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August 19, 2007



The 60th Coupe Mondiale, in Alexandria, Virginia, was a grand success, a chance to almost get your fill of amazing accordion music, and a time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. This was a rare treat: the last Coupe Mondiale to be held here was in 1976, during our country’s bicentennial. In 1959 and 1969 the event took place in New York City, and in 1981 it took place in Kansas City. Glasgow, Scotland will host next year’s Coupe.

Some highlights of the week:

- Playing Washington native son John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes in a huge massed band in front of the Capitol, and seeing a photo of the event on the cover of the next day’s Washington Post.

- Experiencing close up amazing performance after amazing performance during the competitions held Tuesday through Saturday.

- Sitting within arm’s reach of a 160-piece accordion orchestra as it performed the world premiere of “Lest We Forget,” written expressly for accordion orchestra by the Emmy award-winning composer Leonard Stack of Los Angeles. Stack was in the audience for Saturday evening’s performance.

- Seeing WMAS vice president Joan Grauman’s Coupe Mondiale 2007 logo everywhere you looked: on a huge banner, on t-shirts, on programs, and on flyers.

- Hearing Merv Conn’s remark: “I’d like to take the French accordionists home and teach them to play s-l-o-w-l-y.” Also overheard in the audience: “I didn’t know there were so many notes!”

- From Silvia Eberly: Thanks to all WMAS members, what a wonderful event it was! I found my accordion teacher, Professor Walter Maurer there! I last saw him in Vienna in 1965! Now that is amazing! I gave him the program for our upcoming Heimatabend at Cafe Mozart August 29, 2007, where his name is included in my bio. And he really was happy to see that!



Congratulations to the first-place winners:

- Coupe Mondiale: Alexander Sevastian of Canada ($5,000 awarded by ATG in honor of Anthony Galla-Rini, plus a concert tour in Portugal and an appearance at the Las Vegas accordion convention October 6-9, 2008)

- Junior Coupe Mondiale: Ruslan Osipov of Russia ($1,500)

- International Competition for Virtuoso Entertainment Music: Jérémie Buirette of France ($1,500)

- Junior International Competition for Virtuoso Entertainment Music: Eric Allard-Jacquin of France ($1,000)

- International Competition for Piano Accordion: Stanislav Jusufovic of Serbia ($5,000 awarded by the AAA Carmen Carrozza Fund plus a concert tour of Australia and New Zealand)

- Best performance of test piece by Karen Fremar of Fort Scott, Kansas: Li Long of China (also Coupe Mondiale second-place winner)

- International Competition for Ensemble Music: Quintet "Art of Accordion" from Germany ($1,000)

- Maddalena Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionists: Betty Jo Simon of Overland Park, Kansas

If you missed the Coupe competitions and concerts and want to experience just a glimpse of what went on, log onto


to watch five amazing accordion concerts on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

We'll be posting photos soon on this site.



A huge thank you goes to Joan Grauman for her role in Coupe’s planning and execution stages. Joan also organized the “after-hours” party Thursday night at the Crowne Plaza, a casual setting where the Potomac Ensemble had a chance to perform for some of the greats, and some of the greats performed into the night for the rest of us.

Thanks also to the volunteers who helped sell WMAS shirts or picked up the slack at the CIA table: Nancy Leonard, Silvia Eberly, Mary Smith and her mother, Barbara Lockett, and Barbara and Bob Juszczyk.



We got home today after a great week of amazing music, enormous crowds, very hard work (our SqueezinArt table was busy nonstop), and a wonderful time with friends old and new.

I want to thank all of the WMAS friends who came by constantly to see if we needed help with anything. All were willing to help with manning the WMAS table, to help with setting up and taking down the decorations for our club-sponsored party (and it was a great success!!), and to help us with SqueezinArt. Many even offered their assistance to AAA, ATG, and CIA. All of your happy faces and those beautiful new club shirts were seen everywhere!

Dan and I want to especially thank Ron and Lee Paulson for their constant and cheerful help (always there at the right moments without even being asked!) with SqueezinArt and with the party preparations. I hope I do not leave anyone out now! Thank you, Stella, Peter D., Paul A., Vic A., Mara, Karen, Luis, Mary S., Silvia E., and Elise M. for assisting us so much during Coupe. Silvia even came and played the button box at our SqueezinArt table -- it was wonderful! I want to thank my dear friend and great accordionist, Sharon Walters-Greyhosky from San Francisco, for joining our ensemble at the after-hours party, and for joining WMAS! And thank you, Barbara L. and your guest (and our friend) from California, Marian Kelly, for helping SqueezinArt.

A special thanks goes to Mara for getting us on "Morning Edition" on NPR!! GREAT JOB, MARA!

I am happily exhausted, and very, very proud to be a member of WMAS.

-- Joan Grauman



On Friday, August 17, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition ran a short story on Coupe featuring Joan Grauman, which you can hear at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12866129.

Morning Edition also aired an accordion version of its theme song recorded by Lee Paulson, Peter DiGiovanni, and Mara Cherkasky. Peter wrote the arrangement and engineering the recording. We’ll try to post the piece at www.washingtonaccordions.org; meanwhile we’ll bring the CD to the September meeting and you can hear it there.

Voice of America covered the entire event in print and video at
http://www.voanews.com/english/AmericanLife/2007-08-24-voa14.cfm. (Thanks to Michael B. Rubin for finding this.)

The Post covered Coupe and published photos of the massed band performance at the U.S. Capitol, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/17/AR2007081702336.html. Click here for a glimpse of the Post's August 18, 2007, front page, and the article and photos in the Style section (thanks to Michael B. Rubin for all three scans).

Another photo is at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2007/08/17/PH2007081702339.html.

The Washington Post also provided some pre-Coupe publicity at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/09/AR2007080901832.html.

And in a Post Points email:

Our Coupe runneth over.

The Coupe Mondiale, the prestigious international accordion competition now celebrating its 60th anniversary, is back in Washington for the first time since America's bicentennial (that's 1976 for the historically challenged). Run by the Confederation Internationale des Accordionistes, the annual gathering explains why you may be seeing people toting accordions all over town, especially in Alexandria, where the Holiday Inn at 625 First St. has become Accordion Central. The gathering is hosted by the American Accordionists Association and the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International, so you can probably expect spirited jam sessions in the lobbies, lounges and around the pool. Many music events are conference oriented, but there are concerts Friday and Saturday night in the Holiday Inn's Grand Ballroom, including Saturday's world premier of the 166-member World Accordion Orchestra. That concert will feature a number of works specifically written for accordion orchestras, including John Philip Sousa's "Hands Across the Sea March" and the world premiere of Leonard Stack's "Lest We Forget," specifically commissioned for this performance, with Stack in attendance. Tickets are only $20. In addition, Coupe Mondiale participants will interrupt a sightseeing tour Friday for a noon performance at the Grant Memorial in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, where scores of accordion players will join in performing Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever." First-place winners in a half-dozen competitions will be featured in a Kennedy Center Millennium Stage concert Saturday at 6 p.m., which will be webcast live at www.kennedy-center.org/millennium. lt and the preceding competitions will be available for viewing in the Millennium Stage Performance Archives. Information about the Coupe Mondiale, the competitions and the festival can be found at www.coupemondiale.org.

--Richard Harrington, Weekend section

Months later, the Post ran this:

Washington Post Magazine: Second Glance - November 11, 2007