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2010 National Accordion Association, Inc. Convention
Dallas, Texas, March 11th to13th, 2010

This year’s National Accordion Association Convention was held in Dallas, Texas March 11th to13 th 2010 at the Westin Hotel. The NAA Convention was dedicated to a dear friend Ron Lankford, Roland Products representative and avid supporter of accordionists worldwide, who died this week after a brief illness. Our condolences go to his family and friends.

Esther Lanting, Jane Christison, Norman Seaton
Esther Lanting, Jane Christison, Norman Seaton
The theme this year was “Accordions in Action”. President of NAA, Norman Seaton, kicked off the events with an all-day Anthony Galla-Rini Appreciation Day on Thursday that was led by Esther Lanting.

Esther shared her experiences in working personally with Galla-Rini, who was Esther’s teacher, mentor, and friend. Lanting directed this year’s NAA Orchestra with approximately 40 members who performed Galla-Rini’s arrangements of Tara, God Bless America as well as the Hallelujah Chorus on Thursday and Saturday evening.

Greg Klugiewicz, Bruce Gassman
Greg Klugiewicz, Bruce Gassman
Other bands could be found at the convention as well, including the Jam Orchestra led by Shelia Lee The Jam Orchestra played popular folk tunes and also learned several folk dance tunes. Shelia did a great job of spreading the excitement about the accordion.

Dr. Kott
of Killeen demonstrated the folk dancing steps while the Amazing Marching Accordion Band demonstrated their skills. Dr. Kott and Shelia Lee have been instrumental in promoting the accordion to young people across Texas. Kott has published several booklets on folk and ethnic music that are available free online, contact

Norman Seaton and the Youth Group There were many demonstrations of youth talent every day at the convention. The youth groups promise to be an ongoing part of future conventions.

Jim Rommel
showed off his skills at directing a group of volunteers to demonstrate how to follow a director, improve expression, and master skills of playing with a group. Rommel also presented workshop on rhythm, presentation, and spicing up your musical style.

Jane Christison Jane Christison
(left) presented her latest CD Music for children with her workshop: Music with a Smile. Christison’s easy-style of performing was demonstrated the joy she shares with others.

Dick Albreski from Oklahoma led the ever popular Youth Orchestra with these young performers: Hannah Braden, Job Elliott, Flora Hollifield, Roxanne Sidebottom, Brianna Smith and Maggie Smith, and Rebecca Smith.

They were fabulous and left the audience cheering for more. Songwriter and singer/accordionist Debra Peters brought great blues music to life with her workshop Blues & Roots. Peters is also known for her creative work teaching accordion with her own series of DVDs which she has produced.

Sharon Seaton
presented a workshop on improving our skills in Sight Reading. Arlyn Visentin helped players learn how to practice effectively with her workshop on Perfect Practice. Manasseh Lee’s workshop on Marketing Techniques taught the audience about methods to “get the jobs you want”.

Rita editor, Rita Davidson, (right) shared her knowledge about Eugene Ettore’s Music, and performed several of his pieces including Spanish Holiday. Davidson was fortunate to have known Ettore, as he was her teacher and mentor.

Jay Fox
brought a world of equipment for staging a band and supporting the accordion. Fox also presented a workshop introducing Electronic Wireless Accordions.

Gordon Kohl
offered a special workshop on Musicality, where the audience learned a host of skills in perfecting musical performances. Kohl also played for the NAA Dance and Party on Friday evening.

Friday’s activities included many workshops. Dan & Kim Christian returned to Texas, demonstrating their great performance style with perfect synchronization. Rock-n-Roll accordionist, Bruce Gassman, kept the audience pushing for more with his heavy bass-rhythms from 60s and 70s music.

Jeff LisenbyJeff Lisenby (right)
, jazz musician, punched out some great tunes with his MIDI accordion, some of the music arranged by his teacher and mentor, Gene Van.

Master accordionist and arranger, Mario Pedone found time to present his workshop on Accompanying, as well as demonstrating his performance skills at his booth.

Pedone has given much of his time to promoting the accordion by writing accordion arrangements, creating accompanying CDs, and sharing his expertise with others.

Dr. Kott and Shelia Lee (picture below) worked with participants to improve their folk dancing skills, introduced the accordion to youth, and demonstrated the Roland V-accordion products.
Shelia Lee in Seminar

Valina and Ross Witte
were superb in demonstrating techniques for effective stage presence and audience management. The Wittes have a relaxed, personable style that invites audience participation. Chris Rybak demonstrated ever-popular Texas Czech Music on the Roland Vaccordion and later entertained the crowd in the foyer.

Svetlana Ivanchenko
was superb with her music on the Roland Vaccordion and presented a workshop entitled Relax. Svetlana also performed in the Circle of Champions program Friday evening. Dr. Fries gave us all the cautions about what to do OR not to do, preventing injuries by “over-extending” our tendons and muscles; something all musicians need to learn.

The Friday evening events included the National Accordion Dance and Party featuring players: Chris Rybak, Dick Albreski, Debra Peters, Gordon Kohl, Ross and Valina Witte, and the Dallas International Folk Dancers. Convention participants kicked up their heels, sang a few tunes, met new friends, and danced until the party lights went out. It was lots of fun for everyone.
Joe Natoli, Jessica Faltot,; Bruce Gassman
Joe Natoli, Jessica Faltot, Bruce Gassman

Meanwhile, Jessica Faltot organized the ever-popular Circle of Champions, where many champion accordionists performed including: Jessica Faltot, Esther Lanting, Rebecca Ratliff, Rita Davidson, Debra Peters, Joe Natoli, Ron Gassman, Jeff Lisenby, Eddie Monteiro, Mario Pedone, and more. You could hear all types of music from classical to jazz, modern to rock-n-roll. These performers were indeed champions and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the performances. Friday was packed with fun.

Nick Ballarini and Joe Petosa
Joe Petosa and Nick Ballarini

While there were workshops and concerts, the Trade Show also brought us wonderful music, plenty of accordions, and everything you wanted to outfit your own band. Trade Show participants included: Accordion Stuff with Debra Peters and Carol Garrison, Music Magic Accordion Company, Jay Fox Band and EWA, Ballarini Music Company featuring Giulietti and Petosa Accordions, Petosa Accordion Company with Joe Petos, Borsini Accordions, Gordon Kohl Music Company, Accordion-O-Rama, Mr. E’s Music Company, Castle Accordion and Randy McPeck, and Jane Christison Music with a Smile Productions.

There was so much to see and do especially at the Trade Show where you often heard star-accordionists demonstrating their special style of music. New and used accordions, MIDI accordions, reedless accordions, amps, music, and all sorts of accordion supplies lured the crowds.

Eddie MonteiroEddie Monteiro (left) demonstrating the Roland products.

The best aspect of the Convention was being able to network with other accordionists from across the nation, especially at the Trade Show. The ample hotel space allotted for the Trade Show was easy to access, inviting, and casual.

One of the best things about the convention this year was having the workshops and Trade Show all on the same level. Thanks go to these dealers and individuals who supported the efforts of the National Accordion Association. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Saturday’s events let the good times roll! Nick Ballarini did his One-man Band Basics workshop, Arleen Faulkner presented Polka Rebellion, while Bruce Gassman (picture above) continued to rock the world with more music from the 60’s generation. Matt Tolentino presented a workshop on singing and playing which taught how to concentrate on two separate rhythms at the same time.

Mark Kenneth
brought us the best Celtic Music just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Kenneth was also a participant in all the St. Patricks’s activities around the Dallas area. Later in the afternoon, Shelia Lee found time to present a workshop on Diatonic Accordion Training, Bellows Control and Lesson Observation. Champion accordionist, Jeff Lisenby, demonstrated the orchestral versatility of a MIDI accordion synthesizing a host of instrumental sounds in his workshop. Lisenby is an accomplished composer as was demonstrated by his evening performance with tunes from his new CD of Caribbean rhythms.

John Martin, avid MIDI performer, presented a workshop on embellishments asking audience participants to demonstrate how they would embellish a particular musical selection. His workshop separated the participants into small groups allowing for conversation and sharing of ideas on how to enhance a performance using arpeggios, introductions, transitions, grace notes and more.

Dan & Kim Christian presented a special Director’s Training workshop for players and directors and offered private lessons as well. The Christians shared their expertise on , timing, expression, and working together. Continuing the program of excellence, Jane Christison, Jim Rommel, Mario Pedone, Rita Davidson, Sharon Seaton ,and Ross & Valina Witte offered more of their expertise on performance, techniques, and musicality.

Norman Seaton and Dr Daniel Kott
Norman Seaton, Joe Borrego and Dr Daniel Kott
Dr. Kott and Shelia Lee presented more training for Party Music, Americana Music and Dance, and Youth Party/karaoke. Dick Albreski showed off the great talents of the youth orchestra to a cheering crowd. It is always great to see young people so enthusiastic about the accordion.

Later Saturday evening the NAA banquet was superbly prepared by the Westin Hotel staff. Strolling accordionists entertained the crowd while members chatted about the weekend’s events. It was a great way to lead into the evening concert.

Saturday evening’s three-hour concert
was hosted by some of the greatest accordionists in the USA. The ballroom was filled with an enthusiastic and excited crowd, cheering the performers.

The NAA Orchestra led by Esther Lanting led the program with God Bless America and the Hallelujah Chorus. Performers included Joe Natoli on the Roland V-Accordion playing Fanfare for the Common Man, Sonatina in C Major, It Never Entered My Mind, Le Coucou, Piece in the Ancient Style and Dizzy Fingers; Bruce Gassman on the Concerto MIDI playing Star Wars, Beatles Medley, James Bond-007 Medley; Mario Pedone playing Flick Flack, American Standard Songs Medley, and a Polka Medley. In addition, there was Eddie Monteiro on Roland V-accordion playing One Note Samba and more; Rita Davidson playing Manhattan Concerto, Concert Etude N0. 2, Five O-clock Rush; Jeff Lisenby playing Solina, Donna Lee, A Spy in Tortuga, Rag Bag, Caruban Knights, Out of Nowhere.

There was more to come with Nick Ballarini playing Cry Me a River, For Once in My Life, and a Medley of Originals; plus Dan & Kim Christian playing Accordion Boogie, Dizzy Fingers, Send in the Clowns and Bumble Boogie.

These musicians deserve a standing ovation for their incredible talents and outstanding performances.
Thank you so much for all that you do for the accordion world. The evening concert was fabulous and we all loved it!

As another GREAT National Accordion Association Convention comes to a close., we find ourselves wishing it could last forever.

Thanks go to Norman Seaton, President of NAA and Greg Klugewicz, Program Chair for the NAA Convention. Many thanks to the NAA Board Members, NAA Convention Committee, Westin Hotel and staff, and volunteers who helped make this convention successful.

There were many people behind the scenes working sound equipment, videotaping, working with hotel staff, registration and more to make this convention possible.

Thanks to Greg Klugewicz Louise Kucera, Bruce Lawrie, Pat Brady DDS, Norman and Sharon Seaton, Arleen Faulkner, Dick Albreski, Nick Ballarini, Judy Dillard and Walter Boyer who were on the 2010 NAA Convention Committee for their time and efforts in making this convention successful.

We are looking forward to seeing each other again in 2011. Learn more about the National other again in 2011. Learn more about the National Accordion Association (NAA).

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