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March 28, 2013


Meeting Notes

Accordionist Dallas Vietty, accompanied by guitarists Ben Wood and Luke Hendon, delighted and intrigued the roomful of people who turned out to hear them at the March 10 WMAS meeting. Many listeners were unfamiliar with the style, known as Gypsy jazz or musette swing, which was popular in France from the 1920s into the 1950s. Rent (or stream) a French movie from that period, and you’ll probably hear some.

After the concert, Dallas led a workshop, during which he demystified the style and had us playing a few measures. People went away happy, and it was not only about the music. It is exciting to know that a new generation – including Dallas — has taken up the accordion and is moving it back into the spotlight where it belongs. We are proud that our club has been able to showcase some of these musicians: Gabe Rodrigues and Vladimir Mollov are two others.

Joan Grauman greeted members and guests with Irish tunes in honor of St. Patrick’s Day a week later. Thanks, Joan! And thanks, everyone who helped set up and clean up, handle the refreshments, take donations at the door, and all the other tasks that make things run smoothly.

Learn more about Dallas at www.dallasvietty.com. If you’d like a PDF of his workshop handout, please email joangrauman@verizon.net.

If you like the style, you might be interested in these upcoming events:

Django in June festival in Northampton, Mass. (June 17-23)

Django Reinhardt Festival All-Stars concert at the Kennedy Center on November 2


Next Meeting

Ken Kunec will entertain us with “Love Songs, Fun Songs, and Sing-alongs.” Please bring your accordion for the play-along following the program.

Greeter: new member Halina Banas-Jones


Bayan Concert in Hagerstown this Saturday

Jim Vandelly reports that he has lent his Bugari bayan to a Serbian exchange student, 17-year-old Filip Novakovic, who is living with a family in Boonsboro, Maryland. If you’re in that area or can make the drive, you’ll be able to hear Filip this Saturday, March 30, at 3 pm, at the Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown. Admission is $5 per person. We hope to see Filip at an upcoming WMAS meeting.


Tips for Accordionists
By Karen Malan-Uribe

One of the workshops I attended at the AAMS festival over the March 15-17 weekend was Guenadiy Lazarov’s “How to Care for Your Instrument.” Between the workshop and listening to Guenadiy’s advice while he worked on my accordion for four hours, I learned some tips on accordion care and practicing that I’d like to pass on:

  • If you have an accordion with a tone chamber, store it on its side. That way the leathers will hang down and not sideways. If you don't have a tone chamber, storing the accordion on its side is not so critical.
  • Don't use the air button to push in the bellows. According to Guenadiy, this action forces the air out the wrong holes. Instead, always play a key when returning the bellows to the closed position. This is a bad habit for me to work on breaking.
  • Play all of your accordions. An accordion that is played regularly is one that won't need so many repairs. Your accordion doesn't need an annual checkup; take it to a repairman only when it is having problems. Guenadiy suggested that, if you think your accordion has a problem, contact him ASAP; he may be able to help you over the phone. He emphasized the importance of taking care of any small problem as soon as possible.
  • An unpleasant odor associated with your instrument could be caused by sweat on the straps and the bellows protector. If the problem is severe, you should remove the straps and bellows protector before putting the accordion in its case.
  • Each time you play your accordion, start with scales and play them on all the switches, changing switches with each scale. Do this with both hands. This will give each valve a chance to move. Providing the accordion with the chance to utilize all of its facilities every time you play it. So now when I play my warmup scales, I change both the treble and bass registers with every new key. Another benefit: following this advice exercises your fingers and also hones your ear to identify the sounds the various switches make.
  • In short, make sure you play your entire accordion regularly. We get into the habit of using one favorite switch and on one part of the accordion.
  • Don't be afraid to use the bellows. Guenadiy was pleased to see me pump my bellows with gusto.

Find Guenadiy Lazarov at www.AccordionGallery.com