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April 30, 2008



Meeting Notes

The April 20 meeting was a two-fer, or even a three-fer. Joan Grauman presented a brief workshop on the blues scale, based on a similar workshop offered by Lenny Feldman at the Mesa, Arizona, accordion camp in January. The point was to provide some music basics to help accordionists invent “jazz-sounding” melodies. Joan suggested that people who want to play jazz should listen to Frank Marocco and Eddie Monteiro CDs to get an ear for the sound. We’ll see if anyone is inspired enough to come up with something for our June 15 concert.

After the workshop Jim Vandelly performed a short concert on both bayan and piano accordion. We scheduled the concert for April because Jim will be away most of the next several meetings, and we needed our fix before he left. The piano accordion was a bonus, as we rarely hear Jim play the standards. One audience member was moved to sing along, and Jim slipped easily into the role of accompanist on “Moon River.”

The third part of the meeting was a surprise birthday for Karen. Only a few people in the room knew what it meant when the Mexican song “Las Mañanitas” suddenly came over the speakers. It’s the birthday song, and Karen’s surprised grin – and birthday cake – soon followed. She would like to let everyone know how much she appreciated the love and good wishes, our rendition of “Happy Birthday,” and the delicious tres leches cake.



Next Meeting

Our next meeting, on May 18, will be a concert of Italian Valtaro Musette Music by Dominic Karcic and Ray Oreggia. We are advertising this to the public and asking for a donation of $8. WMAS members don’t have to pay, but we are hoping you will bring refreshments such as grapes, cheese, and desserts for after the concert. This is instead of a regular meeting, but the time and place will be the usual: 4 pm at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church, 3435 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church, VA 22044.


Embassy Concert

On April 19 a large group of WMAS members attended a fantastic concert by accordionist Alessandro Gazza at the Italian Cultural Institute just off Massachusetts Avenue, Embassy Row. Mr. Gazza, who has won 15 first prizes in national (Italian) and international accordion competitions, studied with Semionov, among other teachers. The program included Piazzolla, Paganini, Scarlatti, Albeniz, Rossini, and Gazza’s own compositions, plus a selection of film music. After the free (!) concert, the audience was treated to champagne and strawberries.


Fairfax Bibliophiles

Joan Grauman will be speaking on the accordion for the Fairfax Bibliophiles on Tuesday, May 13, at the Fairfax Public Library. The presentation will cover books on the accordion, old sheet music, some history of the accordion in the United States, and the different kinds of accordions. In addition, she will play a few pieces on the piano accordion (by P. Frosini and F. Marocco) and the Austrian diatonic accordion. The library is at 10360 North Street, Fairfax, VA 22030, at the corner of Old Lee and North, telephone 703-293-6227. The event starts at 7:30 pm.


WMAS T-shirts

Below is an updated T-shirt inventory. If you would like a shirt, please check to see if we have your size, and then let us know so we can bring it to the next meeting. We cannot mail the shirts. The price is $15.

Women’s red - 1 S, 1 M, 2 L, 3 XL, 2XL = 11 total

Women’s black - 2S, 2 M, 2 L = 6 total

Men’s red - 3S, 3M, 1L, 2XL = 9 total

Men’s black - 1S, 1L, 1XL = 3


AAA Accordion Extravaganza

On Saturday, June 21, 2008, at 2 pm the American Accordionists’ Association will present an Accordion Extravaganza Concert in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the AAA and to the memory of Maddalena Belfiore. The event takes place at the Academic Arts Theatre, Westchester Community College, 75 Grasslands Rd., Valhalla, NY 10595

The Concert will feature the Accordion Pops Orchestra under the direction of Danny Desiderio, Eddie Monteiro, Mary Tokarski, The Jazz Duo of Tony Dannon and Joe Cerrito, former CIA World Champion Beverly Roberts Curnow, Dr. William Schimmel, Dr. Robert McMahan, International Vocal Artist Mary Mancini with Mario Tacca, The Amazing Accordion Kings, and others. Concert tickets are $30; dinner is $35. Please reply to this email if you would like more information.


Get Your Accordion Into the Smithsonian!
[Letter from Michelle De Cesare, Supply Coordinator, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 202-633-6485, to WMAS:]

This summer, the Smithsonian Institution will present the 42nd annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to a crowd of more than 1 million people. The Festival, running from June 25- July 6, is a free, 10-day, “living museum” celebrating cultural traditions practiced across the United States and around the world. We are currently seeking product donations to help us produce this important event and are asking for your support.

Each year we invite 300-600 participants to join us in sharing their culture with the American public. Through demonstrations, performances, and face-to-face interaction, visitors can experience the living traditions of the world’s people in an exhibition that is both educational and entertaining. This year’s Festival will feature three very distinctive programs: Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon, NASA: Fifty Years and Beyond, and Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food and Wine.

As a non-profit agency, the Smithsonian Institution often looks to the generosity of people and businesses nationwide for support in creating and presenting this mammoth event. In our Texas a Celebration of Music, Food and Wine program we are planning an activity where children have the opportunity to play musical instruments, specifically the accordion, bajo sexto guitar, fiddle, maracas, cow bells and triangle, and are instructed by the performers. For your donation of a used, working accordion you will receive recognition in our printed program book distributed during the Festival. All donations are tax deductable.

Feel free to visit our website at www.folklife.si.edu for a better idea of this summer’s programs. The assistance of companies such as yours is crucial to the Smithsonian’s efforts—every donation, great and small, contributes to make this Festival a success. We hope that you will join the list of distinguished supporters for this year’s 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.


New Accordion Clubs


Our friends Ben and Brigitte Valenti, WMAS members who moved to Florida, report that they’re starting the Accordion Club of South Florida, and have scheduled the first meeting for May 5. They already have a web site, at www.accordionclubofsouthflorida.com.

Here is the notice they’ve sent out:

Accordion Club of South Florida

Calling all accordion players. We are starting an accordion club.

Our mission is to bring together accordionists and promote accordion music in South Florida. Please come and join us on Monday, 5 May 2008 at 7:30 PM to 10 PM at Sunny South Estates Clubhouse on 8710 Sunny South Avenue, Boynton Beach, FL. 33436.

Contact: Peter Lapira at 561-281-2738; email: Lapirap@bellsouth.net

Bring your squeeze box. Meetings will be held on the first Monday of each month at the same time and place.


Western New York:

In addition, our friend Bernie Schenkler, who recently moved from New Jersey to Buffalo, is working with Roxy’s Music Store in Batavia, NY, to start the Western New York Accordion Club.

He’s working on a website at www.wnyaccordions.org and hoping to schedule a first meeting for after the summer. (Summers are so short in that part of the country, that they don’t like to schedule anything for indoors!)


From Dominic Karcic:

The Ten Accordion Commandments

(source unknown)

1. Thou shalt not keep me in the trunk of the car when we go riding so that my wax will melt, or my bass buttons fall in.

2. Thou shalt not stretch my bellows as far as they will go to see them rip apart.

3. Thou shalt not be careless when placing me in or out of my case, for my keys will pop up and catch on the straps as you pull them over.

4. Thou shalt not push my bass buttons in quite hard, or bump them on a door, for my wire fastenings will then bend and I will lose my buttons.

5. Thou shalt not set me on the seat of the car so that I roll off onto the floor when you stop.

6. Thou shalt not take me apart to find out what makes me click!

7. Thou shalt not forget and leave me near a heater so that I will warp and thus be the only accordion with rounded sides.

8. Thou shalt not forget to bring me in for my yearly check-up at the repairman or I may wheeze and cough.

9. Thou shalt not take me out of the case and begin to play me while I am still cold and not full of air.

10. Thou shalt not misuse me and therefore soon throw me away with mean words because I didn't behave.

Long Live the Accordion!