Renewal is a fact of life, and so it is with the ATG choosing a new president in 2018 to renew its dedication to our wonderful instrument, the ACCORDION. I am both flattered and honored to become the new ATG President for 2018 through 2019 and will humbly do my very best to perform my duties to the standard set by our highly dedicated and talented past Presidents.
The ATG is in its 78th year in 2018, and as President of this exciting accordion organization, I welcome you and hope you will continue to renew your membership and support one of the most expressive instruments on the planet.
For our 77th Festival last year, we had a dazzling array of performers that prompted many people to say, “This was the most entertaining and exciting Festival ever!” We expect to live up to that sentiment again this year as we have some incredible artists performing for our 78th Festival, July 25-28th at the Hyatt Regency Lisle Hotel (near Chicago).
Guest artists will be world champion (only person to win digital, acoustic, & jazz accordion categories) Cory Pesaturo; German world champion, Matthias Matzke (also equally mesmerizing at acoustic and digital accordion performance); the incomparable bayan artist Stas Venglevski (previous ATG President originally from Moldova and now from Wisconsin) and Chicago jazz artist, Mike Alongi.
ATG is an international organization and therefore its members come from all over the world, including our 2017 Board of Directors inductees, Xia Gang from China and Beverley Fess from Canada. Remember that the ATG Bulletin is available to our members four times a year with news, music, articles, and interesting information, all relating to the accordion. Many have remarked that each issue’s embedded and free high-quality music alone is worth the cost of the membership!
Also, let’s not forget that the ATG Festival Accordion Orchestra, directed by Joan Cochran Sommers, is always an exciting highlight of the Festival. Accordionists attending the festival may sign up to rehearse/perform with the orchestra. When you register for the orchestra, you state the level of music you are able to play. Orchestra music is then sent to you several months ahead for you to learn and prepare to play with the large ensemble. Classical, Pop, Jazz, plus all kinds of ethnic music are chosen by Maestro Sommers for the orchestra to perform. It is always an excellent performance that will enhance your accordion studies and experience.
Additionally, launching from its well-received success last year, Maestro Murl Allen Sanders will be back to conduct the Mixed Ensemble that will include various non-accordion and accordion instrumentalists from local Chicago area high schools as well as accordionists from our membership who want to have a decidedly positive learning experience performing in an ensemble. You may choose to sign up for this Mixed Ensemble with your registration package. We have some great music lined up for this year’s rehearsal sessions and performance.
The Festival each year always provides you workshops, concerts, the Original Accordion Music Concert, luncheons, gala banquet, accordion vendors, Meet & Greet party, CDs and music for sale, as well as new friendships and networking opportunities! We all love to play the ACCORDION! So please attend the Festival if you want to be truly inspired and experience the accordion in its most exciting and diverse contexts. You won't be disappointed!
Since we are a 501c (3) not for profit organization, we welcome your donations to the various categories to promote and support the accordion funds: like the Youth Scholarship Fund, New Music Fund, ATG General Fund and more. Donations are tax deductible. We are here to help promote the accordion, to raise its standards, and to gain the popularity that it deserves in the world of music!
INCENTIVES: Also, please don’t forget our incentive programs for you as members. If you acquire TWO new ATG members this year, your own membership dues will be waived next year. Additionally, if you attain TWO new complete registrations for this year’s Festival, your own full registration will be waived for the same Festival. So encourage your friends to join the ATG and to attend our 2018 Festival. It’s a win-win for you, your friends, and for the ATG!
Finally, I want to thank all our past Presidents (especially Amy Jo Sawyer who has done a brilliant job the last 2 years), Board members, and our dedicated membership who have made this the stellar and critically important organization that it is. Let’s make this another incredible year for the accordion in 2018!
Joseph Natoli, President