On behalf of the ATG, we invite you to enjoy this review of our festival held in Lisle, Illinois from 25-29 of July, 2012.
ATG Board of Directors in attendance at the 2012 Festival
Standing: Norman Seaton, Peter Giacalone, Stas Venglevski,
Kevin Friedrich, Jeff Lisenby, Esther Lanting,
Sitting: Michelle Boddicker Scheffler, Joan C. Sommers,
Liz Finch, Amy Jo Sawyer and Betty Jo Simon
The Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) celebrated its 72nd Anniversary Competition and Festival in grand style in Lisle (Chicago), Illinois from July 25-29, 2012.
Attracting guests from as far a field as China, Canada, the Reunion Islands, Austria and across the USA, the convention featured competitions, concerts, workshops, meetings, a trade show, the ATG Festival Orchestra and many social functions.
The late Frank Marocco was to have been the featured guest artist, however after his untimely passing away, the festival shifted its theme to pay tribute to this legendary Jazz accordionist. Emmanuel Gasser (Canada) won the ATG Competition in Honor of Frank Marocco, while Board of Director Amy Jo Sawyer premiered her new composition 'Three for Frank' in his honor, and the ATG Festival Orchestra performed an outstanding new arrangement 'Tribute to Frank', a compilation of Frank Marocco compositions, arranged for accordion orchestra by a long time friend and work associate in the Los Angeles Music industry, ATG First Vice President Liz Finch. Numerous other tributes were given to Frank, and the ATG continued with its original plan to induct Frank Marocco into the ATG Accordion Hall of Fame, which will now be awarded posthumously.
Guest artists included CIA Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Champion Alexander Sevastian (Canada), who received multiple standing ovations for his outstanding concert, Stas Venglevski (Milwaukee, WI), a popular performer throughout the USA, who delighted the audience by inviting Joan C. Sommers to join him for two of his pieces, one a comedy routine and the other a beautiful haunting Waltz. Jazz accordionist Jeff Lisenby (Nashville, TN) was joined by several Chicago musicians and guest vocalist Alicia Baker for a performance of popular US TV/Show themes presented in Jazz style, Alicia Baker (Roland artist from OR) who gave a breathtaking performance highlight the Roland accordion and including vocal selections.
Board Member Michelle Boddicker-Scheffler (Oregon), International Guest Artist
Alexander Sevasitan (Canada), Board Member Kevin Friedrich (New York),
First Vice President Liz Finch (California), Board Member Joan C. Sommers (Kansas)
and International Guest Herbert Scheibenreif (Austria)
In addition, the concerts featured Dr. Marko Petricic (Indiana University), The UMKC Accordion Chamber Ensemble (Joan C. Sommers, Joyce Davis, Betty Jo Simon, Ron Barrow and Kevin Friedrich from Kansas City, MO), the Gene Van Accordion Orchestra (from South Bend, IN, conducted by Gene Van), Betty Jo Simon (Midi Accordionist), Soundscape Trio (Madalynn and John Neu and Larry Miller from Denver, Colorado).
Above left: Alexander Sevasitan (Canada)
Above right: Jeff Lisenby (Nashville)
Above left: Soundscape Trio - Madalynn and John Neu and Larry Miller
Above right: Joan Sommers and Stas Venglevski
Above: UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble
Betty Jo Simon, Kevin Friedrich, Ron Barrow, Joyce Davis and Joan C. Sommers
Above: Gene Van Accordion Orchestra conducted by Gen Van
Above left: Betty Jo Simon
Above right: Marko Petričić
Above left: Joe Natoli and Amy Jo Sawyer
Above: Tianjin Angels Arts School Ensemble
Workshops were presented on a variety of themes including Work as a Session Musician (Jeff Lisenby), Using your computer to Notate your Music (Liz Finch), Transcribing Organ Music for the Accordion (Dr. Marko Petricic), Life as a Concert Accordionist (Alexander Sevastian), The ATG Syllabus (Joan C. Sommers), Transcribing Piano Works for Accordion (Dr. Herbert Scheibenreif), Supplemental Music for Young Children and Teenagers (Gordon Kohl), Working with the Roland (Alicia Baker), Playing Well - Prevention and Biomechanics of Musician Injuries (Dr. Lynda Griffith).
The ATG was pleased to welcome several performers from neighbouring accordion clubs and associations, including Esther Lanting and Heidi King (cello), Dick Tappan and Chuck Oprian, Rebecca Ratliff and Jessican Faltot Duo and Wilanna Vogel (Peoria Accordion Club, Tony Hermanek and Jerry Cigler (Chicago Accordion Club) Edward Smollen, Michael Basin and Bruno Muras Representing the Polish American Accordion Association of Chicago and Donna Dee Ray, Gordon Kohl, both newly appointed members of the ATG Board of Directors.
One of the highlights of the festival is the annual ATG Festival Accordion Orchestra. This year was no exception, with the exciting addition of ANIMA, a renowned Youth Choir from Chicago joining the Festival Orchestra for a moving performance of Let There Be Peace on Earth conducted by ANIMA Musical Director Emily Ellsworth. One of the world's leading pedagogues in choral music, her choirs have performed all over the world. ANIMA means breath, life, soul, spirit and mind and reflects the Choir's mission to transform young lives through excellence in music education and choral singing. A world class youth choral organization, founded in 1964, their collaboration with the ATG Festival Orchestra added an exciting dimension for members who had the rare opportunity to work with both the choir and director Emily Ellsworth. Joan C. Sommers and Gene Van also directed the ATG Festival Orchestra.
Gene Van
Joan Cochran Sommers
Emily Ellsworth
Celebration March by Gene Van
conducted by Gene Van

Marocco Medley - Dedicated to the Memory of Frank Marocco, arr. by Liz Finch
Soloist: Jeff Lisenby
conducted by Joan Cochran Sommers
Let There Be Peace on Earth by Sy Miller & Jill Jackson
featuring ANIMA Youth Singers
arranged for accordion orchestra by Joan Cochran Sommers
conducted by Emily Ellsworth, Conductor & Musical Director of ANIMA Youth Singers
The competitions featured a diverse array of winners from 5 year old Nathan Troxell who won the Standard Solo division, through to Bojan Cubra (Serbia) who won the ATG US Open Solo Championship. Emmanuel Gasser (Canada) who won numerous solo divisions including the ATG US Junior Solo Championship and the ATG Competition in memory of Frank Marocco and the Tanjing Angels Arts School Ensemble and the Tanjing Chamber Ensemble won the International Mixed Instrument Ensemble divisions. Below are some of the Winners from the festival:
Nathan Troxell
Winner: ATG Standard Solo, Age 5 years
Ana Machl
Winner: ATG Open Solo, Age 12
Tianjin Angels Arts School Ensemble (China) - Winner ATG Chamber Music Accordion Ensemble
Emmanuel Gasser (Canada)
Winner: US Solo Junior Championship and ATG 2012 Frank Marocco Competition
Winner: ATG Original Solo, ATG Open Solo, ATG Jazz Solo, ATG Ethnic Solo & ATG Polka Solo
Bojan Cubra (Serbia)
Winner: ATG US Solo Championship
Shiya Zhou (China)
Winner: ATG Digital Accordion Competition
Tianjin Angels Arts School Ensemble and the Tianjin Chamber Ensemble
Winners of the ATG Chamber Ensemble Divisions
The ATG will return to Chicago next summer to celebrate its 73rd Anniversary Competition and Festival from July 17-21, 2013. Details will be announced very soon.

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