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May 28, 2010


Meeting Notes

May 16 was our annual spring concert, and we had a good lineup as usual, as well as lots of groaners, thanks to our wonderful emcee Ken Kunec. The high point, though, was a performance by a newcomer – to WMAS and the accordion. Fifteen-year-old Andre Fry performed Monti’s “Czardas” and received a well-deserved standing ovation. Andre is a student of Ron Onda, who is a former accordion champion of Canada and has performed for WMAS in the past.

Next Month

Coming up: Don’t miss the Ashgrove Players’ mini-concert and play-along/jam session at the June 13 meeting. Until then you can check out the Ashgrove Players – comprising two fiddles, two guitars, a mandolin, and an accordion played by WMAS member Lee Paulson – on YouTube.



Potomac Ensemble Performances

The Potomac Ensemble received a warm reception when it performed for two hours last Saturday at Reston’s Lake Anne. The ensemble will also be playing on Thursday evening, July 15, for Cabaret Night at the AAA Festival in Hershey, Pa.


More on the AAA Festival in Pennsylvania

The festival, which runs from July 14 to 18 at the Harrisburg/Hershey Sheraton, offers lots of great accordion music, a trip to Hershey Park, and a variety of workshops, performances, and exhibits. Something new this year will be a children’s program on Friday morning, July 16. The program will include a presentation by Karen Malan-Uribe, Joan Grauman, and Mary Tokarski of their new book, An Accordion! What Is That? and an “Accordion Petting Zoo” for children from the local Milton Hershey School to try out 12-bass accordions. Frank Busso, Jr.’s students (and WMAS members) will be performing and competing at the festival, and a show band (which will also include students of Frank Busso, Sr.’s music school) will perform during the Saturday afternoon Awards Ceremony. Be sure to reserve your room soon to get the special AAA rate ($109 per night, as opposed to $200). See www.ameraccord.com for more information.


Balalaika Society Concert June 5 and 6

On Saturday, June 5, at 8 pm, the Washington Balalaika Society will present its spring concert, "Balalaika 2010," featuring a 100th anniversary tribute to composer Nikolai Budashkin. The concert will take place at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater, 603 Edmonston Drive, Rockville Md., and will be repeated on Sunday, June 6 at 3 pm, at Langley High School, 6520 Georgetown Pike, McLean, Va. In addition to the 55-member orchestra conducted by Svetlana Nikonova, there will be three outstanding soloists: Alexander Tsygankov (Domra), Andrei Saveliev (Balalaika), and Irina Petryk (Soprano). The music is filled with wonderful melodies, rich harmonies, and exciting rhythms. For more information, go to www.balalaika.org.

By the way, WBS is looking for volunteers to help with lobby operations. If you are interested in volunteering (which gets you into the concert for free) please contact L.A. Hoffman: lhoffman96@gmail.com.


Accordion Fun

Sue Smith has alerted us to the interesting web siteof Gary Sredzienski, "The Accordion Warrior," at www.garysred.com. Gary hosts a weekly polka show on a New Hampshire radio station, which you can hear via his site. You can also see videos there of his performances at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and elsewhere.


More Accordion Fun ---

Tony Gudell, who has just joined the WMAS email list, has started a group on Facebook called DC Accordion Marching Band. Here's a link:



Peter DiGiovanni’s Hot-weather Advice

Remember never to leave your accordion in a hot car. Excessive heat is bad news for your precious instrument. Cars heat up quickly in the sun -- as much as 20 degrees in the first 10 minutes and another 10 degrees in the next 10 minutes -- and can quickly reach 140 degrees. Instead, take your accordion inside with you and set it in a safe, secure place. If you must leave it for a few minutes, for example while you run into a store, try to park in the shade, even if it means a longer walk for you. And try wrapping the instrument (in its case) in a light-colored blanket or two; the extra insulation will buy some time. Another idea: put a reflective silver screen in your windshield. And if you have a moonroof, open the tilt to let hot air escape. While the trunk of your car does not get as hot as the interior (about 120 degrees), it is nonetheless too hot for your accordion.