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October 4, 2010


Meeting Notes

There is no beer in heaven, and there wasn’t any at the WMAS Oktoberfest, either, but it was fun nonetheless. The party took place during our September 19 meeting, and it did boast sauerkraut, accordion music, and a crowd of people, some of whom even took to the dance floor. Thanks to everyone who helped out, especially to Lee and Ron Paulson for taking care of the setup and decorations, Ken Kunec for emceeing, and John and JoAnn Pankow for managing the kitchen.

Next Meeting

Please make sure our October 17 meeting in on your calendar. William Cosby will be our special guest artist, and those who have heard him report that he is a phenomenal accordionist and not to be missed! This concert is your opportunity to enjoy one of the benefits of being a WMAS member; we will be asking nonmembers for an $8 donation at the door. The concert will take place at 4 pm Sunday, October 17, at the usual place: 3435 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church, Virginia.

WMAS Holiday Concert

This year’s concert will take place on Sunday, December 12, at 4 pm, at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist. As in the past, accordionists of any level are welcome to play in the WMAS Holiday Orchestra, but all must be willing to come to rehearsals. Our conductor, Joan Grauman, will hand out packets with the holiday sheet music at the October 17 meeting. We will be rehearsing during the regular WMAS meeting on November 21 and before the holiday concert on December 12 (at 2 pm). In addition, one other rehearsal will be scheduled. For more information, please contact Joan at joangrauman@comcast.net.


News and Announcements

Ron Onda Recital This Saturday

Saturday, October 9, 1:30 pm
Society of the Cincinnati’s Anderson House
2118 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington DC 20037

Ron Onda, classical accordionist, presents light classical accordion favorites featuring Hungarian and Spanish music.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free.


Andre Fry - Youth Division Winner at Roland Festival

Andre Fry, the astounding young accordionist who played at one of our meetings last spring, was the Youth Division Winner at the Roland U.S. V-Accordion Festival in Los Angeles on September 18. Andre first tried out a Roland at the AAA Festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in mid-July. In fact, he has only been playing the accordion since August 2009. His interest in the instrument began in Russia where he learned to play the bayan.

Andre also composes. If you went to the AAA Festival or read last month’s WMAS Update, you may recall that he won AAA’s Elsie M. Bennett Composition Competition, Junior Division, with his composition “Czardas.”

This young prodigy hopes to be a concert artist, and it is quite obvious his chances of attaining that goal are high. We look forward to the mini-concert he will perform for the club at the April 17 meeting.

For more information on the Roland competition, see http://www.rolandus.com/go/v-accordion_festival/


Tony Gudella in Falsettos

Tony Gudella, a new friend who came to our July meeting, is performing in the musical Falsettos, now in its last week at:

Noi's Nook at go mama go!
1809 14th Street NW
Washington, DC

Tickets are $30, see http://www.ganymedearts.org/Falsettos.html


An Interview with Karen Malan-Uribe

The following was published in the Connection Newspapers, last Friday’s edition. [Please note that Mara Cherkasky has made a few corrections to this version.]

Teacher-Author Helps in Re-emergence of Accordion

By Senitra McCombs
Friday, October 1, 2010

From the age of 6 or 7, Karen Malan Uribe had been playing the accordion under the tutelage of her father, accordionist Allan Malan, at his music studio in Dearborn, Michigan.

That is until she bought her first Elvis Presley album. However, she picked it back up 11 years later and now the London Towne Elementary teacher-turned-author is helping to revive its image among younger generations.

In 2009, Uribe published An Accordion! What Is That? along with the help of her friends, illustrator Joan Geller Grauman and narrator /accordionist Mary Tokarski.

To get a copy, e-mail Grauman at joangrauman@comcast.net or call 1-301-279-8716.

Uribe decided to write the book after seeing the enthusiasm in and hearing the questions from her students when she would use the instrument to help teach writing and English.

"The idea came from them really — wanting to know what the accordion was and how it worked," she said.

Moreover, she was driven by a need to find an "easy nonfiction book" her third-grade ESOL students could read and understand.

"I really became a writer out of a sense of need," she said.

While Uribe wrote the book for a 1st or 2nd grade level, she says that older children can also learn a lot about music theory because of the notes on the side of the page.

"I hope that they’ll want to pick up an accordion after reading the book … That it piques their interest in music and learning how to care for instruments," she said.

Overall the response to the book has been favorable. The three friends are currently doing workshop presentations on the accordion using their book.

Recently, they did a workshop for 40 children from the Milton Hershey School during which Uribe led an interactive accordion demonstration with the help of a local accordion school that donated five little 12-bass accordions.

"They loved it. They came in and sat down and really paid attention to everything we did. And then, afterwards, we had them try out the accordions. They tried them all," she said.

According to Grauman, "Karen’s ability to work with children is amazing. She was able to get them to focus, and to get their attention, when their little minds would wander. It was really fun to observe."

Currently they are trying to schedule a workshop for London Towne Elementary for November.

From the moment she thought of doing a children’s book on accordions more than two years ago, Uribe knew it wasn’t something she could do alone.

So while at a convention with Tokarski and Grauman, she asked them if they would help her bring her vision to reality.

They agreed.

"It was really rewarding working together as a group, making sure the pictures and music went with the words and all of it fit together in a good marriage," Uribe said.

Illustrator Grauman added, "I learned a lot about the accordion doing this book."

Grauman was responsible for the book’s main character: a bumblebee named Buzz Treble.

"I would draw several expressive bees and the ones that Karen and Mary laughed at would be the ones that I included in the book. The little bee had to be cute in the eyes of young children. We felt that this would help to keep them interested in the book," she said.

While Uribe acknowledges the editing and researching were a bit challenging, her work writing short educational books for Fairfax County Public Schools’ curriculum helped her with the structure.

Her first book, Learn and Laugh with Music, was an instructional guide for teachers on how to use music to teach ESOL students.

After collaborating for six months, Uribe faced another challenge: finding a publisher. In the end, she decided to self-publish the book.

"It really was an incredibly collaborative effort between the three of us. We worked so well together and our love for the accordion comes out in this book," she said.

When she’s not practicing accordion or doing presentations, Uribe enjoys hiking, knitting and reading historical fiction, especially James A. Michener.

She's the founder of the Washington, DC-area accordion club: the Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society.