History of Accordions WorldwideUpdated for the 10th Anniversary of the Opening of Accordions Worldwide on the 1st October 1996. Our thanks to Roberto Mangossi for the superb accordion birthday graphic below.
Small BeginningsAccordions Worldwide began with a meeting called by Harley Jones, Vice-President of the New Zealand Accordion Association, in April 1996. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the potential possibilities of the internet and how it might be used to best assist the development and popularity of the accordion.
Also considered was the future needs of accordion education, entertainment, associations and manufacturers in conjunction with the development of the internet.
Those attending the initial meetings were: Harley Jones (International solo artist with many symphony orchestras, teacher of many New Zealand solo champions) Wayne Knights ( teacher and now professional webmaster) Lionel Reekie (Professional entertainer and teacher) Peter Masefield (Years of technical knowledge and systems managing, now the Director of New Zealand Internet Services Ltd) Campbell Bettridge (Teacher, former Austalasian and South Pacific Champion and 3rd place getter in the Coupe Mondiale Piano Accordion Championships) Sarah Langley (Teacher, former New Zealand Champion, winner at ATG and AAA in the USA) Rhonda Morrison (Then first accordion, Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra)
Several weekly meetings followed, after which everyone there began a two month study of the internet with access to the internet provided free to assist their study. Not able to be present at these meetings, but in close liaison with Harley Jones, was then American Accordionists' Association President Faithe Deffner, who discussed the possibilities of the internet with a number of USA accordionists.
These studies highlighted that improved communications between accordionists was one area where the internet could provide an extremely valuable service. In a world becoming ever smaller, with greater ease of international travel, freely available information about every facet of the accordion was considered a high priority.
A list of the types of information that accordionists wanted to have easy access to was compiled and that became the basis of Accordions Worldwide. This included Weekly News, Future Events, Associations, Publishers, Recordings, Performers, Teachers, Manufacturers and many other types of information.
Another important development was the Accordion Yellow Pages Database with the concept of free contact details for all accordionists, accordion businesses and organisations, which was considered vital in encouraging maximum participation from around the world.
Work BeginsIn May 1996, Harley Jones approached fellow New Zealand Accordion Association Committee member Wayne Knights and asked him to become the Manager and Webmaster of the proposed internet site. He accepted and work was formally started when Wayne Knights began working full time on 6th June.
Within a week he was joined by Peter Masefield, who had an extensive technical ability and was able to organise the software and computer network systems. The first task of Peter and Wayne was to examine the technical requirements and goals of the business so they could put a budget in place.
This was completed and on the 1st July, the decision to proceed was made by ower Harley Jones. A number of accordionists were asked to work part time and full time, searching the world for information for the Accordion Yellow Pages Database. A network of seven (then) powerful Pentium computers was purchased and an office to put them in was quickly organised.
This was followed by the purchase of two Pentium server computers and latest software about a month later. Artists were hired to design the graphics and artistically lay out each page. The Aims and Purpose of the internet site were put in place, which was to provide a readily accessible information service about all aspects of the accordion for accordionists and enthusiasts.
The aim of the site is to benefit accordionists and accordion enthusiasts by effectively utilising the advantages of modern technology in a way that will assist the future growth and popularity of the accordion worldwide. Accordion Terminology: The term accordion is used throughout this site as a generic term that applies to ALL free-reed bellows instruments. We want to support and promote the merits of them all.
Overseas HelpIn mid August, Wu Jie, the son of Wu Shouzhi, then President of the Chinese Accordion Association was invited to start an office in China and he accepted this position and started on the 29th August. Recent New Zealand resident Tatiana Lanchtchikova was invited to permanently join our editorial staff, also improving our links with Eastern Europe and Russia. Tatiana is now our Office Manager and the webmaster of Search-Accordion and the Accordion Yellow Pages sites.
The name of Accordions Worldwide was selected in late August and the Internet addresses of www.accordions.com, www.akkordeon.com and www.accordeon.com were approved. After that, the opening online date of 1st October 1996 was decided and an enormous effort started to achieve opening within that extremely short deadline. During September, Harley Jones approached Holda Paoletti-Kampl in Castelfidardo, Italy to be a representative of Accordions Worldwide.
Holda is now the European Manager of Accordions Worldwide and is one of the key people in the success of Accordions Worldwide. It is a measure today of just how fast technology has changed the world, that when Holda Paoletti-Kampl was asked to visit all the accordion factories in Castelfidardo Italy seeking advertising, only one factory had email and none had an internet site. What a MASSIVE change in the world of the accordion in just 10 years! Accordions Worldwide wish to say a special thank you to our first client – Borsini Accordions who led the way.
Opening DayThe opening of Accordions Worldwide on the 1st October completed a frantic dash to be ready. Ever optimistic Manager Wayne Knights had organised a large party, with music provided by accordionists Maurice Jones and Grant "Yogi" Martin. Only minutes before the opening, both Wayne and Peter Masefield were putting the finishing touches to the site.
To everyone's joy, all worked as it should, and the site opening was then toasted by a large number of New Zealand accordionists plus Faithe Deffner in phone hook up from the USA. A speech of thanks was made by Harley Jones to all those who had made the site possible within such a short period of time, with particular thanks to Wayne Knights and Peter Masefield for a great success in what appeared an impossibly short time. The celebratory party continued until the early hours.
Weekly News in GermanSince the opening, developments have continued at a great pace. One month later, the Weekly News began with news being published every Friday afternoon so that people from around the world could read the latest accordion news update at their leisure during the weekend. The Weekly News features 2 to 4 short paragraphs for each news item. The Weekly News in German began on the 28th November 1996 with the hiring of Petra Arnold, a native German and amateur accordionist.
Other DevelopmentsAnother early development was "Other Sites", a comprehensive listing of other accordion internet sites. This was first published on 21 November 1996, with the work being done by three-time New Zealand Solo Accordion Champion Marie Masefield. After having a child, Marie decided to hand over to well known accordion entertainer Lionel Reekie and the listing of "Other Sites" has continued to grow rapidly, now listing hundreds of accordion related sites, and has evolved into the search-accordion.com site. In December 1996, the first Cyrillic language Publicity Site in Russian language was published for concert artist Viacheslav Semionov on Accordions Worldwide.
This work went on to become accordion-search.com and that allied with the very popular accordonlinks.com website give huge search capablities and free listing capablities to the accordion world.
Weekly News in Four LanguagesOn the 10th January 97, the Weekly News began to be published in four languages: English, German, French and Italian. Just prior to that, accordion teacher Christine Adams joined our team. Her work is to gather and collate the weekly news from around the world and arrange the translation into the various languages for publication each Friday.
Mirror German Language Site at www.akkordeon.comThe 16th January 1997 was the opening of the complete German site of Accordions Worldwide at the address www.akkordeon.com. This has been done with great help from Petra Arnold. This site will remain a mirror image of the English site. This site opening was celebrated by all the staff of Accordions Worldwide gathering at the home of Harley Jones on the beautiful shores of Lake Pupuke, accompaniment provided by the sound of Champagne corks popping and live accordion music provided by Lionel Reekie.
Server moved to the USAThe decision to have our server in the USA was made on the basis that the vast bulk of accordionists live in the Northern Hemisphere. Because they would enjoy faster down load times, the Accordions Worldwide server was changed from being in New Zealand to being based in the USA.
Japanese Language added to Weekly NewsAs part of the Accordions Worldwide policy of expanding the number of languages on site, Japanese language was added to the Weekly News on 4th July 1997. This was another first for Accordions Worldwide, learning to publish the complicated Asian language characters on the internet.
Weekly CD ReviewsOn the same date, Tania Lukic-Marx, President of the Australian Accordion Teachers Assoc. began CD Reviews published weekly in English and other languages depending upon translation availability.
SponsorshipIn support of young performers, Accordions Worldwide began a policy of sponsoring major accordion competitions and festivals by providing an internet site for the winner. The Coupe Mondiale, Castelfidardo and South Pacific events took up this sponsorship in 1997.
1st Anniversary CelebrationThe 1st October 1997 was the 1st Anniversary of Accordions Worldwide and it was celebrated with a lunch at the Top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.
Offices in Germany and USADuring the last two months of 1997, a Representative Office was opened in the USA headed by Kevin Friedrich.
1997 - A Year of Spectacular GrowthEvery element of Accordions Worldwide enjoyed astounding growth during 1997. The Accordion Yellow Pages database grew from 5,500 entries to over 12,000 entries during 1997. The number of advertising sites had grown several hundred percent and readership had more than doubled to over 30,000 hits per week.
French Site at www.accordeon.comWell known accordionist Frédéric Deschamps joined the Accordions Worldwide team as an adviser in February and shortly after on the 5 March 1998 a French language only site was published at www.accordeon.com. In March, statistics showed that traffic had increased to 50,000 hits per week.
Russian Weekly News AddedApril 24th saw the addition of the Russian Language International News as the numbers of Russians and East Europeans with internet had increased enormously.
Office in China/Chinese Site at www.accordions.com/chinaFamous accordion teacher Li Cong of Shanghai in co-operation with Accordions Worldwide began the Chinese language Accordions Worldwide site which was opened on 28 August 1998. This site has become a complete replica of the English site and also features Chinese National News pages as well as the International Weekly News translated into Chinese.
New Technology for the Accordion Yellow PagesOn September 25th, the new dynamic database Accordion Yellow Pages meant readers now had the ability to use many different 'search' features to make their own individual reports from this huge database of accordion information. There were now over 18,000 worldwide listings.
Search-Accordion.comNovember 20th saw the addition of the first (and so far only) accordion specific on-line search system, catering to readers looking for accordion information published on the Internet. This was prompted by reader requests, frustrated trying to find quality accordion information on the internet by normal search systems. Now, webmasters of accordion sites can submit the search information they consider most relevant to describe their site content, giving much more accurate and higher quality search results than the normal search systems.
Japanese News suspendedThe Weekly News in Japanese was suspended in November 1998 due to readership levels not attracting sponsorship. The service will be re-instated once more Japanese accordionists have internet and sponsorship can be attracted.
New Yellow Pages in German and FrenchTo cap off 1998, the new dynamic database Accordion Yellow Pages were published in both German and French languages.
AWW International MeetingIn January, the first Accordions Worldwide international meeting was held at Baylys Beach, New Zealand, attended by personnel from USA, China and New Zealand.
Celebrity InterviewsFebruary 19th saw the first Celebrity Interview go on-line. The first interview was conducted in London, and featured accordion artist Friedrich Lips of Moscow. Since then 18 more Celebrity Interviews have been added, many of them in 2 languages and some are in 5 languages.
Traffic GrowthBy March 1999 the number of hits on Accordions Worldwide each week had increased to over 150,000 per week, over three times the 50,000 hits a week from a year ago.
AccordionLinks.comThe "other sites" page of AWW was replaced with a new site dedicated exclusively to Accordion Links. Searchable via many different categories, this site is managed by webmaster Jerome Nijhof, and was developed from Jerome's former enormous accordion links site with the addition of the information from the AWW site.
MemorialsJuly 9th saw the addition of a new section of AWW paying tribute to accordionists who had passed away. An on-line tribute, this enables viewers to pay respect to accordionists who have passed away both recently and over the years. Obituaries are listed for two months, with the option of expanding these to become a permanent on-line memorial, if the families wish.
Spanish NewsBecause a significant number of the world's population speak Spanish, this language was added to the Weekly International News. In a very short amount of time, the popularity of this service has proven to make the Spanish language another important part of the Weekly News.
New National News Publications - Italian National NewsWith the International Weekly news being the most visited part of the AWW site, the introduction of the National News sections enabled visitors to enjoy more in depth articles and local interest features by having an entire site dedicated to a country or region. The first National News site was Fisarmoniae Italian Accordion News, featuring national accordion news and events from Italy. This was introduced on 24 September 1999.
German National NewsThe first publication of the Deutsche Akkordeon News, the National German News was put on-line on the 5 November 1999 with Raphael Frey of Switzerland as the Coordinator.
USA National NewsThe first publication of the United States National News www.accordionusa.com was published 1 December 1999 and is published monthly.
French National NewsThe first publication of the French National Accordion News, www.accordeon.com/francais was put on-line 16 December 1999 with Grégory Frénard as Coordinator.
Second Accordions Worldwide International MeetingIn January, the second Accordions Worldwide International meeting was held at Baylys Beach, New Zealand, attended by personnel from USA, Italy, Austria, Germany and New Zealand.
Traffic GrowthUp from 150,000 hits in one year earlier, weekly hits now exceeded 240,000 meaning another year of huge traffic growth.
Third AWW International MeetingIn early March representatives from New Zealand, USA and Italy convened in Vienna, Austria for several days of meetings.
Recordings for SaleOn 10 March 2000 we introduced a new section in the Yellow Pages "Recordings for Sale" where readers can search by title, performer and tracks for desired recordings.
Introduction of Linked Sites14 April 2000 saw the introduction of Linked Sites option for clients wishing to advertize in front of the large numbers of accordion interested readers visiting Accordions Worldwide sites each week.
Eastern European News23 June 2000 saw the addition of the new National News publication www.accordions.com/east which, based in St Petersburg, Russia, features news from Eastern Europe with coordinator Sergej Tchirkov
AWW Honored at the AAA Festival, USAIn July 2000, Accordions Worldwide was honored at the American Accordionists Association National Festival in Washington DC, recognizing the outstanding contribution that the site has made to communications in the accordion world. Harley Jones, founder of Accordions Worldwide received a standing ovation as he accepted the plaque on behalf of Accordions Worldwide.
Some Sites Moved to New Zealand ServersWith a super high speed fibre optic cable now connecting New Zealand to the USA, some sites were moved to New Zealand in November when there were problems with the USA server company. The Director of the New Zealand server company is a former member of the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra. The main site of Accordions Worldwide remains on a huge Linux server in the USA.
2001Accordions Worldwide Meeting, First Daily Coupe Mondiale Reports A highlight of 2001 was the meeting in London. With many of the Accordions Worldwide staff and contributers being present at the CIA Coupe Mondiale in London, attendees decided to celerate the 5th Anniversary of www.accordions.com by meeting prior to the CIA General Assembly.
In attendance were from left to right: Sergei Tchirkov - St. Petersburg, Russia, Frederic Deschamps - Paris, France Faithe Deffner - NY, USA Harley Jones - Nagigia Island, Fiji, Holda Paoletti-Kampl - Castelfidardo, Italy Tania Lucik-Marx - Sydney, Australia Jeroen Nijhof - Stradford on Avon, UK Tatiana Lantchakova - Auckland, New Zealand Kevin Friedrich - New York, USA.
At the Coupe Mondiale prize giving, the NAO (National Accordion Organisation of the UK) President Raymond Bodell presented to Accordions Worldwide, an award recognizing their 5th birthday and the "large contribution" Accordions Worldwide has made to the accordion.
While there, the Accordions Worldwide team published daily a competition review and the results, which was such a success, it has continued annually for the Coupe Mondiale. Sine then, other event organisers have invited Accordions Worldwide staff to events to make daily news reports and publish the results.