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April 30, 2014


Meeting Notes

Pat Racioppa, the headliner for our April meeting, is a man of many talents. He led us through a demonstration of quick fixes to the accordion, the type that you might need after arriving to play a gig and finding a key pulled out or a button fallen in or a reed dropped off. Many of us harbor a healthy fear of opening our instruments and tinkering with the insides, but Pat made us want to try, probably on an extra instrument, though.

When Pat travels he carries a bee's wax/linseed oil blend, screwdrivers, tacky glue (thicker and stronger than Elmer's), extra valves, scisssors and razor blades, a metal tube (or substitute a ball-point pen), pencils, soldering iron, guitar tuner, and small curved pliers.

Here are some of Pat's tips:

- Don't store your accordion anyplace you wouldn't feel comfortable staying.

- Replacement valves may be plastic or leather, but use leather on the lowest bassoon reeds.

- Block basses with a folded piece of cardboard before traveling or shipping.

- If the accordion will be checked in an airplane, or shipped by air, tape down two keys to prevent pressure from building up inside the instrument.

- When you remove the pins on a new accordion, be sure to put them back in the same holes. This is not an issue on older accordions, because the pins have most likely already been removed many times and not replaced in the same holes.


Following the presentation, Pat played a short but lovely set of songs:

My Funny Valentine
Lazy Mary (aka Butcher Boy)
Come Fly With Me
Sunny Gets Blue (with Connie Racioppa on vocals)
Cottage Cheese and Noodles

Dan Grauman video-recorded the workshop/concert, and maybe we can get him to post it on YouTube.

Thanks go also to Paul Aebersold, the April greeter.


Next Meeting

On Sunday, May 18, at 4 pm, we will welcome guest artists Volodymyr and Natalia Marunych, from Kiev, playing the bayan and domra. The pair will be accompanied by the Washington Balalaika Society’s Russkiye Musikanti ensemble, which includes our own Peter DiGiovanni on accordion.

Following the concert we’ll distribute lead sheets and try playing some of this uplifting music ourselves, so please bring your accordions!

As usual for our guest-artist concerts, we will be asking nonmembers for an $8 donation at the door.

By the way, the Marunyches will be the guest soloists in the Washington Balalaika Society concerts on May 31 and June 1. 

Yimeng Huang and Mara Cherkasky will greet for the May concert.



From Joan Grauman, AAA Historian:

Announcing the 2014 AAA Festival, which will be held in beautiful, historic Tarrytown, NY, July 9-13. Get your reservations now at the Doubletree Hotel (on the waterfront!) in Tarrytown (914-631-5700) for the AAA special group discount. Featured artists include Vladimir Mollov, who will perform and also lead the Youth Jazz Ensemble; Dallas Vietty; Guy Klucevsek accompanied by violinist Todd Reynolds; Steve Albini on Roland accordion & vocals; Mario Tacca and Friends; Dr. Robert McMahan; Frank Carozza and others. There will be exciting workshops, including one on Balkan ornamentation by Lauren Brody, and one on Chinese music and musical notation by Yimeng Huang. The festival orchestra will be conducted by our AAA President, Linda Soley Reed, and our youth orchestra will be conducted by Mary Tokarski. Registration forms and more info is now online at: www.ameraccord.com.  Hope to see you there!


From Jim Vandelly:

If you go to JIM VANDELLY on YouTube, you will see a slideshow made by Dan and Joan Grauman and shown at my "honoree" presentation at the American Accordion Musicological Society (AAMS) banquet concert, March 28, 2014. The first B&W photo shows me playing for my father (the singer) at Oak Hill Country Club in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1962. He died in California in 1964.

I have sent this notice to many of the people who are pictured in the slide show.
The slide show includes many people who were and are part of my life's story. If you recognize anyone in the photos, please let them know they can see the slide show on YouTube.

There is also one video of my playing my "Variations on the Carnival of Venice," one variation of which I stole from my old friend Sasha Tsygankov. But he liked it when I played it in Sweden in 2000 or 2001. Can't remember which. We were both there for the Kazbek Orchestra events.