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October 22, 2010


Meeting Notes

Some who attended last Sunday’s meeting – a concert with guest artist William Cosby – may have wondered why we waited so long to invite him. The answer is that he only recently picked up the accordion again after a 30-year break. What an amazing musician! And what a beautiful and flawless performance he offered us.

On a warm and sunny fall afternoon, 75 people came to hear Mr. Cosby. One of them was Mort Herold, whom Cosby recognized for his many contributions to the accordion world. “Mort is one of my heroes,” he said, adding: “If there is accordion royalty, Mort is accordion royalty.”

[Googling Mort Herold brings up this, from the November 1948 issue of Accordion World (New York): Before an audience of 3500 which filled the huge Chicago Civic Opera House, Mort Herold, accompanied by members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, played his way into the Accordion Hall of Fame.]

Anyway …

William Cosby, now 65, studied with Tito Giudotti and Anthony Galla-Rini, often performing with Galla-Rini. He participated in many competitions, walking away with three consecutive ATG national titles, two silver medals and one bronze in the Coupe Mondiale, and two AAA jazz titles. In 1969 he joined the U.S. Military Academy Band as an accordion soloist. Nine years later, however, he put away his accordion and turned to the piano, and to conducting, arranging, producing demos, and other musical endeavors. Last year a Rocker Switch Excelsior came into his possession and he started playing again. As his bio notes, “when he puts on his accordion, he has come home.”

On the October 17 program were Pietro Deiro’s “Tranquillo Overture,” Galla-Rini’s 1938 arrangement of “Malaguena,” Pietro Deiro’s “Quick Silver” (Cosby played it the way he used to play it at age 14, “when you’re fearless and you just go for it”), Charles Magnante’s arrangement of “Midnight in Paris,” and Cosby’s own 1978 composition, “High Energy Sonata,” among other selections.

If you missed the concert, CDs are available at www.Athameinc.com.


Coming Up

Blob’s Park this Sunday

Mike Surratt and the Continentals are on the bandstand this Sunday, October 24, at Blob’s Park (www.blobspark.com) in Jessup, Maryland. Contact Nancy Leonard if you are going, at accordionstar@verizon.net. She is reserving a table for 4:15.


WMAS Orchestra

Everyone is encouraged to join the WMAS Orchestra and play in the Holiday Concert on December 12. The first rehearsal will be Sunday, November 14, at 4 pm, at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church, our usual meeting place. Please let us know if you will be participating. The other two rehearsals will be after the November 21 meeting, and at 2 pm the day of the concert.

If you would like to play a solo or duet in the concert, please let us know that, too, but keep in mind the 5-minute limit. We often have too much of a good thing (a very long concert), so some people may be asked to play during dinner rather than during the concert itself. Joining the orchestra is a good way to get a chance to play, and you’ll have a chance to practice playing with other people and following a conductor – its own set of skills.


Valtaro Night April 16, 2011

WMAS will be sponsoring a Valtaro evening with Dominic Karcic and Ray Oreggia on April 16, 2011, at Marco Polo Restaurant on Maple Avenue in Fairfax. Please mark your calendars for this fun event, which will include a buffet dinner and lots of good Italian Musette dance music. You may recall that Dominic and Ray performed at the May 2008 WMAS meeting.


Washington Balalaika Society Concerts November 20 and 21

Saturday, November 20, 8 pm ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville MD

Sunday, November 21, 3 pm ~ Kenmore Performing Arts Center, Arlington VA

Ticket information at http://www.balalaika.org


Charles Nunzio RIP

Charles Nunzio, the last surviving member of the American Accordionists’ Association founders, died earlier this week. He would have been 98 on October 30. A visitation and memorial service are tentatively planned for October 29 and 30 in Basking Ridge, NJ. Arrangements are through Gallaway and Crane (908-766-0250). The family is asking for donations in lieu of flowers to be made to the AAA or the Alzheimer's Association.