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28 May 2004 This weeks news | Past News  | Send news

This Weeks News

  • The Slovenian Home regulars - USA
  • Uxbridge Accordion "May Club Night" - UK
  • Accordion Jamboree - USA
  • Towersey Village Festival - UK
  • Accordion Documentary in the Making - USA
  • 2nd Chinese Accordion Music Works Award Concert in Beijing - China
  • AAA Afternoon of Music and Fun - USA
  • Giorgio Dellarolle Concerts - Italy
  • Ellery Eskelin Trio Concert - USA
  • South Pacific Accordion Championships and New Zealand Accordion Championships - New Zealand
  • Jazz Book - Italy
  • Misty River Band - USA
  • 5th Festival Europeo dei Duchi D'Acquaviva - Italy
  • The Ms. Accordion San Francisco Pageant - USA
  • Renzo Ruggieri Christmas CD - Italy
  • Dr. William Schimmel in New York - USA
  • New Samovar Concert Dates - Italy
  • Quote of the Week
  • CD Review
  • Site Updates
  • SilvioDePra

    The Slovenian Home Regulars - USA

    Barbara and Carol Vargo cannot see the waltzers on the dance floor, but they can hear the polka music. The twins, 58, blind since birth, are regulars at the monthly jam sessions at the Slovenian National Home. They wear dark sunglasses, matching outfits in cheerful patterns of florals or stripes, and gold necklaces with crucifixes.

    The club is a yellow brick building in South Lorain, Oregon. The accordions squawk and heave out the sounds of a summer festival as old as time. When the sisters, who live in Brook Park, first started coming to the club, they would just listen to that music. It wasn't long before Carol decided she wanted to be the one playing an accordion for the audience. Her disability didn't dissuade her.

    Ralph E. Szubski, aka ''The Accordion Man,'' agreed to teach Carol but had his doubts. Szubski specializes in good times and has said he is happiest, when in front of a crowd. He'd never taught a blind person so ''I would close my eyes and see if what I was saying was right,'' Szubski said. After a couple of months, Carol was ready to perform at the Slovenian club for the first time. Bonnie Knepper, who serves on the club's board of directors, remembers the first time Carol played her accordion and sang with Barbara at the club.

    ''This place was so quiet you could hear a pin drop,'' Knepper said. ''Nobody at the bar talked. It sent chills up my spine. That's unusual to stop a bar. Everyone turned around and no one spoke. They couldn't believe what they were seeing.''

    Story from The Morning Journal

    Uxbridge Accordion "May Club Night" - UK

    The Uxbridge Accordion "May Club Night" which featured guest artist Lisa-Lee Leslie and Laura Leslie was a successful event.

    UAC members say Lisa-Lee, daughter of international adjudicator, teacher and accordionist John Leslie, gave a "faultless" performance at the event which took place at The Anglers Retreat. The UAC holds a "special guest" club night every month during which club regulars and guests are entertained by an invited guest. Lisa-Lee gave a high standard performance that included a wide variety of music which Lisa often used humour to introduce. The night also included a duet with sister Laura and two duets with John Leslie. The Uxbridge Accordion Club meets on the 2nd Monday of each month and is based at the "The Anglers Retreat" in Middlesex.

    Accordion Jamboree - USA

    The smell of warm pastries, the sound of accordions and the sight of brightly costumed dancers will welcome visitors to the 26th Annual Far West Button Accordion Jamboree from 29th to 31st May at the Sons of Italy Hall in Fontana.

    "People should expect one big, fun day," said Frank Vidergar, event chairman and president of the Fontana Slovene Button Accordion Club, host of the jamboree. The three-day festival will feature a variety of dancing, mostly polkas but also waltzes and fox trots on professional-quality floors inside and outside the Sons of Italy Hall, Vidergar said.

    "A jamboree consists of ... alternating musicians and bands on the stage every 30 minutes," Vidergar explained. Some of the more exciting parts of the event are the daily jam sessions and a concert and contest on the festival's final day. Jam sessions give musicians with different styles and different sounds the opportunity to create music with one another. "It is a ball," Vidergar said. While the festival centers around Slovenian-style polka music, other styles will be represented, including Italian, German and Polish.

    Sunday's contest will pit players against one another, according to their skill levels, Vidergar said. "We have some who have been playing a long time," he said. "We also have some pretty new beginners." Proceeds from the event go to the Slovene National Benefit Society Scholarship Fund.

    Story by Elena Arnold, The Press-Enterprise

    Towersey Village Festival - UK

    Entries will close on 31st May for the Towersey Village Festival which will be held at Towersey, Nr Thame from 27th to 30th August. The festival, celebrating its Ruby Anniversary will include a weekend full of accordion concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, arena shows and a children's festival. Some of the artists scheduled to perform at the festival on 27th August include Roy Bailey, The Demon Barbers Waxed, The Fagans, Steve Tilston, The Woodpecker Band, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, Mick Ryan & Pete Harris, The Queensbury Rules, Steamchicken and Moor Music.

    On 28th August, performers include Martin Simpson, Flook, Rory McLeod, Roy Bailey & Martin Simpson, The Fagans, Steve Tilston, The Doghouse Skiffle Group, The Oxford Waits and The Queensbury Rules. The performers for 29th August are Andy Irvine, Malinky, Chris Norman Ensemble, MZN, Threlfall Ellison Edwards, Florida, Daily Planet, David Francey, Mas Y Mas and Rachel & Becky Unthank. On the last day, 30 August, John Tams & Barry Coope, The Demon Barber Roadshow, John Spiers & Jon Boden, Corazon FlamencoKarin Polwart, The English Acoustic Collective, Threlfall Ellison Edwards, Stomp, David Francey and The Stepback Special will perform. Organizers say The Towersey Village Festival is usually a wonderful family friendly festival with a unique relaxed atmosphere. "Whether you want to attend workshops, dances or concerts from dawn to dusk or would rather spend time enjoying the 'easy' Festival feeling or a bit of both then Towersey is the place for you," the organizers said.

    For more information, email

    Ángel Luis Castaño

    Accordion Documentary in the Making - USA

    Accordionist Rawn Erickson II will be traveling the USA this summer filming various accordion festivals with the plan to combine the material into a yet to be named accordion documentary. If you would like to be included in this film extravaganza e-mail Rawn at with information about your club or event.


    2nd Chinese Accordion Music Works Award Concert in Beijing - China
    Contribute by Lian Jones of Accordion House

    The Chinese Musicians Society Accordion Association's 2nd Chinese Accordion Music Works Award Concert was held in Dongcheng Children's Palace in Beijing on the 2nd May. The guest list included; Wang Shiguang, Vice President of the Chinese Musicians Society; Dr Yao Henglu, professor from the Chinese Central Conservatory and Li Yi Ding, the female composer from Chinese Central Television.
    Awards during the night went to Yang Chunhong (from Shandong Fine Arts Conservatory); Chen Nan (Tianjin Music Conservatory); Yao Henglu (Central Music Conservatory) and Yang Yi (Beijing Comrade-In-Arm Song and Dance ensemble). There was also two major performances were displayed; "Spring Field in Chendu" and "Dance of the Sea".

    AAA Afternoon of Music and Fun - USA
    Contributed by Linda Reed

    The American Accordionists' Association will host the 2nd Annual Afternoon of Music Food and Fun at the Winery in Wallkill, New York on 6th June from midday to 5.00pm. The event is held each year to raise money for the The Carmen Carrozza Scholarship Fund for the advancement of promising young accordionists.

    The program will include wine tasting, hors d'oeuvres, several course meal and several accordion performances by guest artists which include Carmen Carrozza, Danny Desiderio, Domenic Karcic, Frank Toscano, Mario Tacca and singer Mary Mancini.

    For more information, email


    Giorgio Dellarolle Concerts - Italy

    The Akkordeon Ensemble of Aosta including the esteemed Giorgio Dellarolle will perform on 21st June at 9pm at the Auditorium of the Cooperative Credit of Gressan (AO).

    For further information, email

    Las Vegas Convention

    Ellery Eskelin Trio Concert - USA

    The Ellery Eskelin Trio will perform at the Issue Project Room in East Village, New York, 8pm on 30th May. The trio who have been together for 10 years, include Andrea Parkins on accordion and samplers, Jim Black on drums and Ellery Eskelin on saxophone. The trio promise a night of blues and bop.

    French Translators

    South Pacific Accordion Championships and New Zealand Accordion
    - New Zealand

    The program schedule for the South Pacific Accordion Championships and New Zealand Accordion Championships in Auckland on the 4th to 6th June is now on line. Contestants are coming from China, New Zealand and Australia. The Special Guest Artist is the 2003 Coupe Mondiale International Piano Accordion Champion Pavel Magasarian of Russia.

    Jazz Book - Italy
    Contributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

    A jazz book, titled "Practical Notebook of Jazz Music" was recently released by International Jazz accordionists, Renzo Ruggieri and Paul Di Sabatino. The book helps jazz lovers to learn various interesting jazz techniques in an easy but thorough way. "Practical Notebook of Jazz Music" is published by Sinfonica Jazz and distributed by Carisch. In the book, Ruggieri teaches jazz enthusiasts how to integrate the accordion into more traditional jazz instruments. The book comes with a CD-ROM compilation of popular jazz tunes in MP3 format.

    For more information, email

    Misty River Band - USA

    Hailed as one of Northwest America's finest musical groups, Misty River displayed its talent at a concert on 27th May at the Majestic Theatre, Corvalis, Oregon. The concert, sponsored by the Marys Peak Group - Sierra Club, celebrates the release of the group's third CD, "Willow."

    Misty River is an all-female band that performs a variety of Americana music, from familiar folk melodies and upbeat country and bluegrass favorites to Celtic tunes, mysterious haunting ballads and award-winning original songs. This award-winning quartet (two of whom are mother and daughter) support their blend of harmonic voices with unique combinations of accordion, guitars, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and bass.

    Pamela Rooney of CD Baby Magazine writes, "When these four ladies set out to churn out bluegrass music, they don't miss a beat. Violin, upright bass, accordion, guitar and banjo plus some searing and precise part-upon-part-upon-part harmonies equals stunning music."

    Misty River has sold more than 15,000 CDs in three years and achieved regular airplay on public and commercial radio not only in America, but also in Canada and Europe. Together since 1997, Misty River consists of Dana Abel on accordion; Chris Kokesh, Carol Harley and her daughter Laura Quigley.

    Story from


    5th Festival Europeo dei Duchi D'Acquaviva - Italy

    The 5th Festival Europeo dei Duchi D'Acquaviva will be held at Atrite from 16th August to 7 September. The program includes a Master class from 16th to 18th August conducted by Massimiliano Pitocco. The class will conclude with a concert with the "Orchestra from Room. E" along with the chance to be included in a CD compilation of best performances at the festival. The organizers of the festival are working to increase thescope of interest in accordion, especially amongst young musicians. This years festival will be the fifth and will again attract accordionists and accordion teachers from nearby countries.

    For more information, email


    The Ms. Accordion San Francisco Pageant - USA

    All Things Accordion, in association with the historic Cannery at Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco will host the Ms. Accordion San Francisco Pageant on 5th June at the Del Monte Courtyard, as part of the 14th Annual San Francisco Accordion Festival. Festival spokesperson, Tom Torriglia said the pageant was a favorite event at past festivals.

    In addition to the prestige of being Ms. Accordion San Francisco, the winner and runner-ups will receive prizes from local merchants. Contestants will be judged on accordion-playing ability, reasons why the contestants love the accordion, reasons why they want to be Ms. Accordion San Francisco and on their outfit for their performance.

    Past winners have included Ruth Peckham of the Squeegees' polka band, Suzanne Garramone and J. Raoul Brody. The original Ms. Accordion San Francisco was San Francisco's accordion princess, Big Lou. Entering the Pageant is free. The audience will judge the competition

    Renzo Ruggieri Christmas CD - Italy

    Renzo Ruggieri has recently released a CD titled "Wide Christmas" with young artists from the record label, "Wide Sound" and is currently on tour with the group to promote it. Under the guidance of Domenico Di Gregorio, the CD comprises beautiful christmas songs performed by Ruggieri and other artists such as Twisted Diana, Maurizio Rollings, Manzi Maximum and Fabrizio Boxwood.

    For more information on the CD, email


    Dr. William Schimmel in New York - USA
    Contributed by Kevin Friedrich

    Dr. William Schimmel performed the solo accordion work 'Eclipses' by Steven Gates at the Mata festival in New York on 15th May. The Mata (Music At The Anthology) was founded by Phillip Glass to promote the works of young emerging composers. The performance took place at St. Peter's Church in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.

    On 25th May, Dr. Schimmel performed the works of Wolfgang Rihm and Sofia Gubaidulina at the White Box Gallery, also in the Chelsea section of Manhattan as Part of the 'Modernworks' series. Dr. Schimmel's busy teaching schedule includes directing the Neupauer Conservatory 'Order of the Shield Program' in New York, a private studies conservatory program on both Graduate and Post Graduate level. Currently, there are ten candidates for the next graduating class: Benjamin Ickies, Cristina Spelligene, Rembert Block, Dr. Mark Birnbaum, William Komaiko, Michael Sahl, Deborah Magosci, Kamala Sankram, Dr. Robert Young McMahan and Micki Goodman. In addition, there are seven Philadelphia candidates who will be announced at a later date.


    Las Vegas Convention

    New Samovar Concert Dates - Italy

    The folk group Samovar, with Dade Bonetti on accordion, Aldo Bicelli on percussion, Eva Feudo Shoo on the chitarra and Daniela Savoldi on violin/cello have released their new concert schedule.
    New concert dates:
    - 30th May, 9.30pm : "Beyond the Borders" at the church of S. Giovanni Contrada, S. Giovanni.
    - 3rd June, 10.00pm at the festa universitaria all'I SU di Brescia.
    - 17 July, 9pm at the public square in Gavardo (Bs)
    - 21 August, 9pm: "Cultural summer" at the Park Castles of Brescia under the cupolone.



    Quote of the Week

    Teaching Quote of the Week Edited by Willoughby Walshe

    "Sata-Hame Soi Accordion Festival held annually the first week of July in Ikaalinen, is Finland's largest accordion festival. Part of the festival is devoted to the Golden and Silver Finish accordion championship finals. The competition has become such an important part of Finish culture that it is televised and broadcast lives nationwide."

    Find out more... "Walshe Essential Guide to Accordion and Harmonica Events"

    CD Review

    A new CD "Classical Accordion - Transcriptions" by Mika Väyrynen. Review by Prof. Joan C. Sommers.


    New & Updated Sites & - information about Mastersound and Ranco Accordions new catalogue 2004 with all the new models and some other interesting news. - More information on the upcoming Australian International Accordion Championships and Festival to be held from 29th to 30th May. - More information on the upcoming New Zealand and South Pacific Championships to be held on 4th to 6th June. - with updated information about the annual Sata-Häme Soi Accordion Festival to be held in July.

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