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June 18, 2012


Meeting Notes

What a pleasure to have Andre Fry with us again! His stunning June 10 program (see below) included pieces never before heard on the accordion, an original composition, accordion standards, and soulful Russian folk melodies. Seventeen-year-old Andre played flawlessly – of course -- and also showed new poise in introducing each piece.

The hors d’oeuvre course rated four stars as well. Robert Ford and his daughter Rocio put us in the mood with a short set starting about five minutes ahead of the meeting. It is always a treat to hear Robert play, and Rocio is amazing on the castanets.

Thanks to all for helping our club show its best face! Along with most of the regulars, we had several new people who wanted to see what WMAS is all about, and we were pleased to welcome a couple of members of the old garde as well. Years ago Lou Coppola and Sid Kowalczyk founded our predecessor club, the Accordion Association of Metropolitan Washington.

After refreshments, Joan Grauman led a play-along session for those who’d brought their accordions (and weren’t put off by having two such tough acts to follow). She passed out sheet music for a medley of familiar and Americana tunes that people might want to play at July 4 parties. By the way, please save all of these lead sheets that we give out (and use up all of our toner printing)!


Next Meeting

Our next meeting, on July 22 just after the American Accordionists’ Association extravaganza in Baltimore, will be low-key. Please bring your accordion because we will be jamming. Here’s your chance to play with a group and just have fun. As usual, we will be at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church, 3435 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church, Virginia, starting at 4 pm.


AAA Festival in Baltimore

As you are no doubt aware, the American Accordionists’ Association festival/competition will take place July 11-15 in Baltimore. If you haven’t already registered, please do so at www.ameraccord.com. Look for the “festival” section to download the registration forms.

On Thursday evening, July 12, the Potomac Ensemble will perform in “Italian Cabaret Night,” as will Robert and Rocio Ford – and many others. Friday evening will feature Stas Venglevski, Frank Petrilli, Vladimir Mollov and others in concert, and Saturday evening is the annual banquet, with the AAA Orchestra as well as Manny Bobenrieth and the US Army Strolling Strings. Those are just the evening highlights. During the daytime you will be able to hear nonstop music during competitions, youth ensemble and youth orchestra performances, workshops, and impromptu performances.


WMAS Picnic

We won’t be meeting in August, but Joyce Palmer is inviting WMAS members to her Capitol Hill home for an à la mode* potluck picnic on Saturday, August 4, at 4 pm. Strolling accordionist Nancy Leonard will welcome guests, and accordionist Robert Ford will perform with his daughter Rocio on castanets. Please contact Joyce at joyce.palmer1@verizon.net to let her know you are coming and what dish you will bring. In return, she will provide you with details on location and parking.

*with accordion on top


Looking Ahead: AAA Founders’ Tribute Concert

From Joan Grauman

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the March 1938 American Accordionists’ Association (AAA), WMAS will hold an “AAA Founders’ Tribute Concert” at our March 2013 meeting. The performers? You, our members.

Many of the AAA founders -- active supporters of what was then a relatively new musical instrument -- were prolific composers, arrangers, performers, and teachers of the piano accordion. Thanks to the tireless efforts of AAA President Emerita Faithe Deffner, much of their music has been preserved and is still available for purchase through Ernest Deffner Publications, now located in Alexandria, Virginia.

I have gone through the Ernest Deffner catalogue and marked each selection that would qualify as “Founders’ Music.” Please contact me at joangrauman@verizon.net, and I will email you the scanned catalogue pages. Then you can choose a piece, learn it, and perform it for us at the special tribute concert in March 2013!

What should you choose, you ask? Here are some suggestions: Pietro Deiro (not Deiro, Jr.) was the founding president of the AAA. He composed many lovely pieces and arranged hundreds. His music ranges from easy to moderately difficult. Pietro Frosini’s compositions: wonderful, showy, and mostly moderately difficult to very difficult. Anthony Galla-Rini’s arrangements: true replicas of piano and orchestral music, very well arranged, moderately to very difficult. Charles Nunzio and Joe Biviano’s compositions and arrangements are all relatively easy to play and well done. John Gart’s compositions: beautiful and difficult. Gene Von Hallberg has one arrangement in the catalogue, but I am not familiar with his compositions/arrangements. Gene taught the accordion with Joe Biviano in New York City in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Charles Magnante’s compositions and arrangements have been favorites for decades. They range from moderately to very difficult.

As the archivist of the AAA, I have a lot of information and wonderful old photos of the founders that I will bring to this concert. Feel free to contact me any time for information on any of these amazing men. We hope you will choose a piece to share with us on this very special occasion in 2013!

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Accordionist needed for Children’s Opera

José Sacin is looking for an accordionist for the pit orchestra for the children’s opera Monkey See, Monkey Do, to be performed in September. Rodger French took this gig for last year’s edition, in Arlington, but he won’t be available this time. Please contact Mr. Sacin at josesacin@yahoo.com.

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Last Chance to Hear the Rodger French Trio!

Thursday, June 21, 6-8 pm
Del Ray Music Week Festival

In front of Vital
2201 Mount Vernon Avenue (at E. Custis Avenue)
Alexandria, Virginia

Rodger is moving to Argentina in July, so this is it for the trio, at least for the time being.

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Bastille Day with Robert Jacobs and Gypsy Roots

Robert Jacobs and Gypsy Roots will be playing gypsy jazz at the Willard Hotel the afternoon of Bastille Day, July 14. In addition, Mr. Jacobs will be playing solo from 5 to 9 pm that same day in the Willard’s Café du Parc Bistro.

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Accordions on the Air

From Louise Neu

On Monday, June 11, the CBC radio show As It Happens http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/ interviewed the person from Finland who has revived playing accordion during wrestling matches. http://www.kimmopohjonen.com/nav.php?url=accordion_wrestling.html

Coincidentally, the same show paid tribute to Wilf Doyle, the recently deceased 87-year-old accordion player who defined the music of the Maritimes.

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Robert and Rocio Ford set:

Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter) – Robert solo
Malagueña (E. Lecuona) – duet
Granada (Agustin Lara) – duet
Torna Sorrento (De Curtis) – Robert solo

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Andre Fry set:

Passacaglia (composed by J.S. Bach and transcribed by Andre)
Adagio Sostenuto, third movement of Impasse (by the French accordionist/composer Franck Angelis)
Waltz Allegro (Charles Magnante)
Lonely Accordion (Russian folk melody)
Czardas (Andre Fry)
Russian folk melody (Andre learned this by ear and doesn’t know its name)
Dance of the Furies from the opera (composed by Christoph W. Gluck for string orchestra and transcribed by Andre)
Encore: Czardas (Vittorio Monti)