Those who scraped the ice off their cars and ventured out on a blisteringly
cold night March 8 were rewarded with an excellent workshop by Jim Vandelly
on bellows techniques. Jim demonstrated his famous triple bellows shake,
as well as the double bellows shake and the "ricochet," and
provided numerous tips on bellows control.
But anyone looking for magic tricks may have been disappointed. After
a one-half hour lesson from a Russian musician on the triple bellows shake
years ago, Jim spent the next eight months practicing before he got it
down, he said.
Among the audience were a couple of new faces, including a visitor from
the Russian embassy.
In the business portion of the meeting, we approved the new WMAS bylaws
developed by the executive committee. Phil Fox moved that they be accepted
and Lee Paulson seconded the motion. The bylaws will be posted soon on
the Web site.
Our membership chairman has been working hard. Paul Przedpelski has created
new business cards with directions to the church on the back, pursuant
to a suggestion from Betty Chreky. Paul is collecting 2005 membership
dues ($15) and plans to send out reminder letters to members who haven't
yet paid for the current year. You could help Paul -- and WMAS -- out
by paying up promptly. And thank you -- the money helps cover the routine
expenses of running our group. Please write your check to WMAS and mail
it to Mara Cherkasky, 1801 Park Road, NW, Apt. 8, Washington, DC 20010.
AAMS Festival March 4-6
WMAS was well represented at last weekend's American Accordion Musicological
Society festival near Philadelphia. Notably, Peter DiGiovanni, Ellen Sellers
and Betty Chreky took home awards.
Peter placed first in the Festival Advanced Adult Solo category with
his own arrangement of the "Gypsy Love Waltz" by Franz Lehar.
The piece is a sequence of waltz themes, about eight minutes total, taken
from Lehar's operetta by the same name. Peter said: "I heard it about
a year ago on a CD and fell in love with it. I had no score to follow,
not even a piano reduction. I put the melody and chords into a notation
program to give to the judge to refer to as a roadmap. Fortunately, he
wasn't looking for note-perfect sight-reading and just listened to what
I was playing. It's not flashy, but it has nice chord changes, bass patterns
and gorgeous melodies, and opportunities for expressive playing. I honestly
didn't think it was technically difficult enough to place, let alone win
-- I figured others at the advanced level would be playing Czardas and
other technically difficult pieces." There were about six other entrants
in the category.
Ellen played "Second Hungarian Rhapsody" by Liszt from P&H
Book 4 and took second in her Open Adult Solo Level A3 (intermediate)
category. She had seven competitors. Number one played Two Guitars; number
three played Roman Overture. "I made lots of mistakes but KEPT GOING!"
Betty came in third in Intermediate Adult Ethnic Solo, playing "Star
of the County Down." She competed against eight other accordionists.
The person who placed first played a German piece called Waltz Continental.
In addition, Jim Vandelly performed in the Sunday afternoon concert,
and Dan and Joan Grauman sold their SqueezinArt wares. Lee and Ron, Mara,
and Karen and Luis also attended. Karen said: "I was so proud to
wear my WMAS T-shirt." Everybody had a wonderful time.
This Sunday, March 13th, Russian bayanist Viacheslav Semionov will perform
at a house concert in Potomac, Maryland. Admission is $20, and seats are
limited. For more information, please respond to this email (or you can
try contacting Dan or Joan Grauman at (301) 279-8716 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
but they're out of town until Sunday). You can pay the Graumans at the
The word bayan was taken after the name of the ninth/tenth-century poet,
artist and musician (The Bayan) who first appeared in a troubadour poem,
The Story of the Igoreve Regiment. At first the name was used to refer
to the ancestor of the modern bayan, the Russian harmonica. The instrument
developed with the addition of bellows, register stops, a left-hand manual
which later became standardized to include both stradella and free-bass
(convertor), and a right-hand manual which increased the number of button
rows from three to five.
Thanks to Wayne Kahn for the bayan research. Wayne took the concert announcement
off a WMAS update, added this information, and included the announcement
in his own weekly email newsletter of music listings throughout the area.
If you would like to subscribe to that very useful resource, email Wayne
email@example.com or check out
his web sites, http://www.rightonrhythm.com
AAA Festival in July
The American Accordionists' Association has sent out its festival packets
for this year's event in Dearborn, Michigan, July 6-10th. Our own Joan
and Stella will be playing during Thursday's luncheon, and they would
love to see some of us in the audience. The festival is always a lot of
fun and a great place to hear some good music and meet other accordionists.
All the festival information, and more, has been posted to AAA's Web site,
4th of July Parade in Fairfax
Joyce Palmer and Lee Poulson have received an invitation for WMAS to
participate in the Fairfax Fourth of July parade. Lee is checking into
the details of the parade and will keep us posted. WMAS and Maryland Accordion
Club members have played in the Catonsville Fourth of July parade the
past two years.
WMAS Web Site Disappearing Act
You may have noticed that our Web site has been down since the first
of the month. The reasons are complicated and beyond our control, but
the site should be back up soon -- on a new server. Sorry about any inconvenience,
but technology is like that sometimes. Also, once it's up, the site may
have some bugs. Please be sure to report these to the webmaster
so we can fix them.
April & May WMAS Meetings
Next month, Peter DiGiovanni will present part 2 of his excellent "playing
by ear" workshop. Then, in May we will hold our second annual spring
concert, so please think about what you would like to play. We will limit
each person to two short pieces or one longer one. Please send your selections
to Karen or Mara.
News on Dale
One last thing: Dale Wise will be undergoing prostate surgery the week
of March 21, and then will be out of commission for several weeks. He'll
be happy to hear from you; his address is 10161 Palmer Drive, Oakton,
VA 22124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.