfests, luncheons, and many others. Their repertoire ranges from Bach to old standards, Broadway melodies, Movie themes, and yes – a couple of polkas!

The Ensemble is directed by Patricia Bartell, who has been a part of the Spokane Accordion Ensemble for the past 13 years, and has been the full time conductor for the last 6 years. Patricia graduated from Whitworth College with degrees in Music Education for Choral and Instrumental as well as a Performance Degree with the accordion. Patricia is well known for her accordion performances; she has won many International competitions, and this past summer, she spent 5 weeks in Europe adjudicating for the World Trophy in Portugal, studying in France with her teacher and then competing in Italy where she took 3rd place. In addition to directing Ensemble, Patricia enjoys playing, teaching over 50 accordion and piano students at Music City in Spokane and traveling as a missionary to many countries.

She is widely-known throughout the U.S. northwest and western Canada as an adjudicator, professional performer and teacher. With the accordion, she performs and teaches a wide variety of music which includes classical, ethnic, musette, and sacred music. Patricia is the director of the Spokane Accordion Ensemble.

She has also studied “The New Technical Approach” with the world-renowned accordion teacher Frederic Deschamps in France. This technique approach has helped produce amazing results for all ages. Patricia was a USA delegate (a member of the jury) for the international competition of the C.M.A (World Confederation for the Accordion – World Trophy)

The Spokane Accordion Ensemble will be guest artists at the 2010 KIOTAC, Kimberley International Oldtime Accordion Championships, on Friday, July 9th.

For more information: Patricia Bartell E mail:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

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

by Rita Barnea
Dr. William Schimmel
Dr.Ulla SoukkaDr. Schimmel and Finnish flutist,singer/storyteller,Dr.Ulla Suokko, presented two concerts for pre-school children at the Lincoln Center Meet the Artists Series.This is a series designed to introduce children from New York Public and Private Schools to world class Music and Musicians.

The title of the Concerts:”Singing with all your Senses” was designed by Dr.Ulla Suokko who enlisted AAA Board member,Dr. Schimmel, for the project due to his wide stylistic scope and experience. All of the concerts have an element of participation to them which allows the children to have a firsthand musical experience in all aspects of music in a wide range of styles. The children are brought to an actual location at Lincoln Center where they can also meet the artists, ask questions and in many cases, join in with this festive event.

Dr. Schimmel and Ms. Suokko will also present a workshop for pre-schoolers through the Midori Foundation later on this month. This will take place in the actual public school itself, giving the very young a total experience of accordion, various flutes, singing, dancing as well as storytelling. Both Suokko and Schimmel received their Doctorates at The Juilliard School.

William Schimmel is a virtuoso accordionist, author, philosopher and composer. He is one of the principle architects in the tango revival in America, the resurgence of the accordion and the philosophy of Musical Reality (composition with pre-existing music). He received his diploma from the Neupauer Conservatory of Music and his BM, MS and DMA degrees from the Juilliard School. He has taught at the Juilliard School , Brooklyn College CUNY, Upsala College, New School University, Neupauer Conservatory (dean) and has lectured on accordion related subjects at Princeton , Columbia , Brandeis, University of Missouri , Duke University, Manhattan School of Music, the Graduate Center CUNY, Santa Clara University, The Janacek Conservatory in Ostrava, Czech Republic and at Microsoft.

He now heads the Neupauer Conservatory Order of the Shield program, a private studies program for gifted students on a graduate and post graduate level. He conducts a successful three day master class and concert series sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association. The Confederations International of Accordionists has awarded Dr. Schimmel the distinguished merit award for the AAA Master Class and Concert Series as well as his contribution to the international accordion scene. He received the American Accordionists' Association Distinguished Service Award for Fifty Years of Accordion activity and his work as Lecturer in Residence. He is listed in Who's Who in America and Great Minds of the 21st Century.

New York City-based concert artist Ulla Suokko enjoys a versatile international career sharing the magic of music, poetry and stories throughout the world. In addition to being a concert flutist, she is a performing artist, actress, Reiki master, sound healer and teacher who combines music with storytelling in a unique fashion. Ulla says that it is her mission as an artist and human being to bring peace, love, harmony and joy into this world in whatever capacity she can.

An advocate of the healing power of music, Ulla was one of the musicians who brought music to the relief workers and to the families of the victims of the WTC tragedy. She played over 40 concerts in St. Paul's Chapel at Ground Zero. She also brings concerts to hospitals, nursing homes, children's advocacy centers and into the homes of hospice-care patients. Complementing her musical work, she gives workshops on peak performance, stress release, relaxation techniques, listening, communicating, and improvisation, as well as on the healing and transformational power of music. Her improvised, soothing solo flute CD, Bridge of Light, is an invocation for peace, balance, harmony and love. In addition to solo and chamber music performances in the traditional concert hall, she often brings music into more intimate settings, creating special custom-designed programs for a variety of audiences, including New York public and private schools. Always searching for new ways of communicating and reaching for the hearts of people, she enjoys exploring and expanding the possibilities of expression.

Ulla holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School; she earned the Master of Music degree from Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland and a Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Her doctoral dissertation was on music and rhetoric: the art of oration, communication, persuasion and presentation. In addition to the regular concert flute, she is at home on the bass flute, the alto flute and the piccolo, as well as using herself as an instrument through breath, sound and movement. She has lectured and taught master classes in the U.S., Europe and Central Asia.

For further information:

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

Henry Doktorski Performs at the University of Indiana

by Rita Barnea
Henry DoktorskiConcert accordionist Henry Doktorski performed in two concerts at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana. The first concert on Wednesday April 28th featured Doktorski performing a duet with Indiana University percussionist Kyle Acuncius in a performance of “ Clair-Obscur” by the French composer Jean-Pierre Drouet.The second concert on April 29th in the Hoagy Carmichael Room at the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music featured Doktorski performing an solo accordion recital. The concert was recorded and broadcast on local television.

The Hoagy Carmichael Room, designed as a lively memorial to Indiana's famous songwriter and performing artist Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1981),contains a representative sample of the large collection of memorabilia donated to the Archives of Traditional Music by the Carmichael family. The collection includes a piano, music manuscripts, recordings, photographs, scrapbooks, and paintings.

Doktorski said, "It was a real pleasure for me to perform for a packed house in the Hoagy Carmichael Room at the Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music. I have played several Carmichael pieces during my career, including "Stardust," "Georgia On My Mind," "The Nearness of You," and "Heart and Soul." It was inspiring to me to sit near Carmichael's piano and desk where he composed some of his greatest songs."

Henry was the first-place winner in the American Accordion Musicological Society Virtuoso Solo Competition (1990: King of Prussia, Pennsylvania) and since then has delighted his audiences with his tasteful and sophisticated musical interpretations, including performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the New Philharmonic Orchestra (Glen Ellyn, Illinois), the Northwest Indiana Symphony (Merrillville, Indiana), the Loudoun County Symphony (Leesburg, Virginia), the Butler County Symphony (Pennsylvania), the Wartburg Community Symphony (Waverly, Iowa), the McKeesport Symphony (Pennsylvania), the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, the Duquesne University Contemporary Ensemble, the River City Brass Band (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Pittsburgh's Civic Light Opera Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, in addition to radio and television appearances.

In addition to classical music, Mr. Doktorski plays popular and international music and performs for private parties, receptions and special events such as Oktoberfest celebrations. His extensive repertoire ranges from Bach, Brahms and Piazzolla to Gershwin, Mancini and tunes from hit Broadway musicals and Hollywood movies.

He has recorded with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony (you can hear him on the Sony Classical hit CD Cinema Serenade with violinist Itzhak Perlman) and was the featured soloist on six compact discs.

Mr. Doktorski serves as Instructor of Accordion on the faculty of The City Music Center at Duquesne University, and formerly served for two seasons as Instructor of Accordion at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is the founder of The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. -- a nonprofit educational organization devoted to the accordion and classical music. He is in demand as a recitalist and clinician and often presents concerts and workshops at national and regional accordion conventions. He has performed at the Coupe Mondiale in Alexandria, Virginia, and in Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Duluth, Fairbanks, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York City, Orlando, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Waverly, Iowa, and Wheeling, West Virginia. Doktorski also teaches accordion students, from beginners to advanced professionals.

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

Future events

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

Eddie Monteiro, Jazz Accordionist, to Perform at Shanghai Jazz in Madison, NJ.

by Rita Barnea
Eddie MonteiroWorld renowned accordion jazz virtuoso, Eddie Monteiro, will appear with his trio at Shanghai Jazz in Madison, NJ on Thursday, May 13th, from 7-9:30 PM. If you attend, you are in for a unique and entertaining evening.

Eddie is an AAA Board Member and an outstanding music teacher in New Jersey, who incorporates the use of the accordion in his daily teaching activities. Eddie is also a featured Roland accordion demonstrator and is a judge at the USA Roland Competition in LA each year.

Shanghai Jazz opened in October 1995 and has been named "One of the Top 100 Jazz Clubs in the World." The restaurant has earned rave reviews for their food, service and ambience from the New York Times, Star Ledger, Zagat Survey and Inside New Jersey.

Their philosophy is warm hospitality, gourmet Asian cuisine inspired by the seasons, a well-focused wine list and a full bar with almost a dozen beers on tap, including our own micro-brew Shanghai Jazz Ale. And of course exceptional value. World class artists showcase their talents 6 nights a week with no music charge except for special events.

Owners Martha Chang and David Niu returned to Martha's hometown of Madison, New Jersey after traveling, working and studying in Asia with the aid of a Fulbright fellowship. Inspired by Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s, when it was known as the "Paris of the Orient," they have sought to create a jazz club infused with "Jazz and Joy."

Shanghai Jazz is located at 24 Main Street,Madison, NJ. The phone number is 973.822.2899. For further information:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

New Hampshire Accordion Association Concert Series: Catfish Howl Blues Band May 18

by Donna Regis
The New Hampshire Accordion Association [NHAA] is pleased to announce the second in a series of three monthly concerts highlighting the versatility of the accordion. NHAA and Accordion Connection LLC will co-sponsor Catfish Howl Blues Band 1:00 PM Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Accordion Connection in Gilmanton. 

Catfish Howl, a New England-based band, will showcase the accordion in a performance of blues, Zydeco, rock, country, and pop tunes, plus some Catfish Howl originals. A question-and-answer period will be included in the presentation.

Members of Catfish Howl are Glen Robertson, accordion/vocals; Dave Bodnar, harmonica/vocals; Butch Black, bass/vocals; Scott Foxon, guitar; and Alan Trebat, drums.
Seating is limited. Registration in advance is recommended. General admission: $10 in advance, $15 at the door, if seats remain. Free admission for NHAA members, but registration is required.

Register by phone, in person, or online at:
Next concert at NHAA: June 22, 2013 – Arthur Welch

More information: or 1-800-328-5227.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

16 year old Michael Bridge to Perform with the Boston Pops

by Rita Barnea
Michael BridgeSixteen year old Canadian accordionist, Michael Bridge, will perform live with the Boston Pops in Boston at Symphony Hall on June 8th as part of the 10th anniversary of the hugely popular NPR radio show "From the Top". He has been invited to perform “Czárdás” with the orchestra for a live audience.

The performance and subsequent interview will be recorded and broadcast live on approximately 250 radio stations throughout the Unites States to an audience of over 700,000 people. The entire show will be available on the “From the Top” website ( several days after June 8th.

In July, Michael Bridge will compete at the Kimberly International Old Time Accordion Championships and the ATG run Anthony Galla-Rini International Competition in Santa Clara, California .

Michael Bridge is a sixteen year old bayanist, accordionist, and pianist from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He began piano lessons at age four and piano accordion lessons at age seven. His teachers are Beverley Fess (accordion) and Donna Holoboff (piano). He has two years of high school remaining but plans to continue his musical studies. He is preparing for his grade ten Royal Conservatory of Music piano exam in June of 2010 and his grade ten RCM bayan (free bass chromatic accordion) exam in 2011. He has completed advanced RCM theoretical studies in harmony, history, counterpoint, and analysis under the direction of Robert Rosen and Timothy Janz.

At the age of fourteen, Michael released the first CD of his own original compositions entitled "My Stuff." He has also published a book of sheet music to match this CD. His second CD of original works, "Sharon's Song," was released in October 2009 in Las Vegas, USA. In August 2008, Michael attended the International Music Accordion Camp in Italy conducted by Peter and Mady Soave and their colleague Jean-Louis Noton. It was a fabulous week of workshops and camaraderie. At this camp, he began his study of a new, more complex instrument, the bayan.

Michael won the Open Championships in 2008 at the Edmonton and Kimberley competitions and also won the Virtuoso Championship at the Calgary Festival. In 2009, he was invited to perform at the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration in June. In early July, he represented Canada in France performing in three cities as part of a touring group of international artists. Then, in October, he appeared in concert and taught workshops at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention. Michael was also chosen to perform in a Honens Master Class on the piano, which also took place in October, 2009.

Michael is a gifted and engaging young musician who is determined to raise the profile of the accordion and bayan for the next generation. He is passionate about classical music but also performs as a one-man band playing popular, dance or jazz tunes.

Michael will represent Canada at the 2010 Junior Coupe Mondiale (World Cup) for classical accordion, in Croatia! He will play in the Junior Coupe Mondiale and the Junior Virtuoso Entertainer divisions (17 and under). Please visit the Coupe Mondiale Website for additional information. In honor of World Accordion Day, Michael will perform both a classical concert and Old Time Dance on May 16, 2010, at the Westgate Community Hall 2-4 PM. Michael’s concert program will include selections by Khatchaturian, Rachmaninov, Albéniz, Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Schimmel, Handel, and Bridge. Tickets are only $10.00. Beverage and snack included.Doors open at 1:30 PM.

For further information:
Phone: 403-686-6496. E mail:

Sounding Out the Accordion by Thierry Benetoux

Stas Venglevski's May and June Performance Schedule

by Rita Barnea
Stas VenglevskiVirtuoso Stas Venglevski, world renowned bayan player, and his wife Roza, an accomplished and well-known cello player will appear in concert on May 16 at 2 PM. at the San Francisco Accordion Club. Stas, a native of the Republic of Moldova and graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow under the tutelage of world renowned Friedrich Lips, will absolutely dazzle you with his technique and virtuosity.

Stas' wife Roza Borisova, a native of Russia, has a long list of credentials and honors as a cellist and music teacher, both solo and part of the Veronika String Quartet, whose international tours have won them many prizes. Roza has performed with many symphonies, festivals, competitions and institutes.

His artistry, dazzling technical command, and sensitivity have brought "Stas" Venglevski, a native of the Republic of Moldova, part of the former Soviet Union, increasing acclaim as a virtuoso of the bayan. A two-time first prize winner of bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova, Stas is a graduate of the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow where he received his Masters Degree in Music under the tutelage of the famed Russian bayanist, Friedrich Lips. In 1992 he immigrated 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 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 Show. Additionally, he has performed with symphony orchestras throughout the United States. 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. Additionally, Stas demonstrates his versatility performing regularly with his Irish friends Leahy's Luck.

Stas is the immediate 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.

Stas' wife Roza Borisova, a native of Russia, has a long list of credentials and honors as a cellist and music teacher, both solo and part of the Veronika String Quartet, whose international tours have won them many prizes. Roza has performed with many symphonies, festivals, competitions and institutes.

Roza Borisova, cello, a native of Ioshkar-Ola, Russia, has been teaching at the Academy of Music since 2003. Ms. Borisova began studies on the cello at the age of seven. After receiving her B. A. in Music Performance from the Ioshkar-Ola State Music College, she moved to Moscow where she earned a M. M. in Performance Pedagogy and a D.M.A. in String Quartet Performance from the Russian State Academy of Music (formerly Gnesin’s Institute) in Moscow.

In 1989 Ms. Borisova was selected to be cellist of the Veronika String Quartet (newly formed by Valentine Berlinsky, cellist of the Borodin String Quartet). The Quartet’s international tours resulted in numerous prizes including the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, the Shostakovich String Quartet Competition, and the Russian National Competition. As an award of the Shostakovich Competition, in 1993 the Quartet was invited to study with the Fine Arts Quartet at the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and relocated to the U.S. Ms. Borisova served as Artist-in-Residence and graduate teaching assistant at various institutions in Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, and Colorado and earned a second M.M. in Music Performance.

As part of the Veronika String Quartet, Ms. Borisova performed regularly as cellist with various symphony orchestras and at many festivals and institutes around the world including the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Second Jerusalem Chamber Music Encounters in Israel, the Britten-Pears School of Music in England, and the Lancaster Music Festival in Ohio. She currently performs with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, and the Woodstock Mozart Festival Orchestra, Woodstock, IL. She takes pleasure in teaching aspiring cellists and has taught at several major music institutions in the U.S.

Accordionist Reno Di Bono will also be featured on the program. Accordionist Reno DiBono often performs with his Italian Trio which has been delighting audiences all over the wolrd for over 15yrs. Reno DiBono and his Trio stroll at private parties and fairs playing European styles of music

The May 16th program takes place at the Oyster Point Yacht Club, 911 Marina Blvd, South San Francisco, CA. The door charge will be $7.00 for members and $10.00 for non-members.

Future performances by Stas include:
May 14 (Friday – 8 PM) – Dance Mission Theater, 3116 24th Street, San Francisco, CA. New World Echoes: Featuring Stas Venglevski, Jack O’, The Clock, Real Vocal String Quartet , and Zoyres. Several genre-blending bands are joined by Russian accordion master, Stas Venglevski. Native New Yorker and Lalo’s Jerusalem, two award-winning films, screen after the concert. Bay area composers featured include Richard Warp and William Susman Stas will also perform music by Milwaukee composer Dana Mc Cormick.
May 17 ,7:30 PM , at the Hermann Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Peta Luma, CA, Stas performs at the Accordion Club of the Redwoods, both solo and in duet with cellist, Roza Borisova.
June 6 (Sunday – 3:30 PM) – Michigan Accordion Society, American Polish Cultural Center, 2975 East Maple Road, Troy, MI. The Michigan Accordion Society presents its Annual Spring Concert with a performance by Stas Venglevski performing solo and with master mandolinist, Misha Litvin. The Michigan Accordion Society Orchestra conducted by Silven Koltyk will also perform. Advance tickets are $15 (at the door $18); children 12 and under $10. Tickets/information: 248-689-3296
June 12 (Saturday) – 3:00 PM – Irish Fest with Leahy’s Luck, 303 Ceape Avenue, Oshkosh, WI. Stas appears with Leahy’s Luc , Milwaukee’s favorite Irish folk band, at the second annual Irish Fest in Oshkosh, WI
June 18-20 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday – performance times TBA) – Polish Fest, Maier Festival Park, 200 North Harbor, Drive, Milwaukee, WI. Appearing at Polish Fest, one of Milwaukee’s biggest festivals, Stas performs with drummer Terry Smirl, bassist John Babbitt, and accordionist John Simkus.

For further information on the May 16th concert:
For additional information about other concerts:

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5, in Killeen, Texas

by Rita Barnea
The MECA Ballet Folkorico de Colores, and Mariachi de Colores will present a Cinco de Mayo program of Mexican folk music and folk dance at 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Killeen Mall Center Court on Wednesday, May 5. The performing groups will be dressed in traditional Mexican dress.

In addition to other Mexican instruments, the accordion will be featured since Thursday, May 6, is World Accordion Day. There will be numerous accordion concerts held around the world on that day and during May. The button, piano, and MIDI accordions will be featured.

This performance is open to the public with free admission. For information about additional Cinco de Mayo events in Texas and World Accordion Day, events please check and find Texas Accordion Net (TAN). The TAN was started a year ago as a social net. Anyone can sign on and post information, photos, schedules and videos. You can find new friends and blog. Mexican/Hispanic sheet music for public domain songs is available on TAN. There are many Hispanic folk/Mexican songs and dances on the MECA YouTube channel - mecatx.

Daniel Kott is the director of MECA in Killeen, Texas.
For more information contact: or 254-526-9464

Mid-Cities Accordion Association Celebrates Mother's Day and World Accordion Day

by Rita Barnea
Mid-Cities Accordion Association
Sunday is Mother's Day and it will be your opportunity to celebrate it with a German flair. The Mid-Cities Accordion Association meets this Sunday, May 9th, at the Edelweiss Restaurant in Fort Worth from 4-6 PM., 3801 Southwest Boulevard, Fort Worth, TX. The day will be celebrated with wonderful German food and an opportunity to take the stage with fellow accordionist and host, Mike Borelli. The day is also registered as a World Accordion Day Event.

In keeping with the holiday and the German theme, you are encouraged to play German songs and also something to honor mothers. Perhaps you might want to play your mother's favorite song. Give it some thought, practice something special, and join in the fun!

Since the clubs last visit to the Edelweiss, the restaurant has added Sunday hours to their dining schedule. Sunday evenings are not crowded. There will be plenty of table space around the dance floor and few dancers to bump into.

For additional information: John Martin, President of Mid-Cities Accordion Association: 817.282.7449 or

Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest June 4-6 in Augusta, NJ

by Rita Barnea
2010 Crawfish Fest Logo
Terrance SimienJeffery BroussardMichael Arnone's 21st Annual Crawfish Fest June 4-6 in Augusta, NJ will be held on the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ from June 4-6. What started as a small crawfish boil for 70 people homesick for boiled crawfish in 1989, has turned into Michael Arnone's 21st Annual Crawfish Fest. Featuring the best Music and Food that Louisiana and New Orleans has to offer. Cajun, Zydeco, Delta Blues, New Orleans R&B, Brass, Gospel and Jazz on 4 Stages. The festival celebrates the sounds and taste of New Orleans.

Friday evening entertainment for the Campers and King Crawfish Krewe on the Jaeger Pavilion Stage features Grammy Winner Terrance Simien and The Zydeco Experience, The Redstick Ramblers, Honey Island Swamp Band, Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys along with Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show.

Saturday night entertainment features The Dirty Dozen Brass Band,Honey Island Swamp Band, Amanda Shaw,George Porter Jr. and the Runnin' Pardners,Taj Mahal, Anders Osborne, Stanton Moore. The Sunday lineup includes Marcia Ball,Railroad Earth, Kenny Neal,The Iguanas, and Galactic.

The Crawfish Fest features a variety of authentic New Orleans fare including boiled crawfish with corn and potatoes, chicken & sausage jambalaya, grilled alligator sausage, Shrimp Creole, red beans & rice with pork sausage, catfish, crawfish, oyster, shrimp Couchon de Lait, hot sausage Po-Boys, crawfish pie, crawfish bread, Crawfish Ettoufee and raw oysters. Festival enthusiasts, who prefer a more traditional menu, may choose from grilled Portabella mushroom sandwiches, vegetarian Red Beans, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, fruit cups, sno-balls, beignets and other desserts. Four stages (three of which are under cover) will feature 24 Bands playing some of New Orleans and Louisiana's best Funk, New Orleans R&B, Delta Blues, Brass, Cajun and Zydeco. Children will be entertained at the Kids Stage by Polka Dot and Summer Rae McLaughlan.

Among the groups which feature the accordion are:
Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience-Grammy Winner Terrance Simien is blessed with an extraordinary talent that expresses the deepest human emotions through the original instrument: The Voice. His eclectic fusion of Zydeco takes you on a multicultural musical tour of the world. Incorporating diverse music styles he creates a hypnotic blend of Zydeco-roots-New Orleans funk-reggae-flavored-Afro-Caribbean-world music that will force you out of your seat and onto the dance floor. He has found a way to express himself as a relevant and evolving artist who remains reverent to his roots and musical legacy. His live performances have garnered him a level of international success and his fully engaged audiences around the globe have become more Zydeco Experienced than ever before!

Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys features the accordion mastery and soulful vocals of front man Jeffery Broussard, from the legendary band, Zydeco Force. The band delivers great, pack-the-floor renditions of Creole classics as well as their own brand of contemporary Zydeco. Early Creole music, as played by legends Canray Fontenot on fiddle and Jeffery’s father, accordion player Delton Broussard, is experiencing a well-deserved resurgence of interest in Louisiana today.

Mail-order tickets began on March 1st, 2010. You can purchase tickets at the Fairgrounds Box Office beginning on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010.Adult Tickets purchased on the day of show on Saturday or Sunday will be $40.00 per day.

A guaranteed great time for all! For more information:
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