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Joe Soprani with Pavarotti in Philadelphia
$1,000.00 Oktoberfest Prize in Texas
Jérôme Richard to Make USA Debut
Stas Venglevski and Doc Severinsen
Annual Cotati Festival draws over 3,000
Henry Doktorski Lecture Recital
Bad Renaissance People in New York City
Kansas City Irish Festival
15th Carrefour Mondiale de l'Accordeon
Summerfest Day of Music
TAA Honorary Memberships Awarded

Cajun Accordion Playing Tutorial

Bulgarian Accordion Coaching Seminar
There's Got to be a Pony
Natoli/Doktorski & Cleveland Chamber Orchestra

Diatonic Tunes anyone can Play

Klezcentricity Concert
Accordion Classroom Video
From Russia - Looking for E-pals
WMAS Activities
Tango Workshop in MD

Gloria Estefan Band buys Accordion

3rd Annual Accordion Rally in Maine
September Dates at a Glance

Joe Soprani to make 4th Appearnce iwth Pavarotti

Accordionist Joe Soprani, who recently peformed for mezzo soprano, Denyce Graves at the Mann Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia will again appear with Luciano Pavarotti and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia conducted by Maestro Leone Magiera, at the Kimmel Center in Philadephia, September 15, 2003 at 7:00 PM. This is Soprani's fourth appearance with Pavarotti in Philadelphia where he has accompanied him on a variety of popular Italian songs arranged by Henry Mancini.

Pavarotti will sing selections of Scarlatti, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Puccini and many other classics. Also on the program is soprano, Cynthia Lawrence who will share the spotlight with Pavarotti in solos and duets from La Boheme and L'Amico Fritz.

This concert may very well be Pavarotti's last performance in Philadelphia before he retires. You don't want to miss this one or any concert of his that may be scheduled in your area.

$1,000.00 First Prize at Addison Oktoberfest Competition

The Texas Accordion Association in conjunction with the Addison Oktoberfest is sponsoring an accordion competition on September 21, 2003

Offering Prize Money of: 1st Prize - $1000.00, 2nd Prize - $500.00, 3rd Prize - $100.00, 4th Prize - $50.00, 5th Prize - $25.00.

Registration forms are available at the information booth at the event, and contest rules are available by visiting the TAA website at

For fuurther information, please contact Greg Klugiewicz: with your name, address, phone, and a statement on how you were inspired to play the accordion, and how you heard about this contest.

Jérôme Richard to Make USA Debut in 2004

The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, (ATG) is proud to present, for the very first time in the USA, six-time World Champion - the French wonder boy - Jérôme Richard.

Jérôme will be making his USA debut as international guest artist at the 2004 ATG International Competition and Festival, which will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from
July 21 - 25, 2004.

Jérôme is undoubtedly one of the most talented virtuoso entertainers of the new Millennium and has performed at major festivals and events all over Europe.

A talented performer in both Virtuoso and Classical styles, a composer and teacher and master of improvisation, Jérôme was born on the 29th of June 1980 in Cholet, France where he began to learn the accordion at the age of 9 years old.

Incomparably musically gifted with virtuosity and exceptional, breathtaking improvisation, Jérôme, despite his young age is already one of the best. In addition to his obvious technical skill, Jérôme shows sensitivity, simplicity and a sense of humor.

His meeting with teacher Frédéric Deschamps set him on the path to international fame as he performed the unequaled feat of winning six major international competitions including:

  • CIA Coupe Mondiale (Virtuoso) - Winner
  • CIA Coupe Mondiale (Classical) - Winner
  • Trophée Mondiale (Virtuoso) - Winner
  • Klingenthal International Competition - Winner
  • Citta da Castelfidardo - Winner
  • Trophée Mondiale (Classical) - Winner

Jérôme's appearance will be in the Ballroom of the ATG Festival Headquarters which is the Best Western Milwaukee Airport Hotel.

ATG Convention Committee Chairperson Faithe Deffner has negotiated a phenomenal room rate at $65.00 plus tax for single to quad occupancy. This rate INCLUDES a full buffet breakfast, which is planed to be augmented with a daily Breakfast Mini Concert.

In addition to Jérôme, the ATG is extremely pleased to be able to present for the first time as an ATG Guest, jazz legend Art Van Damme.

Art, a legendary American jazz musician has given the Accordion a whole new unique sound that is internationally recognized. He has combined the Accordion with Guitar and Vibes, and a rhythm section of Bass and Drums, thus creating a unique sound, and with the harmonic melodies and jazz rhythms they produce, truly separated them from any other musical group.

In 1944, Art made his first recording on the Music Craft label. He joined the NBC staff in Chicago in 1945, and spent 15 years doing Radio and TV Shows. Art with his Quintet worked with many top entertainers such as Dave Garraway, Hugh Downs, Ranson Sherman, Howard Miller, Bob and Kay, and Dennis James. The Quintet did a number of spots for top singers and instrumentalist, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Buddy De Franco, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Art has recorded 42 Albums plus a number of Singles on 45-RPM and 78-RPM records. His recordings were on various labels such as Capital, Columbia, and MPS of West Germany. Some of the top artists that recorded with Art were Johnny Smith, Joe Pass, Joe Stafford, Francis Bergman, the Dinning Sisters, and Harry James. In an effort to create a new sound for the Accordion, Art recorded several Albums where he combined the Accordion with Strings, Brass, Flutes, and with the vocal group, Singers Unlimited.

Art has made 37 trips to Europe and Australia, where he did live concerts, and appeared as a guest performer on Radio and TV. He has also appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the Mike Douglas Show, the Lawrence Welk Show, and the Dinah Shore Show. His nightclub work included the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, Sahara in LakeTahoe, Beneventure Hotel in Montreal, Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, Harrah's in Reno, and Disney World in Florida.

Besides having the group in the top ten instrumental categories for many years in Billboard, Metroname, and Playboy Magazine Polls, Art Van Damme was voted Top Jazz Accordionist in Downbeat Magazine's Polls for ten consecutive years. He was also voted Top Accordionist in Contemporary Keyboard Magazine from 1976 to 1980. The five-year dominance of C.K. Polls has put Art in the " Gallery of Greats". Plus, the Quintet made more transcriptions than any other small group, including 139 individual quarter-hour shows for RCA Thesaurus and also many commercial spots.

Art Van Damme is undoubtedly one of the finest virtuosos of the instrument. He is to the Accordion what Benny Goodman is to the Clarinet. His precise control of the bellows that has allowed him to accent every note on the instrument along with his stunning technique he extracts, gives him such a unique sound that it is hard to believe your hearing an Accordion. He has done more in helping to recognize the Accordion as a jazz instrument than any other performer. Many of us truly believe, he is the World's Greatest Jazz Accordionist.

For more information on these two outstanding artists, including sound clips from their respective CD's, updated festival information and details on the Best Western Hotel Milwaukee Airport, please visit

ATG President with Doc Severinsen
Accordionists & Teachers Guild (ATG) President, Stas Venglevski, will participate in Doc's Tribute to Wisconsin (that's Mr. Entertainment - Doc Severinsen - right) for three concerts, September 19, 20, and 21, 2003 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Effervescent Principal Pops Conductor, Doc Severinsen, will light up the stage with the Pops season opener as he shares the stage with local stars that celebrate the rich heritage that is Wisconsin.

Stas, a most talented accordionist and entertaining personality, who has performed with Doc and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in the past, will be one of the featured artists. With Doc and Stas - you can expect the unexpected!!!

Doc’s Tribute to Wisconsin will be:

Friday, September 19 at 8:00 PM
Sat, September 20 at 8:00 PM
Sun, September 21 at 7:30 PM


Doc Severinsen, conductor
Megumi Kanda, trombone
Kim Scholes, cello
Stas Venglevski, accordion

The event is sponsored by A.O. Smith Foundation. For additional information see

3,000 at 13th Annual Cotati Festival in California

Accordionist and Entertainer John Hammond reports of the success of the 13th Annual Cotati Accordion Festival which was held at La Plaza Park in Cotati, California on August 23rd & 24th.

Attendance was very high and the famous "Lady Of Spain-a-ring" had more participants than ever before! This began with a flock of white doves being released. Two choruses of Lady Of Spain followed by a rousing group version of "Beer Barrel Polka". One lady did the bellow shakes through the entire Lady of Spain (2 choruses) and Beer Barrel Polka!

"The Great Morgani" entertained with accordion favorites such as "I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby" and "Theme From The Godfather" in a full black "Accordion-Man" suit complete with black gloves. A feat even in comfortable weather, but even more so in 90 degree F temperatures!

Jazz accordionist Jimmy Hillman & Friends played a program of standards including Duke Ellington's "Take The A Train", Angel Eyes, All Of Me, and a Bossa Nova "Watch What Happens".

Over 3,000 people enjoyed over thirty accordion acts running continuously on 2 stages, a Polka Tent running daily and a variety of vendor booths.

Entertainers included The O'Grady Family, Golden State Accordion Club Band, Marcelo Tango (Odile Lavault), Lou Jacklich with Jeremy Jeans, Fancy Pans Steel Drums, Sev Garcia, The K Trio, Alex Meixner, The Great Morgani, Jimmy Hillman & Friends, Jim Boggio Scholarship Presentation, Tocanto, Guy Klucevsek, Those Darn Accordions, Mark Growden & The Electric Pinata, Salaam Shalom, Jason Webley, Len Wallace, Trio Paradiso (Rich Kuhns), Janet Todd, Patricia Bartell, Daniel Thonon & Les Temps Des Cerises, Georges Lammam Ensemble (Elias Lammam) and Dr. Loco & Sus Tiburones del Norte (Jose Cueller).

In addition there were plenty of used accordions for sale plus music, recordings, cases/gig-bags, and all types of accessories. Steve Balich Polka Band & Friends entertained daily in the Polka Tent which had a huge wooden dance floor and Al Rapone's Zydeco Express performed both days in the Cotati Community Center for the "Cajun/Zydeco Dance Party".

Accordionist Presents Lecture/Recital at University

American concert accordionist Henry Doktorski served as a guest lecturer/performer at an Adult Education Music Appreciation class at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Monday, August 4, 2003. He presented a lecture/concert titled "The Accordion" to about fifty students. Doktorski spoke about the history and development of the instrument, including:

  1. Its invention in 1829 as a diatonic folk instrument by Cyrill Demian (1772-1847) in Vienna, and its phenomenal expansion throughout the world (1830-1850) with the hot dance craze: the polka.
  2. Its development around 1900 into a sophisticated instrument capable of playing in all keys.
  3. The "golden age" of the accordion from 1910-1960 and some vaudeville and radio stars such as Guido and Pietro Deiro, Pietro Frosini, Charles Magnanate, Anthony Galla-Rini, Myron Floren and Dick Contino.
  4. The decline of the accordion (1960-1990) due to the advent of rock 'n roll.
  5. The resurgence of popularity of accordion due to interest in world music and the Argentinean composer/bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla.

Doktorski also played five musical examples, including pieces by Brahms (Hungarian Dance No. 5), Dvoraky/Paul (Clarinet Polka), Handel (Suite for a Musical Clock), Guido Deiro (Tango Tosino) and Astor Piazzolla (Oblivion).

Class instructor, Dr. Owen Cantor, said, "I was thrilled with Henry's lecture/performance and so were the students. We all learned a lot about the accordion and discovered a side of it which is unfortunately unknown by most people. In the hands of an artist, it can make some really beautiful and moving music. After class, I overheard many students speaking about his presentation in excited and glowing words."

For further information, please contact Henry at

Bad Renaissance People Seminar in New York

Three consecutive days of seminars, workshops, lectures, discussions and performances entitled "Bad Renaissance People" was held at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York from August 29th to 31st, 2003.

"Bad Renaissance People" are people who are bad for good reason, people who are possessed by more than one vision, charmingly unfocused people who like to "see in the dark," people whose journeys are dictated by the whims of the accordion, constantly reinventing the wheel and themselves, to be there for the show, yet to be seen at the same time, serious people, party people, healthy minds, sick souls, burned out bodies yet still moving on, moving on in every unpromising direction, loving every excruciating moment.

Composer/author/philosopher/accordionist Dr. William Schimmel (pictured left) moderated the ninth smash year of this esteemed Master Class and Concert Series sponsored by the American Accordionists' Association.

The Saturday evening concert featured an eclectic array of accordion items ranging from the performance of Otto Luening's 'Rondo' to selections from the show 'Failure' featuring accordionist Benjamin Ickies to the Main Squeeze Orchestra directed by Walter Kuhr.

Benjamin Ickies, a student of Dr. William Schimmel moved to New York from California just over a year ago to pursue his performing career and teamed up with fellow musicians Spencer Katzman - Guitar, Joe Exley on Tuba and Matt Brundrett on drums to create a show entitled "Failure."

As part of the Failure show, the band gave away a Construction Worker hat, which was eventually given back, so it was made good use of, as Benjamin wore the hat, Matt used it for his percussion instrument (pictured left). An incredible display of energy and variety, the audience was even offered cotton balls for their ears to help with the high volume on a couple of numbers, however, one lady concert goer in her 80's said that even though she was an old lady, she was open to all kinds of music so refused the cotton balls and thoroughly enjoyed the performance!

Other performances included popular NY accordionist Will Holshouser (also a student of Dr. William Schimmel) who performed an original Jazz Renaissance Suite (Bouree, Sarabande, Siciliana and Gigue) written specifically for the concert. Using stradella and free bass, the piece a mixture of jazz/celtic and other styles and was well received for its premiere.

Accordionist Paul Stein presented a series of Songs of Loss (Twin Towers Fell-Stein, Not in our Name (lamenting the war in Iraq) and Love Lost-Stein, while accordionist and entertainer Ray Rue presented 'Bones' - An Osteopathic Fantasy.

Moderator of the series Dr. William Schimmel was joined by Micki and Kathleen Goodman for two numbers, 'The Dolls' and 'Holbein in New York' (A seantic drama) as well as a number with Kamala Sankram entitled 'How to play Goth Accordion in one Terrifying Lesson'.

The evening came to a close with the 10 member all female 'Main Squeeze Accordion Orchestra'.

Opening with a chant based piece composed and directed by Dr. Schimmel (pictured right) called entitled 'Virtue', the orchestra played standing during the entire work. The orchestra was then joined by conductor Walter Kuhr for the remaining works.

Among the members of the orchestra is accordionist Terri Conti who was one of the five finalists in the Search for the Hottest Accordionists held in Branson several years ago by the American Accordionists Association.

The 9th annual series of Master Classes and Concerts was presented to a capacity audience at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City.

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of this popular event sponsored by the American Accordionists Association.

Dr. William Schimmel is pictured above, joined by Kathleen (left) and Micki (far right) Goodman during the presentation of 'Holbein in New York.'

Kansas City Irish Festival
Accordionist Brett Gibson performed with two bands at the Kansas City Irish Festival. In addition to performing with popular band Shenanigans, Brett also performed in his newly formed band called Residence Rules.

A native of New Zealand, Brett provides virtuoso performances on both button and piano accordions, having competed against and trained New Zealand national champions on that instrument.

Brett's new band Residence Rules is named for a standing rule in the Celtic region enabling hotel residents to have 24/7 access to the hotel pub, Residence Rules mixes Irish, Scottish and Latin influences into a musical mold that defies belief. It is Kansas City’s newest and freshest Celtic based band Blending sounds that pulse beyond folk traditions.

A while ago, Brett had a conversation with a number of Kansas City musicians who expressed an interest in a Celtic Fusion group. As it turned out, they also had an interest in excellence, and he has been fortunate enough to pull them all together for something quite distinct to the local music scene.

Depending on which member of the group we're talking about, their musical influences range from Natalie McMaster to Bach. The current lineup of Residence Rules includes accordion, fiddle, flutes and whistles, bodhran, drums, conga, bass and guitar with bagpipes and harp being added for special performances.

For information, please contact: or visit them on the Internet at:

15th Carrefour Mondiale de L'accordeon in Canada

The 15th Carrefour Mondiale de L'accordeon was held in Montmagny, Québec from August 28th to September 1st.

With the goal of promoting cultural diversity and the discovery of many different musical styles, the Carrefour Mondiale de l'accordéon offers a unique opportunity to enjoy folk, classic, rock, jazz and popular repertoires.

Since 1989, recognized accordionists, from all over the world, have graced the Carrefour's stages with their presence. In doing so, they have help in creating an international an multicultural event. In addition to the accordion's reputation for bringing people together, this event also highlights an important part of our cultural heritage, while at the same time opening the door to the discovery of world music!

Events included an Opening Concert at the Louis-Jacques-Casault High School (Edwin-Bélanger Auditorium), conferences, exhibits at The Accordion Museum (Manoir Couillard-Dupuis), Contemporary Art Exhibit at the Migration Center, Parisian traditional music concerts, classical concerts, folk dance party, Ball Musette Evenings, Midnight Concerts, Jazz concerts, an "Improvised musical match", Kids Corner and many more.

Performers included Paris Moscou Duo, The "K" Trio, Dràgoï Ion (Roumania), Nick Villarreal (USA), Max Baca (USA), Patrick Quichaud (France), Alejandro Barcelona (France), Henry Lemarchand (France) and Len Wallace (USA).

On the final day a "Goodbye Brunch" was be held at Nicole Pavilion, which will give both artists and festival-goers the opportunity to come together one last time. For details on upcoming festivals, please e-mail:

Sommerfest Day of Music in Minneapolis
The Minnesota Accordion Orchestra with ATG & AAA members Dee Langley & Greg Dagoumas performed at the recent Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest Day of Music sponsored by Marshall Fields on Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis.

This event is internationally recognized as a summer music festival that features a variety of orchestral and chamber music concerts as well a 24-hour music marathon which features classical, folk, pop, rock, jazz, and gospel performances. The Minnesota Accordion Orchestra was a favorite among the 2,000+ audience that enjoyed their vibrant and heartfelt eclectic program featuring everything from Classical to Cajun music.

For more information on the Minnesota Accordion Orchestra e-mail Dee Langley:

TAA Announces Honorary Members
The Texas Accordion Association has announced its lifetime "Honorary Member" 2003 recipients.

The Honorary Member position is awarded by the Texas Accordion Association (TAA) Board of Directors only to those it deems to have made significant contributions to the Texas Accordion Association in addition to contributions on the national and international level.

Overall character based on positive attitude and contributions are high on the prerequisite requirements of potential candidates for this award when being considered by the TAA Board of Directors.

Recipients include:

  • Eddie Chavez - publisher of the "Golden Age of the Accordion," and TAA adviser who was instrumental in expanding the TAA to other parts of Texas including San Antonio and Austin.

  • Kevin Friedrich - a Board Member of AAA, ATG and President of the CIA, Producer of and USA representative for Accordions Worldwide.

  • Anthony Galla-Rini - a founder of both the AAA and the ATG who's contributions to the accordion world go without saying.

  • Frank Marocco - Jazz expert from Los Angeles who was the founder of FOTA and an advisor to the TAA who is one of the most sought after accordionists active in commercial field.

  • Charles Nunzio - who was one of the founding members of the American Accordionists Association back in 1938.

Other Honorary members include the late Dr. Willard Palmer and the late Bill Hughes.

Cajun Accordion Playing Tutorial
Welcome to Big Nick's introduction to Cajun accordion playing tutorial!

This lesson set is intended to provide some starting instruction for those interested in picking up the Cajun accordion and included are some tips on how to amplify the Cajun Accordion for live performance as well as what to look for when buying an accordion.

Lessons are presented in both video (Microsoft Media files) and audio format. If you need the Windows Media player, it can be downloaded for free at Microsoft's homepage.

This is a free lesson .. It's Tom Nickels (Big Nick's) effort to give something back to the community of Cajun music and culture that has provided such a rich cultural heritage for us to enjoy and pass on and feel free to copy and use these lessons for your own personal use. These lessons are only an introduction, and a few advanced techniques. Students are encouraged to please make an effort to 'learn to walk before running.' and in addition, advises that a good instructor can always be very helpful.

An overview of the topics covered include:

  • About the accordion
  • Buying an accordion
  • Accordion elements
  • starting lessons
  • Hold the accordion
  • Bass & Chords
  • Scale
  • Octaves
  • Melody
  • Octave Melody
  • Trills
  • Bouncing
  • Trill/Oct/Melody
  • Ornaments
  • Rhythm Techniques
  • Micing

Big Nick & the Cydecos write and perform what they term as "Cydeco" music, which is similar to, but not the same as "Zydeco" music. The genre is a development from the cross cultural mixing of Louisiana's Zydeco and Cajun music, with the Midwest's R&B feeling.

Tom Nickel, alias 'Big Nick' , along with Cy, is the team’s founder. The accordion is a relatively new endeavor for Big Nick. He had played guitar and piano in numerous bands prior to discovering the incredible impressive heritage of Cajun and Zydeco music, right in his back yard (well, almost his back yard: Milwaukee’s Summerfest 'Leinenkugel's Zydeco' tent).

Big Nick likes to visit Louisiana, and has spent time studying the Cajun Box with Louisiana’s Paul Daigle and Chicago Cajun Ace's Charlie Terr at the Folklore Village workshops. His most recent studies were with Dirk Powell of Balfa Toujours and dance with Kristine Balfa.

The accordion weaves a thread of unity through a multitude of seemingly unrelated music genres: Conjunto and Tex Mex, Irish and Scottish, Klezmer and Arab, Argentinean and even Chinese music. Each culture has attempted to individualize the instrument (in all its incarnations and types) by applying wildly descriptive names to it: Folk/blues legend Leadbelly called it a windjammer. The Zulus call it a squashbox. Mark Twain called it "the stomach Steinway."

The point is that there are truly are not many musical borders on the planet any longer. Tom Nickel (Big Nick) understands all this and has done his homework very well. He started Big Nick and Cydecos in 1995 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with veteran drummer Cy Costabile (whose name inspired the deliberate misspelling of the band's moniker) after picking up a used accordion at a Goodwill store. He began to explore the instrument's history and possibilities beyond his indigenous knowledge, polka music, and very quickly discovered and fell in love with the spicy, good time fun of Cajun and zydeco music. He then gathered adventurous local talent around him and became the area's top proponent of Louisiana roots music.

For more information, please visit:

Dimitar Gueorguiev offers Bulgarian Music Seminars
Bulgarian accordionist Dimitar Gueorguiev who recently performed at Kramarczuk's in Minneapolis is giving coaching sessions on Bulgarian rhythms and ornamentation for the next two weeks only before he leaves to go home.

He is an experienced and devoted teacher/clinician and willing to work with the most elementary rudiments of Bulgarian music or most intricate of advanced ornamentation with any student or professional. This is a great opportunity to have a native expert show you some of the "tricks" of odd metered music.

Recommended for either professional, semiprofessional, student or enthusiasts, this is a rare opportunity to arrange a private tuition.

The minimum coaching session of one hour ($50.00 each hour) can be arranged through USA contact: Dee Langley by contacting:

For concert schedule at Kramarczuk's in Minneapolis, please visit:

World Premiere of "There's Got to Be A Pony"
"There's Got to be a Pony," is based on a story by Arem Roder about two siblings who discover a magic saddle. The entire story will be acted out on horseback by world known equestrian performers, with story tellers, singers, and the Pueblo Symphony, under the direction of Dr. Jacob Chi, providing live music. Stas Venglevski will join the symphony on bayan.


River City Roundup will proudly host the world premier of "There's Got to Be A Pony," Sunday, September 28, 2003 at 2:00 PM at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska. This hour and a half event is a musical equitation program of extreme culture based on a story by Arem Roder.

The unique family show will depict the story of a young boy and girl who discover a magic saddle. The performance will be narrated as the characters come to life through both professional and local horse riders performing to the Pueblo, Colorado symphony orchestra. "There's Got to Be A Pony" is a great opportunity for families and children of all ages to enjoy the excitement of watching live horses perform. Ticket prices are $15 for adults at $12 for children.

Members of the audience will be amazed by the transformation of the arena and the showmanship and skill of the performers as they maneuver to the choreographed patterns. The show will feature two acts with several pieces performed in each by over 30 riders including many from the local area. Dressed in authentic costuming, the characters will capture imaginations and transport the audience into their magical story.

For a complete schedule of events or more information on River City Roundup Fair and Festival visit

River City Roundup Fair and Festival is a family celebration of agricultural and western heritage. Its mission is to educate and benefit families. The event is managed by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation whose mission is "to build a more prosperous heartland, where communities can flourish and every child can succeed."

Cleveland Chamber Symphony Concert
Henry Doktorski and Joseph Natoli will perform with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony in a concert at 8 PM on Monday night, September 22, 2003. The two American accordionists will perform Edwin Schufhoff's "HMS Royal Oak" (1930), a jazz oratorio for reciter, jazz singer, mixed choir and symphonic jazz orchestra, based on text by Otto Rombach. The event is free to the public and will be held at the Drinko Recital Hall in Cleveland State University's Music and Communication Building near downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The concert will be conducted by John McLaughlin Williams. (Henry is pictured above with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony during a previous engagement.)

Ervin Schulhoff (1894-1942), a twentieth-century Czech composer, came from a Prague Jewish-German family. Even though his parents were not musical themselves, they wholeheartedly supported and encouraged their son's talent. He commenced his musical studies at the Prague Conservatory of Music, continued them in Vienna and Leipzig (where his composition teacher was Max Reger) and completed them successfully in Cologne.

In the early days of his career, Schulhoff's most favorite composers included Reger, Strauss, Debussy and to same extent Scriabin. But the promising start of his career as a composer and pianist was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, a period which Schulhoff spent as a soldier mostly on the eastern front. His wartime experiences completely changed his vision of the world and of art.

During his stay in postwar Germany (1919-1923), Schulhoff joined the ranks of the left-wing avant-garde, while helping to shape its views as a composer. He was particularly attracted by the Berlin Dadaism of painters Grosz and Dix, to whose art Schulhoff responded by utilizing jazz as an instrument for increasing that provocative distance that divided the avant-garde on the one hand and the power elite and its culture on the other. "Picturesques for Piano" (1919), dedicated to Grosz, was his first jazz cycle, which was eventually followed by a number of other compositions for various instruments up to the jazz oratorio "H. M. S. Royal Oak" (1930).

In his cantata "Manifesto" (1932) Schulhoff still considered using a nontraditional form, but in his subsequent symphonies (from the Third to the Sixth between 1935 and 1942) he completely espoused and adopted the conservative doctrine of socialist art, which eventually brought him into conflict with his own talent. After that, Schulhoff never found his way out of his artistic predicament. Following the tragic events of the 1938-39 period he thought of settling down in the Soviet Union, even obtaining Soviet citizenship, but he could not make up his mind quickly enough. After Germany s attack on the Soviet Union in World War II, he was arrested and imprisoned first in Prague and later in the Wulzburg camp, where he died of tuberculosis after about a one-year of imprisonment. At the time his death Schulhoff was sketching his Eighth Symphony.

Ruth Sieber provided a translation of a synopsis -- of the forty-minute oratorio -- by Josef Beck (Erwin Schulhoff, Leben und Werk): "H.M.S. Royal Oaks is a tragicomic glorification of jazz which influences all people, without regard to the color of their skin, by the hypnotic power and clears the Philistines representing the Old World, out of the way. The content of the subject (supposedly inspired by a real incident) is as follows: An admiral forbids jazz music on board of a British Navy ship, the crew revolts, the leaders of the revolt are put in chains but they do not stop to sing a song about the colored people in Panama. Her Majesty's Government puts an end to this injustice by court-martialing the admiral and relieving him of his office."

H.M.S. Royal Oaks is orchestrated for an orchestra consisting of strings, brass, percussion, 2 banjos, 3 saxophones and 2 accordions. Doktorski and Natoli will perform the piece with authentic 1930 period instruments with beautiful rhinestone designs and curved keyboards kindly loaned to them by Jack and Kathy White, curators of the Cleveland Accordion Museum.

Henry Doktorski has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the McKeesport Symphony and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, to name a few. He has recorded with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony (you can hear him on the hit CD Cinema Serenade with violinist Itzhak Perlman) and was the featured soloist on two compact discs: "A Classical Christmas" with the Pittsburgh Chamber Orchestra and "Music by George Gershwin" with the Duquesne Chamber Players. He has recently finished recording the complete works of Guido Deiro, a double CD anthology, which will be released in 2004 by Bridge Records.
Doktorski also serves on the faculty of The City Music Center at Duquesne University as instructor of accordion and is the founder of The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. -- a nonprofit educational organization devoted to the accordion and classical music.

Joseph Natoli makes his home in northeast Ohio and has been a performer and advocate of the accordion since 1960. Joe started his studies with prominent Ohio accordion teacher, the late Mickey Bisilia of Youngstown, Ohio. Like many other accordionists of his time, Joe developed his classical performance skills in state and national competitions hosted by the American Accordionists' Association (AAA), eventually winning its national title at the age of 18 in Washington, D.C.. Later that year (1972), Joe became the AAA United States representative in the Coupe Mondiale world accordion competition held in Caracas, Venezuela, where he was chosen first runner up. Joe also released an album for Giulietti Accordion Corporation that year under the Neofonic label entitled Accordion Masterworks presents Joseph Natoli and Richard Romiti, which includes many unique solo and duet arrangements and original compositions for the free bass accordion.

Natoli was the first student ever to be accepted at the University of Toronto using free bass accordion as an applied major instrument, studying with renowned Canadian accordionist Joseph Macerollo. While at the University of Toronto, Joe participated in the first International Accordion Symposium as a performer and composer, for which his Eclat for 5 accordions was commissioned. In 1978 and 1979, Joe also received 2 substantial Ohio Arts Council grants to write and record Prism/Rebirth for free bass accordion, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, and a large constituent of percussion.

Please visit or e-mail:

Diatonic Tunes Anyone Can Play

So you got a button accordion as a birthday present two years ago (or you bought a cheap concertina on E-Bay) and still haven't figured out how to play a polka? Here's your chance to dust off that squeezebox and put it to good use - take it out of the closet and learn to play a simple tune. Entertain at parties! Impress your family and friends! Drive your coworkers wild with envy! Launch your musical career! Rid your house of vermin!

On Sunday September 21 from 1.00 PM to 3.00 PM, Wendy conducts a workshop for beginning diatonic button box and concertina players, "Diatonic Tunes Anyone Can Play", House of Musical Traditions, 7040 Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912 (just outside Washington DC.)

The workshop is designed for those who have figured out where the notes are on the keyboard, but would like some help putting the music together. Please bring a tape recorder, pencil, notebook, and a music stand. (Inexpensive music stands will be available for sale, as well as instructional material).

Other squeezeboxes are most definitely welcome, but focus will be on push-pull diatonic instruments: button accordions (melodeons) and Anglo concertinas. We will play tunes mainly in the key of C, so your instrument must have a C row or at least be able to play in C, if you wish to participate by playing along - sorry, no discount for auditing. Private instruction available by appointment at reduced rate for paid attendees who cannot play in C.

The following topics will be covered:

  • What does diatonic and chromatic mean?
  • What tunes should I look for, and how do I recognize a diatonic tune?
  • The role of written music and tablature / playing by ear.
  • How to adapt music that is not diatonic (what to do about missing sharps and flats).
  • Getting the rhythm right.
  • Fingering - is there such a thing as "right" and "wrong"?
  • Cross row vs. straight row playing.
  • Left hand accompaniment.
  • Playing along with others.

Space is limited, please sign up early. When you sign up, please include information about your instrument: brand name, number of rows, what keys, etc.

For further information please call: 301-270-9090 and ask for Kristen Jones or Wendy Morrison or visit: or e-mail:

Klezcentricity Concert

Come hear the wild and authentic Yiddish music of Klezcentricity, 'THE' Jewish Wedding Band for the 57th century! Featuring accordionist Wendy Morrison.

The concert will take place October 5, 2003 at 12 noon at Carroll Avenue Gazebo, 7040 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, MD.

For details, please contact or visit

Accordion Classroom Video - Advanced Beginner

Now that you've learned the basics from the "Accordion Classroom - Getting Started" video, it's time to move on to the next level.

The Accordion Classroom - Advanced Beginner video provides over 40 private lessons. That's nearly one year of one-on-one individual instruction sessions! In conjunction with the Palmer-Hughes Accordion Coursebooks 2 and 3, Ken gives you practical guidance throughout each
lesson. He also offers expanded learning techniques that will help you enjoy the fun and rewarding experience of making music.

His demonstrative, step by step approach will show you how each technique should be played properly, with ease and natural progression. This video is not only the hub for preparing you to play a wide variety of music, but it will help you to develop your own unique style! After this video, there will be no bounds of what you can do.

The Accordion Classroom video in combination with the Palmer-Hughes Coursebooks 2 and 3, will help you learn more about the treble and bass keyboards, review of the right and left hand, treble study, the grand staff, alternating the basses, C chords, seventh and eighth note introductions, key signatures, major scales, quarter notes, minor chord introductions and much much more!

For more information and ordering, please visit:

Looking for E-pals in USA

Russian accordionists Alex and Gyuzel who make up the duo called "Accordionmania" are looking for fellow accordionists in the USA to correspond with.

The duo who are currently finishing a tour in South Korea, would like to correspond with those who are artists or simply love accordion music in their search to find friends with joint interests, to share our experience and compare notes with.

The duo are full of life and energy and eager to make new friends in the USA.

You can correspond with Alex and Gyuzel at

WMAS Fall Activities
The Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society will be hosting a workshop by Dale Wise called "Accordion Secrets 101." We will also be practicing for the December 7 holiday concert, which Dale will be conducting. At its meeting last Thursday, the executive committee decided the concert would last about an hour, starting at 4 PM, and include several pieces by the full group (or those who wish to participate), plus selections by soloists or small groups. If you would like to take part in any capacity, please let me know. We will not sell tickets for the event but will be asking for a donation of $5 at the door, and a potluck for musicians and audience members will follow.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing Those Darn Accordions September 1 at IOTA in Clarendon, and am hoping that some of you will join me. Various WMAS members are playing around town, so be sure to check the calendar on the Web site.

Dale Wise's accordion repair workshop has been set for November 15-16 at Dale's farm in Burr Hill, Virginia, near Fredericksburg. The workshop will run from 10 am until 4 PM on Saturday, and then from 1 to 5:30 PM on Sunday. I have secured a group rate of $69 at the Holiday Inn Select in Fredericksburg for the night of the 15th (the rate applies if we use 10 rooms; otherwise it will be $89). Please make your own reservation, using the code WMA, by calling 1-800-682-1049.

The mission of WMAS (pronounced Wah-mass) is to bring together accordionists and promote accordion music in the national capital region.
They meet on the second Tuesday every month at 7:30 PM at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church in Falls Church, Virginia. To cover the cost of renting the church, we ask everyone to bring a donation of $2.00 to every meeting.

For questions about the WMAS organization, contact the president: Karen Denice (703) 671-5395 or e-mail: or visit:

Tango Workshop in MD

A Tango Workshop will be held Sunday September 7, 2003 on the Dance Stage from 1 PM to 2 PM The workshop will be held at Takoma Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Rd, Takoma Park, MD.

Music provided by accordionist Wendy Morrison, pianist Marc Glickman, and other friends.

For information, please contact Marc Glickman at:

Gloria Estefan Band purchases Accordion

Having a website paid off for Accordions and Keyboards owner John Gaunt who just sold a 3/5 Reed amplified Imperial accordion to the Gloria Estefan Band in Miami.

The sale was made site unseen, based purely on the picture and information provided on the website of Accordions and Keyboards.

We look forward to hearing the accordion on stage soon!

3rd Annual Accordion Rally is November 1st in Maine

Saturday November 1, 2003 will see the 3rd Annual Accordion Rally in Maine which will take place at the Trenton Grange Hall, Trenton Maine from 10.00 AM until 5.00 PM with an evening concert at 7:00 PM. There is a $10.00 registration fee (lunch not included) with the option to purchase an evening only concert ticket for $5.00.

The first two rallies attracted 30 or more accordionists of all descriptions from all over Maine. For one shining day in November, we will form a self-governing republic of accordionists and live in an ideal world! All types of boxes are welcome!

For those coming from far away: the Trenton Grange Hall is located at the intersection of route 230 and route 3 in Trenton Maine, the Gateway to Acadia National Park. It is directly across from the Open Hearth Motel, which has a 12-person Jacuzzi and reasonable rates.

For More information: call Joe at (207) 667 0260 or e-mail

For motel reservations call: Phone: (207) 667-2930

September Dates at a Glance
For important dates in September, please refer to the Future Events page located on this site, by selecting from the menu to the left, or by clicking here.

Note: In order to provide as much information as possible for the United States National Accordion News stories, many different sources are often researched to gather additional information and pictures to complement what has been submitted. This information is then correlated to provide the news on in the spirit of which it is intended, which is to provide a free news service to the Accordion Community, specifically in the United Sates. If you feel any copyright has been violated please advise and the article will be removed immediately.

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