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


Editor's Note
Breaking News: Louis F Coppola Passed Away - April 20, 2020. The Accordion World Has Lost One of its Finest
Next Broadcast 23 May, Report: 9th May World Accordion Day - Worldwide
Review: Gary Daverne Video “This is My Life” - New Zealand
May 1: Hear the Grand Prize Winners of the Texas Folklife Big Squeeze Competition
Free Album for WAD - "Harley Plays Gary" eTracks Album Released Online
Review: Michael Bridge Xenia Online Concert
AAA Festival Postponed to July 14th-18th 2021
ATG Los Angeles Festival Cancellation Aug 5-9, 2020
Leavenworth Accordion Celebration Postponed Until June 17-20, 2021
Joseph Natoli Performs His Newest Composition “Alone”
Celebrate World Accordion Day with “Accordions Rising” Available Now
Doin’ Just Fine” by Alicia Jo Straka - NPR Tiny Desk Contest 2020
Accordion 101: How an Accordion Works with Ted Lange And Mollie B

Voci Armoniche

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

Alex Meixner Live from His Living Room
Accordionist Tom Pixton Records Sound Track of Fun Short Film
Accordion Class Presses On Virtually
Accordionist Ivan Filipchyk Paints to Music
Joseph (Chubby) Carrier in Live Online Concerts
Ocean Beach Park Polka Days 2020 is Cancelled
Elena and Gregory Fainshtein Present Concerts from Their Dallas Home
Papa Joe’s Accordion Brings Positivity During Pandemic Times
Young Accordion Finalists in Texas Folklife Big Squeeze on May 1
Music Acadiana in Quarantine
Cancelled: 2020 Vancouver Folk Music Festival
Brooklyn Accordion Club, Live on Zoom!

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

2020 Not Just Oompah! Goes On …Line, that is!
2020 Annual Master Class and Concert Series to be Presented Online
Maine Fiddle Camp 2020 Cancelled Until Summer 2021

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



Editor's Note

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Rita BarneaWADTo all our accordionists and accordion enthusiasts:

The May news is now online. Remember Internet Streaming on May 6 World Accordion Day (WAD) Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) Show.

We at AWW hope that you and your family are well during this world crisis. It is most unfortunate that the spread of Covid-19 has led to the postponement or cancellation of many international and national accordion events.

We ask organizers/musicians to please keep us informed so we can keep our readers informed. In the May news, you will learn about many online events, both past, present and future. There are links for you to gain easy access. Please remember that most professional musicians are dependent on their live concerts and tours for their livelihood. If possible, you might consider sending them a donation to reward them for their great efforts in maintaining live online events.

We are hopeful that In June we will be able to publicize more live concerts. In the meantime, while home, consider using the time to practice, take Skype or FaceTime lessons, and practice your accordion. Hoping you and your family are safe and healthy.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Breaking News: Louis F Coppola Passed Away - April 20, 2020. The Accordion World Has Lost One of its Finest

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
Lou CoppolaThe American Accordionists' Association (AAA) is very saddened to report that our beloved Louis F. Coppola passed away this morning, April 20, 2020, from complications of Leukemia.

Born May 25, 1937 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Lou, with his magnetic and endearing personality, spent his entire life spreading joy with his beautiful accordion music. A great ambassador for the accordion and a tremendous supporter of the AAA, Lou will be greatly missed!!

Please visit Lou’s attached bio, plus videos, Accordions Worldwide daily reports, and slideshow of Lou’s life. All of the above were prepared for Lou’s AAA Lifetime
Achievement Award, presented to him in Alexandria, Virginia, July 2018. To view these, please click on: Lou Coppola

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

Next Broadcast 23 May, Report: 9th May World Accordion Day - Worldwide

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
World Accordion Day
Kevin Friedrich, Grayson MasefieldWorld Accordion Day (WAD) logoLatest Episode 3, 23rd May 2020 Broadcast - Video now online at: WAD2020

WAD2020 9th May includes:

An introduction by Xu Xiaonan (China) speaking about his experience at the CIA Coupe Mondiale where he was the first Chinese Coupe Mondiale winner in 2012 in Spoleto, Italy. He then performs his own composition “Breeze in Summer” with pianist Xu Gehui.

A performance by Matthias Matzke (Germany) who won the Coupe Mondiale Junior Virtuoso Entertainment class in 2011 and the Digital Accordion class in 2014. Matthias performs Ghost Love Score – Nightwish.

An interview with DHV Vice President Georg Hettman who gives information about the DHV such as what the organisation offers, where they operate and members of the organisation. He then presents a performance by the HUMI Accordion band (Poland), 1st place winners of the Mixed Instrumentation Orchestra Youth division at the Innsbruck Festival.

Georg Hettman is then joined by CIA Music Committee member Andreas Nebl and the CEO of the Hohner Konservatorium, Bernhard van Almsick who give interesting interviews regarding musical styles and how the school assists students to find their own musical style. This is followed with a video performance by Felix Fritschi.

A performance by past Coupe Mondiale winner Valerio Russo, who performs a composition by Renzo Ruggieri.

An interesting interview and performance with Vincent van Amsterdam from NOVAM (Netherlands) and performances from their 90th anniversary celebration concert. This is followed by information on the accordion in The Netherlands.

Interview and performance with the Royal Danish Academy of Music Professor, Geir Draugsvoll who talks about the Academy, teachers, programs etc. along with various performance videos.

Interview and performance with Mikk Langeproon from Eesti Akordioniliit (Estonian Accordion Society) who talks about their society, members and events organised by them.

The broadcast finished with the winners of the Coupe Mondiale International Ensemble World Music 2018 - The Pillers (Austria).

Plus much more for your enjoyment at: WAD2020
World Accordion Day Segment 2

Titano Accordion Company

Review: Gary Daverne Video “This is My Life” - New Zealand

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Gary DaverneGary Daverne ONZM has recently released a pictorial slideshow, “This is My Life” looking at the illustrious life of the New Zealand composer, orchestral conductor and record producer. Gary was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996. He held the position of Music Director/Conductor of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra from its formation in 1975 until 2010 when, on retiring, he was appointed Music Director Emeritus.

Daverne has also conducted many major orchestras around the world and is also New Zealand's most prolific composer and arranger of music for the accordion.

The video includes pictures of accordionists that have performed with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra including New Zealanders Tracey Collins, Kevin Friedrich, Harley Jones, and Stephanie Poole as well as Mary Tokarski and Betty Jo Simon of the USA.

Full review: MyLifeGaryDaverne.pdf

Voci Armoniche

May 1: Hear the Grand Prize Winners of the Texas Folklife Big Squeeze Competition

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Big Squeeze Live
Big Squeeze finalistsDirectly from Texas Folklife: Dear Texas Folklife Friends, Supporters & Family:
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and in adherence to CDC and local health authority guidelines, we are canceling all scheduled Texas Folklife public events and gallery operations including the Big Squeeze live auditions and concerts until further notice. The health and wellbeing of our statewide community is our highest priority. The Big Squeeze and other programs are continuing in other formats and we will update you very soon on this.

Texas Folklife works with diverse communities across Texas to celebrate the shared traditions that so inextricably unite us. We believe that the folk and traditional arts and cultural expression are more important than ever and we are currently evaluating strategies to support the creative communities and offer ways to help us stay connected.
We will share updates on our plans to complete the 2020 Big Squeeze soon via email, social media and our website. Take care of yourselves and each other. And, as always, we thank you for your support.

The Big Squeeze is still on! Tune in on May 1 FB at 3:PM CST for the online version of the annual event! The May 1 Grand Prize Winners will be announced. Join them for the first ever Big Squeeze Finals From-Home, with performances by the 2019 Big Squeeze champions, Elijah Clements, Chloe Johnson, Perla Hernandez and Eduardo Garza....and a LIVE announcement of the 2020 winners based on the results from our online judges.

Texas based accordion teacher Elena Fainshtein shared, “Feeling proud of my students Nick Heatly and Timothy Regheta - they both made it to the finals of the ”Big Squeeze" contest.” 2019 Winner Elijah Clements 2019 is also her student and will perform.

The event is hosted by Texas Folklife

For further information:

Accordion Jazz Chords

Free Album for WAD - "Harley Plays Gary" eTracks Album Released Online

by Heather Masefield, Secretary, New Zealand Accordion Association
Harley Plays Gary"Harley Plays Gary" is a newly released mp3 album of Gary Daverne compositions that Harley Jones has recorded in past years. The recordings include solo, solo with NZ Symphony Orchestra, duet and trio Gary Daverne works. These recordings have been compiled into a new eTracks mp3 album Harley Plays Gary available from major online websites.

Free Album to celebrate World Accordion Day (WAD) on 6th May. The new mp3 album courtesy of Gary Daverne and Harley Jones is available free of charge until 7th May by sending your email request to

For this promotion, a number of other tracks like the "Harmonious Blacksmith", "Flight of the Bumble Bee", "Le Cou Cou" are added to this World Accordion Day celebration.

View full track information including sound samples at: Harley Plays Gary


Review: Michael Bridge Xenia Online Concert

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
XeniaOn April 6, 2020, Michael Bridge presented his first Xenia livestream concert broadcast from his living room in Canada. The concert, which came with a downloadable program booklet was followed by a Q&A. Many musicians organize their own FB live concerts. The difference here is that Xenia Productions is professional all the way.

Michael presented the program on two accordions, the first half with his acoustic accordion and the second half with his digital accordion. Not only was his program enjoyable but it also was educational. Michael explained the difference between the two accordions as well as providing a brief but highly informative introduction to each selection. Michael has a gentle friendly manner and is instantly likable as a performer. I felt as if Michael was talking to me personally.

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

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

Michael’s program included.
"Spanish Dance no. 5 ”Andaluza” Enrique Granados
"Italian Concerto I. Allegro" J.S Bach
"French Suite no. 5 in G major VII. Gigue" J.S. Bach
"Hallelujah" Leonard Cohen
"Daichovo Horo" Trad. Bulgarian
"Palladia" Karl Jenkins
"Misty" Joe Garland
"1812 Overture" P. I. Tchaikovsky

The mission of Xenia Concerts Inc. is to offer high quality music and arts performances, presentations, and educational programs, in an environment that welcomes those who might not have access to such events and activities due to physical, mental, or financial barriers. The vision of Xenia Productions is re-imagining music and arts events and activities to make them inclusive, relevant, and accessible to all members of society, thereby improving quality of life and promoting the enjoyment of the arts.

Due to the coronavirus, these types of programs may become more prevalent in our society. Until the time when we can again attend live concerts, the lifestream concert venue is the way to hear quality performances.

Congratulations to Micheal and we look forward to more of his performances.

For further information:
Michael Bridge

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

AAA Festival Postponed to July 14th-18th 2021

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
The American Accordionists' Association (AAA) Festival 2020 in Alexandria, Virgina is cancelled. AAA President Dr. Joseph Ciccone shares, “It is with great disappointment that due to the circumstances surrounding the Corona Virus (COVID-19) emergency, we have made the necessary decision to cancel the AAA Festival July 8-12, 2020 at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Alexandria, Virginia.

Our guest artists have been working hard over many months to prepare this wonderful event and we are so sorry that we will not be able to share these magnificent performances with you. Hopefully our artists will be available to perform at our 2021 AAA Festival in West Philadelphia.

We are committed to public safety, including that of our many loyal attendees, guests and performing artists, and to help support the nation’s strong efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, we join a long list of events that have already been cancelled. For those who purchased event packages and tickets, we offer them the following options: a full refund, leaving it as a donation or applying it to the 2021 AAA Festival at the Marriott Philadelphia West Hotel in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania July 14-18, 2021, The rate for the hotel remains the same - $130 plus free parking. We sincerely apologize for this cancellation but feel it is absolutely necessary for the good of everyone at this time.’

2021 will feature the Festival Orchestra conducted by Mary Tokarski, Competitions, Vendors Workshops, Youth Involvement, Jazz Ensemble Junior & Senior, Fun Band and "The Divas" being the well known ladies of the AAA: Linda Soley Reed, Mary Tokarski, Beverly Roberts Curnow, Rita Barnea, Joan Grauman, Joanna Darrow, Jeanne Velonis, Marilyn O’Neil and Rachel Quirbach.

Further performers, will be announced in the coming months.
For further information visit: American Accordionists' Association (AAA)

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

ATG Los Angeles Festival Cancellation Aug 5-9, 2020

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
ATG graphicATGATG President Joseph Natoli announces, “As President of the ATG, I regretfully must communicate a message to you that I had hoped would not become a reality. However in spite of intense planning and never giving up hope that our spectacular 80th Anniversary Festival would still take place in Los Angeles this year Aug 5-9, 2020, the unfortunate downward pressures from the around the globe are mandating that we cancel this wonderful event.

With the decidedly international nature of our Festival this year, there are many groups and attendees who had planned to come and participate, but simply cannot for a variety of reasons (the mandated closure of flights in their country, the negative economic impacts of their various nationwide economic shutdowns, the high risk categories of some of our attendees, and ultimately the inability to gather into large events throughout the summer in the Los Angeles area based on recent governor decreed mandates). These issues collectively will make it impossible for our Los Angeles Festival to occur as anticipated.

Therefore, in spite of great sadness in our hearts over this cancellation, there is an equal amount of hope and positive anticipation that you will join us next year at the Hyatt in the Lisle, Illinois area again for what we hope to be a recovery from this unfortunate year of the virus; with renewed best wishes for your safety, wellness, and bringing all our musical lives back to normal July 20-25, 2021. Please plan on being with us to make this a very special celebration of our collective recoveries and victory over the events of 2020.

We were informed that our event cancellation will create a mass cancel with the DoubleTree hotel for your individual reservations. But as a matter of due diligence, if you had already made your reservations, you may want to personally call and check after a few weeks to make certain you were not missed and that you can verify your personal hotel reservation was included in the cancellation.

God bless you all and thanks for your loyalty, membership, and support of the ATG.”

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

Leavenworth Accordion Celebration Postponed Until June 17-20, 2021

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Leavenworth LogoVideo: Gary Blair Performs “The Leavenworth Polka”

The Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration committee has discussed the situation regarding COVID-19 extensively over the last several days. The consensus is that it is prudent to cancel LIAC for 2020 and reschedule to 2021. A fabulous program was planned for the Festhalle and it would be most unfortunate if the attendance didn't make sense financially or have the great performers performing for a very small audience.

The plans are in place for the accordion celebration in 2021. Mark your calendars today: The Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration will be on June 17 - 20, 2021.

Check the official web site for updates;

NOTE: There may be entertainment at the Gazebo in 2020. Information to follow soon!

We look forward to seeing you in 2021 for the 27th celebration of the accordion in Leavenworth, WA.

Accordionist Gary Blair shares, “Sad to hear they have had to cancel this year’s Leavenworth festival in Washington state . A festival close to my heart which I have performed at numerous times ...this is my composition, “The Leavenworth Polka “ dedicated to all the hard working committee and volunteers that make this festival so special.”

For further information:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Joseph Natoli Performs His Newest Composition “Alone”

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Joseph NatoliVideo: Joseph Natoli Performs His Newest Composition “Alone” 4/13/2020

Accordionist Joseph Natoli presents his newest composition (April 13, 2020), “Alone”. Joe commented, “I was compelled to write this piece tonight because of the overwhelming sadness related to those who have had to suffer the tragedy of leaving this earth alone because of this pandemic. May God give them and their families comfort. This In memory of those who lost their lives in the 2020 pandemic and left this world alone.”

Joseph Natoli, is not only a professional accordionist and composer, but also President of ATG and organizer of the IDEAS Symposium held in November 2019. Joseph Natoli has been a performer and advocate of the accordion since the age of seven. Joe’s education includes Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in music theory and composition from the University of Toronto Faculty Of Music in Toronto, Canada, where he was the first student accepted there to use the free bass accordion as an applied major instrument, studying with renowned Canadian accordionist, Joseph Macerollo.

Joseph Natoli started his musical career mostly as a performer, but had always been interested in composition, and has focused on his compositional craft even more in recent years. Joe has written many original pieces in all musical styles and genres for standard and free bass accordion, all of which are available by inquiries to, including his latest pieces, “Child's Play” (for 2 accordions, cello, & percussion), as well as solo accordion pieces “Sonata in F Major (in the Classical Style)”, “Children’s Suite”, “Kinetic Tango”, and “Smooth” (a Latin jazz piece for solo or accordion quintet). Joe is also founder and co-director with his partner Michael Soloway of the International Digital Electronic Accordion Society (IDEAS).

Notes about the Composition "Alone…"
from the Composer, Joseph Natoli 4/14/20

In "Alone…", there is much symbolism in the music and in the instruments chosen which besides playing a part in the “orchestra” are also playing a part in this tragical musical theater.
The lone acoustic bass starts the piece on a single note (almost on queue just as the title Alone… appears in the video), really intending to emphasize the concept of the word Alone. The bass then provides all the musical material in solo but animated, almost anxious style in the beginning. After that approximately one-minute bass soliloquy, it then melts into a very eerie and uncomfortable (other-worldly) electronic pulsating sound. Some have likened this to the sound of the womb or the heart, or even ventilator machines. Those are all possible symbolisms, but as the composer indicates “What was in my head as I composed this piece is that the electronic looping sound represents the unrelenting cadence of Coronavirus itself as it marches through our population, being an ever so uncomfortable, non-human, non-blending sonority, yet ever so pervasive throughout the piece, just as this virus has become in our lives.”

But when this electronic sound enters so do these delicate and beautiful strings simultaneously, very softly at first, but by the end of the piece, overtaking the structure of the piece in both volume and density until the video displays the heart-shaped tree of hope and love. These strings represent our hopes of combating the virus, and some of the tools, medicines, and therapies that we might use to accomplish that. They also represent the selfless health care heroes that work non-stop to help get people well. On top of these strings however a lone oboe comes in, really trying to capture the sadness and tragedy of those who must be isolated, or worse yet, those who are dying and not able to be with their loved ones when they pass. The oboe tries to capture that pathos, all the while that the pervasive electronic sound (the virus) tries to interfere and overcome these sentiments and sonorities.

Then the hero of this play enters… the accordion. Why the accordion? Because its bellows are symbolic lungs, providing life-sustaining air and oxygen to life and to this composition. The accordion melody takes charge and leads the way to the future in a very poignant, empathetically sad, but very hopeful soliloquy, very different from the bass soliloquy. This is the only time that the electronic looping sound (the virus) becomes silent, because it has met its match with the hero who will find solutions and a way out. The accordion carries us through to the end of the piece as the beautiful and hopeful strings enter again, becoming denser in tandem with the accordion carrying the piece to a loving and hopeful conclusion, even overcoming the re-entry of the looping electronic sounds, while never forgetting the sadness created by this pervasive entity. The oboe reminisces one more time before the finish, almost like an antibody that was formed in the blood to help protect the victim without forgetting how it got there.

Finally, the piece ends as it started, with the bass ending on several thump-thumps, like a heartbeat expiring and memorializing those who did not make it through this onslaught, and tragically succumbed Alone… Notably, the virus sound evaporates simultaneously, signaling its end with hopes that these lives were not lost in vain.

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

Celebrate World Accordion Day with “Accordions Rising” Available Now

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Accordions Rising
Calling All Accordion music lovers and afionados everywhere. Have you seen Roberta Cantow’s amazing Accordions Rising Documentary. Purchasing/watching this film is a great way to celebrate World Accordion Day (WAD) on May 6. “Accordions Rising” offers entertaining interviews, anecdotal commentary and both formal and informal music performances from celebrated accordionists, composers, and bands working in America today.

The film provides a tapestry of fascinating individuals, their attitudes, deep passions, and above all else, profound dedication to the instrument. You will learn that these musicians have an audience, from some of the hippest hideaways to the most sought after mainstream venues. The film makes clear that the accordion world includes everything from wacky and kitsch to sophisticated, serious, meditative and post-modern.

“Accordions Rising” was released at the end of 2015. If you have not seen it, it is still new and Accordions are still rising, as is their reputation!. Streaming now - Amazon Prime members can watch for free! Its available in many countries on, Roku (Free Download) at Indie Rights (Streaming for Free), Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Best Buy. Look on the Accordions Rising Documentary site for full information where to view/purchase.

Roberta Cantow was recognized with her first film grant from The American Film Institute while still a graduate film student at NYU. Through the years, The New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and others provided grants for the completion and distribution of 4 film works and videos. She received a NY Area Emmy for her film, "Clotheslines" about the symbolic and artistic role of laundry in women’s lives, as well as many others.

Roberta's work has been exhibited in many of the venues for independents, including a presentation in the Cineprobe Series of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Her four 16mm films were selected for archival preservation by the Donnell Media Center, New York City, in 2001. All of her film and video work will be archived in the newly named Special Collections of Smith College.

For further information:
2020_04_24meixner.mp4 (2 c's)

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

Doin’ Just Fine” by Alicia Jo Straka - NPR Tiny Desk Contest 2020

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Alicia Jo StrakaAccordionist Alicia Jo Straka has entered the NPR Tiny Desk Contest 2020: Celebrating Creative 2020 Entries Filmed In Quarantine. The 2020 NPR Music Tiny Desk Contest is sponsored by National Public Radio, Inc. (“NPR”), a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation. The winner will be announced around May 28, 2020.

Alicia Jo Straka, previously Alicia Baker, is an accordionist, vocalist, pianist, composer, arranger, and music teacher. She has explored her many avenues of musical ability in both performance and educational venues. Alicia received 3 bachelor of arts degrees from Oregon State University, including piano performance, vocal performance, and choral education, in addition to a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from University of Colorado Boulder in 2017 - all of which were funded by full-ride scholarships.

Alicia’s repertoire spans a wide variety of musical genres, including; jazz, pop, french musettes, opera, folk songs, polkas, contemporary, classical, romantic, and techno. She often features her own arrangements in concert. Alicia has also composed a variety of musical works for accordion, piano, and choral settings.  She has both won awards and been commissioned to write new works for the choral music world.
I truly enjoyed Alicia’s original song. It is uplifting, catchy, and features her skills as a vocalist and accordionist. Alicia Jo Strake shares, “This is an original song that I composed and recorded for the 2020 NPR tiny desk competition! I wrote both the lyrics and the music, and was inspired by how I feel and cope when going through a particularly hard time. My goal with music is to spread joy and positivity - so I hope this can lift some spirits!. It would mean the WORLD to me if you would go give it a watch on youtube and show it some love! While you're there, feel free to subscribe for bonus points!”

Lyrics to “Doin’ Just Fine”

When I'm feeling low, when I'm feeling blue
I just think of all of the things that I could do if I wanted to
I take a deep breath, and let it out slow
And I set my sights ahead on the things I can control

Life is tough and so unfair, it's easy to feel let down
When we put our minds to think in a positive light, I know we'll be alright

So put on a smile, and sing for a while
And with time, we may realize that we've been doin' just fine.

We will let you know if she wins the NPR Contest but I consider her a WINNER already. Listen to her song and I think you will agree!

For further information:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Accordion 101: How an Accordion Works with Ted Lange And Mollie B

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News

In the above video, Mollie B interviews two-time Grammy-nominated artist Ted Lange to give you the basics on an accordion…. The right hand, the left hand, the bellow shake, etc.

Video 2: Mollie B from the Mollie B Polka Party on RFD-TV presents the First EVER "Virtual" Mollie B Polka party performing her composition - Out The Window Polka.

Mollie B is the host of the "Mollie B Polka Party" on RFD-TV (airing 2 hours every week) and a member of the International Polka Association Hall Of Fame.Ted & Mollie host the Mollie B Polka Party Radio Show on both on Rural Radio, Channel 147, (Sundays, 11:00am to 1:00pm EST) and (Sundays, 8:00-10:00pm EST).

Mollie B & Ted also lead the award-winning band SqueezeBox. The band has become one of the most popular and well-known bands specializing in live folk dance music and entertaining stage shows. Currently based in NW Ohio, their performances span multiple genres with a repertoire of over 800 songs, and solid vocals in English, Polish, German and Czech. Squeezebox is known for their ability to play "something for everyone", and easily adapts to any venue, ranging from town festivals, polka festivals, ethnic festivals including Polish, Czech, and German festivals and Oktoberfests, to weddings, anniversary parties, church festivals, state and county fairs and music festivals.

Recently, they appeared in the Warner Brothers film "The Mule," starring Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood is a big fan of Mollie B and Ted Lange. He watches their show every week. Mollie and Ted usually perform over 120 engagements a year in over 18 states a year, including an annual Caribbean Cruise.
Ted and Mollie

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

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

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Alex Meixner Live from His Living Room

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Alex MeixnerVideo: Alex Meixner broadcasts from his living room.

Now that we are all confined to our homes and cannot go out to hear live concerts, accordionist Alex Meixner brings his music to all of us via Facebook and Youtube. Get ready for a lively, upbeat and positive performance from Alex.

He is performing on a regular basis on these platforms. Forget your troubles and enjoy Alex’s toe tapping polka music! This program was recorded on April 16, 2020 from his living room in Florida.

Meixner’s formative musical studies were on piano and piano accordion, but he quickly branched out on drums, diatonic button accordion, bass and trumpet, his college major. This instrumental versatility is combined with a musical background that has included intense studies and performance of jazz, classical, pop, polkas and many ethnic folk music genres with some of the leading artists in the world. 

His talents in music and comedy were featured on the Tonight Show on NBC. His “Polka Freak Out” CD with Bubba Hernandez garnered a Grammy nomination in December 2007. Alex has performed as a solo artist and with numerous touring ensembles. In 2016 Alex collaborated with the notable advertising agency, BBDO, to produce the infamous Hormel Pepperoni commercials contributing to a successful sales campaign and contract renewals.

At the end of 2016, he recorded with comedy phenomenon, Jack Black, for the major motion picture, ”The Polka King, ” that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. Alex’s reputation for professionalism and quality performance attracted additional commercial opportunities including performing on radio commercials for Ford Trucks and the soundtracks for numerous episodes of Moonshiners on the Discovery Network.

Alex has performed on over 50 albums, including 17 as a leader or soloist. His performance with his Father on Canadian Polka King, Walter Ostanek’s, “Music and Friends” won a Grammy Award. His album Polka Freak Out, a collaboration with Bubba Hernandez, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2007. He has also recorded with a vast number of diverse artists as a soloist or sideman including avant-garde accordionist/ composer- Guy Klucevsek, Grammy winners- Brave Combo, TexMex Rock icons- The Krayolas and Irish entertainer- Seamus Kennedy. His latest recording as a leader is “You Asked for It!”, a live concert DVD and CD of The Alex Meixner Band released in 2016.

For details email:

Titano Accordion Company

Accordionist Tom Pixton Records Sound Track of Fun Short Film

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Tom PixtonVideo: “SIX FEET” Safety first, followed by fun! A very short film about social distancing. Safely produced on location. Concept and direction: Christopher Harting Man: John DiCocco Music: Accordionist Tom Pixton plays “The High Drive” by Gordon Duncan.

Accordionist Tom Pixton has recorded the sound tract for a short film, “Six Feet” which you can see here. Excerpts from the article, “Plymouth filmmaker provides laughs while delivering message about social distancing” from the Metrowest Daily News. Coronavirus is nothing to laugh about, but some of the ways we deal with the issues surrounding the pandemic can be humorous. Filmmaker Christopher Harting came up with a concept for a comical video about the travails of social distancing. Filmed at The Pinehills in Plymouth, Mass and edited in his North Plymouth Christopher Harting Studio, the short film “Six Feet” offers a chance to laugh while underscoring the seriousness of maintaining a safe distance in the age of coronavirus.

A photographer and director, Harting works for numerous clients in Plymouth and on the South Shore to help them with promotional and marketing needs, including Starland Sportsplex & Fun Park, SmartPak Equine, Plymouth Farmer’s Market, Morrison’s Home & Garden and other businesses. He also produced a short video of the Healthcare Heroes parade last week at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth.

This project, though, was for himself. “I wanted to do something fresh and different,” Harting said. “When I shoot a video for myself, I can do whatever I want. I have free creative reign.” The engaging film stars John DiCocco along with Eileen Reardon, Laura Geer and John Decker, while featuring a lively soundtrack of music by Tom Pixton on the accordion.

Accordionist Tom Pixton is one of Boston’s most active International, Balkan and Scottish folk dance musicians. A Brandeis University graduate with a degree in music, he has worked with many highly accomplished dance teachers and musicians as accordionist, pianist, band leader, music arranger and more. As a soloist with Pinewoods, Tom has provided dance music for camps and workshops in the United States, Canada and Japan. He has also provided music leadership for the Boston branch of the Royal Scottish Dance Society and the Folk Arts Center of New England. 

Tom has studied accordion with Petur Ralchev, Koliu Kolev, Bobby Brown, Steve Riley, and Bois Sec Ardoin, and voice with Tatiana Srbinska. He has produced CDs with Flying Tomatoes, BiCoastal Band, and Pinewoods Band. His Scottish recordings include Scottish in Salem (with Lissa Schneckenberger), Saucy Bess: The Piper’s Weird and Live From C Sharp.

Tom publishes the Pinewoods International Collection, a 400-page book of folk dance tunes and songs from around the world. The book has become widely known as a major source of dance music and as a reference volume. When not playing music, Tom works as a freelance web strategist in the higher education and non-profit space.

You can hear Tom Pixton and Julia Poirier in “Live Music Dance Workshop, Popular Dances with Live Music and Commentary” on Saturday, May 2, 2020 from 2:00-4:00pm EDT. Online via Zoom on your nearest web browser or device! To benefit the Folk Arts Center of New England, Tom and Julia who have been playing for International Folk Dance for 30 years, will play some of your favorite dances providing commentary on playing for dance. To respect social distancing, they will be in different locations in the same studio, connected to a common audio mix to avoid latency.

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Accordion Class Presses On Virtually

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Mary Ann CovoneCBS Chicago television reported this week on a virtual accordion class. “The stay-at-home order did not stop Mary Ann Covone from getting her Old Town School of Folk Music accordion class to connect -- this time in a virtual setting” CBS 2's Brad Edwards reported.

The video above includes an interview with Mary Ann and what she is achieving in the face of Covid-19.

Mary Ann Covone is one of a handful of classical accordionists in the United States having graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Accordion Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She performed extensively and taught in the Chicago area for several years before attending law school and embarking on a 25 plus year legal career. In addition to maintaining her legal career, Mary Ann has recently returned to performing and teaching.

She studied with Joan Cochran Sommers and continues to play in an ensemble in Kansas City under the direction of Joan Cochran Sommers. Mary Ann is currently serving on the Board of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, an organization that strives to promote excellence in teaching and playing and to promote accordion playing at all levels in all genres.

She has presented programs that include light pop, ethnic and semi-classical music. Recently, Mary Ann performed with the West Suburban Orchestra and the Loyola University Orchestra in various Shostakovich works. She has also played in the pit orchestra in the show “Cabaret"
with the Beverly Theater Guild.


Accordionist Ivan Filipchyk Paints to Music

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Ivan FThe video above features New York based accordionist and artist Ivan Filipchyk (Russia). Ivan films himself painting and then speeds up the video to fit the length of the piece he is playing on the accordion. Ivan regularly completes paintings to music. We hope you enjoy watching him at work.

Ivan Filipchyk (born 1991), is a New York-based artist and musician. He graduated from the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow with a Master's degree in music. He acquired his musical foundation in Belarus and Russia, countries with rich musical history, traditions, and well-established education in music and arts. As a musician (accordion, piano) he participated in various competitions and gave concerts performing (as a soloist and participant in an ensemble) on the stages of Russia, Japan, USA, and Canada. Ivan is currently actively combining music (as a teacher, performer, and composer) with painting. 

Ivan shares his thoughts: “Even though almost all of my paintings are representational, I try to find abstraction in the way I paint. The subject matter is secondary to me, it can be something very simple, a skyline, a lonely tree or a figure, it's more important to me how I can express the movement, the contrast, and the mood. This dictates the composition of the painting.”

Ivan is available for piano and accordion lessons via Skype. His wonderful paintings are available for purchase. I found it remarkable to witness the creative process both musically and artistically as I watched and listened to Ivan’s videos. It is a unique experience.

For further information:
Ivan Filipchyk 
Mobile: 917.443.2190

Joseph (Chubby) Carrier in Live Online Concerts

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Chubby Carrier PosterAccordionist Joseph Carrier was live on Facebook on April 20, 2020 performing for The Virtual Concert Series for Healthier Air For All and WWOZ 90.7 FM New Orleans #HAFA #HealthierAirForAll #NOLAMusic #SupportMusicians.

Of all the causes that Carrier endorses, his urge for a smoke-free environment is a personal one. In May 2010, his father, Roy Carrier, died from lung cancer. Carrier, along with Lafayette musicians David Egan, Joey Richard, Carol Fran, among others, has become a vocal spokesman for the Let’s Be Totally Clear campaign. The Bayou Swamp Band front man has made several media appearances to show his support for smoke-free venues in Lafayette and around Louisiana and for individuals to adopt a tobacco-free lifestyle.

His program was lively and fun. Joseph has a great reputation for turning any event into an instant party atmosphere. I recommend watching his future online performances. Joseph supports the idea of healthier air for all. During the online concert, Joseph said, “New Orleans has been smoke free for 5 years now. That is fantastic! WWOZ thank you for supporting music!. I thank you all for not smoking especially for musicians, dancers, and everybody!”

Born on July 1, 1967 in Churchpoint, Louisiana, Chubby is the third generation of zydeco artists with such famous relatives as Roy Carrier (father), Warren Carrier (grandfather), and cousins Bebe and Calvin Carrier who are presently considered legends in zydeco history. 

Chubby began his musical career at the age of 12 by playing drums with his father's band. He began playing the accordion at the age of 15. By age 17, Chubby had begun to play with Terrance Siemien and toured the world for 2 1/2 years, before forming his own band in 1989. Cubby and his band have traveled all over the world, performing to audiences in all parts of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada. North Africa and Europe. Chubby and the band travel 150-175 days a year, taking his act to big festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz Fest, the Chicago Blues Fest. Summerfest (Milwaukee), Memphis in May, and several festivals in Europe. Chubby has also done guest appearances on recordings for Tab Benoit, 6Was9, and Jimmy Thackery. Ann Wilson of the group Heart encourages Chubby to "continue the great sound that you have. This sound will take you places." 

His next live online concert is on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 7:PM.

If you would like to tip you are welcome to send any contributions to:
Venmo - Chubby Carrier or
PayPal e-mail

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Ocean Beach Park Polka Days 2020 is Cancelled

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Ocean Beach Polka Poster
Ocean Beach Park Polka Days 2020, June 18, 19 & 20, 2020 has been cancelled due to Covid 19. To Our Ocean Beach Friends:

"Due to the current health concerns across our country, we regretfully announce the cancellation of Ocean Beach Park Polka Days which was scheduled for June 18-20, 2020. You are all like family to us and your health and safety are among our top priorities. Putting anyone's well-being (or possibly life) in jeopardy is not worth the risk with this unpredictable virus. In addition, we want to give everyone time to cancel the many rentals of beach houses, hotels and campground spots. Those who purchased advance tickets will be notified by email on how to receive a refund.

All of us involved in the organization of this festival, including all the bands, are truly disappointed and wish circumstances could be different. However, the times we're currently in dictate our decision to pull back and regroup for the future. In the meantime, let's all focus on staying healthy and positive while enjoying this unexpected time with loved ones! We are looking forward to when we will be able to join together again to celebrate the music we all love…along the Polka Road!"

In Polkas,
Richie and PCM Entp.

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Elena and Gregory Fainshtein Present Concerts from Their Dallas Home

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Elena and Gregory FainshteinAccordion duo, Elena and Gregory Fainshtein, entertained all from their home in Texas on Saturday, April 18 and 25, 2020. The programs were lively and included many well known selections from around the world. Elena and Gregory are enthusiastic performers and will make you want to get up and dance! They will present another Facebook Live concert on May 2, 2020 at 1:PM CDT.

Elena and Gregory Fainshtein, a husband and wife accordion duo, have travelled the world both professionally and personally and now reside in the Dallas, Texas area. Both Elena and Gregory graduated from the Belarusian State Academy of Music in the former USSR and are classically trained. Their life journey has taken them from the former USSR to the State of Israel before settling here in the USA.

Throughout their lives, they’ve learned different languages and met a variety of people, but the one constant that remains, according to the happy couple, is the music they have developed with each other. Both Elena and Gregory like to explore new genres and expand their musical vocabulary from year to year. Elena and Gregory have been active performing in various accordion gatherings and conventions over many years. They are well known in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where Elena has her own music studio and teaches on Skype.

Elena and Gregory are always cheerful and happy to share their talents. They suggest sending a donation to the CDC Foundation to help hospital staffs continue their fight against Covid-19. They will present their 3rd Charity Together Accordion Duo virtual concert on May 2, 2020 at 1:PM, CDT on their FB page.
Other suggestions are:
- Subscribe on YouTube for ElenaFainshtein
- Follow on their FB page
- Share their video on social media

For further information about Elena and Gregory:

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

Papa Joe’s Accordion Brings Positivity During Pandemic Times

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Papa Joe De ClementeDo you know Papa Joe De Clemente? He is one of the most upbeat, positive, musical, and friendly people I have ever met. He exudes positivity and caring toward everyone who meets him.

During the past several years, “Papa Joe” De Clemente has volunteered once a week early in the morning to assist the music teacher, Linda Holcomb, at an elementary school music program at Public-school 203Q, in Bayside, Queens which may be one of the only elementary schools in the five boroughs of New York City that has a student accordion band.

The school started their accordion band fifteen years ago. They meet once a week, at the beginning of the school day to practice various songs that they will perform throughout the year. Papa Joe volunteers his time to join the students for rehearsals and he inspires them to be better accordionists. Among the many things he does for them, he also fixes their accordions! Hopefully, these activities will resume very soon.

Joe shares his love for the accordion, “To me, music has been a language that crosses all barriers, speaking to all people and bringing joy to those who listen. The box has been my pal for over 60 years and I am glad the Lord gave me this special gift” Joe has been married to his wife, Janet, for 49 years and is the father of 4 children and has 11 grandchildren. Over the years, he has shared his love of the accordion with many people all over the world who developed a love and appreciation of the instrument because of his enthusiasm.

Papa Joe says, “Greetings from Bellerose, Queens, NY, the epicenter of the Corona Virus.  As you may know, my passion is to perform for people at Restaurants, Halls and Clubs. However since New York got hit with the virus we have been ordered to stay home since March 17th, so my last gig performance was on March 15th , which was for a birthday party.  All of my gigs since that date (March 17th) have been cancelled because of the NYS Stay Home requirements. Unfortunately, the virus also caused the closing of the NYC Public Schools, so the PS203Q Accordion Band hasn’t met anymore and it hurts not see their faces as they perform for the other students and their parents.  I truly miss seeing the kids each week.

So what can an accordionist entertainer do when he is ordered to stay home?  Well you can spend a lot of time practicing, which is good, however, it doesn’t feed the performer’s personal satisfaction of seeing and hearing the positive responses from one’s customers.  So, like several of us performers, we had to come with another way to deal with our situation, so several of us started reaching out to the public by doing on-line Live Performances.

On March 26, 2020 I decided to start doing live secular performances on “Face Book Live”. My program is called; “A Cup of Joe with Papa Joe”.  Every Thursday afternoon, I set up my all of my equipment in preparation of performing that night at 7:30 pm on Facebook Live.  I put on a 60 to 90 minute performance and watch the responses come in. I usually play American-Italian style songs that reflect the 1940’s thru the 1970”s era.  Most shows yield about 500 viewers with one of my shows yielding as many as 1.2K viewers. Doing that has helped me to connect with people as far as Australia, some being other accordionists and others just being average people who just what to hear and see something good for a change.

Since I also have a passion for Gospel music, on Sunday - March 29,2020 I started playing a 15 minute weekly live performance session of Gospel Music at 10:30am. That session may not yield as many listeners, but is still reaching over 100 viewers of people who are spiritually minded and are praying for this virus situation to end. 

Periodically, I also sit in the front half of my driveway, toward the front of my house, and play for the nearby neighbors who seem to enjoy the music. I usually get a few smiles and they also wave to me.  Unfortunately, as of this date, April 30th, we have been told that the shut-in order will continue through May 15, 2020which means I will be continuing my Thursday nights and Sunday mornings for a while longer. I pray that this virus will end soon so I may back to enjoying the reality of playing more gigs again for parties and restaurants.”

Join Papa Joe on Sunday, May 3, 2020 for FB Live, Sunday Song & Scripture at 10:30 AM EST

We all look forward to the day when we can again go outdoors, live a less restricted life, and see and hear Papa Joe in person!

For further information:
“Papa Joe” De Clemente
Cell: 516-946-0198

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

Young Accordion Finalists in Texas Folklife Big Squeeze on May 1

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Timothy and Nick
Several young accordionists from Texas will be among the online semi finalists in the Texas Folklife Big Squeeze Contest on May 1, 2020. Two of them study with accordionist Elena Fainshtein from Dallas. Nick Heatly is currently 16 years old. He lives in Dallas, Texas but was born in Pskov, Russia. He has been playing accordion for one year. Nick is a junior in high school at Bishop Lynch High School and aspires to go to LSU and become a State Game Warden.

Timothy Regheta is 14 years old now and has been playing the accordion for three and a half years. He really loves it! Two years ago he had a serious accident. He broke his left hand and endured two surgeries and much suffering. He said, “The worst thing was not to be able to play my accordion.” At the beginning of the school year, he had recuperated sufficiently to resume his lessons. And now…. he is a finalist n the “Big Squeeze” contest. Timothy truly enjoys music and likes to bring his accordion and surprise everyone at his school. He also plays accordion at the "River of Life" local church in Plano, Texas.

Conjunto Finalists
Johnny Joe Gutierrez, Mission
Jorge Ramirez, Roma
Jose Angel Torres, Roma
Jose Vasquez, Farmersville
Manuel Tovar, Brownsville
Nathan Gonzalez, Mission
Roberto Flores, Mission
Yarely Gomez, Roma
Conjunto Rising Star Awards (12 and under)
Annie Gutierrez, Houston
Giovanni Guerrero, Mission
Vianey Villarreal, Houston
Polka Finalists
Isaak Wolfshohl, Seguin
Nick Heatly, Dallas
Timothy Regheta, Plano
Cajun Rising Star Award
Bridget Roberts, Bridge City
There will be live performances and winner announcements, interviews and appearances by 2019 Big Squeeze champs Elijah Clements, Chloe Johnson, Perla Hernandez and Eduardo Garza.

The Facebook Live event will broadcast at 3:PM May 1, 2020 Friday on the Texas Folklife Facebook page. Several young musicians will perform from home.

Photo Below:2019 Big Squeeze Winners
Conjunto 18-21 Anthony Ortiz Jr prize: Eduardo Garza
Conjunto 17 under: Perla Hernandez
Polka: Elijah Clements
Cajun/Zydeco: Chloe Johnson

Best wishes to all the contestants for continuing successes!

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

Music Acadiana in Quarantine

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Music in Quarantine Poster
Just because we are in quarantine, doesn't mean the music has to stop. Andrea Rubenstein has compiled this list of music lessons and Facebook live concerts.

We hope this will make your time at home just a little brighter.

Learn from musicians who play in the Pine Leaf Boys, the Mamou Playboys, and more.

You can also find Facebook & Youtube live zydeco and Cajun music concerts from the comfort of home. Enjoy the musical journey!

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Cancelled: 2020 Vancouver Folk Music Festival

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Vancouver Folk FestivalIt is with heavy hearts that organizers announce they are cancelling this year's Vancouver Folk Music Festival which was scheduled to take place in July 2020.

"The safety of our community, staff, contractors, artists, volunteers, vendors, sponsors, suppliers, patrons and festival supporters is of utmost importance. We know this is the responsible decision for everyone’s health."

Next year’s event has already been scheduled to take place from July 16th to 18th, 2021.

REMINDER: If you purchased tickets to the 2020 Festival, please check the e-mail address (including your spam folder) you used to buy tickets for information on donating the cost of your Festival ticket, rolling over to 2021, or receiving a full refund. If you did not receive an email, please reach out to for next steps. Requests must be received before May 18th. If we don't hear from you, your ticket will automatically rollover to 2021.

For further information:
For donations, media, sponsorships:
For artists, media, marketing:
For box office, tickets, vendors:

Vancouver Folk Music Festival
#230 - 275 East 1st Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia, V5T 1A7
Phone: 604.602.9798

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Brooklyn Accordion Club, Live on Zoom!

by Jeanne Velonis
MayumiThe coronavirus may have put a temporary halt to all public gatherings in person, but that did not stop the Brooklyn Accordion Club from meeting on Sunday, April 12, 2020. The meeting was held online, using the Zoom platform, with all participants joining in from the safety of their homes. The meeting was co-hosted by Mayumi Miyaoka and Blythe Bonaffons, with Mayumi guiding the proceedings. It was a great success and was greatly enjoyed by all.

The online meeting was well attended. In addition to the usual suspects hailing from Brooklyn and the other four boroughs of New York City, the group had guests from towns and cities across the country and the world! Philadelphia, Boston, and a few “Upstate” NY locations were just some of those represented in the meeting.

Several members of the San Francisco Accordion Club attended! It truly was an international gathering as well as a national one, as the day’s performers all joined in from their respective countries: Jorge Arribas played for the BAC from Spain, Ladislav Horák from the Czech Republic, Gary Blair from Scotland, and the duo of Karolina Mikołajczyk (violin) and Iwo Jedynecki (accordion) from Poland.

Jorge kindly shared scores with the BAC of the pieces he performed. Karolina and Iwo provided the BAC with a game as part of their performance, when they played a medley of Hollywood movie themes and challenged the group to name the tunes as they appeared! This the audience did using the typed “chat” tool, so as not to interrupt the performance. Some members were mighty quick with their ID-ing ability.

The participants’ mics were muted whenever they were not speaking or playing, to minimize background noise and eliminate feedback. How, then, did they applaud the performances? Using Zoom’s tools, they were able to post emoji of clapping hands or a thumbs-up! And, of course, the performers could see the audience smiling and clapping on their screens.

Mark your calendar for BAC on Zoom on May 10, 2020 at 2:PM. Iwo and Karolina from Poland (accordion & violin duo) will be back for Hollywood Fantasy Part 2!

For more information on the Brooklyn Accordion Club:

Screenshots by Robert O. Duncan of Karolina Mikolajczyk & Iwo Jedynecki from Poland and Mayumi Miyaoka who co-hosted the meeting from her home.

Sounding Out the Accordion by Thierry Benetoux

Future events

2020 Not Just Oompah! Goes On …Line, that is!

by Laura Niland, President of the San Antonio Accordion Association
alicia bakerKevin SoleckiThe 2020 Not Just Oompah! Accordion Concert and Workshops has just changed its dates for concerts on June 14 & 22, 2020 and Workshops on each day June 23-28, 2020 with a new online format. Shirley Johnson and Laura Niland have been working with a grant from the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, and Texas Folklife. Based on recent events regarding Covid-19, we have permission to move to a LIVE online delivery system for concerts and workshops this year.

Fees are now reduced to $100 for participants, which is a real bargain for 5 workshops online and 2 online concerts! This gives us the opportunity to provide quality accordion music performances and well-designed workshops to all our participants. We are very excited about this new adventure and encourage you to register for 2020 Not Just Oompah!

Registration is available online at with all the details. Our presenters are Alicia Baker Straka presenting French café and international music and Kevin Solecki presenting International Polka and more.

All workshop registrations and payments need to be completed by June 15, 2020 so that materials can be delivered in a timely manner. Website updates are currently being made to include this new information, however you can contact us for additional information at any time. NJO is also offering one FREE Youth Scholarship for a young accordionist age 18 or younger. Application is online (due by June 5), so apply today!
For more information contact
Shirley Johnson @ 512-680-0422 or email or
Laura Niland @ 210-651-4359 or email

For the concerts, you will need to check Kevin Solecki’s and Alicia Straka’s Facebook pages on the dates listed below for their concert presentations. Concerts will be open for all to listen at no charge, though we encourage a donation via PayPal, as a link will be noted on the Facebook screen during performances.

Workshops will be delivered via ZOOM, moderated by Shirley Johnson, and require your registration and payment ($100) before the workshops are delivered. Register online at . All workshops will be recorded so that you can view them at a different time, in case the schedule conflicts with other events. In addition, Nick Ballarini will be joining us on June 23 at the scheduled “Meet and Greet Night” through ZOOM to talk about accordions and your accordion needs. The “Meet and Greet” will welcome all participants and will include short introductory performances by some of our participants as well.

The Oom-Pah-Pah! is June 14- Sunday:
Kevin Solecki: Polka Plus Concert on Facebook @ 4-5 PM Central Standard Time.
Dance or sing along with Kevin at your own home with the polka, schottische, waltz and more. Pour yourself a beverage at home & enjoy the afternoon with Kevin Solecki.

The Ooh-La-La! is June 22-Monday: Alicia Straka: French & International Concert on Facebook @ 8-9 PM Central Standard Time. Dance or sing along with Alicia at your own home. Pour yourself a glass of wine and listen to French café and other international music.

Note: CST= Central Standard Time
June 23- Tuesday: Online “Meet and Greet” through ZOOM @ 8-10 PM CST.
Alicia Straka, Kevin Solecki, Nick Ballarini, Shirley Johnson (moderator), Laura Niland, and all workshop participants will meet online to set the stage for our upcoming workshops with protocols and discussions on accordion topics. We will use this time to meet folks from across the country and practice with ZOOM so that we are ready to go June 24 for the workshop.

All materials for the workshops will be delivered in pdf format online to all participants who have registered and paid online at by June 15. Please note: if you cannot print your music, there will be an additional charge for NJO to snail mail the music packet to you as long as you have already registered and paid by June 15 and informed Shirley Johnson by email or text by June 14 that you need the packet.

Each workshop listed below will feature different topics such as:
From Alicia Straka: Parisienne Café Music, All About Articulation, Tips and Trips for Left Hand Accordion, Bellows Bellows Bellows, The Ultimate Coordination Singing While Playing Accordion and more.
From Kevin Solecki: Different Styles of Polka Performance, Other Styles of Ethnic Music, History of Polka thru Music, How to Embellish Your Music (How to Play a Polka Effectively), Playing with Others (duets and bands) and more.

Materials for the workshops will be delivered online and participants should print them and have them readily accessible before June 24 in order to fully engage in the Workshops.

Note: CST= Central Standard Time
June 24- Wednesday, Alicia Staka presents 2 hour Workshop @ 8-10 PM CST
June 25- Thursday, Alicia Straka presents 2 hour Workshop @ 8-10 PM CST
June 26- Friday, Alicia Straka presents 2 hour Workshop @ 8-10 PM CST
June 27- Saturday, Kevin Solecki presents 3 hour Workshop @ 1-4 PM CST
June 28- Sunday, Kevin Solecki presents 2.5 hour Workshop @ 1-3:30 PM CST

For more information visit or
contact Shirley Johnson @ 512-680-0422 or email or or contact Laura Niland @ 210-651-4359 or email
The website is currently undergoing revision to reflect the new changes and format.
We look forward to seeing you… VIRTUALLY! ☺

2020 Annual Master Class and Concert Series to be Presented Online

by Dr. William Schimmel
Dr. William SchimmelThe American Accordionists' Association (AAA) will present a 2020 Master Class & Concert Series with Dr William Schimmel, moderator and curator from July 31st to August 2nd,2020. For the first time, this event will be presented OnLine and will consist of 2 one-hour segments each day: 1st hour (3:PM): Master Class: Talks/Workshops and the 2nd hour (4:PM): Concert/Performances.The cost is $25 per one hour session or $40 per day; $110 for 3 days. Please provide your email address so we can Provide directions on “how to tune in.”

Download flier: 2020AAAMasterClass.pdf

Dr. William Schimmel, one of the principal architects in the resurgence of the accordion, holds Bachelor of Music, Master of Science, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition from the Juilliard School. Schimmel's music has been featured in a number of television shows and films, perhaps most notably 'Scent of a Woman' starring Al Pacino, where Schimmel appears in the famous Tango scene. Schimmel performs music in many genres, has commissioned and premiered hundreds of new works, has written a number of books and articles and has made numerous recordings and videos. He has served and continues to serve as Artist in Residence of The American Accordionist's Association (AAA) where he also serves as Distinguished Lecturer in Residence and member of the Governing Board.

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

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

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

Maine Fiddle Camp 2020 Cancelled Until Summer 2021

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
MFC with accordionsThe 2020 Maine Fiddle Camp has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Maine Fiddle Camp is held on the grounds of Camp NEOFA, 219 Trotting Park Rd. Montville, ME 04941. The Maine Fiddle Camp is multi-generational, lakeside, weekend (June) or week-long (June & August) music camp for all ages and levels of ability. Families welcome. Dance music in Scots-Irish, French Canadian, Canadian Maritime & Scandinavian traditions as they’ve evolved in Maine.

Learn by ear, learn to play in an ensemble. Staff of scores of traditional musicians giving fiddle, piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo, cello, accordion, ukulele, flute and pennywhistle, mountain dulcimer, harmonica, bass and other classes and workshops with performances, jams, singing, dancing, and swimming.

Tentative 2021 dates include:
* June Weekend I – June 18-20, 2021
* June Week – June 20-25, 2021
* June Weekend II – June 25-27, 2021
* August Week I – August 8-13, 2021
* August Week II – August 15-20, 2021

Accordion instructors have included Chris Brinn, Jim Joseph, Emily Troll, Nicholas Williams, Jeremiah McLane and Julie Vallimont.

For further information:
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