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April 14, 2004



Notes on the April 13 Meeting

Last night's meeting was another great one. All right, we say this about every meeting, but, just like the old children's story "Millions of Cats," each one is wonderful. The program started with a set of Finnish waltzes, polkas, hambos and other folk dance music by Lee Simonson and Vic Aijala, aka Marjamaan Pojat (Finnish for "Maryland Boys"). Lee and Vic told us about learning to play music as kids and growing up Finnish-American. They also described the status of the accordion in Finland -- 4 percent of the population plays the instrument! -- and talked a bit about each song. Jim Vandelly videotaped their performance for a network television show that is broadcast on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. According to Jim, the show attracts a (relatively) huge Finnish-American audience.

Following Marjamaan Pojat, another Marylander, Stella Allison, performed a short set of 1940s-era jazz pieces. Although she described herself as "just a grandma having fun," Stella is a virtuoso, and very active. She described Anthony Galla-Rini's 100th birthday celebration, which she recently attended in Los Angeles (see www.accordionusa.com/ar_02_04.htm or www.petosa.com/galla-rini/party/), and numerous other accordion events she's participated in around the country.

We thank these musicians for playing for us -- it was a true pleasure -- and hope to see them back soon. Actually, Stella is a sure thing: she has agreed to present the program at the October meeting.


Saturday Night at Fort Myer
We're organizing a group to dine Saturday night at the Fort Myer Officers Club in Arlington, where we also will be entertained by Rose-Marie Coppola's Strolling Strings. If you'd like to join us, please contact Karen at (703) 671-5395 or wmas2002@cox.net so she can include you in the reservation. We'll meet at the Officers Club at 6 pm. The entrance is near the Iwo Jima Memorial, and when you drive through the gate, the security guards will inspect your car and ask you for identification. We'll be celebrating Karen's birthday, by the way.

If you need more information, call (301) 292-2929 or email strollingstrings@aol.com.

Joan and Dan Grauman delivered the WMAS t-shirts, and Joan wore hers to the meeting -- it's definitely the height of fashion. If you ordered shirts and missed last night's meeting, please pick them up at the May meeting, or contact Karen at (703) 671-5395 or wmas2002@cox.net about getting them sooner. Also, we ordered a few extras, and they will be for sale at meetings for $15 each.

May Mini-Concert
Karen would like to put together a printed program for the member concert at the May 11 meeting. If you are planning to play, please email her at wmas2002@cox.net with your selections. If you are not sure yet whether you want to play, don't worry; we'll have a last-minute sign-up sheet. We are encouraging everyone to participate, including beginners; it would be nice to have all levels of ability represented. We'll try to advertise this meeting a bit more widely than usual.

May Day Party
Paul Aebersold is hosting a May Day party for WMAS members on his boat at the Gangplank Marina in Southwest DC. If you missed the invitation, please let us know and we'll resend it.

Upcoming Meetings
Michael B. Rubin will be presenting "The World of Jewish Music" at the June 8 meeting -- please put it on your calendar. Note also that we will be meeting in July and August but will not schedule any special programs. These summer meetings will be opportunities for members to play together in small or large groups.

At the September 14 meeting, Peter DiGiovanni will conduct a workshop on playing by ear, and Stella Allison will present the October 12 program. If you missed her last night, you'll have a chance to hear her then.

All meetings are posted on the Calendar.

Repair Workshop
Dale Wise says he will be scheduling another free accordion repair workshop in the next couple of months. Please let him know at accordionplus@aol.com if you're interested. The workshop, which takes place at Dale's farm near Fredericksburg, Va., runs all day Saturday and includes lunch, then picks up again Sunday afternoon. Those who participated in last fall's workshop learned some good repair tricks and techniques and had a lot of fun (see the photos).

Executive Committee
Those of us running WMAS sometimes feel stretched a bit too thin. If you would like to join the Executive Committee or just help out in an unofficial capacity, we would greatly appreciate it. For example, we could use someone to write short articles for the national and international accordion Web sites, and we also could use someone to take care of the coffee and kitchen-related tasks. Meanwhile, thanks very much to Marisel Ortiz and Lola Charvet for last night's treats!

2004 Membership Dues
Dues are $15. If you haven't yet paid up for this year, your summons will be arriving soon in the mail.

Plea for Christmas Music
Henry Hancock of Newport News, Va., is looking for accordion music: sacred Christmas pieces that would be appropriate for performance in a special worship service and that would be moving and spiritually uplifting. Please contact him at kopterdoktor@cox.net.

That's it for this time. See you soon.