Report: A World of Accordions Museum Hosts 2022 World Accordion Day and Willard A. Palmer Festival - USA

A World of Accordions Museum celebrated their annual World Accordion Day and Dr. Willard Palmer Festival in Superior, Wisconsin from May 6th to 8th, 2022. Featuring Concerts, Lectures, a Festival Orchestra, Two Polka Services and several social events, the festival was hailed a tremendous success, bringing in both live and online audiences.

Printed Schedule pdf

View the event at the: A World of Accordions Youtube Video Channel

AWAM WAD poster

Featured guests included the Mayor of Superior, Jim Paine, Museum President and curator Helmi Harrington, Ph. D., Dr. Mike Middleton (both solo and with the Middletones), CIA Ambassador and Museum VP Kevin Friedrich, Dee Langley (both solo and with the Masked Accordion Ensemble), Joanna Arnold Darrow, Jazzlynne Skye, John Scaffeo, Mary Kay and Katherine Archuletta, William Popp, Accordion Concertina Music and Friends Accordion Band conducted by Tracey Gibbens, Hostfest Ensemble and Dr. Craig Funderberg.

Visitors to the World Accordion Day and Palmer Fests were treated to an array of activities showcasing the diversity of the accordion, an introduction to the extensive Alain Papineau collection donation, as well as guided tours of the Museum displaying more than 1,400 instruments tracing the evolution of the accordion from 1829 to today.

Mayor of Superior, Jim Paine, Museum President and curator Helmi Harrington
Mayor of Superior, Jim Paine Presentation of his Mayor's Proclamation to World of Accordions Museum President Helmi Harrington.
Download the Mayor’s Proclamations: 2022Proclamation.pdf

Event highlights included the three Proclamations presented by Mayor Paine and a showcase called ‘Meet the Family’ where Kevin Friedrich, assisted by Jane Christison and Chad Walker introduced attendees to 18 different members of the accordion family found in the Museum exhibits (picture top).

Proclamations from the Mayor were part of World Accordion Day (6th May), Dr. Willard A. Palmer Day (7th May) and Social Music Celebration Day (8th May).

Meet the family
'Meet the Family'

The ‘Meet the Family’ presentation began with Kevin Friedrich performing the oldest instrument in the Museum holdings, a 193 year old 6 key Flutina and finished with the magnificent 160 Bass Titano Emperor Super V instrument owned by the late Dr. Willard A. Palmer. Other instruments included the Luttbeg double (left and right hand) piano keyboard, a dual right hand button and piano accordion, a pedestal accordion, Flutter accordion, diatonic, Tanzbar mechanical, Fire Tiger and more.

Video starts at 3:10 The ‘Meet the Family’ video presentation.

A World of Accordions volunteer technician Chad Walker kindly lent his expertise to restore many of the instruments to playing order, while Jane Christison provided accompaniment on several of the performances including for the Cello and Bass accordions, bandoneon and the unique bell accordion.

To conclude the main festival activities a 20 member accordion orchestra under the direction of Tracey Gibbens presented a concert of popular pieces showcasing original accordion composers (picture below).

For the second year, an additional celebration was held on the Sunday morning featuring two Polka Services, whereby popular Hymns were either adapted to Polka style performances or, the words from popular Hymns were set to popular accordion classics.

WAD orchestra
WAD Orchestra, Director Tracey Gibbens

Plans are already underway for the 2023 World Accordion Day celebrations.

View the event at the: A World of Accordions Youtube Video Channel

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