The Dargaville Museum (New Zealand) presents...
'Accordion Gems' by Kevin Friedrich
...A Master Collection of Accordions through Time...

Aratapu Library Purchased - June 2006
Dedication of the Accordion Gems Display - 3 December 2006
Aratapu Library relocated to Harding Park - January 2007
Grand Opening of New Music Wing at the Dargaville Museum - 21 October 2007 at 1:00 PM
Launching of Accordion Gems Exhibit in Display Cabinets - 29 March 2009

The 'Accordion Gems' Collection
The Dargaville Museum presents 'Accordion Gems' by Kevin Friedrich... A Master Collection of Accordions through Time...

The collection serves as the anchor display in the newly established Music Room, the latest addition to the Dargaville Museum. In addition to a variety of instruments form the accordion family, the display includes original manuscripts, rare recordings, a 300 piece Accordion Figurine Collection and other accordion related items.
Above and below: some of the Accordion Gems instruments in their hand crafted native timber cabinets
Above left: The Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra Kiwi Mascot from their 9 International Concert Tours.
Above right:
The Fratelli Crosio - Accordinette Flutter Accordion. The bellows open and close from a hinge-point at bellows-center, and only a large handle where the bass section should have been. The shift did not provide unison or octave sound, but rather, accesses or denies an unusual fluttering of the acoustic reeds. Inside the 'Accordinette' are found single-tongue reeds, air being circulated by the bellows in only one direction over the tongues. The shift closes the internal air-supply-hole of a secondary pan with a weighted pallet-like flapper that starts and stops airflow to the reeds at the rate of about five movements per second. When engaged, the instrument sounds much like a harmonica. Unlike a normal 'reservoir' instrument, however, the bellows allow dynamic variations.
Above: Ailsa Williams (Connecticut, USA) visiting the Accordion Gems Display
Above: some of the Accordion Gems instruments in their hand crafted native timber cabinets
Above: examples of a Uniform Keyboard as well as Tanzbar mechanical roll playing instrument
An example of an early Paolo Soprani e Figli instrument from the late 1800's. Donated to Accordion Gems in loving memory of the owner Gaetano Foti who was born on December 8, 1881 in Sicily, Italy and passed away on April 19th, 1961 in New York City, NY. The instrument was donated by his grandson Thomas J. Mora of New York City.

The following manufacturing information is placed under a glass panel on the front of the instrument:
Premiata Fabbrica di Armoniche
Comm. Paolo Soprani e Figli
Castelfidardo, Ancona, Italia
Riproduzione Vietata
Above: Disc recording in center - This is a rare recording (which plays inside to out) of a 37 year old Anthony Galla-Rini (born January 18, 1904; died July 30, 2006) performing the Premiere of his own Concerto No. 1 in G Minor,
on 15 November 1941, at the Fine Arts Auditorium in Oklahoma City, with James Neilson conducting.

Small cylinder to the right: Pietro Frosini (1885-1951) Accordion Solo, Sonata In C Major,
Edison Blue Amberol Cylinder record #3127, take 3, mold 10. Cylinder released April, 1917.
Graham Romani was one of the leading composers, arrangers, writers and historians on the accordion during his active career in the United Kingdom. A friend, teacher and mentor of the late Ben Emmett in Dargaville,
Graham Romani was also the teacher via TAPEspondence of Joan Emmett (Brown).

Three of his Original Manuscripts are on display:
Little Dance Suite (composed 18 October 1961)
Valse Lyrique (composed 1940-1943)
Sonatina for Accordion (composed April 1947, revised December 1951 & December 1961)
kiwi bellows

Above left: This Echophone Diatonic accordion was patented by Hans Hohner, a German citizen residing in New York City, on 15 September 1908. Always looking to invent new and useful improvements to accordions, Hans’s invention shown here provided the accordion with a novel and effective means for softening or rounding the tone, and at the same time increasing the power thereof.  The sound waves entered the brass chamber, flowing towards the bulged sound horn.  With the bulged horn, the waves were entrapped and deflected upwardly and emitted through the belled mouth.  The patent was submitted by Hans Hohner in New York City on the 20 May 1908 and approved on the 15 September the same year. Below is the Three Piano Keyboard Patent No. 2,557,690, this extremely rare instrument was an instrument patented by John Reuther as a sister instrument to his Uniform keyboard accordion. Made for a friend of John Reuther’s, Frank Gaviani from St. Louis who had started studying music at an advanced age of 18 years old, the 3-deck keyboard was a one of a kind.  It is a piano accordion with wide black keys and the first row duplicated by the third row.  Frank did not want to alter the order fo the piano keys, but he wanted the advantage of  the third row, and he wanted the advantage of the wide black keys.  Because with the third row, he did not have to get in between the black keys, you could reach above them and interpose with the keys. Right: Legendary Kiwi Bellows: New Zealand's most decorated world champion accordionist Grayson Masefield customized his bellows to include the iconic new Zealand 'Silver Fern' visible when the bellows were extended. These bellows provided stunning visuals during his many world title winning performances and concert tours throughout the world.

tiger combo cordions
Tiger Accordion: In the mid 60's, it was recognized that the changing dynamic in music was heading towards Rock'n'Roll and that it captured the interest of youngsters. Working with Bill Palmer, Titano Accordions, under the Ernest Deffner Coop. designed and introduced the Tiger Combo'Cordion. It was a line of compact and colorful accordions in a choice of three Fiat car colors - Fire, Sun and Blue Moon, featuring quint reed (5th) treble tuning for "piercing lead or swinging chords in audio colors to flip the crowds" according to Hullabaloo magazine's description. Electronic pickups provided a spectacular "biting" sound and a voice microphone was fixed onto the top of the Combo'Cordion ready for song. The instrument's keyboard angle (below) followed the slanted grill so that flying fingers could easily be seen by the audience.
Featuring popular characters such as Sesame Street's Ernie and Clown figurines,
children are always fascinated by the little accordions and characters playing them.
Pictured are Hayden, Caitlin, Hannah and Lilly admiring the collection.
The Accordion Figurine Collection is displayed in both a
dedicated cabinet and throughout the Accordion Gems exhibition
The Dargaville Accordion Collection
Dargaville was at one time, home to eight accordion bands conducted by several different accordion teachers from Dargaville including Ben Emmett, Doreen Emmett, Joan Emmett, Irene Langman, Frank Vilich and Mary Passell.

In addition, many immigrants working in the Kauri and Gum Digging industries as well as maritime workers used the accordions. The instruments in this section, were used by residents of the Dargaville area.
Several of the instruments played by various people from the Dargaville area
The Puhoi Hotel Pub Collection

In addition to the Accordion Gem's display, the Dargaville Museum proudly houses the unique collection of instruments from the Puhoi Hotel Pub, highlighting some of the earliest accordionists in New Zealand.

Among the early pioneers in New Zealand were settlers from Bohemia. Many of them settled at Puhoi, just north of Auckland. There were several early type button accordions brought out in the first shipload of settlers in 1863 and until very recently, the descendants of these early settlers still played button accordions and entertained at the Puhoi Hotel Pub.

Members of the famed Puhoi Hotel Pub Band during the early 1900's
The remaining instruments from Puhoi

Contact for the Accordion Gems Exhibition: Kevin Friedrich
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