Accordion USA
home articles organizations
Search on site


Yellow Pages Events

U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Nov-2019
Previous News | Past News Index | Next News

Titano Accordion Company


Editor’s Note
Daily Reports: 20th Anniversary Accordion Gala Las Vegas International Accordion Convention
IDEAS Symposium Nov 6-9 in Ohio
Julien Labro in Fall Concerts
Sam Falcetti to Receive First IDEAS Faculty Scholar Honor
World Accordion and Tango Festival Nov. 7-11 in Victoria, Canada
Accordionist Geoff Berner Celebrates New Album Release at Festivals in Vancouver
Ludovic Beier Performs at Birdland Jazz Club NYC Django Reinhardt Festival Nov 12-18
USA and Canada Teachers - Win a trip to New Zealand, Two months to entry closing - New Zealand
Joe Soprani performs with Philly Pops in Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts 10th Anniversary with Michael Bridge Dec. 2
Dr. William Schimmel’s Upcoming Performances & New Projects
Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble in New York Fall Performances
Accordion Pops Orchestra in Holiday Concert on November 17

Voci Armoniche

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

Rob Howard Releases New Book
Joe Soprani's "My Thanksgiving Story"
Video: Stas Venglevski Performs Ice Meadow, Las Vegas - USA
Duo Paris-Moscow BC 2019 Tour - Canada
The Alex Meixner Band on Tour
Ginny Mac Performs in Leonard Cohen Celebration Show
Mihoko Goto Concert Review
Queens, NY Public School Needs 12 Bass Accordions
Acme Accordion School celebrates Accordion Day on November 3
Mike Middleton Performs with Chisholm Trail Chorus in Texas
Charlie Sauss to Perform for LIAA

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Future events

Save the Date March 18-21, 2020 for the 2020 National Accordion Convention in Texas!
AAA 2020 Festival July 8-12 and More Events
58th Annual New England Festival March 27-29, 2020
12th annual Accordion Noir Festival in Vancouver, Canada
Stas Venglevski Performs with the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 14
Bonnie Birch to Perform for the San Francisco Accordion Club on January 20

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

New and Updated Sites

Updated AAA Site: Historical Articles about the AAA by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian



Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Editor’s Note

by Rita Barnea
Editor Rita BarneaFortunate is the person who has found what he enjoys doing in life. I consider myself to be very lucky, having had a wonderful career as an elementary school music teacher using the accordion every day in the classroom. Simultaneously, I have always and continue to be passionate about all things accordion, especially as National Editor of the USA news.

I greatly appreciate all the assistance and input graciously given to me by the first USA News Editor, Kevin Friedrich and the founder of AWW, Harley Jones who is always available to provide me with his kind and patient assistance. Who knew that when I first met Harley almost 30 years ago, that we would have such a great, productive and enthusiastic collegial relationship.

Next month with the December USA News, I begin my 12th year as USA Editor! Time sure flies when having fun, especially accordion related fun. Over the years, I have met many talented people from all over the world, generous with their time, expertise, and musical abilities of all levels. I have developed special friendships all because of the accordion!

I like to present the USA News as an eclectic selection of articles about accordionists (in line with our "Purpose" and "General Editorial Policy"), each with unique information and ideas to share with us all.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and warm holiday season and hope you continue to share your musical talents with everyone, everywhere!

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

Daily Reports: 20th Anniversary Accordion Gala Las Vegas International Accordion Convention

by Heather Masefield, Secretary, New Zealand Accordion Association
Las Vegas Accordion Convention header
Video 1: Grayson Masefield performs Impasse 2nd mvt by Franck Angelis

Video 2: Antonio Spaccarotella Urban Contemporary Accordion

Video 3: Czardus Duet by Stas Venglevski and Tatijana Semichastnaya
The 20th Anniversary Accordion Gala Las Vegas International Accordion Convention was held October 14 to 17, 2019. The theme was a "Roaring 20’s Celebration" of all the wonderful years, the great artists and many memories associated with this event. Daily Reports, pictures and video at: 2019LasVegas

This year accordionists performing (alphabetical order) were, Gina Brannelli, Elena Fainshtein, Liz Finch, Gordon Kohl, Ginny Mac, Grayson Masefield, Paul Pasquali, Cory Pesaturo, Tatijana Semichastnaya, Joan Sommers, Antonio Spaccarotella, Mary Tokarski, Steve and Michael Trucco, Stas Venglevski and Mike Zampiceni.

Organiser Paul Pasquali transports all accordions, music and materials for his convention shop along with sound and lighting from Salt Lake City. This year Paul proudly launched the new model "Concerto 2019".

This wonderful event featured Prof. Joan Sommers conducting the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra (video in Daily Reports 17th). I encourage all to attend next year Monday October 26 to Thursday October 29, 2020.

Picture below: International friends photo (left to right):
Herbert Scheibenreif (Austria), Grayson Masefield (New Zealand), Raimo Vertainen (Finland), Liz Finch (USA), Joan Sommers (USA), Antonio Spaccarotella (Italy), Heather Masefield (New Zealand), Gina Brannelli (UK) and Mary Tokarski (USA).

Daily Reports, pictures and video at: 2019LasVegas

Titano Accordion Company

IDEAS Symposium Nov 6-9 in Ohio

by Bob Donovan Executive Committee Member
The International Digital Electronic Accordion Society welcomes you to enjoy our spectacular concerts Fri 11/8/19 (8:PM) and Sat 11/9/19 (8:PM) at the Avalon Inn & Resort Pavilion Ballroom (9519 E.Market St. Warren, OH) to hear some of the finest talent in the world on digital accordion playing everything from top flight jazz, to classical, to contemporary, and many other diverse styles, in solo and ensemble settings. This is the kind of musical experience you won't soon forget.

You can get your $15 tickets at the door.

2019 Symposium Souvenir Book: 2019Ideas.pdf Here it is everyone!

Many have been asking for the complete schedule and syllabus, so here it is. Finally finished. Everyone who attends the Symposium will receive this document in hard copy, but to help attendees to get better prepared for our event, and to let non-attendees know the incredible kinds of training, networking, hands-on, and entertainment they might want to consider next is this year's Symposium Souvenir book.

Enjoy! Michael and I are very much looking forward to seeing you all and working with you at Symposium 2.0!

Voci Armoniche

Julien Labro in Fall Concerts

by Rita Barnea
Julien LabroVideo: The title of the concerto, "Apricity", means the warmth & light of the sun that shines through during winter. In other words, it is the feeling of hope that allows one to move forward during times of darkness. With this idea in mind, the three movements attempt to capture and depict the ubiquitous journey of life and overcoming the inevitable ups and downs through hope. Extracts of premiere given in Doha, April 11, 2015 by Julien Labro (soloist), Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Fawzi Haimor.

Julien Labro has established himself as one of the foremost accordion and bandoneón players in both the classical and jazz genres. His artistry, virtuosity, and creativity as a musician, composer and arranger have earned him international acclaim and continue to astonish audiences worldwide. Picking up the accordion at 9, French-born Labro was influenced early on by traditional folk music and the melodic, lyrical quality of the French chanson. Upon discovering the music of jazz legends, he quickly became inspired by the originality, freedom, creativity, and the endless possibilities in their musical language.

Excerpts from Labro’s website: After graduating from the Marseille Conservatory of Music, Labro began winning international awards, taking first prize in the Coupe Mondiale in 1996 and the Castelfidardo Competitions in 1997. After sweeping first place in the Marcel Azzola, Jo Privat and Medard Ferrero competitions in 1995 and 1998, respectively, Labro moved to the United States, where he further pursued his musical dream. As a musician and artist, Labro is constantly evolving. Equipped with advanced degrees in classical music, jazz studies, and composition, Labro draws from his diverse academic background and eclectic musical influences as he searches for new themes and untried concepts, transforming and developing his creative ideas into new projects.

Piazzolla, a major influence and the reason Labro picked up the bandoneón, is also the title of his album with classical guitarist and Grammy-award winner Jason Vieaux and A Far Cry chamber orchestra. Other releases include Grammy-award winning vocalist Cassandra Wilson’s Another Country and critically acclaimed Hot Club of Detroit’s Junction. In 2012, Labro embarked on an exciting long-standing collaboration with Spektral Quartet, with whom he performed at NYC’s Subculture in 2014, the International Latino Festival in Chicago, and Wheaton College, just to name a few.

Their work has drawn increasing attention and was featured in a 2015 Chamber Music America article entitled “Art of Opportunity” by Paul Brady, who described Labro as an “A-list star” with “deep jazz cred.” Their 2014 album From This Point Forward, which was included in the Chicago Tribune’s list of ten new significant classical album releases, is a genre bending collection of compositions from South America. In these arrangements, Labro delicately melds different genres, styles, and sounds with intricate craftsmanship that not only preserves the original essence of the pieces but also brings in fresh new twists and perspectives that introduce a new understanding and appreciation of the music for the modern day audience. Alto sax great and McArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón joined on a couple tracks. Infusion (2016), marks his second collaboration with Grammy winner Jason Vieaux. It explores and stretches the repertoire with original arrangement of pieces by Brouwer, Gnattali, Metheny, and the British pop band Tears For Fears. Labro’s latest release Rise & Grind (2017) with Finnish jazz guitarist Olli Soikkeli primarily features Labro’s jazz compositions written especially for the project and some fresh arrangements of classical and country tunes.

Labro has collaborated with numerous professional symphonies and chamber ensembles, often playing the dual roles of solo artist as well as composer/arranger. These include the conductorless Boston-based chamber orchestra, A Far Cry, Spektral Quartet, Ensemble Vivant of Toronto, and Curtis On Tour from the Curtis Institute of Music faculty of Philadelphia. He has been a guest artist with numerous symphonies and chamber ensembles such as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St Luke’s, New World Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, the Arkansas Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Cape Cod Symphony, the Crested Butte Symphony, the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Ocean City Pops Orchestra, the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, The Bijou Orchestra, A Far Cry, the Linden String Quartet, the Arneis String Quartet, the Prairie Ensemble, and many more.

Labro’s musical journey has taken him all across North America, Europe, the Middle East and South America. Labro has performed, and collaborated with diverse artists such as Brazilian legend João Donato, big-band leader Maria Schneider, vocalist Cassandra Wilson, Lebanese oud master Marcel Khalife, pianists Uri Caine and Fernando Otero, classical Grammy-winner guitarist Jason Vieaux, saxophonists Paquito D’Rivera, Miguel Zenón, James Carter, Chris Cheek, Jon Irabagon and Victor Goines, clarinetist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, composers Bryce Dessner, Du Yun and Avner Dorman, harmonica extraordinaire Howard Levy, percussionist Jamey Haddad, and guitarists Howard Alden, Larry Coryell, Frank Vignola, Tommy Emmanuel, and John and Bucky Pizzarelli.

His past performances include venues such as Dizzy’s, Birdland, SFJAZZ, Blue Note, Yoshi’s, The Green Mill, The Stone, and Sculler’s, and festivals such as Newport Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Festival, NYC Winter Jazz Festival, Vail Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, Jazz Salt Lake City, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Caramoor Music Festival, SF Performances, Phillips Collection, Fontana Chamber Arts Summer Festival, Soave Guitar Festival (IT), Quebec City Summer Festival (CA), Inchad International Cultural Festival in Constantine (AL), Byblos International Music Festival (LB), Beiteddine Art Festival (LB), Al-Qurain Culture Festival (Kuwait), Jerash International (JD), Daejeon Chamber Music Festival (ROK) and many more.

Labro’s passion for promoting the understanding and love of music has well been recognized through his master classes at renowned institutions such as the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Princeton University, Hope College, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and many more. After a busy summer zigzagging all across the US and the Middle East, Labro will open the 2019 season performing with jazz artists John Clayton, Lewis Nash, Ken Peplowski and Larry Fuller at the 25th anniversary of the Vail Jazz Festival.

This fall Labro embarked on a solo tour “the Art of the Accordion” performing a solo program ranging from Bach to modern classical compositions on both bandoneon and accordion. In November 2019, Labro will present his latest project: Julien Labro & the Chamber Collective by premiering his newest chamber work Stationed in Ambivalence, a 3 movements suite for bandoneon, violin, piano and contrabass. Recently commissioned by the New West Symphony, Labro’s Canvas, a double concerto for bandoneon, guitar, and strings will also receive its premiere later that month. Other highlights of the season include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, bagpiper Cristina Pato from the Silk Road Ensemble, a special program with long-time collaborator and Grammy winner guitarist Jason Vieaux featuring the Ceruti String Quartet and Pablo Aslan as well as performing & curating the Gypsy Jazz segment of 30th edition of the Berks Jazz Festival. In his free time, Labro is working on composing a new bandoneón concerto that will be a sequel to his accordion concerto Apricity.

USA Performances include:
11/03/19 The Julien Labro Chamber Collective Dayton, OH, Sears Recital Hall
11/16/19 Julien Labro/Jason Vieaux with New West Symphony, Thousand Oaks, CA, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
World Premiere of Canvas, Labro’s newest Double Concerto for bandoneon/guitar & strings commissioned by New West Symphony.
11/17/19 Julien Labro/Jason Vieaux with New West Symphony, Oxnard, CA, Oxnard Performing Arts Center
World Premiere of Canvas, Labro’s newest Double Concerto for bandoneon/guitar & strings commissioned by New West Symphony.
11/23/19 “Saluting Django, Charlie, and Les” – Feat: Frank Vignola, Warren Vache, Olli Soikkeli, Chuck Redd, and Nicki Parrott, Salt Lake City, UT, The Capitol Theatre

For further information:

Accordion Jazz Chords

Sam Falcetti to Receive First IDEAS Faculty Scholar Honor

by Joe Natoli and Michael Soloway
Sam FalcettiOur very first IDEAS Faculty Scholar Honor goes to...Mr. Sam Falcetti!

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor Sam!

What is the IDEAS Faculty Scholar Program?
Starting with 2019 at Symposium 2.0, Joe Natoli and Michael Soloway, as the co-founders and co-directors of IDEAS (The International Digital Electronic Accordion Society) have decided to distinguish those members whose activities and history are stellar and involved – and who have supported the project since its inception, working  with us to build the community all over the world, and who are deeply involved in the playing, performing, creation, and  teaching of digital/electronic accordions.
The position is a lifetime honorary appointment to the Symposium Faculty, and as IDEAS grows and continues to expand, our IDEAS SCHOLARS will form an impressive gallery; and will begin to become an increasing part of the history of an already historic organization and society. The award will be presented each year at the final celebration dinner on the final evening of the Symposium. Mr. Anselmo (Sam) Falcetti has been chosen as this year’s very first IDEAS FACULTY SCHOLAR for 2019. IDEAS is pleased to begin this program of honor and history, and  proud to have Sam Falcetti as its first recipient.

Meet Anselmo "Sam"Falcetti:
Sam Falcetti, from Westfield, MA, began studying the accordion at 10 years of age. By the time he was 16, had developed a passion for teaching it. In fact, while studying for his bachelor’s degree in Theory and Composition at the University of Hartford, he had already opened his first accordion teaching studio in Westfield.

Being an impressive musical entrepreneur – over the course of 50 years, Sam built and led Falcetti Music – a very successful chain of 8 stores through Massachusetts and Connecticut. His reputation in the industry was large and he was often found on the cover of the most prominent trade magazines. At the 50th Anniversary of the University of Hartford, it was Sam on the cover of the Alumni magazine to be honored for his accomplishments.

During the 70’s and 80’s, Sam was an adjunct Professor at Holyoke Community College at Westfield University. Forming an accordion college ensemble during this period they had the distinction of twice playing Carnegie Hall in Manhattan. A busy period for him – Sam also created and conducted the Springfield Accordion Orchestra  that was chosen to perform all over the world in many diverse and exciting venues – the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan,  the David Frost Show with Roberta Flack, toured Italy, Disney World in 1975, cruise ships to Bermuda, marching in the Boston Parade honoring Rose Kennedy’s 100th birthday, and notably was invited to perform at the 1980 Coupe Mondiale in Auckland NZ.

Sam has supported the digital accordion since it’s very inception, both in his business and by making it his performing instrument early on – and to this day is New England's Roland digital accordion distributor. Central to this, Sam formed the only digital orchestra in the USA playing custom arrangements in many prominent venues all over New England – opening for Deanna Martin and Bobby Rydell - and up to this year where the orchestra has played all over Massachusetts  in the “Summer Concert Series” concluding with “New Year’s First Night on Cape Cod with 70 musical groups in over eight venues.

Retired now from the business world, Sam is back exploring his passion for digital accordions and teaching with many private students, seminars with the AAA and, of course, at both of the IDEAS Symposiums thus far. Importantly, as Joe Natoli and Michael Soloway began creating and building IDEAS as the central community and home for the electronic and digital accordion players all over the world, Sam threw his considerable reputation, influence and access behind it to help, believing that it could be possible, and would be possible -  wanting to see it realize all of its potential as a teacher and player and for all of his students and digital orchestra members. He will be presenting a series of seminars at Symposium 2.0 of his own choice and will be honored at the final dinner on Saturday evening of Symposium 2.0 at the Avalon Inn in Warren Ohio.

IDEAS is proud to welcome Mr. Sam Falcetti as the very first IDEAS FACULTY SCHOLAR and look forward to many more years, now, of his participation with the Society and at the growing Symposiums.
Sam Conducting


World Accordion and Tango Festival Nov. 7-11 in Victoria, Canada

by Rita Barnea
Argentine tango pianist Mariano Barreiro, left, and bandoneonist Charles Gorczynski.  Photo courtesy World Accordion and Tango Festival
Recently organized, the  World Accordion and Tango Festival  brings together top internationally recognized accordionists and tango musicians and dancers, along with local talents.

It will be a top quality entertainment package taking place from Nov. 7-11, 2019 at venues around Victoria and Vancouver. Organizer Aleks Milojevic proudly states this event has become the largest off-season (non-summer) international music festival in B.C., and the biggest in Western Canada that specifically focuses on the arts of accordion and tango music at the highest levels. “We are hosting amazing performers from all over the world that will thrill your senses in [performances], workshops, presentations and shows of different character across the city,” he said.

Experts from article by Don Descouteau: Harpist Anna Maria Mendieta leads Tango del Cielo in a special multimedia performance Nov. 8 at the Dave Dunnet Theatre in Oak Bay during the World Accordion and Tango Festival. The show features Argentine tango experts Sandra Naccache and Jorge Lopez, and internationally recognized accordionist Jelena Milojevic from Victoria. Photo courtesy Anna Maria Mendieta

While there is a fascinating cross-section of events planned, Milojevic expects the Nov. 8 multimedia music and Argentine tango performance by renowned group Tango Del Cielo at the Dave Dunnet Theatre in Oak Bay to be a particular highlight.The group, founded 13 years ago by acclaimed harpist Anna Maria Mendieta, has been helping to redefine Argentine tango since, mixing the best of tango and flamenco with classical, jazz and swing styles, accompanying exhilarating dancers. “This is a special group and a special program and we’re really excited to be performing for the festival,” Mendieta said in an interview from her home in Los Angeles.

She said she has always loved playing Spanish music on the harp, but was told long ago by traditionalists, “you can’t play tango music on the harp.” That was motivation to create her own arrangements of compositions by Argentine tango and bandoneon player Astor Piazzolla – the father of Nuevo Tango – and others. Mendieta became a pioneer among harpists for playing tango music.“Spanish flamenco music is fiery and very outwardly dramatic, whereas tango is very inward and moody and dark. But the two complement each other wonderfully, especially when you also have Latin jazz and Spanish classical influences,” she said.

The two elements of the festival will combine at the Nov. 8 show, when internationally acclaimed classical accordionist Jelena Milojevic (Alek’s wife) will perform Piazzolla’s “Oblivion.” Dancing to the Tango Del Cielo vibe will be Buenos Aires-based tango maestros Sandra Naccache and Jorge Lopez, who dance and teach the Argentine tango professionally around the world.The range of artists performing at the festival is diverse, from Finland-based folk duo Vilda to the virtuosic and witty accordion pair of Duo Paris-Moscou to the piano-bandoneon duo of Mariano Barreiro and Charles Gorczynski.

The award-winning members of Duo Paris-Moscou, Domi Emorine and Roman Jbanov, have performed all over the world and bring their considerable talents to Victoria for the World Accordion and Tango Festival. Duo Paris-Moscou play Nov. 10 at the Victoria Event Centre. Duo Paris Moscou/Facebook

Among the accomplished local artists on the schedule – and all incorporate accordion music in some form – are Daniel Lapp and Adrian Dolan, Bucan Bucan, Bijoux du Bayou, the Victoria Accordion Ensemble and Mary Ross-Klektau. The festival is intended to be inclusive, with modest ticket prices for evening events and free admission for others, including accordion lessons Nov. 7 at Tempo Trend given by Milojevic and Ross-Klektau, and accordion performances Nov. 9 at the Victoria Edelweiss Club (noon-4 p.m.).

The pre-festival introduction to tango lessons at Solwood Studio on Nov. 6 (6:15 p.m.) are also free. Later that night at the Victoria Event Centre, the Festival Warm-up/Eastern European Dance Party features Bucan Bucan plus Lightning Hora and the Midnight Machine.

For tickets and more information on the festival:
BC Accordion and Tango Society
(+1) 250 880 8282

Above photo: Argentine tango pianist Mariano Barreiro, left, and bandoneonist Charles Gorczynski.

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

Accordionist Geoff Berner Celebrates New Album Release at Festivals in Vancouver

by Christine Johnstone
GeoffAccordionist & vocalist Geoff Berner will perform a concert with TJ Dawe & Friends to celebrate the release of his latest klezmer album “Grand Hotel Cosmopolis”, on COAX Records and COAX Europa.

The performance will be held in Wise Hall & Lounge in Vancouver, British Columbia on November 1, 2019 at 8:PM in conjunction with the Chutzpah! Festival.

The performance is part of a new satirical stage musical by Geoff Berner and TJ Dawe entitled “The Trombonik Returns to New Chelm” which takes inspiration from the traditional comic tales of Jewish folklore about Chelm (a village famous for people whose “wisdom” is so complex as to often sound oddly more like the complete opposite of wisdom).

This Klezmer musical is set in Depression-era Saskatchewan and tells the story of a wandering con artist posing as a rabbi who becomes entangled in the Prohibition whiskey trade.

On November 2nd and 3rd the show will be repeated at the Woodstove Festival in Cumberland, British Columbia.

This is a multi-venue arts and music festival presented by Cumberland Culture and Arts Society featuring over 100 artists performing at 10 indoor venues in downtown Cumberland and will include live music, dance, theatre, spoken word, visual art, kids programming and a vendor fair.

For details email:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Ludovic Beier Performs at Birdland Jazz Club NYC Django Reinhardt Festival Nov 12-18

by Rita Barnea

Tribute to George Duke / Accordion, Live In Studio 2019 SESSIONS
"Thank you George for your great inspiration..."

Video 2:Django Reinhardt NY Fest at Birdland + special guest Stéphane Séva
June,27, 2015 New York , Birdland jazz Club Django Reinhardt NY Fest featuring Django Festival Allstars: Samson Schmitt (guitar) with Ludovic Beier (accordion) Pierre Blanchard (violin) Douodu Cuillerier (guitar) Brain Torff (Bass) + special guest Stéphane Séva (Washboard) playing "The Sheik of Araby"

This November marks the 20th Anniversary of the Django Reinhardt NY Festival at Birdland Jazz Club, produced by Pat Philips-Stratta and her late partner, conductor Ettore Stratta. The festival, which began in 1999, has featured many talented musicians over the years who embody the gypsy jazz style of music by the great Django Reinhardt. Of these was guitarist Dorado Schmitt.
This year, he will be joined by sons Samson Schmitt (guitar) and Amati Schmitt (guitar), who over the years, have grown up on the Birdland stage and who have become virtuosos in their own capacity. With them are mainstays Ludovic Beier (accordion/accordina) and Pierre Blanchard (violin) who consistently leave the audience breathless with their performances. Joining them are more gypsies, cousins of the Schmitt family, Francko Mehrstein (rhythm guitar) and Gino Roman (bass). 
The Django Reinhardt NY Festival brings the music of the great gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt, into the 21st Century.  The high energy performances pay tribute to Reinhardt who is considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. Reinhardt’s driving, swinging style became known as ‘HOT JAZZ’. The Django Festival Allstars add their own interpretations and arrangements to some of Reinhardt’s greats, as well as create new and modern compositions of their own.
Accordionist Ludovic Beier performs at the Django Reinhardt Festival with Dorado, Samson & Amati Schmitt, and Pierre Blanchard from November 12 - 18, 2019 featuring special guests: Ken Peplowski, Tim Ries, Joel Frahm, Grace Kelly and Roger Kellaway. Produced by Pat Philips Co-Founded with Ettore Stratta.

Birdland, located on 315 West 44th Street, NYC is an exciting and very comfortable venue. We have been going there for many years and Birdland is consistently of the highest quality in all aspects. The dinner, drinks, and appetizers are always delicious and reasonable. All seats provided an excellent view of the stage. The sound system is superb. (Not too loud). All the people who work there are very accommodating and friendly. Parking is convenient and inexpensive. You can meet the performers who are always very approachable.

The ‘hot swing’ musical style of Django holds the crowd like a magnet. The Django Reinhardt NY Festival continues at Birdland for the 20th successful year. Excerpts from Birdland website: The Django Reinhardt Festival carries on the legacy of legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, with original music keeping it fresh, exciting, cutting-edge! .…along with some old favorites.. the music, Hot Jazz, 'swiging and romantic' has exploded across the US and it all started at Birdland in 2000, with the launching of the Festival with tours now 2X a year at prestigious standing ovations: Kennedy Center, Disney Hall in LA, SF JAZZ, to name a few.

Dorado Schmitt, legendary Manouche gypsy guitarist from the Strasbourg region of France, a Django look-alike with pencil thin mustache, returns to Birdland to adoring fans. Schmitt started coming to the US in 2002 and is now a star attraction at major festivals as well as at Birdland. He is joined by his son, Amati Schmitt, a brilliant young guitarist, plus other talented musicians appearing regularly as part of the Festival: Virtuoso accordionist/accordina player Ludovic Beier, violinist Pierre Blanchard. The Festival is Produced by Pat Philips Stratta , founded by Ettore Stratta and Pat Philips.

Born in 1978, Ludovic Beier learned the accordion from his father and benefited from being part of a musical family. He was brought up in the French tradition of the instrument and developed his jazz accordion skills. He has a spirited, adventurous style which strays into all kinds of byways.He performs on the French and European scene with some of the top players of the Django/Swing Jazz style including Angelo Debarre, Dorado Schmitt, Florin Niculescu.

Along with his virtuoso playing, Ludovic composes and arranges, and has his own band, Ludovic Beier Quartet, to perform his "cool and latin" French jazz. He has an impressive technique and also a great dose of lyricism with a band that keeps him at full stretch.

Besides performing in Europe at top festivals and clubs, he appeared in the States with the Django Reinhardt Project, performing at Birdland (NYC) with guests such as Paquito D'Rivera, at Lincoln Center with Joe Lovano, at Yoshis (CA) with David Sanchez, and last summer at the Montreal International Jazz Festival with Angelo Debarre and James Carter where he brought the house down. He also had the honor to perform at Carnegie Hall with Toots Thielemans among a prestigious line up including Herbie Hancock, Ivan Lins and Eliane Elias.

Dorado Schmitt (Guitar & Violin) “Buoyont rhythm, blinding technique…solid entertainment” Nate Chinen……………NY Times
Samson Schmit (Guitar) “Lightening licks and melodic genius”

Featured soloists:
Ludovic Beier (accordion& Accordina) “Played like an angel..reminiscent of Toots Thielemans at his zenith………….. Allen Morrison, Downbeat Magazine
Pierre Blanchard (violin)- Prodigy of Stephane Grappelli … lights the fire all night

“Best Jazz Show in town”……..Will Friedwald, Wall Street Journal

Thanks to their loyal sponsors: Douglas Reetz and John Pearse Strings and the Row Hotel, 315 44th Street at 8th BIRDLAND: 315 w. 44TH Street (Bet. 8TH and 9th avenues)

Reservations: 212 581-3080 or www.
Full Dinner Menu and Parking nearby.

Location :
Birdland Jazz Club & Birdland Theater
315 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

For further information:
Stratta/Philips Producer:
Tel: 212-744-8836
Ludovic Beier

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

USA and Canada Teachers - Win a trip to New Zealand, Two months to entry closing - New Zealand

by Harley Jones
NZAA header
Daverne Video PosterUSA and North America accordion teachers. This is a great opportunity for the teacher and one winner accordionist to visit New Zealand.

The New Zealand Accordion Association (NZAA) announces the 2020 International Video Competition & Promotion of Accordion Music by famous New Zealand composer Gary Daverne.

This is a free online "Video Competition for Accordionists of all ages and nationalities" with a 1st prize of two round trip air tickets to New Zealand to the 2020 South Pacific Accordion Championships, 30-31 May 2020, Auckland, New Zealand. Accommodation for 3 nights included plus some additional other concert/holiday possibilities.

Contestants must send a .mp4 video recording of one (or more) work/s composed by Gary Daverne who has a wide repertoire of compositions for accordion including:
- solo;
- accordion duet or accordion with another instrument;
- accordion trio/ensemble or accordion with string ensemble;
- accordion orchestra;
- accordion soloist with accordion orchestra or accordion soloist with string orchestra or accordion soloist with symphony orchestra.

The accordion music is available for any contestant free of charge upon request.

The international jury will be: Gary Daverne, Kevin Friedrich, Grayson Masefield, Stephanie Poole.

Entries online close 5th January 2020.

Full information at:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Joe Soprani performs with Philly Pops in Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

by Rita Barnea
Joe Soprani

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” mp4 file - click above to start
Stuart, Joe, ritaAccordionist Joseph Soprani performed with the 65 piece Philly Pops Orchestra in Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on October 24-25, 2019. In a nod to the Hollywood Bowl’s productions of Tim Burton’s masterpiece, The Philly POPS performed the film’s classic score alongside the original film. Everyone was invited to attend in costume.

I attended the event with my son and his friend, and of course, we were in costume. We were fortunate to meet Joe Soprani and the conductor before the program where they graciously explained the arrangement and process of live-to-film performing. Every musician wore a special headset which helped them to perform to the score of the film with the appropriate timing which is a challenging endeavor. They performed with great enthusiasm and all coordinated perfectly to the film. The performance received a rousing standing ovation!

The performance was the POPS’ first live-to-film concert—made possible by the Met Philadelphia’s state-of-the-art audio and video equipment. This concert is part of The Philly POPS at the Met Philadelphia concert series, which brings innovative programming and contemporary artists to the Met Philadelphia’s newly-restored stage.

Released in 1993, Tim Burton’s "The Nightmare Before Christmas" follows the story of Pumpkin King Jack Skellington as he attempts to claim Christmas for himself, but his plan soon falls apart. This production has been performed three times at The Hollywood Bowl—2015’s Hollywood Bowl performance was named the #1 Concert of 2015 by the Orange County Register, topping major acts like The Rolling Stones and Shania Twain. The show returned in 2016 by popular demand and again in 2018 for the 25th Anniversary performance. This film is rated “PG.”

Joe shared, “The score to 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' has a very powerful score and an interesting accordion part.” In addition to performing in Broadway shows such as "Fiddler on the Roof", "Zorba", "Cabaret" and "Irma la Douce", Joe has performed in world premieres of "Frida,” a musical that called for a virtuoso accordionist and "Another Kind of Hero,” a musical which featured him on stage for an entire scene. Joe, who appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and won the Arthur Godfrey Show, appeared with TV Star Nell Carter in a "Colors of Freedom" production at the Convention Center in Philadelphia in 1995. He also appeared with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops playing a special arrangement by Nero with Soprano Evelyn de LaRosa.

In November of 1997, Soprani became the first accordionist to perform in "La Traviata" by Verdi presented by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Klaus Arp, the opera conductor from Germany, decided to use the accordion in the small ensemble on stage during "La Banda" sections. Joe has also performed with Russell Watson on Good Morning America, and continues to promote the accordion as a serious instrument at various clubs and organizations. His workshops at schools and colleges, where he demonstrates his skills as performer and arranger to young composers and arrangers, have been well received.

Stuart Chafetz, guest conductor, is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Columbus Symphony and the newly appointed Principal Pops Conductor of the Marin Symphony. Chafetz, a conductor celebrated for his dynamic and engaging podium presence, is increasingly in demand with orchestras across the continent and this season Chafetz will be on the podium in Detroit, Houston, Milwaukee, Naples, Philly Pops, Cincinnati Pops, Pittsburgh, San Diego,  and Winnipeg.  He enjoys a special relationship with The Phoenix Symphony where he leads multiple programs annually. He’s had the privilege to work with renowned artists including Chris Botti, 2 Cellos, Hanson, Rick Springfield, Michael Bolton, Kool & The Gang, Jefferson Starship, America, Little River Band, Brian McKnight, Roberta Flack, George Benson, Richard Chamberlain, The Chieftains, Jennifer Holliday, John Denver, Marvin Hamlisch, Thomas Hampson, Wynonna Judd, Jim Nabors, Randy Newman, Jon Kimura Parker and Bernadette Peters. 

He previously held posts as resident conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra. As principal timpanist of the Honolulu Symphony for twenty years, Chafetz would also conduct the annual Nutcracker performances with Ballet Hawaii and principals from the American Ballet Theatre. It was during that time that Chafetz led numerous concerts with the Maui Symphony and Pops. He's led numerous Spring Ballet productions at the world-renowned Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.Chafetz holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and a master’s from the Eastman School of Music.

My son, Daniel Davidson, said, “Seeing such an experienced high caliber orchestra perform flawlessly nonstop during the movie was an outstanding experience. The accordionist enhanced the fervor of the music along with the expertise of the conductor, the string section and the entire orchestra. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would recommend anyone to see a live performance with film.”

Above photo: Joseph Soprani with score. Photo by Daniel Davidson
Right photo: Conductor Stuart Chafetz, Joe Soprani, Rita Barnea
Down photo: Rita Barnea, Santa Claus, Johanna Fuchs, Daniel Davidson

For further information:

Titano Accordion Company

Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts 10th Anniversary with Michael Bridge Dec. 2

by Rita Barnea
Michael Bridge

Video 1: Michael Bridge plays an accordion transcription of “Asturias” by Isaac Albéniz.
Recorded at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, Ont., in May 2018.

Video 2: Clarinettist Kornel Wolak and accordionist Michael Bridge (Double-Double Duo) play a transcription of Sergei Rachmaninoff's arrangement of Bach's “Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006: Prelude, Gavotte, Gigue”. Recorded at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, Ont.

Michael Bridge will perform at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts 10 Year Anniversary on Monday, December 2, 2019 from 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM in Richmond Hill, Ontario. ON! STAGE Series invites the audience to sit on their mainstage and be immersed in the world of live performance. This seven-part series features an eclectic collection of performers from across the performing arts world designed to push the boundaries and stretch the imagination. Check out Page 7 of the brochure for great price packages on this series.

Michaels bio (excerpts from his website) Described 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 at 17 and gives over 100 concerts per year in Europe and the Americas. Encompassing the diversity of his live performances, his debut album, “Overture”, launched in 2018 and 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, along with a vast array of his own concert arrangements of folk and jazz music. Armed with both acoustic and digital accordions, all sounds emanating from the stage (up to the sound of a full orchestra) are played 100% live. Prolific in working with composers, Michael has given over 40 world premieres.

Equally adept performing with orchestras, playing an energetic outdoor festival, or giving a TED Talk, Michael is a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Medal, and winner of the University of Toronto Concerto Competition, the Canadian Digital Accordion Championships and the Calgary Stampede Talent Search.
On tour, Michael performs solo or with orchestra, and with his two ensembles – Bridge+Wolak and Ladom Ensemble. He has toured in Poland, France, Italy, the U.K., Ecuador, the USA and in every Canadian province.

Michael is pursuing his doctoral studies in accordion performance at the University of Toronto, studying with Joseph Macerollo. He gives frequent guest lectures at universities and festivals on topics including The Music Business for Student, Performance and Speaking Skills, and Composing for Accordion. He has adjudicated accordion competitions in Canada and the USA. He has gratefully received support for his academic work and touring from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, The Sylva Gelber Music Foundation, the Government of Alberta and the University of Toronto.

Michael’s first accordion was purchased at a garage sale for $5 when he was five. Two decades later, he is active in many facets of the concert music scene, boldly redefining the perception of his traditional instrument.

Future performances include:
November 1, 2019 - Devils Lake, ND, USA…Bridge & Wolak
November 3, 2019 - Alexandria, MN, USA…Bridge & Wolak
November 4, 2019 - Hibbing, MN, USA…Bridge & Wolak
November 6, 2019 - Sheboygan, WI, USA…Bridge & Wolak
November 8, 2019 - New Ulm, MN, USA…Bridge & Wolak
November 9, 2019 - St. James, MN, USA…Bridge & Wolak
November 10, 2019 - Fremont, NE, USA…Bridge & Wolak
November 11, 2019 - Grand Island, NE, USA...Bridge & Wolak
November 12, 2019 - Rock Springs, WI, USA...Bridge & Wolak
November 15, 2019 - La Porte, IN, USA...Bridge & Wolak
November 16, 2019 - Freeport, IL, USA... Bridge & Wolak
November 17, 2019 - Watertown, WI, USA...Bridge & Wolak
November 24, 2019 - Cornwall, ON; Conwall Concert Association;Ladom Ensemble
November 26, 2019 - Toronto, ON
   COC Noon Hour Concert Series Four Seasons  Arts Centre
   Richard Bradshaw Amphitheater Ladom Ensemble

December 1, 2019 - Hamilton, ON...Musicata Choir & Michael Bridge
December 2, 2019 - Toronto, ON, Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre, Michael Bridge Solo

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

Dr. William Schimmel’s Upcoming Performances & New Projects

by Rita Barnea
AAA Logo
Bill SchimmelDr William Schimmel is a leading accordionist, composer and academic, based in New York, where he organizes the annual ‘Master Class and Concert Series (The Seminars)’ sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association (AAA).

He received a Merit Award from the AAA for his contributions spanning fifty years plus the "Accordionist of the Year" Award in 1988. He has performed with many major symphony orchestras in the US, many chamber groups, as well as with rock), jazz, and avant-garde groups.

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

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

Schimmel has described the accordion as having a “built-in ironic duality,” both “elegant and vulgar.” That dual quality is captured in the tango scene of “Scent of a Woman,” where it adds a spirit of fun and an undertone of raw sexuality. 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.

Upcoming performances and projects in 2019 and 2020:
December 1 - National Gallery - Klezmer with Alicia Svigals - Washington D.C.
December 8 - Concert with Cristina Fontanelli - Carnegie Hall
December 14 - Klezmer with Alicia Svigals - Providence, Rhode Island
December 27 to January 22 - Wozzeck - Metropolitan Opera
January 12 - premiere of Dr. Schimmel’s Variations on a Waltz by Pee Wee King
North South Consonance Orchestra - at Christ and St Stephen’s Church, NY
January 12 - premiere of Dr. Schimmel’s MaterialSpirtualWorld - Kosavi World Salon
February 22 - premiere of Tipsy Steps by Noriko Koide - Music from Japan Festival
February 27, 28, 29 - Jorg Widmann - Babylon Suite - New York Philharmonic - Lincoln Center
May 21, 22, 23 - Mary Poppins in Concert - New York Philharmonic - Lincoln Center
June 6 - Not Entirely Schubert - Curated by Dr. Schimmel - Bruno Walter Auditorium - Lincoln Center
June 16 - The Met Orchestra - Jorg Widmann: Lied - Carnegie Hall
July 31, August 1, August 2 - 2020 AAA Seminars: Time Travel - Dr. Schimmel, curator - Tenri

New Video - Le Chat Noir - Dr. Schimmel and Micki Goodman - You Tube

New Digital Albums - What’s Tango about the Classics 1 - 2 - 3 - Available at

Amazon and CD Baby

New Books:
Milking your Accordion
Accordion Mixology - (The essential Dr. Schimmel)

New CD - DragonFly on Fence - new works by Peter Jarvis, percussion and Dr. Schimmel
Composers Concordance/Naxos Records

Blues, Hues and Views - William Schimmel/Elliott Sharp - Cavity Search Records

For further information email:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble in New York Fall Performances

by Rita Barnea
Hudson Valley
Accordionist Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini (vocals) will perform with the Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble at the Taormina Restaurant in Peekskill, New York on November 7, 2019 , 2019 at 6.30 PM. The popular ensemble play a variety of music with the aim of making great music together and bringing the melodic and unique sounds of the accordion to people of all ages!

New dates for the Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble:
* Thurs., Nov 7 at 6:30pm
* Thurs., Dec. 5 at 6:30pm
All HVAE performances will be at Taormina Restaurant, Peekskill, NY. 
For reservations, call 914-739-4007

Mario said, “ I founded this group because I would like to give aspiring accordionists, both amateur and more advanced, an opportunity to perform in an ensemble setting.”

The Ensemble consists of immediate to advanced players ranging from two to 10 years experience. Performing a variety of music, Director Mario Tacca writes all the arrangements for the group and this enables him to tailor the parts according to the needs of the members of the group who perform on both digital and acoustic instruments. Artistic Director, acclaimed International Vocalist Mary Mancini also sings with the group. Singing in eight languages, Mary adds tremendous scope to the available repertoire.

In an interview in WAG Magazine conducted by Jena Butterfield, Mary and Mario provided insight into the background of the Hudson Valley Ensemble. “We’re keeping true to our total commitment to live music,” Mancini says. “And with accordion, there’s just no end to what you can do. I hear different styles of music coming from every student. Mario emphasizes each student individually, ex- posing them to all styles.” And the styles are vast. There is always something new to learn, even among professionals.”

Mario Tacca, on the Board of Directors of the AAA, was born in Italy. During his childhood, his family moved to the Alsace Lorraine region of France where he began his musical studies. This is where his love and intense desire to play the accordion began. He loved the sound! He would pick up the accordion and imitate some of the songs his mother used to sing. The desire and love never diminished, despite having to walk three miles weekly to his teacher with his instrument strapped to his back!

While in France, he was the winner of many regional and national accordion competitions. He went on to become a world champion, winning the World Cup of Italy, the Grand Prix of Paris, the US National Competition and the International Accordion competition held at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Mario Tacca dazzles audiences across the US and around the world with his outstanding virtuosity and his exciting interpretations of international music, the classics and pop.

Mario has recently been seen on MTV in a commercial for a pilot Italian Food program. Also, he was seen on the Food Network in a commercial for “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” His latest recording, “Journey Through the Classics” features great melodies from the Classic Repertoire.

Internationally acclaimed vocal artist Mary Mancini has been featured in the New York Times, the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, and the Journal News and has performed in a variety of venues around the world. Able to sing in eight different languages, Mary draws from a deep repertory reservoir. She is adept at pop, show tunes, operatic arias, and sacred music and has received worldwide acclaim. Le Republicain Lorrain, in Alsace-Lorraine, France, writes that the “purity of her voice, the ease with which she interpreted the most difficult pieces showed that she is a great artist.” The Spring City Evening News in Kunming, China, writes that “audiences were greatly impressed by Mary Mancini’s singing ability…Through her music, we see her heart is smiling.”

Mary has headlined numerous concert halls and festivals in North America, Europe, and China. She has performed at the Garden State Arts Center, Resorts International Casino Hotel, Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in CT. As a dynamic and popular performing duo, they have completed two concert tours of China. As guests of the China Ministry of Culture, they toured five cities in three weeks and performed with three symphony orchestras. Joining them on their tour was highly acclaimed Chinese tenor, Douglas Song. In addition to performing with the Symphony Orchestras, some of the most memorable moments included a performance held at the 1600 seat True Color Jazz Supper Club in the booming city of Shenzhen and in the 3500 seat Golden Opera House.

Remember you can always check out their performance schedule on: 
For reservations phone: 914-739-4007

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Accordion Pops Orchestra in Holiday Concert on November 17

by Rita Barnea
APOThe Accordion Pops Orchestra conducted by Al Terzo will present their annual Christmas concert on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 3:PM, Conlon Hall Auditorium (St. John the Evangelist Church),19 North William Street, Bergenfield, NJ 07621. It is their 49th season!

The Accordion Pops Orchestras’ roots can be traced to 1970, when it was organized by the Accordion Teachers' Association of New Jersey.  Over the next ten years it performed at various community functions throughout the state under the direction of its first conductor, Dr. Jacob Neupauer of Philadelphia. In 1980 the orchestra members took a leave of absence, but four years later the membership was reorganized under the direction of the late Eugene Ettore of Livingston, New Jersey.  In 1985, Daniel Desiderio was invited to act as a guest conductor of the orchestra and a few years later the A.T.A. of NJ appointed him as conductor in residence.  The name of the orchestra was formally changed to the Accordion Pops Orchestra and its membership was expanded beyond the original members from New Jersey to include performers from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Rhode Island.  Maestro Desiderio retired as conductor in May 2011 and turned over the baton to Al Terzo.

The largest professional accordion orchestra of its kind on the East Coast, the group consists entirely of accordions plus percussion instruments.  In addition, the orchestra often accompanies guest soloists including pianists and vocal artists. 

Al Terzo, APO Conductor 2011-Present, is a teacher, arranger, and conductor who has been with the orchestra since its inception in 1970.  He is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, New Jersey Music Teachers Association, and National Association of Music Educators. Mr.Terzo serves on the governing board of the American Accordionists Association and is a founding member of the Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild.  He is an accomplished accordionist who has performed at the Garden State Arts Center and Newark's Symphony Hall. Currently Mr. Terzo teaches accordion and piano in New Jersey.

Current Members of the Orchestra include: Juliette Amerman (4th accordion), John Andrews (4th accordion), Diane Ashenfalder (2nd accordion), Jennifer Bednar (3rd accordion), Suzana Beites (3rd accordion), Erika Brito Perez (3rd accordion), Rosemarie Cavanaugh (3rd accordion; public relations), Klajdi Cerriku (1st accordion), Ines Csulak (3rd accordion; treasurer), Phyllis Edamatsu (1st accordion), Anne Marie Egan (2nd accordion), Lenny Feldmann (guest artist/announcer), Joyce Gandenberger (1st accordion), Rachel Gasataya (2nd accordion), Dante Giammarco (3rd accordion), Kelly Grove (3rd accordion), Raymond Haines (2nd accordion), Anna René Jeremiah (keyboard/percussion),Paul Koslowski (1st accordion), Mike Marchese (4th accordion), Andrea Maurer (Flute), Cody McSherry (guest artist), John Modrowsky (2nd accordion), Tatiana Mozgovaya (1st accordion), John Papietro (announcer), Robert Patterson (webmaster; repairs; midi accordion), Phyllis Pepler (4th accordion), Brenda Poston (4th accordion), Dean Ratzin (video), Henry Ray (3rd accordion), Teresa Rehberg (3rd accordion), Josephine Sarica (bass accordion), Mike Soloway (bass accordion), Diane Squillace (1st accordion; concert master), Denise Szabo (4th accordion), Al Terzo (Conductor), Mary Thomas (4th accordion)

For further information:

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

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

Titano Accordion Company

Rob Howard Releases New Book

by Rita Barnea
Rob Howard
Rob Howard announces the release of his new book: “Accordion Anthology 2” which presents a variety of articles and biographies aimed at the accordion enthusiast.

This hardback includes 375 photos, and includes autobiographical articles written by Gary Blair, Julie Best, Gina Brannelli, Jean Corrighan, Maro Conway, Dave Cormack, Jean Hanger, Roy Hendrie, Brian Forrest, Nigel Pasby, Seamus O'Sullivan, Karen Street, Karen Tweed, Bert Santiily, Gordon Shand and Robert Whitehead. The book also includes tribute articles to Yvette Horner, Harry Hussey, Dermot O'Brien, George Syrett and Charlie Watkins. It costs £15 + £3p/p and can be ordered directly from Rob from at 42 Avondale Rd, Edgeley, Stockport, Cheshire SK3 9NY.

Rob Howard has played the accordion since 1968. At present, he is the concert secretary, compere and 'public voice' of Stockport Accordion Club. He has played in a folk group, in accordion bands, entertained in restaurants and for French-themed evenings, has performed in musicals, has accompanied Irish step-dancing and Polish dancing, has been a member of a Bavarian Oompah Band, played in several ceilidh bands, and leads 'wartime sing-a-alongs' at Stockport Air-Raid Shelters.

Rob Howard was Editor of for 15 years until his recent retirement. For over 20 years he has contributed articles and reviews to specialist music magazines, and above all, is an enthusiast for the accordion.

A great holiday gift for accordion lovers!

For further information:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Joe Soprani's "My Thanksgiving Story"

by Rita Barnea
Joe Soprani
Accordionist Joseph Soprani shares his amazing adventure and miraculous survival of a plane crash: "My Thanksgiving Story". It is worthwhile to read about this remarkable man each year.

"The story that I am going to write about is similar to the one I presented at the Kimmel center for Peter Nero and the Philly Pops in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the USO and I might add that my presentation and performance was voted the best program of the 2005 season.  

As you know the purpose of the USO was to bring a touch of home to our service men and women and it has been written that few events have left a more lasting emotional impression on them than USO shows. The USO has brought top quality entertainment to millions of US military personnel throughout the world since 1944 and i am proud to have been a part of that development. My relationship with USO dates back to the beginning of my career and at age 11 I started doing USO shows for our service men and women. Many of you, I’m sure, remember Jack Steck(Starlite stairway), Stanley Broza of the children's hour, Bailey Goss(Balt. MD), and Paul Whiteman(right after the incident I was invited on his New York radio show to perform with his 50 piece orchestra and tell my story. He then presented me with a gold watch for my services with USO). 

Over the years many articles have been written about my USO days such as:" The Longest Hour", "Lucky to be Alive", "Songs in the Key of Life", "Accordionist Plays and Lives with Gusto", "Musician 18 Safe After Plane Crash"; and the most recent one called "Not Everything Goes Accordion to Hoyle"  appeared in the official publication of Korean war veterans called the Graybeards.       
This is my story:  on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1953 I survived a plane crash while traveling with the USO. after winning the Arthur Godfrey talent scouts show I was called by the USO organization in New York to headline a USO unit: “Broadway Ballyhoo", made up of ten performers, was formed and I was chosen as band leader and accordion soloist. and at 18 I became the youngest USO entertainer. the tour which was scheduled for Japan, Korea and the Pacific Islands for 17 weeks began quietly and without fanfare. We left from La Guardia airport in New York on August 31, 1953 and arrived in Tokyo, Japan 4 days later. after rehearsing for 3 days we were ready for the 17 weeks that lay ahead. And for the next 70 days we performed 2 and 3 shows a day in different towns and military bases in Korea(30) and Japan(15). We never did get to the Pacific Islands. 

The Broadway Ballyhoo unit collectively had many years of show business experience with such names as Bob Hope, Woody Herman, Ed Sullivan, the Dorsey Brothers, Xavier Cugat not to mention stage and screen and TV experience. Our show ran two hours and was a top notch variety production from beginning to end. It consisted of a guitar and banjo act(Bill Roberts), a magician(Norma Krieger), a dance act consisting of mother, father, sister, brother(the evans family), and my accordion solos. our trio consisted of accordion(Joe Soprani), trumpet(ed house), and drums(Mel Zelman)… and comedian, Joe Wong…ten people in all. I remember on one occasion when it got so cold(all performances were outside) we wore gloves during the show. but, I managed to play “Flight of the Bumble Bee with gloves.  

On November 26, 1953, which started out like any other day on the tour was to be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. We had just completed our first show at Iwakuni Air Base and was scheduled to fly to Miho, Japan, less than an hour away. We were treated to a Thanksgiving Day dinner before departing and were scheduled for two more shows in Miho. The military flight was routine and was scheduled to depart at 1:30 PM. However, because of engine problems our flight(c-47) was canceled. Another plane(c-46) was available for our use. We finally boarded the plane at 4:PM. By that time, however, we picked up 15 more passengers and many bags of US mail.

After having performed over 100 shows in 73 days in 15 cities in Japan and 30 cities in Korea for over 200,000 troops and traveling over 15,000 miles, it was not difficult to determine that this plane was overcrowded and overloaded. but, we were assured by the officers in charge that "everything is fine".

We were five minutes away from Miho, but it was raining and getting dark, making it difficult for the pilot to find the runway. He circled and tried again. This time he was instructed to come in on GCA(ground control approach). When the pilot realized that he overshot the runway, he tried to gain altitude but couldn't. We sensed trouble. At that moment there was a tremendous jolt. We did not know it at the time but, we were traveling 140 miles an hour when we hit water. We came to a halt approximately 4 miles from shore. Lights inside the plane had gone out and for a moment it looked like the end. 

There was a pause after impact. No explosion! No fire! There was quiet calm. All of a sudden crewmen came flying by passing over all the mail and baggage that had been strapped in the center of the plane and shouting at us to get out of the plane! Split-second decisions had to be made from this point on. One of the crewmen managed to open the four escape hatches. Two life rafts were tossed out and inflated. Each life raft, we were told, can hold twelve people. Thirty people were aboard the plane.  It didn't take much to figure out that some of us would not fit in the raft. 30 people were aboard the plane; 10 USO members, 5 crewmen, and 15 other passengers. Most of the passengers were out of the plane by now, but our trumpet player, our unit manager and I were still on the wing trying to make up our minds what to do next. 

The plane was sinking fast. Our manager suddenly realizes that he left his briefcase on the plane with our passports and important documents so he decides to go back in to retrieve it. When he came back out he realized what he had just done and almost threw the briefcase back in. Then our trumpet player, who was a camera buff, decides that this was a good time to record these moments for posterity and from the sinking plane he began to grind his camera like mad. It was amazing! I had never experienced anything like it. The three of us finally jumped from the plane into the icy waters. There we were in the very cold sea not knowing what was going to happen next.  Were we going to survive? Did we have to worry about shark? 

in less than 5 minutes we had evacuated the plane which was disappearing before our eyes. We lost all of our possessions; including our wardrobe, music, our instruments and my $1200 accordion which was a gift from my grandfather. Everyone was calm at first but by now, an hour later, some of us began to panic and became hysterical. Shock was beginning to set in. We thought we would freeze to death. Suddenly from a distance we could see a light coming in our direction. It was one rescue boat to bring in the 30 survivors. The Air Force rescue team expected the usual; no survivors.

We were all taken to the base hospital and a week later we were making arrangements to get back to the USA. Needless to say after that experience no one wanted to fly.  It took us 14 hours by train from Miho to Tokyo, 14 days on the USN general O. Darby military troop ship from Yokahama to Seattle, and from Seattle everyone went their separate ways. It took me 3 days by train to Phila. It was the longest and lonliest 3 days of my life. I arrived home at 30th street station in Phila. on December 27, 1953 to the waiting arms of my loving family.

After the crash I promised myself that I would never fly again as long as I lived. Two years later I auditioned and was accepted into the United States Air Force as accordion soloist with the United States Air Force band in Washington, DC for 4 years and traveled the globe. How you asked? By plane, of course.
                                       * * * * * * *  
This story has been reported many times over the years and has appeared in many
newspapers and magazines, but, I am still asked about it. even after all this time, especially around this time of year, I relive every minute of that Thanksgiving Day of 1953.


In addition to performing in Broadway shows such as "Fiddler on the Roof", "Zorba", "Cabaret" and "Irma la Douce", Joe has performed in world premieres of "Frida,” a musical that called for a virtuoso accordionist and "Another Kind of Hero,” a musical which featured him on stage for an entire scene.

Joe, who appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and won the Arthur Godfrey Show, appeared with TV Star Nell Carter in a "Colors of Freedom" production at the Convention Center in Philadelphia in 1995. He also appeared with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops playing a special arrangement by Nero with Soprano Evelyn de LaRosa.

In November of 1997, Soprani became the first accordionist to perform in "La Traviata" by Verdi presented by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Klaus Arp, the opera conductor from Germany, decided to use the accordion in the small ensemble on stage during "La Banda" sections.

Joe has also performed with Russell Watson on Good Morning America, and continues to promote the accordion as a serious instrument at various clubs and organizations. His workshops at schools and colleges, where he demonstrates his skills as performer and arranger to young composers and arrangers, have been well received. He recently performed in "The Nightmare Before Christmas" with the Philly Pops Orchestra.

For further information:

Video: Stas Venglevski Performs Ice Meadow, Las Vegas - USA

by Harley Jones
Stas VenglevskiVideo: Ice Meadow now available in pdf format, Ice Meadow, composed and performed by Stas Venglevski.

Stas Venglevski performs Ice Meadow at the recent Las Vegas International Accordion Convention. The work is available in pdf format able to be emailed to you.
Catalog: vstas062 Ice Meadow View a sample page of the music, US$6 or Euro equivalent sent to your email.

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

Duo Paris-Moscow BC 2019 Tour - Canada

by Rita Barnea
Paris moscow duoVideo: Duo Paris Moscou of Domi Emorine and Roman Jbanov perform a Russian medley.

For more than 20 years, Domi Emorine and Roman Jbanov have been captivating audiences all over the world, with their impeccable virtuosity mixed with a witty sense of humor.

Performances include:
Nov 8, 7:30pm St. John's Shaughnessy Church, Vancouver
Nov 9, 1:30pm St. Paul's Anglican Church, Nanaimo
Nov 9, 6:30pm All Saints by-the-Sea, Salt Spring Island
Nov 10, 4pm, Victoria Event Centre, Victoria

More info at email:

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

The Alex Meixner Band on Tour

by Rita Barnea
Alex Meixner on Tour
Video: Alex Meixner Band performs at Hollerbach's Springfest 2019

The Alex Meixner Band is on tour! A last-minute addition has been made to Alex’s personal schedule for this month. Alex is greatly honored to receive a Linny Award, as “Performing Artist of the Year” in his hometown region of the Lehigh Valley, PA from Arts Quest on Thursday, November 14.

From his website, Alex shares: From some great new gigs in north Texas to some of favorite old haunts in PA, NY and more, it was a great run of shows for us and seemingly for all of the awesome people in our audiences! Now comes the post-Oktoberfest cap, Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas.

Seven days of the Alex Meixner Band in the big tent starting after the Opening Ceremonies/ Biting of the Wurst this Friday, November 1. “The Alex Meixner Band Plus” will be on stage every night including a bunch of special guests throughout the festival. It’s one of the best ways to fully experience Alex and the Boys (in a festival setting) so plan on coming out! We’ll also have our full array of merch available, so visit Lori to stock up on your personal fan gear and get your family and friends’ Christmas shopping done early!

While in New Braunfels, also make sure to visit the Faust Brewery to sample the Alex Meixner Polka Pils direct at the source and/or stay at the Faust Hotel for a truly authentic experience!!

While he is in town, The Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society has a special event at the Maingate in Allentown, PA on Friday, November 15 where Alex will be doing a little acoustic solo set on accordion. The Main Street Cruisers will be performing Oldies Rock and Roll for your listening and dancing pleasure at the event as the main feature. This is a special fundraising and membership drive for the PA Music Preservation Society, and both the Linny Awards and the PMPS event are open to the public, so please consider attending if you are in the area.

More details and additional shows at
November 1-7
New Braunfels, TX

November 14
Bethlehem, PA
Musicfest Cafe
Accepting Linny Award

November 15
Allentown, PA
Maingate Club - Allentown Fairgrounds
Pennsylvania Music Preservation
Society Fundraiser
Guest of Honor - Playing a Few Tunes

November 17
Lake Worth, FL
American German Club of The Palm Beaches
German Beerfest 2019
w/Special Guest - Jan Lewan

November 29 & 30
Cleveland, OH
Thanksgiving Polka Weekend
Alex Solo with Friends

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

Ginny Mac Performs in Leonard Cohen Celebration Show

by Rita Barnea
Ginny MacGinny Mac shares, “For the Austin area folks, and anyone wanting to get away for a weekend....I'm proud to be part of a very special Leonard Cohen celebration show on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Congregation Agudas Achim with Ray Benson and Katie Shore of Asleep At The Wheel, along with many other fantastic musicians!

Hailing from Fort Worth, TX, Ginny Mac fronts a dynamic group that brings a fresh and exciting twist to vocal and instrumental stylings in the Country & Western Swing, Americana, Hot Jazz, and International music genres. Ginny is also a former member of the two-time Grammy Award winning group Brave Combo based in Denton, TX. She endorses Menghini s.r.l. Scandalli Accordions based in Castelfidardo, Italy.

Notable performances include: Grand Ole Opry / Nashville, TN, Accordion Kings & Queens Festival / Houston, TX, Opened for Marc Cohn / Kessler Theater, Dallas, TX, Opened for Asleep At The Wheel / Gruene, TX, Cotati Accordion Festival / Cotati, CA, Dean Smith Celebrity Rodeo (Benefit for John Wayne Cancer Institute) / Abilene, TX, “Texas Cruise Jam” with Tanya Tucker, Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys / Cancun, MX
CMT’s “Christmas In Cowboy Country” Special hosted by Clint Black and many more.

Ginny has recorded four albums; “On The Street Where You Live,” is a collection of classic tunes and originals, featuring many of her friends and greatest musical heroes. The project includes Grammy Award winners Woody Paul and Joey Miskulin (Riders In The Sky), legendary Nashville fiddler Buddy Spicher, the great bassist Bob Moore (Roy Orbison), and several of Nashville’s premier musicians. “It was an unforgettable experience,” she says, “I was fortunate to learn so much and make music with these wonderful people.”

When she is not busy with an active touring schedule, Ginny is writing and arranging new original music for an upcoming album and collaborating on multiple musical projects. Her other passions include blogging, painting, and recently, exploring the world of photography. "I find inspiration in the world around me, " she says. "Whether it is a stranger sitting on a park bench, or the shadow a broken chair makes on the sidewalk, there is beauty in ordinary, everyday things. And I love the way inspiration from my other interests finds its way into my music."

For questions about the Leonard Cohen event, please email Cameron Nudleman at

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

Mihoko Goto Concert Review

by Dr. Helmi Harrington, Curator, A World of Accordions Museum, USA
Mihoto duetMihoto soloWithout doubt, the Mihoko Goto concert on October 12, 2019, was a landmark experience for HARTS and AWAM. This “first” Japanese experience drew an audience of about a hundred people from the larger community as well as from Duluth’s Sister City program.

Mihoko Goto astounded the audience in many ways. The petite woman with a standard 19” accordion literally danced around the stage. Always standing and fully memorized, her solos included concert pieces like Magnante’s "Accordion Boogie", Confrey’s "Dizzy Fingers", Piazzolla’s "Libertango", and even Bach’s "Toccata in D-Minor". Her encore of "Dark Eyes" was an expansive version she had arranged. Most pieces included improvisational sections she composed that showed off her technical skills, but more significantly, proved her ability to conceive music imaginatively and realize it through exceptionally controlled dynamics. Often her fully expanded bellows curled around her small body as the voluminous sound belied her fragile appearance.

She also told us about her studies in Japan, complicated by lack of music and teachers, which necessitated learning through careful listening to recorded performances. But it also encouraged her to compose original pieces and to set traditional Japanese tunes in contemporary styles, a few of which she played. Mihoko became the accompanist when her friend Chiharu Ebihara took the lead voice in two American West duets. Their precisely coordinated ensemble and Chiharu’s calm, tremolo melodies imitated a cowboy’s harmonica as striking contrasts in the program.

It should be mentioned that Ebihara made the first contact with us to ask about playing at HARTS. After checking out Mihoko’s website samples, I immediately agreed to set the date for our concert. The ladies did not ask for an honorarium, but were well rewarded by generous voluntary donations, many standing ovations and shouts of “Bravo.” Many in the audience were overheard to call this concert “the best ever.”

We were privileged to hear the skills of these women. For those who missed the event and for everyone who did not, their repeat appearance during our World Accordion Day Festival on May 2, 2020, will be a greatly anticipated event.

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Queens, NY Public School Needs 12 Bass Accordions

by Rita Barnea
Queens accordions
Video: This is the PS203Q Accordion Band practicing their music. We have about 12 kids and Ai Huei Chang Lau, Assistant Principal involve. There is a waiting list of about 19 more kids. We need more 12 Bass Accordions for them.

Joe De Clemente (Papa Joe) shares: “The The Oakland Gardens School, PS203Q Accordion Band, in Queens, New York presently has 11 Elementary School students lined up for their Accordion Band; however, there is a waiting list of about 20 more students who want to be a part of the accordion school band this year (which is absolutely fantastic news). So I am sending out this message as a plea for some 12 Bass Accordion to be donated to the school.”

“Papa Joe” De Clemente, who lives in Queens, New York, was brought up in an Italian family environment and started playing the accordion at the young age of nine years old in 1956.  He was interested in playing because he used to visit his relatives, the IORIO’s, who manufactured accordions in NYC, as far back as 1907.  Joe has performed in numerous venues and loves to entertain people.  He is also a member of the Long Island Accordion Alliance.  

Joe DeClemente volunteers 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!

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.”

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. “We enjoy performing for concerts and events in our school, and we love taking our show on the road, into our community,” says Holcomb. Last December, the group braved the frigid weather and played holiday songs outdoors for the Bayside Hills community holiday lighting celebration. They also entertained at the Clearview Senior Center located in that same area.

Linda Holcomb adds, “Performing for nursing homes and Senior Centers brings such joy to the people there. They love to see the children play their accordions. Our students always come home from those trips so excited, having experienced how their music can really be a blessing to others.”

 If you know of anyone who has a 12 Bass Accordion that is not being used, please have them contact me. Help me to promote the accordion in a NYC Public School. 
 Let the Accordion play on 🎶🎶

For further information:, Cell: 516-946-0198
Linda Holcomb:

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Acme Accordion School celebrates Accordion Day on November 3

by Rita Barnea
Acme Accordion School
The Acme Accordion School celebrates its 71st year on Sunday, Nov.3, 2019 from 10:30 to 3:PM on 322 Haddon Ave., Westmont, (Haddon Township). All are invited. Admission is free.

The guest artist is Guest Artist is Al Terzo. Al Terzo started accordion lessons at the age of 7. Teachers and coaches included Flora Foscato, Louis Iorio, Charles Nunzio, and Eugene Ettore. He studied at Major School of Music in Irvington, NJ and was Concert Master of the Sano Accordion Symphony. Al earned the title of 1970 New Jersey Virtuoso Champion during the 1970 ATA of NJ competitions. Al was also a founding member of the ATA of NJ Teachers Orchestra. Currently he is conductor of the Accordion Pops Orchestra. Al teaches accordion and piano in students homes. He is married to the former Kathy Kump and has 2 children, Frank and Regina, as well as 4 grandchildren, Benjamin, Brianna, Peyton, and Aria. In addition to Mr. Al Terzo, the Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra, Dr. Lou Persic, Suzanne Beites, and the Westmont Accordion Club are performing.

Founded in 1948 and home of the Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra, the Acme Accordion School is the place for everything accordion. Acme sells new and used button box and piano accordions, CDs, DVDs and sheet music. They give accordion lessons and handle accordion repair. Acme is also the home of the Musik Garten, a music and art program, where children from birth to 6 years old can come to develop their sense of rhythm, coordination and social skills

Events begin at 10:30 AM where accordionists may sign up to perform during an open mic until 11:45. 11:45 to 12:30 is set up for the Accordion Day photo. Bring your accordion if possible. Their goal is 150 accordion players or more.  All ages invited. Enjoy meeting new friends. Bring your family. The mass photo will be followed by a concert that will feature Al Terzo,                                                    

For more information: Joanna Darrow - 856-854-6628

Mike Middleton Performs with Chisholm Trail Chorus in Texas

by Rita Barnea
Mike Middleton
Mike MiddletonAccordionist Mike Middleton (picture left) will perform with the Chisholm Trail Chorus in a concert entitled "A Taste of Harmony" on November 2nd at the Cultural Activities Centre in Temple, Texas. The Chisholm Trail Chorus is an award-winning ensemble that presents choreographed classic and contemporary 4-part barbershop harmony.

Dr. Mike Middleton is an accordionist and his main musical interests are Midi Enhanced Accordion music from all genres. He performs mainly for charity events and local festivals, including all styles of international accordion music. Mike also enjoys arranging compositions on the accordion, and has recently been performing at many churches and for senior groups throughout Central Texas. Mike;s latest performances include his renditions/arrangements of "Ghostriders in the Sky", "Variations on an Amazing Grace", "Beer Barrel Polka Variations", "Russian Minka Variations", and other favorites.

His preferred instruments are a Titano Starlight Royal Cossoto Accordion with a Melody Maker onboard Midi Synthesizer, a Petosa Mahogany Alpine Tuba Bass Accordion, and sometimes a Roland Electronic Accordion. In the past, Mike was the 1982 & 1983 Texas State Accordion Champion, and the 2001 Accordionist & Teachers Guild International Texas Folk Music Champion. He was awarded the following website:

In addition to the accordion, Mike is a Tubist, and he combines accordion and tuba performances periodically with his friend and tubist, Mr. Clayton Capps. Currently, Mike lives in Central Texas with his wife Darla, and has three children (Meredith, Lance, and Mitch). Mike, along with sons on percussion, and Clayton on Tuba together started his band, which they affectionately called "Mike and the Middletones ".

Mike recently has produced and recorded several successful albums: “Around the World & Back TO Texas”, “Accordion & Tuba Favorites”, and “Accordion to Mike & The Middletones: Back IN Texas”, along with the single, “Amazing Grace Accordion Variations”.

The Middletones have been featured at Wurstfest in New Braunfels multiple times, and other festivals. They have performed on The Mollie B Polka Party TV show in 2016, and have performed at The World Accordion Museum in Superior, Wisconsin. He also is being featured with the Temple Symphony in March 2017 performing polkas, waltzes, Texas Folk music and classical music. (see attached poster).
Mike has performed almost every year in the Scott & White Clinic Cafeteria for Octoberfest, and other venues. He donates many hours of performing and portions of his album sales to charities, in Central Texas.

Dr. Middleton is currently employed as Director of Nuclear Medicine and Professor of Radiology, at the Scott & White Clinic/Texas A&M Health Science Center. He has served as President of the American College of Nuclear Physicians and the Southwest Chapter of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, Secretary/Treasurer of SNMMI, and other leadership positions. He has also been Secretary of the Scott & White Clinic Healthcare Board of Directors, 2008-present. Dr. Middleton has also been nominated for VP-Elect of the SNMMI.

Dr. Mike Middleton has been entertaining audiences in central Texas for over 3 decades. While in college, he was named Texas State Champion accordionist in 1981 & 1982, and had placed in several national competitions. To help pay for medical school, he was contracted as a repeat solo performer at the famed Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas as well as other venues. In 2001, after 2 decades of not competing, Dr. Middleton won the (one time only) Accordionist and Teachers Guild/Texas Accordion Association's International Texas Folk Accordionists Competition in San Antonio, Texas.

Most of his performing now is for local festivals, clubs, nursing homes, churches, and hospital/community events. A nuclear medicine physician at Scott & White for 20 years, Dr. Middleton stays busy as a Professor of Radiology, at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, and is currently an officer of the Scott & White Healthcare Board of Directors. He is also active as an officer in several specialty societies in Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging.

For further details email:

Charlie Sauss to Perform for LIAA

by Rita Barnea
Charlie SaussCharlie Sauss to Perform for LIAA

La Villini Restaurant of East Northport, NY is sponsoring the next meeting of the Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 6:PM, Reservations are recommended. The featured guest artist will be accordionist Charlie Sauss.

Charlie possesses an extensive repertoire in all genres of music. He also plays restaurant and cocktail style piano working with combos and dance bands as well as soloing throughout the New York and New Jersey area. Charlie performed on Broadway in “The Visit” with Chita Rivera in 2015. He has performed on TV and cruise lines. He studied at the Mannes College of Music and with accordionist Joe Biviano

On Wednesday, January 8, 2020 the featured guest artists will be accordionists Manny Corallo and Frank Toscano.

For further information:
631 – 261 – 6344

Future events

Save the Date March 18-21, 2020 for the 2020 National Accordion Convention in Texas!

by Rita Barnea
NAA Committee
NAA LogoNAA President Norman Seaton shares: The 2020 Convention is being created with feedback from the 2019 post-convention survey results! Editor Rita Barnea said, "Having attended many NAA Conventions, I can say that the NAA features unique workshops, concerts, and people who are friendly, sharing, non judgmental and talented! 24/7 all accordion with something for everyone at any level."

Register today and enjoy the convention that includes:
* Group training activities such as accordion bands and symphonic orchestras.
* Opportunities to perform in numerous settings.
* Convention Team Decision:

"This year we will focus on the colorful sounds and origins of world music:
German, Czech, French, American, Texas-Mexican and much more"

Call for Presenters (2020):
* Explanation:
* The band/orchestra presenters have been preselected by the planning team and are listed on the website.

* The annual Call for Presenters (2020) is open for those seeking to be featured conventioneers in 2020.

* Conventioneers wanting to conduct workshops while attending the convention as a "sharing conventioneer" are to complete the 2020 convention registration form.

2020 Call for Presenters Digital Form:

2020 Convention and Hotel Registration Form:

For further information:
NAA Presenters

Voci Armoniche

AAA 2020 Festival July 8-12 and More Events

by Rita Barnea
2020 AAA Festival Flyer
Upcoming Events
AAA Festival 2020
July 8-12, 2020
Holiday Inn & Suites
625 First Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition
2020 information coming soon at Bennett Competition Events Page.

AAA Open Meeting
July 12, 2020 (Sunday breakfast at 2020 Festival).
Further information

2020 AAA Master Class & Concert Series
William Schimmel, Moderator and Curator
Tenri Cultural Institute
New York, NY 10011
Information coming soon.

For further information:
American Accordionists' Association (AAA)
Dr. Joseph A. Ciccone, President
2 Gramatan Ave., Suite 206
Mt. Vernon, NY 10550
Phone: 914-224-1241, Fax: 914-664-1383


Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

58th Annual New England Festival March 27-29, 2020

by Peggy Falcetti
New England Music Festival
The 58th Annual New England Festival sponsored by the “Accordion Teachers Association of Massachusetts, Inc.” will be held at the Boston Marriott Newton, Mass. from March 27, 28, 29, 2020. The New England Music Festival is an annual musical competition and the festival averages more than 3000 entries and 800 contestants from all across New England.

The event consists of:
Evaluations, Solos,Duets, Battle of the Bands, Groups
Accordion, Drum, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Piano, Violin, Voice, Ukulele
Adult Categories-Open to all Adults over the age of 22.
Average of 800 contestants – 3000 entries -15 Judges

Cash Awards-Scholarships (over $4000.00 dollars)
Annual Awards Dinner on Saturday Evening

Chairperson-Peggy Falcetti (
PO Box 39-Wilbraham, Ma. 01095
Phone 413-596-6940

More information will be provided in future publications.

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

12th annual Accordion Noir Festival in Vancouver, Canada

by Rita Barnea
Accordion Noir Festival
The 12th annual Accordion Noir Festiva takes place on Friday Nov 15, 2019 8:PM, at the WISE Hall (1882 Adanac St, Vancouver, Canada).

Check the website:


Stas Venglevski Performs with the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 14

by Rita Barnea
Stas VenglevskiThe Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra (MFSO) Winter Pops Concert will feature Stas Venglevski on December 14, 2019. The concert is titled “Christmas Fairy Tales and Fantasies."

Christmas is the season of many fairy tales and fantasies! Come and hear some fantastic
music including the "March of the Tin Soldiers", "The Snow Maiden", and "Babes in Toyland".

Special guest artist internationally acclaimed button accordionist, Stas Venglevski, will perform a concerto by Galla-Rini, along with music from "The Nutcracker" and other holiday favorites!

Excerpts from his website: His artistry, dazzling technical command, and sensitivity have brought Stanislav, "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 is an Accordionist, a Musician, an Arranger, an Entertainer and a Teacher. 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 also former president of the ATG. Stas has many wonderful CD’s and musical compositions including solos, duets, and ensembles available for purchase. A great holiday gift for accordion aficionados.

For further information on Stas Venglevski:

Stas will also be performing with the Nuremberg Symphony on April 25, 2020.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Bonnie Birch to Perform for the San Francisco Accordion Club on January 20

by Rita Barnea
Bonnie BirchBonnie Birch is one of the Northwest’s finest accordionists, performing a versatile repertoire of American, European Continental (French, Italian, etc), and classical music. It is Bonnie's desire to see the accordion take its deserved position of respect amongst other well-established instruments.

Bonnie began accordion lessons at the age of 7 and studied with Thorild Swanson from Stancatto School of Accordion up to the age of 19. Thor was a classically trained musician with a desire for perfection and with his guidance, Bonnie developed excellent technique, musicianship and the appreciation of practice and patience. She was a consistent winner at the Washington Accordion Teachers competitions culminating in a trip to New York for an International competition and a performance in Carnegie Hall.

Bonnie has retired from a successful career in computer technology and is now a full time musician, performing in many diverse situations, both as a soloist and with a wide variety of local area musicians and singers. Bonnie is continually attending classes and workshops to broaden her skills from Jazz studies with some of the top artists and composers in the country to advanced study with respected accordionist Ken Olendorf.

If Bonnie was not busy enough, she is also the president of the Northwest Accordion Society and chairman of the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration.

The San Francisco Accordion Club is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization whose purpose is to enhance, promote and stimulate an appreciation for the accordion within the membership and throughout the general public. Donations are tax-deductible and gratefully accepted.

The SFAC meets at 2:PM the 3rd Sunday of most months at:
The Chetcuti Community Room
City Center Plaza
450 Poplar Avenue
Millbrae, CA

For further information:

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

New and Updated Sites

Titano Accordion Company

Updated AAA Site: Historical Articles about the AAA by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian

by Harley Jones
AAA header
Joan GraumanUpdated AAA Site: AAA History - A Series of Articles by AAA Historian Joan Grauman at:

1. What Events Led to the Formation of the American Accordionists’ Association?

2. Documenting the Fascinating History of the AAA

3. 80 Years of AAA Logos and Promotional Materials

4. Joseph Biviano and Charles Magnante – A Lifetime Commitment to the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA)

5. Growing up in the accordion schools: The 1950s through the 1970s

6. Women in the AAA Through the Decades, Beverly Roberts Curnow – Accordion Queen and World Accordion Champion still bringing joy with her beloved instrument!
© 2022 Accordion USA. All rights reserved. To comment on these pages, e-mail the webmaster.