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U.S. National Accordion News - 01-Nov-2021
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Titano Accordion Company


Editor's Note
Passing of Donna Dee (Anderson) Ray (March 13, 1947 to November 09, 2021)
History of AAA Music Commissions by Prof. Robert McMahan
Eva Ybarra: 2022 Texas State Musician
Concert Series to begin Down Under Fundraising the Accordion Gems Exhibition
Music with Mary Accordion Academy November 13-14
The New AAA Commission Composed by Will Holshouser
National Accordion Convention In Richardson, Texas March 16-19,2022
Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International (ATG) Launches Professional Development Series
Texas Folklife’s ‘Accordion Kings and Queens’ Returns to Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre
Klezmatics… Back on the Road
Joe Soprani: ”My Thanksgiving Story"

Voci Armoniche

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

Review: Stas Venglevski Performs Galla-Rini "Concerto No. 2"
Cycle Zydeco 2021 Postponed to 2022
Jeanne Velonis Performs at AAA Seminars
Joe Hall's New CD “Proud to Be a Creole” is Available Now
Cory Pesaturo's Performances
NAA Weekly Challenge #36: Other Musical Instruments
Mary Mancini & Mario Tacca With The Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble
Alabama Accordion Association Presents Elijah Clements in Concert on November 13
San Francisco Accordion Club: November 21st: Accordion Circle (Virtual via ZOOM)
Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) Meeting on November 3rd

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

Children's Corner

10 Year Old Isabella Pizzarelli Busks for College Fund
10 Year Old Colin Kennedy Wins Scholarship at Cotati Accordion Festival

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

Future events

Ksenija Sidorova to Perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO)
The American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Live Festival, Summer 2022
ATG 80th Anniversary Festival July 20-24, 2022
Dr Schimmel’s Upcoming Performances
Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat Includes 6 Talented Young Artists
Gator by the Bay - next in March 2022
Oregon Alpenfest Rescheduled to Sept. 29- Oct. 2, 2022



Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Editor's Note

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Editor Rita BarneaThe November USA news is here! There is an amazing amount of information to educate, entertain, and delight you! I hope you will take the time to read this month’s news and see for yourself how versatile, popular, relevant, and important the accordion is.

The accordion is an instrument that crosses all cultural boundaries. There is something for everyone! I encourage all of you to listen to all types of accordion music. Maybe consider learning the accordion! There are so many online teachers and now there is a return to more in person instruction.

As always, you are invited to send comments/ideas to me at

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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

Passing of Donna Dee (Anderson) Ray (March 13, 1947 to November 09, 2021)

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Donna Dee Ray

Donna and familyVideo from 2018 ATG Festival, July 25 - 28 in Lisle (Chicago), Illinois.

AWW is shocked and very sad to inform you of the sudden passing of Donna Ray Anderson from a fall. Donna Dee was a highly respected accordionist, friend, teacher, wife, mother, and grandmother, beloved by all who were fortunate enough to experience her warm smile and gentle, friendly personality.

Donna Dee (Anderson) Ray began studying accordion with Joan Cochran Sommers at age six. Excerpts from the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International (ATG) website: She became concert mistress of the University of Missouri at Kansas City Accordion Orchestra at age fifteen. At age sixteen, Bill Palmer awarded her a score of 108 on her choice piece in the virtuoso division at the Mid-America Music Association festival. At age seventeen, Donna Dee won the American Accordionists' Association Virtuoso Championship. Her intent was to enter UMKC as an Accordion Performance major. Instead, at age eighteen, she began touring with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians playing Cordovox in the orchestra. It was there that Donna Dee met her husband, Dennis Ray, a singer in the group.
Dennis, her husband, hails from Nashville, Tennessee. He is a self-taught musician playing 5-string and tenor banjos, guitar, and upright rhythm bass. His biggest musical inspiration during his youth was The Kingston Trio from the American Folk Era. He grew up singing their songs in three-part harmonies with his brother and friends and later formed a trio in college while attending the University of Tennessee. Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians did a concert at UT. Dennis’s trio performed backstage after the show. Mr. Waring invited them to attend Shawnee Press summer workshops for teachers and students and also perform at his Shawnee Inn golf resort for the summer. At the end of that summer, they were invited to join the concert tour.
Donna Dee and Dennis have three children. When the children were young, The Ray Family performed for community events, and toured summers appearing at state and county fairs and amusement parks. Donna Dee and Dennis performed as a duo for many years while also pursuing teaching careers. Both have Master’s degrees and were classroom teachers for over thirty years. Donna Dee taught elementary school Music. Through a rigorous year-long multi-evaluation process, she earned National Board Certification the first year it opened for Music teachers. Dennis, a journalism graduate of UMKC, taught Television Production in high school. Dennis and Donna Dee started a business, 3D Video Productions, videotaping weddings on weekends when not in their classrooms teaching. This business eventually squeezed out opportunities to play music gigs. They enjoyed their busy careers but are happy to be recently retired. Both are loving having time to practice and perform music again.

Condolences to Dennis Ray, her family, friends and accordion friends who loved her so much.
Donna Dee Ray

Titano Accordion Company

History of AAA Music Commissions by Prof. Robert McMahan

by Harley Jones
AAA Logo
Dr.robert Young McmahonDr. Robert Young McMahan, Chair of the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Composers’ Commission Committee has written a number of very interesting articles on the contemporary concert works for accordion that have been commissioned by the AAA over the years.

Robert McMahan is the recently retired Professor of Music at The College of New Jersey and was also the Area Coordinator of Musicianship and Composition, as well as artist-teacher of classical accordion.

A full list of AAA Music Commissions is online at:

A brief history of the AAA Composers’ Commissioning Committee has been revised and is online at:

Articles about individual AAA Music Commissions is going to be published over the coming months with the list of articles to be published at:

The first article titled: “The First [AAA] Commission: Prelude and Dance, by Paul Creston” is online at:

The AAA Composers’ Commissioning Committee welcomes donations from all those who love the classical accordion and wish to see its modern original concert repertoire continue to grow. The AAA is a 501(c)(3) corporation. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent of the law. Please make your donation at the AAA-Store

Voci Armoniche

Eva Ybarra: 2022 Texas State Musician

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Eva Ybarra
Video: 2017 NEA Heritage Award Fellow Eva Ybarra
Director, Editor, Videographer: Ray Santisteban
Producer: Anina Moore
Interviewer, Producer: Charlie Lockwood
Additional Videographer: Manual Soli
Coordinating Producer: Madeleine Remez
Legal Counsel: Aswathi Zachariah, Daniel Fishman
Executive Producer: Clifford Murphy
Special Thanks to The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

Conjunto legend Eva Ybarra was appointed as 2022 Texas State Musician by the Texas State Legislature, in partnership with the Texas Commission on the Arts, on May 18, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Ybarra is one of eight appointees selected by a legislative-appointed committee for the exceptional quality of their work and for their outstanding commitment to the arts in Texas.

Eva Ybarra, the “Queen of the Accordion,” is one of only a few professional women accordionists in conjunto music. Conjunto originated in the late 19th century in working-class communities along Texas-Mexico border, and is distinct to that region. Using the accordion as the lead instrument, conjunto bands perform dance music based on Mexican and Czech-German folk forms such as the polka, mazurka, schottishe, waltz, and huapango. As the leader of Eva Ybarra y Su Conjunto, Ybarra has specialized in writing and composing original conjunto music while also exploring non-standard chord progressions, advancing the art form’s evolution.

Journalist John Henry Medina of shares:“In honoring these individuals, we bring attention to the important role the arts play in shaping Texas’ cultural landscape,” said Gary Gibbs, executive director for the Texas Commission on the Arts. “These Texas State Artists are the best of the best. Their work defines our character of place and reflects the distinctive qualities that make Texas unique.”

Ybarra’s career spans more than seven decades and has recorded many albums with her band, Eva Ybarra Y Su Conjunto. The “Queen of the Accordion” specializes in writing and composing original conjunto music while also exploring non-standard chord progressions, advancing the art form’s evolution.

“I don’t like being told that I’m the best female accordionist,” said Ybarra in an interview with Texas Folklife. “That’s not right, just say the best, one of the best, that’s all. Simple.”

Ybarra is also a music educator teaching accordion, bajo sexto, and guitarron. She has been an accordion instructor at Palo Alto College’s conjunto program in her hometown of San Antonio. Currently, she fosters the development of other conjunto accordion players by teaching at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s music education program.

She was inducted into the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Conjunto Hall of Fame in 2003, the Tejano R.O.O.T.S Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Tejano Conjunto Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009. In 2015, she received the South Texas Conjunto Association Lifetime Achievement Award and was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2017.

The 2021 appointees include Texas Poet Laureate Cyrus Cassells of Austin, Texas State Musician Leon Bridges of Fort Worth, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Annette Lawrence of Denton, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Jennifer Ling Datchuk of San Antonio.

The 2022 appointees include Texas State Musician Ybarra of San Antonio, Texas Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez of Houston, Texas State Two-Dimensional Artist Celia Alvarez
Muñoz of Arlington, and Texas State Three-Dimensional Artist Jesse Lott of Houston.

Each State Artist reflects the state’s diversity and high-quality artistic offerings. Nominees must be native Texans or have resided in the state for at least five years. They must have attained the highest levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines and earned a statewide, regional or national reputation for their high caliber work. The positions, created by SB 1043, are filled for one-year terms. Any Texas citizen can nominate an artist and self-nominations are encouraged. The next call for nominations will take place in the fall of 2022.

Accordion Jazz Chords

Concert Series to begin Down Under Fundraising the Accordion Gems Exhibition

by Harley Jones
Accordion Gems Exhibition by Kevin Friedrich
Kevin Friedrich two CD coversAAA Governing Board member and CIA Ambassador Kevin Friedrich, who has released two CD albums in 2021 (pictures right), will return to his native New Zealand to present a series of concerts in November and December.

CD's available online at: friedrich01 and friedrich02

Kevin will present his 18th sold out Variety Show Concert on December 5, 2021 (Christmas edition) at the Dargaville Museum where he houses his Accordion Gems, A Master Collection of Accordions Through Time Exhibition.

The popular fundraising concerts are held in the Lighthouse Function Center Concert Hall adjacent to the Museum facility. In addition, Kevin will present a concert with Organist Stephen Vincent (also an accordionist) at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in his hometown of Dargaville on December 9, 2021. The historical organ (1926) is the work of New Zealand organ maker Georg Croft and was donated to the Church by the Dargaville children in honor of their Mother, Mrs. Anne Dargaville, upon her passing. One of the few remaining examples of Croft’s work, the historical organ’s refurbishment, was completed earlier in 2021.

The joint recital will feature a variety of material including a number of works for organ and accordion arranged by the artists as well as the World Premiere of ‘Song of the Far North’ for accordion and organ by renowned New Zealand composer Gary Daverne. The concert will be presented again on December 12,2021 at the magnificent Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland. This church houses New Zealand's largest organ, designed and built by the organ building company of Nicholson & Co Ltd in the United Kingdom and it consists of 91 speaking stops spread over four manuals and pedals, with 5,432 pipes.

While in New Zealand, Kevin will also present a second series of School concerts. Last year while in New Zealand, Kevin presented 16 Concerts at the Dargaville Primary School (children ages 5- 10 years) giving more than 500 young students the opportunity to learn about the accordion in an interactive and educational concert series. The school programs showcased the accordion, accordion history, construction, and different musical styles, while allowing the enthusiastic young students to participate with movement, song, and rhythm instruments, as well as all trying their hands using several 12- bass accordions.

Assisting Kevin with the School concerts will be accordionists Christine Johnstone, AWW News Editor and Director of the North Shore Music Makers Accordion Orchestra (Auckland, New Zealand), local vocalist Ros Gilmour, and Linda Emmett Litt, (percussion and timpani), the daughter of Doreen Emmett who first taught Kevin the accordion at the Dargaville Primary School in the 1970s.

For more information:


Music with Mary Accordion Academy November 13-14

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Music with Mary Poster
Do not miss this fun learning experience of one on one lesson opportunities with Mary Tokarski, renowned accordionist. There will be solo, duet, and ensemble opportunities, workshop, orchestra rehearsals and closing concert.

This event takes place Nov. 13-14, 2021 at the Best Western Plus in North Haven, CT.

Register by October 29, 2021 (Scholarship available)

Concert Accordionist, Mary Tokarski, has performed nationally and internationally as a soloist, with Symphony Orchestras and String Quartets. Orchestras include Prince George’s Philharmonic in Largo, Maryland; the Moravian Philharmonic (Czech Republic), the Auckland Symphony (New Zealand), The Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra (Massachusetts), the Waterbury Symphony (Connecticut), the Bronxville Pops Orchestra (New York), and The Hamden Symphony Orchestra (Connecticut).

Mary has toured mainland China with the Mantovani Orchestra, performing both in the orchestra and as a soloist, performed with the Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center Orchestra in the full sound track for “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”, complete with the film, appeared with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) in Gertrude Stein & Virgil Thomson’s Opera, “Four Saints In Three Acts” at Jordan Hall on the New England Conservatory campus in Boston, MA, at the Westport Country Playhouse (CT) production of “Sing For Your Shakespeare”, “Fiddler On The Roof”, and appearing as a featured instrumentalist for “The Spitfire Grill” production at both the Community Theater of Woodbury and the Wien Black Box Theatre at Fairfield University.

Mary has released a total of seven CDs – three with The “K” Trio, one with Gary Daverne of Auckland, New Zealand, and three solo CDs, “Music with Mary . . . with my friends!” - “Music with Mary . . . for my friends!” – “Have Yourself A Mary Merry Christmas” – all have received international acclaim. Recently, Gary Daverne released an online recording entitled “Mary Plays Gary” featuring works that Gary has composed with Mary performing.

In collaboration with Karen Malan-Uribe and Joan Grauman, Mary narrates and performs the music for the book “An Accordion! What Is That?” The recently re-released book was written as an early childhood reader, with many text features not often found in books for children of this age . . . as well as introducing the accordion to the “next generation” of musicians!

After a lifetime of teaching accordion and piano, Mary served as Adjunct Professor in the Music Department at Central Connecticut State University. She teaches virtually from her home in Jackson, TN, on Skype, coaches privately, travels the world presenting Workshops and Master Classes on theory and musical excellence, and is a sought-after adjudicator for national and international juries – frequently at the Coupe Mondiale World Championships sponsored by the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) in locations around the world. Mary has had students representing the United States in the Coupe Mondiale over the past years.

Sauris, Italy is the location of the prestigious Peter Soave Music Academy where Mary has had the pleasure of being a guest instructor, workshop presenter and artist for many years now.

Serving the American Accordionists' Association (AAA) for years as the annual Festival Chair, she has held the offices of President, Secretary and Treasurer during her years with AAA. Currently, Mary serves as 1st Vice President of AAA and is a member of the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International (ATG). Both organizations are members of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA), a member of IMC and an Official NGO partner of UNESCO.

For further information:
Mary Tokarski
cell: 203-927-8606
Mary Tokarski

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

The New AAA Commission Composed by Will Holshouser

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
AAA Logo
Eric and WillVideo: “Redbud Winter”

The video above is the new commission from the American Accordionists' Association composed by Will Holshouser, the first commission to be performed on a world tour.

"Redbud Winter" is performed by Eric Vloeimans, trumpet and Will Holshouser, accordionist and composer. Eric & Will are touring in the Netherlands (Oct./Nov. 2021) and the USA (Sept./Oct. 2022).

“Redbud Winter”: a cold snap in early spring when the redbud trees begin to blossom (expression used in Tennessee). In memoriam Cynthia Shoemaker (1939 - 2021).
This piece was commissioned by the American Accordionists' Association (2021), and premiered at the AAA Seminars - Dr. William Schimmel, Curator - on July 30, 2021.

Will Holshouser was given an accordion as a surprise when he was still young and impressionable. He has since found a unique niche for himself as an accordionist, improviser, and composer in many different areas of music. He tours regularly with jazz violinist Regina Carter and her band Reverse Thread. He also plays in a collaborative trio with Amsterdam-based improvisers, drummer Han Bennink & saxophonist/clarinetist Michael Moore. This group has a new CD out and has toured in Europe, the US and Africa.

Will's long-standing trio features Ron Horton on trumpet and David Phillips on bass. Together since 1998, these three have developed a truly unified group sound. The trio has three CDs out on the Portuguese label Clean Feed. Their third CD, Palace Ghosts and Drunken Hymns was recorded in Portugal with the late, brilliant pianist Bernardo Sassetti as special guest.

Will has also played with David Krakauer, Antony and the Johnsons, Martha Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright, Andy Statman, Phillip Johnston, Matt Munisteri & Brock Mumford, the Raymond Scott (tribute) Orchestrette, Roberto Rodriguez, Mark Morris Dance, New York City Ballet, Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others. Will studied composition with Anthony Braxton and Bill Barron at Wesleyan University, where he received a grant to research Cajun and Creole music in Louisiana. After moving to New York in the early 1990s, he studied accordion with Dr. William Schimmel. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and daughter.

Trumpeter Eric Vloeimans has a warm sound and a unique set of original projects that take him all over the world. He has been a guest soloist with many pop, jazz, and classical ensembles.

For further information:

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

National Accordion Convention In Richardson, Texas March 16-19,2022

by Norman Seaton, NAA President
NAA Logo
The 2022 National Accordion Convention will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Richardson, Texas March 16 – 19, 2022.

"We Are Back”
Featuring 42 workshop sessions, 16 presenters, and 6 orchestra practices

Convention Focus:
The focus for the 2022 National Accordion Convention will be on socializing activities, band practice, interactive workshop sessions, the dance party, and wonderful concerts!

Same Hotel with a New Name:
We are moving forward! The next National Accordion Convention will be March 16-19, 2022, at the Hilton Hotel (formerly the Hyatt Regency), Richardson, Texas.

Convention event, presenters, workshop descriptions, and schedules are being updated daily on our website starting on November 1, 2021.

Online Registration Starts Approximately November 15, 2021. Watch our website daily ( ) for up-to-date information.

Following are eight (8) of the 16 scheduled presenters; more will be added daily.
l-r: Dick Albreski, Nick Ballarini, Paul Betken, Dee Langley, Rand McPeck, Loren Parker, Jim Rommei, Sharon Seaton.

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

Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International (ATG) Launches Professional Development Series

by Mary Ann Covone, ATG President
Mary Ann CovoneJoan SommersThe ATG will launch a new quarterly Professional Development Series for Accordion Teachers in November 2021.

The first event will be presented online on November 7th from 3:PM to 6:PM Central time, with presenters Prof. Joan C. Sommers (picture right), who will discuss “First Lessons for the Beginner” and Mary Ann Covone (picture left) who will discuss “Business Operations of a 21st Century Accordion Studio.” Enrollment will be capped at 15 attendees to allow ample time for discussion and questions.

For details email:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Texas Folklife’s ‘Accordion Kings and Queens’ Returns to Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
tflAKQTexas Folklife is dedicated to the advancement of the accordion, especially for young people.
Rebecca Johnson contributes: Texas Folklife brings back the annual Accordion Kings and Queens concert to Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre on Saturday, November 6, 2021 starting at 7:PM. The free show will feature great music from well known favorites as well as young talent, and also will be livestreamed for online viewers.
Performers include:

Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys: For decades, Jeffery Broussard has been a torchbearer for Zydeco music, influencing young musicians with the traditional Creole music he learned as a child. Broussard and his Creole Cowboys deliver great, pack-the-floor renditions of Creole classics, cultivating and inspiring new generations of Creole Zydeco fans. Broussard has received numerous awards, including Accordionist of the Year, the TrailBlazer Award, and has been inducted into the Louisiana Folklife Center’s Hall of Fame.
Christina Valdez: Known as The Squeeze Box Girl, Valdez is a rising Conjunto star from San Benito, Texas, a town known for its musical heritage, including as the birthplace of Freddy Fender. Valdez was a 2018 finalist of Texas Folklife’s Big Squeeze youth accordion contest, and in the years since has seen a meteoric rise in her career. She has performed alongside many amazing artists such as Ramon Ayala, Michael Salgado, Elida Reyna, Albert Zamora, La Mafia, Solido, and many more. 
Special virtual appearances by the 2021 Big Squeeze champions will also be part of the event.
“Through Accordion Kings & Queens, Texas Folklife is helping to bring this traditional music to audiences in Houston and beyond,” said program director Sarah Rucker. “This event is about community, connection, and a shared love for the music.”
The event is open to all ages, and masks are encouraged. Both covered and outdoor seating will be available. Covered seats will require a (free) ticket, which will be available online two days before the event until noon the day of the performance.
If you can’t join us in Houston, watch the event live on either the Miller Theatre’s or Texas Folklife’s Facebook channels:
“We’re thrilled to celebrate the 32nd year of Accordion Kings and Queens,” said Texas Folklife Executive Director Charlie Lockwood. “This is our longest running music program, and we can’t wait to be back in front of a live audience at the Miller Outdoor Theatre.  We want to thank the musicians, as well as our sponsors and partners, for making this event happen. We look forward to seeing everyone on November 6!”

Accordion Kings and Queens is supported by the Board and Members of Texas Folklife and the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board. Additional sponsorships and support provided by AARP Texas, Hohner Accordions, Raven Grill, Court Record Research, The Honorable Sally Alcorn, Judge Chuck Silverman, and others. 
Texas Folklife (TXF) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. TXF is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state. Since 1984, TXF has honored traditions passed down within communities, explored the importance of traditional arts in contemporary society, and celebrated the state’s vibrant heritage by providing arts experiences enjoyable for all generations. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Rebecca Johnson, Arts Articulated
(512) 689-0240;
Program Contact:
Sarah Rucker, Program Director
(512) 773-1161:

Titano Accordion Company

Klezmatics… Back on the Road

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Lorin SklambergThe Klezmatics have released a new CD “Letters to Afar” on Chant Records Get your copy wherever fine music is sold and streamed! Chant Records, Apple Music, Spotify.

The Klezmatics are globally-renowned world music superstars — and the only klezmer band to win a Grammy award. The Klezmatics emerged out of the vibrant cultural scene of New York City’s East Village in 1986 with klezmer steeped in Eastern European Jewish tradition and spirituality, while incorporating contemporary themes such as human rights and anti-fundamentalism and eclectic musical influences including Arab, African, Latin and Balkan rhythms, jazz and punk.

“Letters to Afar”, The Klezmatics’ 13th and most adventurous release to date, contains music composed for Hungarian found-footage artist Péter Forgács’ acclaimed installation of Polish-Jewish historical films sourced from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The music is evocative, ambient and by turns psychedelic, meditative and illuminating. This is The Klezmatics as you’ve never heard them – deeply rooted in the traditions of klezmer and experimental avant-garde musics; Klezmatics filtered through Brian Eno, David Torn, Duke Ellington, Morton Feldman and electronica.

1. HoraLité
2. Blut
3. Tish Nign
4. Olem-Haze
5. Dray Fidlen
6. Flarp
7. DeParnu
8. Nign Forgács
9. Tish Nign (Mizrekhdik)
10. Oylem-Habe
11. Shlofn Afn Yam
12. Naftule-Tsikl
13. Kandel
14. Beymer
15. Nign Forgács (Instrumental)

The Klezmatics include 
Richie Barshay: percussion, 
Matt Darriau: clarinets, kaval, 
Lisa Gutkin: violin,
Frank London: brass, 
Paul Morrissett: bass, thimble
, Lorin Sklamberg, accordion, piano, voice

Future performances include:

Klezmatics in East Lansing
Events: Date Nov 10, 2021

Hanukkah Kick Off in Tampa Bay, FL - 2 nights!
Events: Date Nov 17, 2021 – Nov 18, 2021

Happy Joyous Hanukkah at Symphony Space in NYC
Events: Date Dec 5, 2021

Happy Joyous Hanukkah at SF JAZZ
Events: Date Dec 16, 2021

Happy Joyous Hanukkah at Bethel Woods
Events: Date Dec 19, 2021

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

Joe Soprani: ”My Thanksgiving Story"

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Joe Soprani
Accordionist Joseph Soprani shares his amazing adventure and miraculous survival of a plane crash: "My Thanksgiving Story”. It is a true and inspirational story.

"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.

Presently he is planning to perform his unique arrangement of Eugene Ettore's "Manhattan Concerto" with a symphony orchestra. See future publications for more information on this exciting project!

For further information:

Gary Daverne CD's and eSheet music available online

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

4 Music Books by Stas Venglevski

Review: Stas Venglevski Performs Galla-Rini "Concerto No. 2"

by Joan C. Sommers
Stas and Orchestra
Stas and JoanConcert Review: It was my great pleasure to be in the Golden, Colorado audience of just over 450 people to hear Stas Venglevski perform the Anthony Galla-Rini Concerto No.2 in E minor on Sunday, October 17, 2021 with the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra.

Under the superb direction of Dr. William Morse, Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestra’s 70+ members, Stas Venglevski brought his outstanding musical talent as a concert bayan soloist to perform this concerto with a full symphony orchestra for the second time.

He previously gave the premiere performance of the complete work in Wisconsin in 2003 with the famed 99 years old accordionist and composer in attendance. On April 9, 2022 he will again perform it with the Nuremburg, Germany Symphony Orchestra.

Written in 1976, after six months of work, Anthony Galla-Rini completed his “Concerto No. 2”. It is quite traditional in its three movements of “Allegro con fuoco”, “Adagio”, and “Allegro moderato in E minor”. Galla-Rini’s “Concerto No. 1” was in G minor (1941) and he has been asked by many why he wrote both concerti in minor keys to which he replied, “it was just the inspiration as the decision, perhaps taking into consideration that the minor key might have been more dramatic than the major key.”

Galla-Rini’s “Concerto No. 1” was composed for an accordion which had no free-bass left hand and required extensive use of the switches for performance. After its completion he decided to write a second concerto using the Free Bass for the left hand.

Stas Venglevski is a concert bayanist of the first rank! He has all the technical and musical skills which were so prominently displayed throughout his performance; he plays with energy and interacted well with the orchestra to bring out the dramatic beauty of the score, something the composer had said he wanted. Galla-Rini would have once again hailed this performance as a great success, one which also show-cased the work of the orchestra.

Stas Venglevski offered two terrific encores to the delight of the audience which continued to give him a standing ovation with every piece! The orchestra also performed the “Carnival Overture” and the “Symphony No. 9 in E Minor” “from the New World” by Antonin Dvořák, both of which were well received by the audience.

Reviewed by Joan Cochran Sommers (a former student of Anthony Galla-Rini) who had not heard a live performance of his “Concerto No. 2” with orchestra until this one. October 23, 2021.

Photo Up: Dr. William Morse conducts the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra with guest soloist, Stas Venglevski

Photo Down: Dr. William Morse, Joan Grauman, Joan C. Sommers, Stas Venglevski
Dr. William Morse, Joan Grauman, Joan C. Sommers, Stas Venglevski

Amy Jo Sawyer CD titled According to Amy

Cycle Zydeco 2021 Postponed to 2022

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Cycle ZydecoVideo: Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole 2019 Cycling Festival

Cycle Zydeco is postponed to April 20th-24th 2022. Cycle Zydeco is a four-day casual touring ride in South Louisiana. The ride takes place every year during the week after Easter. The festivities include great food, live music, and the finest flat roads Louisiana has to offer.
Unfortunately due to Covid-19 it will not be possible to host 2021 edition - so plan for 2022.

Cycle Zydeco is a festival on wheels. Experience mouthwatering Cajun cuisine and live performances by the best bands in Louisiana. The ride includes tours of many attractions and options for camping or staying in hotels. Immerse yourself in Acadiana: the birthplace of Zydeco, home to both Cajuns and Créoles alike, and one of the most unique cultures in the United States.

Rockin Dopsie Jr & the Zydeco Twisters will be among the featured performers! And there will be additional accordionists!

Read more information in future publications!

Titano Accordion Company

Jeanne Velonis Performs at AAA Seminars

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Video: “Schenectady”, written and performed by Jeanne Velonis, 2020.
Shown at The AAA Seminars on July 31,2021 - Dr. William Schimmel, curator

Jeanne shares, “Several years ago, I had a dream in which this song was playing on a radio, though in the dream it was Tom Waits singing.I have never been to Schenectady.”

Jeanne Velonis is a classical recording engineer and producer by day and an accordionist by night (sometimes the other way around). She attended Haverford College and studied recording at the Aspen Music Festival and New York University. She has worked for public radio in South Carolina and at the Marlboro Music School and Festival in Vermont, and with producer Judith Sherman in New York since 1995.

Jeanne made her accordion performance debut in Carnegie Hall in 2009, in a performance of “In C” by Terry Riley, in an ensemble assembled by the Kronos Quartet. Later, she joined a symphony orchestra, and subsequently began taking lessons, first with Leah Barkan and later with Mary Tokarski. She has served on the Board of the American Accordionists’ Association and its Composers Commissioning Committee, and is a member of the Bachtopus Accordion Ensemble. Her first solo accordion CD, “New York Dronescape”, was released in 2020.

For further information:

Jeff Lisenby CD A Spy In Tortuga

Joe Hall's New CD “Proud to Be a Creole” is Available Now

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Joe Hall Trio
Joe Hall New CDJoe HallVideo: Joe Hall live at Wheatland 2018

Joe Hall & The Cane Cutters play Cajun, Zydeco, and Creole music from Southwest Louisiana. Joe Hall & The Cane Cutters perform Grand Prairie Blues on the main stage at the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus Michigan on Sept 7, 2018.

”The Hall family was blessed with a hard-working father figure who provided in every way for his family of six out there on the southwest Louisiana prairies. Even though Joe never had to work in the fields like most of the Creole share croppers since the days of the Civil War, his is an old soul. During his formative years, young Joe did not pick sweet potatoes or break corn but instead he lent an attentive ear to the many kernels of ancient wisdom from his elders. They recognized him as the “anointed one ” and willingly, Joe Hall accepted the torch of the Creole cultural flame.”

Joe Hall & The Cane Cutters play Cajun, Zydeco, and Creole music from Southwest Louisiana. As a third generation Creole artist who learned at the knee of his grandfather, “King” Ned. Joe Hall is very devoted to preserving his heritage . At the age of 7 years, Hall made regular visits to elder statesmen of Creole music, such as “Bois Sec” Ardoin, Canray Fontenot, Calvin Carriere and Carlton Frank to learn tunes first hand and develop his own style.

Through his grandfather, Joe Hall inherited a love for the accordion, playing his grandpa’s accordion whenever he was away. By the time Ned discovered that Hall had been tinkering with his instrument, the grandson had become surprisingly proficient. From there, Hall paid regular visits to the elder statesmen of Creole music, such as “Bois Sec” Ardoin, Canray Fontenot, Carlton Frank and Calvin Carrière, to learn and play tunes. Surprised to see such a young person with a rabid interest, Carlton Frank invited his brother Paul to meet Hall. "If you stay the way you are and don’t let nobody change you, ’then one day the world is going to know about you."

Cory Pesaturo's Performances

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Cory with Boston Symphony
Cory's TravelsVideo: Cory performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, August 14, 2021

Cory Pesaturo always maintains a very busy performance schedule. 17 places in 45 days! Cory performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on August 14, 2021 conducted by Anna Rakitina. Cory Pesaturo (“C Pez”) is revolutionizing the Accordion. 

The only person to ever win the trio of World Championships on Acoustic, Digital & Jazz Accordion, and an Accordion graduate of the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. In 2017, Pesaturo became a Guinness World Record Holder, as RedBull® flew him to Austria to break the Marathon Accordion Record, in which Cory played for 32 Hours & 14 Minutes.  His performances at all 3 of his World Championships were played on accordions which were not his, and were generally 90% improvised; both aspects are unheard of in the accordion world.  CPez has given 2 TED Talks, 2 Google Talks, an EG Talk, and spoken at various other conferences on the accordion.  

Pesaturo's extensive resumé includes appearances at the White House for President and Mrs. Clinton on 4 different occasions, starting at age 12, and 8 other appearances for the Clintons.  On one of those occasions, he became the youngest person to ever perform at a State Dinner.  Some TV appearances include the Late Show with David Letterman, performing with Johnny Depp, and Nationally televised programs in New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Tunisia, France, and Finland.  On an NYC broadcast, CNBC/FOX host Maria Bartiromo once said “No one is currently doing more for the Accordion than Cory”. 

Additional places and venues he has performed in over the last two months include:

- Cape Cod Italian Festival
- Boston Italian Festival
- Jazz Concert in RI
- DC Jazz Festival with John Pattitucci
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers Game in Tampa
- Dayton, Ohio Italian Festival
- Back to Florida for a Private Gig
- Atlanta private Gig
- Salt Lake City Italian Festival
- Boston for an Interview
- House concert in SF
- Cotati Accordion Festival in San Francisco
- Showing Harold Jones the Tesla & scaring him Half to Death
- Joy Ride with the Tesla through the Windy roads of the redwoods in the California coast
- 3 Chicago Concerts
- Red Sox / Yankees Wild Card Game at Fenway Park
- Concert in Rhode Island
- Kingston, NY Italian Festival
- Columbus Day Parade on 5th Ave. NYC
- Birdland Jazz Club in NYC Performance
- At Symphony Hall in Boston the next night and more!

For further information:

The International Trio, CD Available online, secure server

NAA Weekly Challenge #36: Other Musical Instruments

by Sharon Seaton, Ed.D.
NAA LogoDr. Sharon Seaton shares Weekly Challenge #36:

Challenge: Create a music performance group of various instruments. The accordion is such a social instrument! One reason is its relative portability. Unlike a piano or organ, the accordionist can pick up his/her instrument and travel to join others in making music. That’s one reason our local accordion clubs or associations are so popular. We get to perform for each other—and perhaps even play together.

But all of us do not live among other accordionists. Many of you may feel isolated, not knowing even one other player in your local area. But if you live in a city or town of any size, undoubtedly there are musicians who play some sort of instrument. Why not get together with such a group and perform for each other? Share your expertise with those who may have no knowledge of the accordion. Who knows? You may have inspired a new enthusiast for the accordion!

Remember that you are promoting your beloved instrument to other musicians and perhaps helping to foster its popularity. Those in attendance will surely ask you questions about how the accordion works. What’s more, you may learn something about their instruments that you had little knowledge. Of course, your new group of musicians might also play together as part of your session. That can enhance your sightreading or ear playing ability—and it’s fun!  

How can you find these musicians? They can be found in the everyday activities of your life: your workplace, house of worship, social environments, organizations for common interests such as hobbies. Many people have instruments hidden away as mementos from their school days in band or orchestra class. They may have a long-buried passion for playing but have nowhere to play anymore.

I hope you have a great time with others who do not play your instrument of choice but have much to offer as you share your knowledge and love for your respective instruments!

For further information:
Sharon Seaton:

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

Mary Mancini & Mario Tacca With The Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Hudson Accordion Ensemble
Mary Mancini and Mario TaccaOn October 3, 2021 Mary and Mario Tacca opened their home and gardens to sixty guests who came to listen to the beautiful melodious sounds of the Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble. Tents, tables and chairs were set up to give the guests a clear view of The Ensemble and the flower gardens. The afternoon began with a light lunch for everyone, followed by the Ensemble opening with the festive Cajun piece, “Jambalaya”. The music repertoire, with all music arrangements written by Mario, gave the audience a wide variety of music, including “Lara’s Theme”, “Polka du bas Berry”, “Besame Mucho” and others.

There was a short Intermission, with Mary and Mario entertaining the guests for the second half of the program. Mario wowed the audience with his version of “Second Waltz,” “Tico Tico,” and “Accordion Tzigane.” Mary chose a variety of pieces, including “Send in the Clowns,” “Angels Among Us,” Medley from Les Miserables, “Ave Maria,” and“O Sole Mio.” The Finale with Mary, Mario and the Ensemble had the guests on their feet singing “America the Beautiful!”

The guests were then invited to partake of the “Viennese” table.It was a memorable musical afternoon filled with friendship and the joy of music!

Mario will be performing at Magnanini Winery on Dec 12, 2021 at 1:PM Mario and the Ensemble will perform for “An Evening in Rome” at Assumption Church Father Wilson Hall at 7:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling Assumption Rectory at 914-737-2071. As music venues begin to open up slowly, go to to find the schedule of performances.

The Hudson Valley Accordion Ensemble, founded by Mario Tacca and Mary Mancini, was founded in 2018. Presently, the group consists of nine accordionists, with Mario playing and conducting, drums and guitar. Since 2018, the Ensemble has performed in several venues in Westchester County, and prior to the COVID, once a month at Taormina Restaurant in Peekskill, NY.

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.

For further information:

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

Alabama Accordion Association Presents Elijah Clements in Concert on November 13

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Elijah Clements in ConcertElijah Clements will perform at the Brookwood Baptist Church, 3449 Overton Road, Mountain Brook, Alabama. The program includes a workshop at 9:30 AM. Concerts take place at 1:PM and 9:PM.

His teacher, Elena Fainshtein shares, “My student Elijah Clements won the “Big Squeeze” contest in polka category in Austin, TX on May 11th, 2019 and he performed in Houston on Accordion Kings and Queen Festival!”

This free concert is sponsored by the Alabama Accordion Association. Please come and share with your friends.

For further information:

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

San Francisco Accordion Club: November 21st: Accordion Circle (Virtual via ZOOM)

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
SFACJoin the SFAC in November for another virtual Accordion Circle meeting via ZOOM on November 21, 2021.

Round up your accordion, tune in and be eager to put your name on the play-list as a soloist to entertain us with a tune or two. Accordionists of all skill levels are welcome – from beginners to seasoned experts, and anyone in-between.

If you don’t play the accordion, join the event anyway and cheer the players on. Please contact Ken Schwartz at if you would like to be added to the playlist.

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.

For further information:

The Art of Playing the Accordion Artistically by Friedrich Lips

Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) Meeting on November 3rd

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
LIAACome join the LIAA (Long Island Accordion Alliance) for the November 3, 2021 meeting.

If you play accordion bring your accordion and play a set. Space is limited - reservations are recommended.

The Long Island Accordion Alliance (LIAA) meets st:
La Villini’s Restaurant
288 Larkfield Rd.
East Northport, NY
Phone: 631-261- 6344

The aim of the LIAA is to promote a love for the accordion and accordion music, bring former accordionists back to the instrument, and celebrate the accordion culture.

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Children's Corner

10 Year Old Isabella Pizzarelli Busks for College Fund

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Isabella Pizzarelli
Isabella and her teacherTen year old accordion student Isabella Pizzarelli recently went into a busy area in St. Petersburg, Florida with her 25 year old sister who put a sign in her case “College Fund”. Isabella played for people walking by. In a short time, Isabella earned $262.00. One man had no money but sent her an electronic payment because he enjoyed it so much! Isabella is a lead player in her teacher, Eileen Mattioli’s, accordion band of all ages. Isabella plays piano also but loves the accordion more. Eileen said, “I am very proud of her”.

Isabella has been taking lessons since she was 5 yrs. old in both piano and accordion. Eileen shares, “She is an excellent student and has never missed a lesson. She takes her accordion everywhere and even has played for a wedding when the musician didn’t show up . She is a lead player in our small band. She has won first place in many of our studio contests.

As for me I have been teaching piano and accordion 65 plus years. I have many past students who are very successful in the musical world. One accordionist Sean Koos went with Jone Jett and has now left to go on his own in Vegas. I received the USF Alumni award in 2008 and the Steinway Teacher Award in 2016. For over thirty years my teachers and I had music festivals all over the state. I had a large private studio with 20 teachers in all instruments until 2014 when I sold it and now teach on my own online since the beginning of the pandemic – all over the world.”

We wish Isabella continuing success with her musical studies and encourage her to perform for everyone!

For further information:
Eileen Mattioli

Photo of Isabella and her teacher, Eileen Mattioli

10 Year Old Colin Kennedy Wins Scholarship at Cotati Accordion Festival

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Colin Kennedy
Video: This video shows clips of some of the festival performers including Colin playing "Echoes of Vienna" (waltz by Joseph Zampiceni).

Ten year old Colin Kennedy played his first ever accordion show at the Cotati Accordion Festival and was awarded a $500 scholarship. He was the youngest student performer at the 2021 Cotati Accordion Festival. He performed at the North Bay event Sunday. Journalist Drew Penner contributes, “It was pretty nerve wracking,” Colin said, explaining what it felt like to play “Echoes of Vienna” by Joseph Zampiceni. “That is the first crowd I’ve actually played in front of, as matter of fact.” Kennedy’s journey to this initial burst of success has involved plenty of practice, as well as a little inspiration.

It started when his mom, Natalya Lyukevich, born in Belarus, met local artist Paul Tumason at a show and bonded over a love of Russian culture. Having grown up in a Lithuanian-Czechoslovakian family, Tumason was aware of the beauty of Eastern-European and Western-Asian musical strains. “I played the accordion ‘bayan music’ to show her what I loved about Russian music, and the Cossack Choir,” he said. “Some of the great accordionists in the world are Russian.”

Kennedy had been taking piano lessons, but he enjoyed listening to the accordion sounds Tumason showed him. When his mom suggested he try learning the instrument, he figured, why not? But it wasn’t so easy to find a teacher, Lyukevich says. “First I Googled ‘accordion lessons,’ and the first one that popped up was in Oakland, and I was like, I’m not gonna drive to Oakland for accordion lessons,” she said. “Then, I posted on Next Door. I said, ‘Is there someone in the area who could teach an 8-year-old the accordion?’ And for two weeks, nothing—crickets.” But then, someone replied to Lyukevich, saying her husband could give Kennedy some pointers to get him started.

That’s how Kennedy started learning accordion from Kevin Fernandez, the president of The Mad Woodchuck. He went in with an open mind about the instrument. “I mean, I found it interesting, but not much besides that,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t think anything bad about it. I didn’t think anything good.” Kennedy raced through the fundamentals and quickly outgrew a “12 bass” accordion.

Kennedy ended up getting a scholarship from the San Francisco Accordion Club. His mom took him to the 2019 Cotati Accordion Festival. That’s where he saw Cory Pesaturo, Gary Blair and Great Morgani perform. The festival wasn’t held in 2020 due to the pandemic, but this year Kennedy decided to apply to its eighth annual student scholarship program. He was up against contestants in a category of youth up to 18 years of age, as each sent in footage of them playing their best pieces.

“My strategy was to play it as well as I can,” he explained. Kennedy ended up winning the first prize, the $500 Anthony and Mary Facciuto Scholarship. His mom says returning to the festival was an amazing experience for her son. “It was a wonderful festival,” she said. “He got a lot of positive feedback and encouragement.” Kennedy says he enjoyed meeting all the interesting people and trying tasty eats from the food trucks.

While he’s busked downtown Santa Cruz before, he’d never been a scheduled performer anywhere. His mom says he even had a few “celebrity moments” where people recognized him from the program while wandering around. Kennedy made sure to practice Saturday night before his Sunday performance. Being on stage was a unique feeling, he remembers. “I felt like an elephant doing a tap dance,” he said, adding it was an amazing experience. “I’m looking forward to playing next year.”

The experience taught him a lot about the performance aspect of playing accordion, he says. “You can be nervous, but it’s not good to show that you’re nervous,” he said. “It’s what I figured out after the performance.” His mom could barely contain her own nerves—and excitement. “I wanted him to do well, and he did,” she said. “I was so proud of him.”

Future events

Ksenija Sidorova to Perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO)

by Kevin Friedrich
Ksenija SidorovaDuring the February 3-5, 2022 concert series, renowned accordionist Ksenija Sidorova will perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as part of the Delta Classical series. Praised as “revelatory” (New York Times) with “breathtaking virtuosity” (The Observer), Ksenija Sidorova is the leading ambassador for the classical accordion.

Both a unique and charismatic performer, Ksenija is passionate about showcasing the vast capabilities of the instrument. Her repertoire spans from Bach to Piazzolla, from Efrem Podgaits and Václav Trojan, to Erkki-Sven Tüür and George Bizet, as well as new accordion concertos composed especially for her, plus a multitude of chamber projects. Ksenija works with leading orchestras including NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, MDR Sinfonieorchester [Leipzig], Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Kammerorchester des Bayerischen Rudfunks, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchester-Zurich, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and prestigious conductors including Paavo Järvi, Thomas Hengelbrock, Vasily Petrenko, Kristjan Järvi, Michał Nesterowicz, and Jan Willem de Vriend.

Encouraged to take up the accordion by her grandmother steeped in the folk tradition of accordion playing, Ksenija started to play the instrument at age 6 under the guidance of Marija Gasele in her hometown of Riga. Her quest for more exposure to both classical and contemporary repertoire took her to London where she became a prizewinning undergraduate and postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music studying under Owen Murray. Ksenija will perform the work, "Aconcagua", by Astor Piazzolla. Written in 1979, it quickly found its way into concert halls the world over. The publisher, Aldo Pagani, nicknamed it “Aconcagua” because, as he said, “this is the highest peak of Astor’s oeuvre and the highest [mountain peak] in South America is Aconcagua.”

Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992) was an Argentine tango composer and bandoneon player. His oeuvre revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. Astor Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina in 1921 to Italian parents, Vicente Nonino Piazzolla and Asunta Manetti.

Astor Piazzolla spent most of his childhood with his family in New York City, where he was exposed to both jazz and the music of J. S. Bach at an early age. In 1950, he composed the soundtrack to the film Bólidos de Acero. In 1953 Piazzolla entered his Buenos Aires Symphony in a composition contest, and won a grant from the French government to study in Paris with the legendary French composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. Piazzolla returned from New York to Argentina in 1955, formed the Octeto Buenos Aires with Enrico Mario Francini and Hugo Baralis on violins, Atilio Stampone on piano, Leopoldo Federico as second bandoneon, Horacio Malvicino on electric guitar, José Bragato on cello, and Juan Vasallo on double bass to play tangos, and never looked back. In 1990, he suffered thrombosis in Paris, and died two years later in Buenos Aires.

Among his followers, his own protégé Marcelo Nisinman is the best known innovator of the tango music of the new millennium, while Pablo Ziegler, pianist with Piazzolla's second quintet, has assumed the role of principal custodian of nuevo tango, extending the jazz influence in the style. In the summer of 1985 he appeared with his Quinteto Tango Nuevo at the Almeida Theatre in London for a week-long engagement. On September 6, 1987, his quintet gave a concert in New York's Central Park, which was recorded and, in 1994, released in compact disc format as The Central Park Concert.

For tickets, please visit the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra website at

Voci Armoniche

The American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) Live Festival, Summer 2022

by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian
AAA logo
Frank Busso Snr.Governing Board of the AAA has been excitedly planning our 2022 AAA Festival and is very excited about getting together in person again! Performers and workshop leaders will be announced shortly.

New events are being planned for the evenings, and along with the festival orchestra performance at the Saturday banquet, we will feature the always delightful US Air Force Strolling Strings and the 2022 AAA Lifetime Achievement Award for longtime AAA Board member, Frank Busso, Sr. (see article “AAA Festival 2022” in the Breaking News section of the AAA website: for more about Frank’s upcoming award).

The AAA will be celebrating its 84th anniversary at this festival. Do you know why the AAA was founded? The story is truly inspiring and very informative!! Please visit the article “What Events Led to the Formation of the American Accordionists’ Association?” AAA-Formation.htm which includes a 45 minute video of my workshop on this topic from the 2017 AAA Festival.

The 2022 AAA Festival will be held July 13-17, 2022 at the Marriott Philadelphia West Hotel, 111 Crawford Ave, Conshohocken, PA 19428. Conshohocken is just outside of Philadelphia, close to the airport and many historical attractions, art museums, a zoo and beautiful nature trails. See you there!!
US Air Force Strings

Pigini USA distributor Ernest Deffner

ATG 80th Anniversary Festival July 20-24, 2022

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
ATG 2022 Festival
The long awaited celebration is happening next summer! Join this special event July 20-24, 2022 in the Chicago area as ATG’s 80th anniversary is celebrated!

Registration will be available soon on our website:

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

Dr Schimmel’s Upcoming Performances

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Dr. William SchimmelDr.William Schimmel’s versatility is evident by the many musical projects that he is involved in. He has devoted his life to musicianship particularly utilizing the accordion.

William Schimmel holds a BM, MS and DMA degrees Doctorate from The Juilliard School. He performed with virtually every ensemble in New York from The New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, Jazz at Lincoln Center, most contemporary ensembles, Broadway as well as numerous European tours.

His Tango Project CD'S have reached #1 on the Billboard charts along with Stereo Review Album of the Year and Grammy nominations. He has performed in many movie soundtracks and can be seen and heard in “Scent of a Woman” starring Al Pacino (who received an Oscar). His current CD, “The Theater of the Accordion” features trumpeter Wynton Marsalas and has reached #2 on the Amazon charts (They perform a 6 minute version of "Mahler 9").

He has performed with rock stars as diverse as Sting and Tom Waits who stated: “Bill Schimmel doesn’t play the Accordion, He IS the Accordion”. NPR regarded him as “The World’s Greatest Accordionist” and The New Yorker named him: “Gotham’s Happy Warrior of the Accordion”

Dr. Schimmel resides in Manhattan with his wife, Micki Goodman, a dancer/choreographer andvideo artist. Together they have produced numerous videos that can be seen and heard on YouTube. Dr. Schimmel’s works are currently being archived at the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library.

His 2021-2022 future performances include:

Nov 16 - 19 - Boston Symphony Orchestra. - performance in Jorg Widmann’s “Towards Paradise for Trumpet and Orchestra” - Symphony Hall, Boston

January 15 - Composers. Concordance Concert of Graphic Scores - Machiko Studios, New York. - premiere of Dr. Schimmel’s “King Akkong” for Accordion and mixed ensemble

January 24. - Lincoln Center , New York - “Not Entirely Schubert” - curated by Dr. William Schimmel - more information later

Performances in “Hamlet” by Brett Dean. - The Metropolitan Opera - Lincoln Center, New York May 13, 18, 21, 26, 31, June 4 and 9

“The Seminars 2022 - Too Much Information, So Little Time But We Do It Anyway” Sponsored by The Accordion Global Association - July 29, 30 and 31 - Venue to be

For further information:


Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat Includes 6 Talented Young Artists

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Houston Orchestra
The Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat is pleased to announce the inclusion of six talented young artists. There will be 34 orchestra members at the 2022 retreat which takes place on January 13-16, 2022 under the direction of conductor Stas Venglevski." The accordionists include Ashley Frye (VA), Charlotte Peck (WI), Lorelei Peck (WI), and Sonora Sherman (VA). Also included are Ellina Musatov (VA) on violin and Gabrielle Peck (WI) on cello.

Stas Venglevski and the Houston Accordion Orchestra will present a spectacular collage of European Music at the Kemah Boardwalk Inn January 13-16, 2022. Additional artists include Gail Campanella, Ali Haghshenas, and Daniel Hartnett.

The event includes:
3 full days of orchestra rehearsals
Master Classes with Stas
Concert of original music composed by the orchestra members
Open Mic and jam sessions eery night
Final public concert

The retreat will feature the music of Russia, France, Italy, Moldova, Finland, Azerbaijan and the World Premiere of a new orchestral Overture by Stas Venglevski.

Bonus selection includes “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Freddie Mercury performed by the orchestra.

More info in future publications.For further information:

Accordion Repairs Made Easy by John Reuther

Gator by the Bay - next in March 2022

by Diatonic News
Gator by the Bay
The Gator By The Bay officials report, that the 2021 edition of the festival must unfortunately be postponed until 2022.

Thez have been enthusiastically working since last year on the 20th anniversary edition of the Gator By The Bay Festival which was to take place in May, 2021. Multiple unknowns related to the COVID pandemic unfortunately have made planning exceedingly difficult. Although disappointing, it is clear and logic, that canceling the 2021 festival is the right decision.

It is asked that those who have tickets carried over from 2020 to share in the 2022 edition, vision by carrying them over again to 2022. If your situation has changed and this presents a financial difficulty, contact the officials at You can request a refund through this link. You can If you have made hotel reservations, please remember to cancel them, but look for 2022 hotel information announcements very soon.

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

Oregon Alpenfest Rescheduled to Sept. 29- Oct. 2, 2022

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News
Oregon Alpenfest LogoThe Oregon Alpenfest is rescheduled and will return in 2022. The only Swiss-Bavarian cultural festival in the western U.S. features tasty local bratwurst, Terminal Gravity brews, The Polkatones dance band, the Tirolean Dancers, Swiss yodeler Shelby Imholt, virtuoso accordionist Alicia Jo Straka, alphornists Phil and Gayle Neuman, free polka lessons with Randy and Ashley Thull and art, craft and gift shopping at the Alpine Fair. 

The festival gets underway Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in historic Enterprise and continue Friday through Sunday at the Harley Tucker Rodeo Grounds in the Old West-themed town of Joseph. The town is named for Chief Joseph, heroic leader of the Nez Perce people who inhabited the Wallowa Valley for centuries. 

The Wallowa Mountain country offers hiking, camping, boating, swimming, fishing, hunting, the deepest canyon in North America and the steepest four-passenger tramway in North America. Also: a public art walk, art galleries, quaint shops and great eats.

Oregon's Alpenfest in the spectacular Wallowa Mountains has been entertaining visitors and locals in Swiss-Bavarian style since 1975. The festival is produced by Alpenfest, a nonprofit organization governed by a local board of directors and staffed by an army of volunteers. 

If you'd like to volunteer or ask a question:
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