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December 15, 2003


Notes from the President

Well, it’s been a marvelous first year for WMAS, and our two events this month have really put us on the map. The Dec. 7 concert was a great success, as well as a lot of fun for both musicians and audience. About 150 people came to hear us, and we were in wonderful form – no matter how we sounded during some of the rehearsals.The best compliment was from a gentleman in the audience who said to me afterwards: "If I had been listening on the radio, I would have thought it was an orchestra, the accordions blended so well."

Dale Wise conducted with authority and provided some humor in his introductions of the various soloists and duos. Just before the concert, we presented him with a commemorative gift: a baton and a handmade stand for it (made by Clay Bobrowski). The plaque on the stand read: "Dale Wise, with chords of thanks and a big squeeze. WMAS 12/7/03." We’re extremely grateful for everything Dale has done for our group. (Please see below for Dale’s announcement about an event he’s hosting this Wednesday, the 17th.)

Immediately after we took our final bow – to a standing ovation(!) – we were treated to more great music. Merv Conn stepped out of the audience, strapped on his accordion and took up where the concert left off. Merv’s been playing in the D.C. area for the greater part of a century (he said 70 years, but I think it’s more like 80!) and was the premiere teacher here for many, many years. He and others kept the music flowing before, during and after the potluck, and Mike Rubin supplied some vaudevillian touches and also demonstrated his skill at the tango and polka.

From the concert proceeds (a $5 donation), we were able to present the church with $143 for its new chair fund, and we added the same amount to our treasury.

Please check out the concert photos on the Web site. We're expecting to post more, so check back soon, and send us any photos you might have taken.

Two days after the concert, at our regular meeting on Dec. 9 , Jim Vandelly dazzled us with his bayan demonstration. The bayan is the Russian version of the accordion, a chromatic button accordion with free bass. The right-hand, ergonomic button arrangement allows chords to be played more easily and at greater speed than on the piano accordion, but, even so, Jim said he’d spent up to a year learning some of the passages he demonstrated for us. If you missed the meeting, you can catch Jim’s workshop at the American Accordion Musicological Society's annual festival and symposium in Wayne, Pa., the first weekend in March (more information on the Web site – see the calendar).

Also at the meeting we discussed possibly restaging the concert so we can record it, and we discussed having WMAS t-shirts made. Joan Grauman showed examples of what she could offer us, and we’ll be putting together an order form in the next few weeks to see if there is enough interest. Joan and her husband Dan run a business called SqueezinArt -- "Unique Gifts for Accordionists"; see www.squeezinart.com for more information.

Joan’s also a musician of note – she played a couple of eastern European pieces in the Dec. 7 concert, and, at the Jan. 13 WMAS meeting, she’ll be presenting a workshop on introducing emotion into your playing.

Best wishes for happy holidays and a great start to the new year. I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2004.


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Maryland Accordion Club Meeting
Saturday, Dec. 20, 2-5 pm
Bloomsbury Community Center - 2nd floor auditorium
106 Bloomsbury Avenue
Catonsville, MD 21228

The meeting will feature a holiday concert.

Bring your accordion, music stand and band music
For more information or directions, call Joe Fertitta at (410) 744-3352.





Two bands, soloists, and more!

Where: Oakton United Methodist Church Large Social Hall (downstairs/elevator access)
2951 Chain Bridge Rd. (Rte. 123)
Oakton, VA 22124

When: December 17 (Wednesday)
7:30 P.M.

With: Refreshments!

To your good health through the accordion,

Todd & Dale & DeAnn Wise

P.S. ". . . . I wanna be there when the band starts playin'."

10161 Palmer Drive / Oakton, Virginia 22124
VM: 703-356-8440