Welcome to the US National Accordion News "ACCORDION USA" for December 1999/January 2000

Feature Articles: Mario Tacca & Mary Mancini in China and Cotati Accordion Festival Review

US Representatives, Jason Stephen and Cathy Sommers who competed in the World Accordion Championships, in Trossingen, Germany
Welcome to the US National News
US Champions Compete in Germany
Dan McGhee performs with Myron Floren
Cultural Institute Workshops
100 accordionists, One Mile High!
Myron Welcomed with Standing Ovation
Cathy Sommers USA-ATG Champion
Accordion Extravaganza No. 5
UMKC Accordion Orchestra in Concert
50 Years of Accordions in the Rockies
Gary Daverne & Y2K Orchestra in Texas
2000 - The Year Ahead
  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Welcome to the United States National News

We are very happy to welcome you to the first edition of the United States National Accordion News, called "Accordion USA."

With the increasing interest and usage of the Internet, we have added this National News service to the wide array of free services that Accordions Worldwide offers to the Accordion Community. These now include:

(1) Accordions Worldwide (the largest accordion resource on the Internet today)
(2) Accordion Yellow Pages (approximately 20,000 listings)
(3) Accordion Links (the biggest collection of accordion links you could ever imagine) and now
(4) Accordion National News (current publications are found in Italy, Germany and now the USA and France.)

We encourage you to use the submit form on this site to let us know of news items from your area, or to add an accordion gathering/concert to the monthly calendars.

We wish you a very HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON, and all the best for a Happy 2000!

USA in CIA Coupe Mondiale, World Accordion Championships
The Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes, held their Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships, Virtuoso Entertainment Category, and the Junior World Championships in Trossingen, Germany, from November 3-7, 1999. For the first time in many years, the USA was represented, when Cathy Sommers the current USA-ATG Champion competed.

For the first time since its inception, the USA was also represented in the Virtuoso Entertainment Category, when Jason Stephen competed, jointly representing the AAA and the ATG. For a complete review of the Coupe Mondiale, please visit: www.accordions.com/cia

Next year the Coupe Mondiale will be held in Kragujovac, Yugoslavia from October 25-30th, 2000.
Dan McGhee in Concert with Myron Floren
As part of the First Prize for winning the A.T.G. Polka competition at their recent festival in Branson, Dan McGhee was featured in concert at the Welk Theatre and Champagne Resort with the master himself, Myron Floren.

Dan was delighted to enjoy his weekend of stardom, and was recognized all over Branson and at the Welk Resort, as the accordionist who has performed with Mryon during the regular show.
Cultural Institute Workshops
Noted accordion philosopher Dr. William Schimmel moderated three days of concerts and workshops at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York, which featured such artists as the "K" Trio, Frank Busso, Dr. Robert Young McMahan, Dr. Schimmel, his wife Micki Goodman and Ray Rue as Groucho.

During the workshops, renowned accordionist Maddalena Belfiore recalled her days studying with the great Pietro Frosini, which usually involved 4-6 hour lessons, in New York. Maddalena highlighted Frosini's eccentric ways, demanding lessons as well as his expertise in the area of bellows technique. This annual workshop was sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association.
100 Accordionists, One Mile High!

Anyone passing through the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado on September 12th may have witnessed the festivities for the annual Octoberfest Concert. Alice Aman directed the Mammoth accordion orchestra in a variety of selections for this exciting outdoor concert which was held at 3pm in Larimer Square, Downtown Denver.

For other accordion related events in the Colorado area, interested persons are invited to contact Mike or Alice Aman at YMA - Monarch Accordions Phone: + 1 303 452-0716 or e-mail: MAman55119@aol.com

Myron Floren Welcomed with standing Ovation
As Myron Floren (long time ATG member) walked on stage at the Accordionists and Teachers Guild International Festival in July, (in Branson, Missouri) the 1,000 strong audience immediately rose in an emotional standing ovation.

Gracing the concert stage for the first time in over a year, Myron, the guest of honor of the ATG delighted the audience with two medleys of his well known selections. This unscheduled performance was a surprise for all, but Myron just couldn't resist doing what he loved to do most, and that is play the accordion! Complete with bellow shakes, which brought applause from the audience, Myron then went on to direct the ATG Festival Orchestra in three Polka selections, which was a fitting finale of the "Tribute to Myron" concert, held at the Welk Resort.

The reception that followed allowed Myron to greet his fans and sign autographs with all the admiring fans who had come to wish him a warm welcome and play under his direction. (Mryon is pictured here with Amy Jo Sawyer, left, and Joan Sommers, right.)
Cathy Sommers Wins United States Championships
Cathy Sommers won the United States Accordion Championships at the Accordionists and Teachers Guild (ATG) International Festival in Branson, Missouri. This is the first time that a mother/daughter team have won this honor. Cathy's mother, Joan Sommers (our new ATG President), Professor of Accordion at the University of Missouri, Kansas City won this esteemed title in 1955 and 1956. Other crown events at this weekend's competitions were also won by students of Joan Sommers.

Jason Stephen won the Virtuoso Entertainment category at the ATG competition and Dan McGhee, won the Myron Floren Polka Competition. Both Cathy and Jason will represented the ATG at the Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships in Trossingen, Germany from the 3 - 7 November.

Dan returned to Branson to perform with Myron Floren and the Welk Orchestra in October. Other Results were as follows: Championship 15 years: Sam McGhee (student of Joan Sommers, UMKC) Championship 14 years: Jorge Reyna (student of International School of Music, Chicago) Championship 13 years: Shanxi Upsdell (student of Joan Sommers, UMKC).

Joan Sommers who was just elected as President of the ATG, will be taking over from Amy JO Sawyer who has held this office for the last four years. To show you what a small world this is, in 1956 Joan Sommers and Amy JO Sawyer were joint winners in the ATG National Championships, and both represented the ATG at the World Accordion Championships. Amy JO will now serve as a Board of Director for the ATG as well as the editor of the ATG Bulletin.
Accordion Extravaganza No. 5
On October 17th the Accordion Extravaganza No. 5 took place at the Westchester Community College in White Plains, NY. This concert featured accordionists Mario Tacca, Kevin Friedrich, and the K-Trio. Each presented a portion of the program, followed by several works together, some of which also featured Mary Mancini, acclaimed vocalist.

Both The "K" Trio and Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca have been recently featured at the A.T.G. festivals. Last year Mary Mancini and Mario Tacca were the featured artists in Chicago, and this year the K-Trio were presented in concert at the ATG festival in Branson.
UMKC Accordion Orchestra in Concert
The UMKC Accordion Orchestra which recently returned from a highly successful concert tour of Italy, began their 1999-2000 concert season by taking part in a large musical extravaganza at the University of Missouri, Kansas City on October 11th, 1999. They accompanied a 600 piece choir, as well as performing some featured items to a capacity audience.

The orchestra was also featured at the Annual American Family Christmas Concerts in Kansas City on December 5th, 1999. The orchestra is featured in concert as well as being used as the pit orchestra for the show.
Celebrating 50 Years of Accordions in the Rockies
The Rocky Mountain Accordion Society celebrated its 50th Anniversary during its annual competition and festival. The event featured competitions for all ages (including adults), as well as concerts, an 80 piece mass band, a banquet and an open mike session.

Entertainers included the YMA Denver Intermediate Show Band (which delighted the audience with a reenactment of the Willy Wonker Chocolate Factory) and the YMA Springs Prep Band 'Aliens' who entertained the earthlings playing a "2001 Space Odysee!" RMAS President, Alice Aman paid special tribute to teacher Harold Krieger, who had attended and provided students at all 50 annual festivals! Special thanks were then given to Alice for her many years of contribution to the accordion field and a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Mike Aman (teacher and director of Monarch Accordions) for his contribution to the accordion field as a musician, artist and teacher and competition.

Results were as follows:
Open Virtuoso Solo: Stacey Yamada
Open Virtuoso Orchestra: YMA Sprints Virtuoso Orchestra directed by Kim Christian
(They gained a perfect score of 100 marks)
RMAS King: Soum Panda
RMAS Queen: Amanda Kuderka
RAMS Peanut King (5/6 years old): Marlon Bennett
RMAS Peanut Queen (5/6 years old): Camille Christian
Gary Daverne to direct Y2K Orchestra in Plano, Texas
The Texas Accordion Association is pleased to announce a star studded cast for their upcoming convention from 16-19 March, 2000 which has been dubbed the "Year of the Accordion Orchestra."

Conducting the "Y2K" Festival Accordion Orchestra, which is made up of all festival attendees, will be the renowned symphony director Gary Daverne, from Auckland, New Zealand.

Gary is the conductor of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared as guest conductor with major orchestras all over the world. In addition to his conducting skills, Gary is also a prolific composer, and has written many pieces for accordion solo, duo, ensemble and orchestra, as well as making numerous arrangements for accordion orchestra. We invite you to visit www.garydaverne.gen.nz
2000 - The Year Ahead
The much awaited year 2000 will offer a feast of accordion activities, festivals and conventions including such events as The Texas Accordion Association Annual Convention in March, the American Accordionists' Association and The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International conventions in July, the new Accordion Convention in Las Vegas, and the annual Cotati Accordion Festival, both held in August.

(For further information, or to list your event, please consult the monthly calendars for exact dates and contact details.)