Players: The U.S. Military Wants You - USA
United States Air Force representative is attending the American
Accordionists' Association Festival which ends in Boston this
weekend. The significance of this is that Chief Master Sgt. Jane
Bockenek of the United States Air Force Strolling Strings is looking
for one good accordion player to replace the last accordionist who
retired from the Air Force two years ago. Army
Sgt. Maj. Manuel Bobenrieth is currently the military's only
official accordion player.
Chief Master Sgt. Bockenek, who is also the lead violinist for the
Strings, says there is a catch, "six weeks in boot camp."
The Air Force has been looking to replace its accordion player but
the search has been fruitless so far."It is very hard to find
the right person for this job, but it's a great job for the right
person," said Chief Master Sgt. Jane Bockenek, also the Strolling
Strings' music director. So, since the accordion players aren't
coming to the Air Force, the Air Force is going to the accordion
Bockenek interviewed a half-dozen people when the AAA
festival opened last Sunday and was scheduled through to Monday.
She is looking for more than an accomplished musician. "They
have to be under age 35, they have to fit our weight and fitness
requirements, and they have to be able to get a security clearance,"
she said. "We are looking for someone who's not just qualified
to do the job, but who fits the parameters of the United States
Air Force." They also will have to endure six weeks of rigorous
basic training, "they'll have to go through boot camp like
every other recruit, but they will also be entitled to all the benefits
of being in the military." she said.
Those who join the band are unlikely to see combat, she said, but
they may be assigned administrative work such as maintaining the
band's motor pool or coordinating its performances. The 22-member
ensemble plays state functions at the White House and entertains
troops. "What is so terrific about being in this band is that
we are doing something so important from a diplomatic standpoint,"
Bockenek said. "And keeping up morale for the troops is an
important part of our job. Not many musicians can say what they
do has the impact that we have."
in point is Sgt.
Maj. Manuel Bobenrieth, the accordion player in the U.S. Army's
band and the military's only official accordion player for now.
"I consider myself lucky that I am the only accordion player
out of more than 490,000 active-duty soldiers," said Bobenrieth,
who has been the Army's accordionist for 18 years.
The Associated Press
World Music Festival - Malaysia
the show of hands requested by emcee Kevin Nila was anything to
go by, then the average crowd of 10,000 each night at this year's
Rainforest World Music Festival is expected to be the same, if not
larger next year. The RWMF 2004 was held on 9th to 11th July at
the Sarawak Cultural Village, Kuching Malaysia.
Kevin, who had earlier asked the multi-racial and multi-national
crowd if they would all return next year, was immediately met with
rapturous voice of approval and show of hands. The finale of the
Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2004 saw an eclectic mix
of music and dance as it emulates the formula of popular music festivals
such as the Dynamo Festival in Holland and the Woodstock.
three-day, three-night event ended in a spectacular finale Sunday
night, as men and women of all ages, ethnicity as well as nationality,
swayed along to the beats and rhythms played by the performers from
almost every corner of the globe and almost every genre including
While most attention is on main stage shows, there were some very
informative and fun-filled accordion workshops that met with a lot
of enthusiasm from the appreciative crowd. Ranging from 45 minutes
to hour-long sessions, participants of the accordion workshops learnt
the basics of how different genres of music could be played. Classes
included the "The Magic of Bamboo" and "Black and
White and Sometimes Brown" for different types
by Sarawak Press, Malaysia
Join Orange Marchers on Annual Odyssey - Ireland
As holidaymakers queued at airport check-ins across the country yesterday
in anticipation of their annual dose of sun, sea and sand, the McArthur
family was also setting off on its annual trip. Several hours and
one ferry crossing later the McArthurs disembarked at Belfast along
with fellow members of the Queen Elizabeth Accordion Band to begin
preparations to take part in Northern Ireland's Orange parades, which
start today. Harry McArthur, 57, and his wife Agnes cross the Irish
Sea from Glasgow every year, and they do not travel light. Three generations
of their family, including sons George, William and Harry and grandsons
William, Jordan and Greg, take part in the trip.
are "an absolutely unbelievable experience", Harry said.
"Vast, vast crowds. You really need to be in the parade to appreciate
it." This year's parade is a long one for the McArthurs. At 8.30am
the Queen Mother's Accordion Band should leave Sandy Row and march
to the Shankill Road then on to Denmark Street, where they meet the
main parade. The procession of Orangemen, women and children carrying
flags, playing drums and flutes then snakes its way on an eight-mile
trip around Belfast. Mr McArthur's grandparents were from Ulster and
he has marched with the Queen Elizabeth Accordion Band since the age
of three. He added: "I'm there for a celebration."
Story by Kay
Jardine of the Newsquest Herald & Times Limited