30th AAMS Festival March 6th & 7th,

by Rita Davidson Barnea, Editor USA Accordion News

The 30th American Accordion Musicological Society (AAMS) Festival was held on March 6th & 7th in Cherry Hill, NJ. It was a whirlwind of accordion music, workshops, meeting new and old friends, accordion orchestras, solos and more.

During the festival there were workshops and two festival orchestras which were directed by guest conductors Dee Langley and festival honoree Joan C. Sommers.

Joanna Darrow directed the Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra.

Three very informative workshops were presented: Joan Sommers: “Really Useful Technique to be Mastered in Pieces Instead of Exercises! And The Importance of Sight-Reading Skills!”

Joe Natoli: “Combining Studio Quality Digital Home Recording with Video Production”

Al Terzo and Friends: Al Terzo, John Madrowsky, and Suzanna Beites performed including biographical and historical information on standard literature of the accordion repertoire.

A Question and Answer Panel including Joan Sommers, Joe Natoli, Dee Langley and Al Terzo provided fascinating perspectives on the accordion.

The highlight of the festival was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Joan Sommers at the Saturday evening banquet. MC Lenny Feldmann provided witty and informative comments to the slideshow organized by AAA Historian, Joan Grauman including photos of Joan Sommers illustrious career. Music was provided by Dr. Lou Persic.

After dinner, the orchestras, ensembles, and soloists performed. Festival Orchestra 1, conducted by 2019 AAMS Honoree Dee Langley was very enjoyable including Dee’s comments on the selections performed and her busy career. Joan C. Sommers directed Festival Orchestra 2 including lyrical intricate arrangements. The soloists included Al Terzo, Dee Langley and Joe Natoli. See program.

In less than 48 hours, the intensive and educational fun weekend included something for everyone at all levels of ability and interest. Joanna Darrow deserves much praise for her organizational skills and providing all with a memorable weekend.

Mark your calendar for the 2021 AAMS Festival. Details will be provided in future USA News publications.

Joanna Arnold Darrow, Dee Langley
Joanna Arnold Darrow and Dee Langley

Historical pictures from the musical life of Joan Cochran Sommers

Titano poster when Prof. Joan Sommers was Head of Accordion at UMKC.

Pictures of Joan Sommers with many famous friends.

Joan Sommers and Mary Tokarski

Lenny Feldmann and Dr. Lou Persic

Dr. Lou Persic, Dr. Bob McMahan, Joan Sommers, Dee Langley, Mary Tokarski, Lenny Feldmann

Joanna Darrow and MC Lenny Feldmann

Joan Sommers with her presentation plaque.

Presentation Plaque

Dee Langley, Joan Sommers, Joanna Arnold Darrow and MC Lenny Feldmann

Joseph Ciccone, Joan Sommers, Joseph Natoli.

Dr Joseph Ciccone and Dr Leslie Strong

APO (Accordion Pops Orchestra) Director Al Terzo and Lenny Feldmann

AAA President Dr. Joseph A. Ciccone, Prof. Joan C. Sommers, AAMS Festival Director Joanna Arnold Darrow, ATG President Joseph Natoli.

Prof. Joan Sommers, CIA Historical Book October 2014.pdf
upon Presentation to Prof. Joan Sommers of the CIA Life Membership Award
Prepared by Kevin Friedrich and Alison Worthington

Historical article about Prof. Joan Sommers by AAA Historian Joan Grauman

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