The Accordionists and Teachers
Guild, International celebrated their 63rd Anniversary during an action
packed weekend of music, competitions, performances and workshops at their
annual convention which was held in the Chicago area.
outstanding concerts featured such guest artists as former ATG Champion
and Nashville recording star Jeff Lisenby, Jazz Legend Frank Marocco,
Chicago Jazz accordionist John Simkus, (pictured left) the UMKC
Community Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Joan C. Sommers,
Italian concert accordionist and director of the Scandalli Accordion Factory
Mirco Patarini (pictured right), Trio Bez Ime ensemble featuring Dee Langley
and The "K" Trio minus one.
Other performers included: Joanna and Stan Darrow, Tony Lovello, Igor
Zavadsky from Kiev, the Star-Sera duo of John Simkus and Stas Venglevski,
The KC Seven. In addition to the scheduled performers, several contestants
from the competitions were selected by the adjudicators to perform on
the concert including "The
Stars of Tomorrow" (left) from the International School of Music
in Chicago under the direction of Peter Giacalone and Barbara Slechter,
Samantha and Christine Jarquio and Shanxi Upsdell from UMKC Conservatory
of Music under Joan Sommers and Andrea Caruso from Dearborn, Michigan
a student of Lana Gore.
A highlight of the annual convention is the Festival Orchestra which was
this year under the baton of UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra director
Joan Sommers, Janet Millard the musical director of the Concord Symphony
Orchestra in Milwaukee and conductor of the Auckland Symphony Orchestra
in New Zealand Gary Daverne. The orchestra performed several times during
the festival including at a cameo appearance at the Arlington Race Track
which opened the days racing. (pictured below)
Several competitions were held including some which qualify the contestants
to enter the CIA Coupe Mondiale World Accordion Championships in Slovakia
and Hungary in October. (The ATG held two categories on behalf of their
sister organization The New Zealand Accordion Association (NZAA). The
contestant is a New Zealand citizen residing in the United States, so
this competition was held on behalf of the NZAA to serve as a qualification
round to represent New Zealand in the Coupe Mondiale.)
- Christine Jarqueo, Junior
- Andrea Caruso, Junior
- Shanxi Upsdell, Junior
Virtuoso Competition (New Zealand)
- Shanxi Upsdell, International
Competition for Piano Accordion (New Zealand)
UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra presented an dazzling performance of
pieces from the new award winning movie "Chicago" arranged by
ATG Board Member Liz Finch. Complete with singer Whitney Nashville star
Jeff Lisenby presented an exciting concert with many styles of music including
Country, Scottish, Cajun music with his outstanding accordion work being
complimented by violin, rhythm section and vocalists. The audience rewarded
the electric performance with a standing ovation, and just when the everyone
thought they had heard it all, Jazz legend Frank Marocco brought the audience
to their feet again with his show that included many popular Jazz favorites
both solo and with the backing band.
Saturday Orchestra Extravaganza Concert featured the ATG Festival Orchestra
performing under the direction of Joan C. Sommers, Janet Millard and Gary
Daverne. Among the compositions performed was "Pocket Overture"
composed by Gary Daverne which won the 1993 ATG Composition Competition.
As an encore, the 50 piece orchestra stood and played 'Chicago' as a tribute
to Joan Sommers and her work for the ATG. (Pictured above is Janet Millard
rehearsing the Festival Orchestra.)
the Festival Orchestra portion of the concert, the audience was treated
to a program of three accordion concertos with the Concord Symphony Orchestra
from Milwaukee. The featured soloists were Kevin Friedrich performing
Gem of the Kaipara by Gary Daverne, Lidia Kaminska performing Concerto
Classico by Przybylski and Stas Venglevski performing the Concerto No.
2 by Anthony Galla-Rini. Each of the soloists received a standing ovation
during this rare evening of accordion concertos. (Pictured are conductor
Gary Daverne, Janet Millard, soloist Stas Venglevski (incoming ATG President),
conductor and immediate Past ATG President Joan Sommers and soloist Kevin
the festival many workshops were given on diverse subjects such as The
Music of Astor Piazzolla, Wild and Crazy Rhythms of Eastern Europe, Quebecois
Accordion Music, What is Expected of the "Session Player", The
Importance of Teaching Left Hand Free Bass, and a panel moderated by Kevin
Friedrich on "What is Important for the Accordion Arranger to Know"
with panelists Gary Daverne, Joan Sommers, Jeff Lisenby, Liz Finch and
Stas Venglevski. There
were also exhibits and displays by Ernest Deffner Publications, Pancordion,
PanItalia, Pigini Accordion, Titano Accordions, Paul Leonard and his Accordion
Jewelry as well as the ATG Displays.
At the conclusion of the Awards Ceremony and Concert, the formal handing
over of the Presidency from Joan Sommers to Stas Venglevski took place.
To conclude the 2003 Annual Competition and Festival, the 2003 Festival
Orchestra under the direction of Gary Daverne played the official ATG
March, the Paragon March by ATG President Emeritus Anthony Galla-Rini.
ATG United States Champion and popular Nashville recording artist Jeff Lisenby
has twice won bronze medals for the ATG in the Coupe Mondiale in European
competitions. He also won the silver medal in the international entertainment
accordion championship, and has been a keyboardist/accordionist for: Nashville's
Grand Ole Opry, the Kansas City Chiefs' football games, USO European tours,
shows in Switzerland with TexMex artist Rick Orozco, Norwegian Cruise Lines
on Caribbean tours, and has toured extensively with artists Brenda Lee and
Boots Randolph, including performances in Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, and all
over the United States.
Jeff has also performed with the Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Nashville
Symphonies. He has accompanied many artists in live shows including: Luciano
Pavarotti, Mel Torme, Blake Shelton, Roy Clark, Lee Greenwood, Tricia Yearwood,
Jo Dee Messina, Dolly Parton, Three-Dog Night, Jamie O'Neil, The Mills Brothers,
and David Cassidy.
Jeff, with a Bachelor of Music degree in accordion performance (studying
with Joan Cochran Sommers) and a Master of Arts from the University of Missouri
at Kansas City, currently teaches: electronic music classes, the jazz band,
and several private accordion and music composition students for the School
of Music at Belmont University in Nashville. He also is the conductor/musical
director for Vanderbilt University's "Original Cast", a Broadway-style
musical revue, that performs a new 2-hour show every semester. Jeff feels
that it is because of God's blessings, that he currently is also a gigging
and recording-session accordionist, playing on many CD's, jingles, industrial
films, and demo sessions. He also is a Nashville session keyboardist, arranger,
born jazz legend, will be featured throughout the festival.
Frank began the accordion at age seven, when his parents enrolled him
in a six-week trial program on the accordion.
Frank studied with George
Stefani for nine years, a man who provided him with much inspiration.
Studying classics, his teacher encouraged him to explore other areas.
As a youngster Frank played piano and clarinet, he studied music theory,
harmony, conducting and he was a member of his high school band.
Eventually settling in Los Angeles with his wife Anne, Frank found the
proximity to Hollywood provided opportunities never available in the Midwest.
He began a career which includes traveling with Bob Hope visiting the
servicemen in many countries; being featured on the Les Brown Band, including
six Love Boat cruises. He has also been very active doing studio work:
movie soundtracks, TV movies, TV series, records and advertising jingles.
Frank has also composed and arranged many accordion works in jazz and