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January 25, 2012


Meeting Notes

Sunday, Jan. 22: the weather outside was dreary, but the music inside was … anything but.

Joan Grauman and Peter DiGiovanni presented a workshop on playing duets, with lots of practical information in a handout (see below) as well as tips on how to develop a second part/harmony (not included below but we will try to post it to the website or you can pick one up at the next meeting). The group tried several pieces together, switching off on the first and second parts.

One of the pieces was Peter’s very nice arrangement of “Drigo’s Serenade,” which we hope will pop up in an upcoming concert. Our idea is to feature duets in our member concert in May (Sunday the 20th at 4 pm at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church), so now is the time to find a partner, choose some music, and start practicing.

The workshop followed an uneventful election of officers for 2012. All of the incumbents had agreed to continue serving, and now it’s official.

Peter announced that the February 12 meeting will feature a dance party to celebrate our ninth birthday and also Valentine’s Day. Please sign up – by replying to this email – to play a dance tune. As usual we will also be looking for refreshments, and for volunteers to help set up beforehand and clean up afterwards.

Peter also announced that it’s membership renewal time: $20 for individuals and $30 for households. Membership cards will be filed with the name badges rather than being mailed out.

Joan made this announcement: If you would like to play for the group, for example a piece that runs too long to play in one of our regular concerts (more than 5 minutes) or a piece that you are working on and want to try in front of an audience, you should make yourself known and we’ll find a time for you to play during one of our meetings.


Gig Announcement

Strolling Accordionist Needed for Feb. 11 Gig in Arlington

This agent is looking for a strolling accordionist to play love songs/romantic music for Valentine’s Day shoppers in Arlington (presumably at a mall) on Feb. 11 from 2 to 4 pm.

If you are interested, please contact:

Amber-Therese Foster
Vice President
Last Call Entertainment
2325 Dulles Corner Blvd., Suite 500
Herndon, VA 20171
Office (703) 469-2222
Fax (703) 469-2221
Cell (703) 380-6836



Michael Winograd Klezmer Trio featuring Patrick Farrell on accordion

Thursday, January 26, 6-7 pm
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
on the Millennium Stage

See http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/artists/?entity_id=82277&source_type=B


The Dave Janesh Trio at An Die Musik

Saturday, January 28, 8 pm and 9:30 pm
An Die Musik
409 North Charles Street, Second Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

This unique ensemble is an accordion-based Jazz Group playing straight-ahead jazz standards. The group will feature Steve Yankee on Guitar, Ted Naperkoski on Drums, Dave Janesh on Accordion and Phil Ravita on Bass. We will be introducing guest Vocalist Jordan Antkowiak.

Tickets $10 and are available in advance or at the door by contacting An die Music at above phone numbers or at



Interplay Concert, featuring adult music makers with diverse abilities

Monday, January 30, 2012, 8 pm
Music Center at Strathmore
North Bethesda, Maryland

An evening, of eclectic music, exposition -- and dance.

Tickets $10, $5 for those with disabilities must be purchased by January 25 by calling 301-229-09829 or online at http://www.interplayband.org/

Parking on street or at Metro with a Smart or Credit Card

This concert will be filmed for a national documentary

NOTE: WMAS member Michael B. Rubin will be playing in this concert.


Accordionist Andrea Parkins & IRIS Jazz Ensemble

Sunday, February 12, 7 pm
Bohemian Caverns
2001 11th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Andrea Parkins - electric accordion & laptop electronics
Didier Petit – cello, electronics
Hans Tamman – guitar, electronics
Edward Perraud - drums and percussion


A 2012 Jazz Series@The Historic Bohemian Caverns

With IRIS, New York-based improvisers Andrea Parkins (electric-accordion & laptop electronics) and Hans Tamman (guitar, electronics) collaborate with Paris-based improvisers Edward Perraud (drums and percussion) and cellist Didier Petit to create original works of structured freedoms. This evening’s show - their premier stateside performance to follow their January 2012 recording and concert tour of Europe - is supported by the ensemble’s recent award from the French American Cultural Exchange.

All Shows $15

Advance tickets can be purchased on-line at: www.bohemiancaverns.com or (202) 299-0800; Info@http://www.transparentproductionsdc.org

Presenting the best in creative improvised music since 1997

Where 100% of the proceeds go to the artists

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


DUETS & DON’TS -- Accordion Duet Workshop

Joan Grauman and Peter DiGiovanni

DO: find a partner with similar skills, goals and musical tastes and preferences

DON’T: feel that you are the lead musician. Two people playing the same instrument are a team playing one piece of music. It is not a team of a soloist and accompanist.

DO: practice separately to familiarize yourselves with the musical selections.


DO: learn your partner’s musical strengths and use them! Does your partner do terrific sustained trills or glissandos? Then see to it that he/she gets the parts with trills and glissandos.

DO: encourage and support each other


“Learn from each other. Everyone has something to contribute.” -- John Simkus & Stas Venglevski

“Get those notebooks cleaned up! These are orders from Mama Stella” and “Where are you now? Stop all that fritzin’ around and go PRACTICE!!” -- Mama Stella Allison to duet partner, Joan Grauman


DO: listen to each other at all times. You must be aware of your partner’s part so you can support when he/she has the lead and take the lead when it’s your turn.

DO: make sure your register switches are compatible.

DON’T: two accordions should never be on the musette switch together. If one is using musette, the other needs to use a “dry tuned” switch.


DO: If you both play the basses the same way and keep the chords short and quiet, it’s OK for both to play the bass. It is generally preferable if only one plays the bass part.

DON’T: play the basses together if you are not exactly in sync. This will sound too muddy.


DO: follow the dynamics markings or those you both create for your duet.

DO: “sing out” the melodies.

DO: Create interest. Ex.: slow down together, get suddenly soft together, take a “breath” together. It’s amazing how these small things can make a big difference in your music.

DO: make sure your beginnings and endings are clean and “speak” to the audience.

DO: as stated before, back off when your partner has an important run or solo part.


DON’T: don’t just sit and stare at your sheet music while playing your duet. You are a team! Smile – even try to look at your partner periodically.

DO: no need to hurry. Sit and prepare before you start to play. Check your switches and your straps. Make sure all of your sheet music is in front of you. Then, take a deep breath, smile to each other and try hard not to show how scared you really are! J

DON’T: don’t play something that is a little too difficult for the two of you and don’t rush through your pieces. Beautiful music does not mean “fast as lightening” music.

BIG DON’T: never get upset with your partner if he/she makes a mistake or two (or twenty). You may be the one who makes those mistakes the next time!

DO: practice and be as prepared as you can be.


DO: choose material with fun-to-play parts for both players, relatively balanced in degree of difficulty

DO: look for interesting arrangements that utilize ear-pleasing techniques such as countermelodies and variations, parallel harmony, contrary motion, voice leading, and fills

DO: look for arrangements that establish a dialog between the two parts – call and response

DON’T: both play the exact same thing for very long, or expect one player to be satisfied playing rhythm only for the whole piece


Remember to listen to each other at all times, perform music you both enjoy and put in those little special touches that create “your special sound”.

And, remember at all times that you are playing ONE piece of music – together. ENJOY!