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December 18, 2004


Notes from the President

Our concert last Sunday was a huge success! At least 110 people attended, enough to fill up the church social hall. The program offered a wonderful variety of selections, styles and levels, so our members from the youngest beginner to the oldest pro got a chance to perform, and the audience loved it.

Both Dan Grauman and Jim Vandelly recorded the concert, and eventually they will make copies of their video and CD available to WMAS members. We'll also be posting photos on the Web site. By the way, the concert was mentioned ahead of time on www.accordionusa.com, along with a photo from the Halloween parade and general info on WMAS. Check it out!

A huge thank you to everyone who helped out with the concert! At the risk of leaving someone out, we'd like to mention the following:
- Rev. Pam Egan and the congregation of Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church for allowing us to use their space;
- Joan Grauman for conducting -- and managing to whip us into shape;
- Dale Wise for MC'ing;
- Ron andLola Charvet, and their whole family, for providing the decorations and huge pans of chicken and rice, and helping with setup and cleanup;
- Luis Uribe for managing the setup, potluck and cleanup, along with all sorts of miscellaneous tasks;
- Brigitte and Ben Valenti for providing a whole ham and helping with cleanup;
- Lee and Ron Poulsen for helping set up and clean up;
- Dan Grauman and Roy Allison for helping with cleanup;
- Elizabeth Nelson for hauling trash;
- Deann Wise, Lola Charvet and Terry Fox for helping in the kitchen;
- Mara's friends Malini Dominey for making the flyer and program and taking photos, and Juliette Tahar for handling the "box office"; and
- Phil Fox for storing the decorations in his basement for next year.

And many thanks, also, to all the musicians who participated in the concert, cooks who provided potluck dishes, and friends and family who came out to hear us play!

Two days after the concert, December 14, was the second Tuesday of the month, and a number of people showed up for our regular meeting which featured Dale Wise's very educational workshop on "Bass Patterns That Make a Difference." This was a hands-on deal: we tried out 50 different patterns, as Dale demonstrated the types of songs that go with each one. Afterwards, some of us bought Dale's Pro Notes CD and sheet music so we can work on the patterns at home. If you'd like a copy, see www.accordionplus.com.

If Sunday and Tuesday were not enough, a number of WMAS members also performed or sat in the audience at Dale's AccordionPlus concert on Wednesday night, December 15. This was another big success and a lot of fun. No doubt some of us now are suffering from withdrawal -- we have nothing big scheduled until after the holidays!

Joke Break (provided by Wendy Morrison)

So a B-flat, a D-flat, and an F walk into a bar. The bartender says to them, "I'm sorry we don't serve minors here"...

The D-flat leaves and the B-flat and the F have an open fifth between them.

(ba-da-boom ...)

Upcoming Meetings

Our first meeting of 2005 will take place Tuesday, January 11; the program will feature Steve Tchamouroff will performing European popular music. We heard one piece from Steve at the holiday concert, and he's also played for us on a couple of other occasions -- but only briefly, so we look forward to hearing a bigger chunk of his repertoire.

Then, for the February meeting, we're planning a polka night. At this point, we're thinking we'd like to have people sign up ahead of time for a total of maybe 15 songs, and we're hoping we'll have dancers as well. Maybe someone could teach the polka.

Rita Davidson Concert

On November 13, WMAS sponsored a truly enjoyable concert featuring virtuoso
accordionist Rita Weinbuch Davidson. Rita played a wonderful mix of classical and folk music to a very appreciative audience consisting mainly of accordionists from our area. Her warm personality came through everything she played, and her accuracy -- even in the pieces she played with lightning speed -- delighted the awestruck listeners. We hope to bring her back again sometime.

Rita is an elementary school music teacher in New Jersey. What a lucky bunch of children to have such a kind person and superb musician as their musical role model!!

January 15 Bayan Concert

The Washington Balalaika Society (WBS) will present a house concert featuring the bayan player and vocalist from the Ossipov Orchestra of Moscow on Saturday night, January 15, in Potomac, Md. The ticket price is $45 per person, and WMAS members are welcome.

Dmitri Dmitrienko is considered one of the best bayanists in Russia; Anna Litvenenko is the vocalist.

If you would like to attend, please contact Jim Vandelly ASAP at
vandelly@erols.com or vandelly@starpower.net.

You can pay Jim at the January 11 WMAS meeting, or, if you are NOT going to be at the January meeting, you can mail a check (no cash, please) to

James E. Vandelly
15508 Vine Cottage Drive
Centreville, VA 20120-3750

Please make the check payable to the WASHINGTON BALALAIKA SOCIETY for $45/person. In the remarks section write: "Dmitrienko Concert" to help the WBS treasurer sort the checks.

Please note that you'll need to dress up for the concert: coat and tie for men (no blue jeans!) and dress slacks or dress for women (also no jeans!).

Jim will send out directions before the concert.

Tom Brzostowski

Pat Potter reports that the accordionist Tom Brzostowski passed away early last Tuesday, December 14, 2004. The following email came from his wife, Sharon.

Hello everyone,
Just a quick note to let you know the details.
Viewing & visiting on Monday, December 20, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9pm.
Mass on Tuesday, December 21, at 10:00 am
Viewing and Mass will all be at at
Mother Seton Parish
19951 Father Hurley Boulevard
Germantown, MD 20874

Father Hurley Boulevard is Route 27 off 270. From 270 take Father Hurley Blvd and go west almost to the end. The church will be on the left, right after Middlebrook Road. Go to the next left and make a U-turn, then a right into the parking lot.

We will have a light lunch after, and all are invited.

Instead of flowers you may make a donation to:

Mother Seton Parish
Buiding Fund
19951 Father Hurley Blvd
Germantown, MD 20874

Polish-American Arts Association
of Washington, DC
Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 9442
Washington, DC 20016

American Lung Association

Again thank you for your love, prayers and support.
Love, Sharon