Daily Reports from the 68th ATG Annual Festival - Nashville, TN

Workshop #2
The Session Accordionist
Presented by Jeff Lisenby (Nashville, TN)

Well known Nashville recording artist and accordionist Jeff Lisenby presented an informative workshop based on his experiences as a recording-session accordionist. Providing a livable income and a musical outlet, Nashville is a haven for recording artists, where sessions include anything from Motion Picture and TV Films, Videos, Station ID's, Commercials, National Public Radio and Television and Interactive Media. One session recording artist, a saxophonist, was known to bring more than $100,000 for his recording and sales of the Ring Tone of Yakety Sax.

Jeff's workshop included all aspects of conducting a successful recording session, examples of the wage scales and expected work etiquette as well as sharing many experiences profiling the diverse array of circumstances he has encountered during his career.

Workshop #3
Secrets of the Roland Digital V-Accordion
Presented by Don McMahon (Springfield, MA)

Jazz accordionist and exponent of the Roland digital accordion from Springfield, MA gave an informative workshop highlighting the technology behind the new line of Roland digital accordions. Don's workshop opened with a medley from West Side Story which featured many of the sounds and effects available with the Roland instrument.

Workshop #4
How to Improvise and Read Chords from a Lead Sheet or a Fake Book
Presented by Amy Jo Sawyer (O'Fallon, IL)

Past ATG President Amy JO Sawyer presented a hands-on workshop on Jazz which gave participants an opportunity to participate in elementary jazz work. Participants worked with seventh chords on a major scale and jazz chords and then applied them to the popular piece Long Ago and Far Away.

Workshop #5
Experiences in the International Concert Arena
Presented by Alexander Shirunov (St. Petersburg, Russia)

24 year old Russian accordionist Alexander Shirunov conducted an informative and interesting workshop and question and answer session about his life as a young concert artist and the education and competition experiences that led him to this position in his career. Beginning his music education at the age of 4 years, he went on to study with the well known teacher and performer Alexander Dmitriew in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In addition to talking about his background, he spent some time demonstrating bellows technique including the various forms of bellows shake he uses frequently in his performances. Alexander will be the feature artist on the Saturday evening program.

Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Accordion & Orchestra (1941) - Anthony Galla-Rini (1904 - 2006)
1. Allegro moderato con passione
2. Largo
3. Allegro vivace
Betty Jo Simon, Accordion Soloist
Accompanied by the ATG Directors and Friends
Joan Cochran Sommers, Conductor

Mary Tokarski, Ron Barrow, Amy Jo Sawyer, Christine Jarquio, Esther Lanting, Samantha Jarquio,
Liz Finch, Joanna Darrow, Megan Jarquio, Donna Dee Ray, Barbara Scott, and Kevin Friedrich
Betty Jo Simon, Accordion Soloist for the Concerto No. 1 by Anthony Galla-Rini

What a difference a Day Makes
Night in Tunnesia
Honeysuckle Rose

Don McMahon, Roland V-Accordion
and Leslie Alexandra, Vocalist

One Note Samba - Carlos A. Jobim
Stella by Starlight - Victor Young
A Foggy Day - George Gershwin
Amy Jo Sawyer, Accordion Soloist

Two Lieder from Op. 10 - Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949)
Zueignung, No. 1 & Allerseelen, No. 8
Christine Jarquio, Vocal Soloist
Accompanied by Accordionists Betty Jo Simon, Ron Barrow, Samantha Jarquio & Kevin Friedrich

Musical Party - Gary Daverne (1939-)
Midnight Fantasy - Todor Gerov (1946-)
Mary Tokarski, Accordion Soloist

Jeff Lisenby and The NashVegas Jazz Performers

The feature of the Friday Gala Concert was renowned accordionist Jeff Lisenby and the NashVegas Jazz Performers. Members included some of Nashville's finest musicians who have performed with some of the world's leading artists: Andy Reese (Guitar), Matt Davich (Woodwinds), Jon Vote (Bass), Chris Brown (Drums) and Todd London (Percussion).
Jeff was also joined by leading Nashville vocalist Abby Burke (below left) and daughter Jaclyn Brown (below far right) on several numbers.
The musicians received several standing ovations for their spectacular performance.
Abby Burke (above/below) and the NashVegas Jazz Performers
photographed by Dan Brown
Jeff Lisenby (Nashville)
photographed by Dan Brown
Jaclyn (Lisenby) Brown
photographed by Dan Brown

Above: Members of the ATG Executive Board assisting with the registration of guests
below Stanley Darrow assisting at the ATG History Table and ATG Board members Amy Jo Sawyer and Betty Jo Simon
Stanley and Joanna Darrow at the ATG Historical Table
ATG Members of the Board Amy Jo Sawyer and Betty Jo Simon
ATG Board members Esther Lanting and Norman Seaton assisting at the ATG Registration Table.
Don McMahon and his wife Leslie Alexandra at the Roland exhibit table.


"I sincerely believe that the most meaningful accomplishments on behalf of the accordion are only possible through the expanded scope of national organizations such as the Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International and the American Accordionists' Association. Too often we ask what the national organizations have done for us, while the more pertinent question of what we have done for our organizations is ignored. Organizations are not more than the cumulative muscle of their members. They are simply vehicles to initiate and sustain programs of collective magnitude such as the recent highly successful 2007 Coupe Mondiale in the US, ongoing composer commissioning ventures, the elevation of educational and musical standards, broadening the perceptions of audiences, etc... While the accordion brings us joy and camaraderie at a personal level, we must never forget that organizational efforts become realities through the deeds of individuals. We are al responsible for the accordion's future and to shirk this duty is a cynical rejection of the common goals that move our national organizations to those inspirational efforts that swell our pride at being members."

Faithe Deffner, Member of the Board of Directors for both the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG) and the American Accordionists' Association (AAA)

"As a young accordionist I knew the best teachers and best performers were members of ATG. Mr. Galla-Rini was a founder of ATG and he was one of my teachers. I respected his opinions tremendously. I wanted to learn more and be active with a group of accordionists that held the accordion in high esteem and were interested in promoting the accordion. I have belonged to ATG for over 40 years and I still enjoy the wonderful Friendships and Festivals. Having been President of ATG, I now first hand wham ATG is all about - PROMOTING THE ACCORDION! LONG LIVE ATG!!"

Amy Jo Sawyer, Member of the Board of Directors of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG)

"I am a member of the ATG because it is a professional organization which promotes the accordion at its best. The annual aTG festival provides superb educational opportunities through workshops and lechers, lectures by some of the world's best accordionists which demonstrate both the wide range of musical genre played on the instrument as well as mastery of the instrument itself, all the while challenging but not intimidating those who are not masters. I deeply appreciate the camaraderie among members."

Esther Lanting,
Member of the Board of Directors of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG)

The ATG Thanks the following Advertisers for their support of the 2008 Festival:

  • Accordions International
  • Accordions Worldwide
  • American Accordionists' Association (AAA)
  • Deffner Publications
  • Hohner Accordions (USA)
  • Las Vegas International Accordion Convention
  • Pancordion
  • Petosa Accordions
  • Pigini Accordions (USA)
  • Roland Accordions (USA)
  • Titano Accordions International

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