Accordions Worldwide
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The Squeeze
9th January 1998

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Editors note:

Happy New Year to you all. Wayne Knights is away on holiday at present. The team at Accordions Worldwide send you their best wishes for a prosperous New Year with lots of enjoyable accordion activity. Looking back over 1997, it was a wonderful year for the accordion. We hope Accordions Worldwide has helped accordionists around the world to keep in touch and that 1998 will be an even more successful year for the accordion.

Christine Adams
News Manager

This weeks titles:

  • Acco Land Tour - Switzerland
  • Joan C. Sommers, Guest of Honour - Puerto Rico
  • Accordion Playing Santa Claus - New Zealand
  • Accordion-Concertina Ensemble New Year's Eve Concert - USA
  • A.P.H. Activities for 1998 - France
  • "Air Journey" Concert of the Schlüchtaler Akkordeon Orchester in Gurtweil - Germany
  • Accordionist Philippe Servain Performing in Czech Opera
  • Accordion Concert in Washington, D.C. - USA
  • Accordion Concerts in Japan
  • Jean-Louis Noton on tour in the USA and the desert in Mauritius
  • Accordion Concerts in Kiev, Ukraine
  • New Zealand Traffic Stopped by Accordion Music
  • Accordion Clubs in USA
  • VIII International Festival "Bajan and Bajanists" - Russia
  • Ray Rue's Accordion Speaks Eloquently - USA


    Contributed by Claudio Jacomucci

    In December, Acco Land performed chamber and theatrical works on tour. On December 15th in Chiasso, Switzerland and December 16th at the Swiss Cultural Centre of Miland, Claudio Jacomucci performed in "Il suono bianco dell'Inverno" (the white sound of the winter), directed by Swiss composer Mario Pagliarani. The performance included musical works by Debussy, Schubert, Zender, Pagliarani and poetries by Epicuro, Mantovani, Muller, Walser.

    The Acco Land duo then headed south where they performed from December 21st to 22nd. This performance included a work for two accordionists and an actress, based on a story by Luis Sepulveda (Cuando no tienes un lugar donde llorar). The music was written by Anne Landa and Claudio Jacomucci, and was inspired by Argentinian tangos.


    Contributed by Kevin Friedrich

    Joan C. Sommers, professor of Accordion at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, recently returned from San Juan, Puerto Rico where she directed a series of accordion orchestra workshops and masterclasses for the Puerto Rican Accordion Association.

    The accordion in Puerto Rico has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and they were keen to benefit from the expertise of Joan C. Sommers.

    During her visit, Joan met with the Chancellor of the Casals Conservatory in San Juan, to discuss the importance of the Accordion in the music field today and was received with great enthusiasm.

    While a guest of the Puerto Rican Accordion Association, Joan delivered masterclasses, private lessons and lectures on the accordion related activities found at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Conservatory of Music.

    Joan Sommers was recently pictured in newspapers across the world when she conducted an accordion orchestra on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, DC during the American Accordionists' Association National Festival.


    Contributed by Ernie Horne

    Ernie Horne achieved a first for any accordionist in New Zealand, by being Santa Claus full time from 15th to 24th December. At the same time he was entertaining tourists, shoppers and children. He also donated his time and was responsible for his employer, Woolworths giving over NZ$500.00 in raffle prizes, benefiting the stroke foundation and the children's ward of Masterton Hospital.

    As well as performing at the Woolworths Superstore, Ernie also entertains on the New Zealand radio station "Radio Pacific".


    Contributed by Lynda Griffith

    The Accordion-Concertina Music Ensemble directed by Helmi Strahl Harrington, PhD, played a New Year's Eve Concert with the Duluth Symphony Orchestra at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Members of the Ensemble are Lynda Griffith, Helmi Strahl Harrington, Gary Harvell, Molly Hoeg, Tony Lutzkanov and Pete Sandvik. Hanni Strahl (Helmi's mother) from Austin, Texas, joined the Ensemble for this special concert.

    In the first half of the program, the Ensemble played The Jolly Caballero and Sakkijarven Polka and with the Duluth orchestra they performed Neapolitan Nights and Blue Tango.

    During the second half of the concert, the Accordion-Concertina Music Ensemble played Clarinet Polka, Beer Barrel Polka and several other short works with The Empire Brass.

    At the Finale, all stage performers were joined by 40 of Harrington's students, in a massed performance of Auld Lang Syne.


    Contributed by Frédéric Deschamps

    The "Association des Professeurs Agréés Hohner" (Association of teachers with diplomas from Hohner), was founded in 1954 and is above all a service to provide educational activities such as private or group lessons, courses and master classes to those registered with the association. More than 160 teachers are members today, teaching more than 3000 people between them.

    The following activities are being prepared for 1998:

    1. A course in variety music with a specialist instructor
    2. Preparation for the different tests leading to the Dîplôme d'État (State diploma) in the accordion:

    • Interview with the Jury: How to prepare for this interview and which questions are likely to be asked.
    • Teaching Test: 20 minutes of lessons with 3 students of different ages and levels.
    • How to organise this work
    3. Preparation for the entrance exam for the Paris-IX Conservatory: a medal from the conservatory is a prerequisite for sitting the Diplôme d' État.
    4. Preparation for International Competitions in autumn: CIA, C.M.A, Castelfidardo.

    For further information, contact the A.P.H phone: + 33 1 47303386 or the Paris IX Conservatory phone: + 33 1 48746904


    Contributed by Martin Frey

    The Concert of the Year by the Schlüchtaler Akkordeon Orchester, Gurtweil, Germany, on December 13th with the motto "Air Journey", was an excellent concert with a difference. From the beginning, it was obvious that no efforts were spared to arrange a special evening. The concert theme was a holiday return air journey and the audience were the "plane" passengers.

    The music was arranged by Uli Ebner and the titles were projected on the wall. The program started with Intercity, Manhattan Boogie, Irish Suite and the James Bond Theme. A variety of songs were also presented with great success. Towards the end we were surprised with the song "Time to say Goodbye", presented by Waldtraut and Josef Seger and arranged by Uli Ebner. The Air Journey will surely be remembered as a great concert of a different kind.


    Contributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

    From a young age, Philippe Servain was in love with music, above all accordion music. He regularly frequented le faubourg Saint-Martin, passing hours in the Cavagnolo shop, where he met Roland-Romanelli who strongly influenced him. After having played with several singers, notably Brigitte Sauvane, he created his group "Poumon d'Acier". For several years, he accompanied Philippe Leotard in his singing tours. A new album with this singer will be released in the beginning of 1998 with the arrangements composed by Servain. At the same time he is writing the music for a film, an opera "La guerre des boutons" which will be created in Paris from December 1998.

    Servain will also play the role of Brundibu, singing and playing the accordion in a Czech opera at the Opera-Bastille amphitheatre in March 1998 with 80 children. He has also created the association "quilisma" which will promote, produce and develop popular contemporary music. Philippe Servain is a contemporary musician, who loves his accordion and successfully promotes it in contemporary theatrical performances.


    Contributed by Christine Adams

    On Friday January 30th 1998, at 7:30 pm there will be an International Accordion Masters concert at Baird Auditorium, Natural History Building, 19th and Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC, USA.

    Featured artists include all-Ireland champion and Kips Bay Ceili Band member John Whelan, Chris Parkinson from Yorkshire, England and Daniel Thonon (Belgium born member of the French/Quebecois band Ad Vielle Que Poturra).

    Their performance will include Irish jigs and reels, Parisian waltzes, English country dance tunes, Cajun dances and Swedish polkas.

    For further information and tickets please phone: + 1 202-3573030


    Contributed by Toru Katou

    On December 22nd, Jazz Accordionist Takashi Kamide performed at "Zennikku Hotel" in Osaka, Japan. Kamide is one of the few jazz accordionists in Japan who studied music at the University of Massachusetts (USA) under the instruction of Billy Taylor. Kamide's next performance will be on January 30th in Osaka.

    Also performing on December 22nd was Yasuhiro Kobayashi (Coba), who played a concert in Tokyo, Japan.

    On January 25th, at 12:00 (noon) a "New year concert" by "Bellows Home Party" (concertinas and melodeons) will be held at the Civic Hall, Bunkyo-ward, Tokyo which is only a one minute walk from Kourakuen Metro Station. Admission free.

    Also on January 25th there will be a further concert by an ensemble of 100 accordionists at the Osaka Music Centre, Osaka, Japan. For further information phone: + 81 6-9625482


    Contributed by Holda Paoletti-Kampl

    Jean-Louis Noton and two friends, played on December 31st in the desert in Mauritania. They left Beaujolais (France) by car on December 26th, for the South of Spain, then travelled by boat to Morocco, arriving in Mauritania on December 30th in time for New Years Eve in the desert, with accordion music and Beaujolais drinking!

    They then travelled to Dakar on January 2nd where they were greeted by the Compagnons du Beaujolais de Dakar (Friends of Beaujolais in Dakar). Following this they plan to go to Casamance (Cape Skirring) in the South of Senegal.

    Jean-Louis Noton will return by plane on January 13th as Peter Soave has organised a tour for him in the USA from January 17th to February 5th. On January 18th he will be playing in Detroit, followed by Chicago on the 19th. From January 29th to February 1st Jean-Louis will be manning the Cavagnolo stand at the Los Angeles Music fair and on February 3rd he will give a concert in San Francisco.


    Contributed by Vladimir Besfamilnov.

    A final series of accordion concerts for 1997 were held to celebrate the achievement of students and their teachers in Kiev at the Concert Hall of Ukraine National Academy of Music.

    On December 22nd a concert was given by an accordion orchestra, which consisted of students from the Academy, conducted by teacher Vladimir Deinega.

    On December 24th a quartet of Bayanists played music of various styles. Quartet members were: Sergei Grinchenko, Viacheslav Samofalov, Anatoly Tikhonchuk and Vladimir Odentzov

    On December 25th a Class-Concert was held by students of Professor Vladimir Besfamilnov. The concert was divided into two parts and students - Natasha Maximovic, Dmitry Sidorov, Larisa Padiy, Vlada Lukic, Sasha Perec, Dermut Dan, Sasha Ivanovic, Irena Dzukic and Nikola Yankov played music from Bach to Zolotariev.


    Contributed by Lionel Reekie

    Late night drivers on New Year's Eve were in for a shock as they drove the main road on Auckland's North Shore.

    Diners at the popular Palermo Restaurant were spilling into the road, as they danced their way into 1998 to the sound of reeds and bellows from well known New Zealand Accordion Entertainer, Lionel Reekie. Party revellers blocked 5 lanes, stopping vehicles in both directions at midnight to sing "Auld Lang Syne".

    Lionel was joined during the evening by restaurant personality, Tony Almoogdad, who donned an accordion, while patrons smashed plates "Mediterranean style" to the strains of "Zobra the Greek".

    One diner was over-heard saying that they were surprised by the accordion's versatility, having heard traditional European melodies though to Disco, Pop, and Rock and Roll.


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of Titano Accordion Company

    The Weymouth Accordion Club was formed two years ago by Mr Ron Nash. It now has a Junior Band with 14 members. Also in this area in Dorchester is the West Dorset Accordion Group who play at fetes, carnivals and special events. Their leader is Cynthia Bennet who was awarded the M.B.E. for raising a great deal of money for different charities.


    Contributed by Dr Herbert Scheibenreif

    The VIII International Festival "Bajan and Bajanists" took place in Moscow, Russia from December 17th to 21st. The opening concert included performances by prize-winners of national and international competitions in 1997 including duo I. Puriz and E. Sjabko, A. Antonov, I. Polupan and D. Sokolov. Also performing were V. Fedotov, the Quintet Tambov and the Bajan-Orchestra of Russia's Gnessin-Academy of Music (V. Shkurovsky, conductor).

    The following day J. Shishkin proved his great musicianship in a solo recital. He dedicated part of his program to works by A. Kusjakov: Divertimento (solo) and Concert for Bajan with chamber orchestra, percussion and key-boards.

    Friedrich Lips (organiser and artistic director of this festival) always introduces new music to Moscow's public. This year he invited the trio "Le Cheval" ("The Horse") from the Netherlands, which includes Miny Dekkers (accordion), Marjanne Kweksilber (soprano) and Taco Kooistra (violoncello). The trio is named after a poem by Jacques Prévert which inspired composer Bernard van Beurden to write a piece for the trio.

    On the occasion of his 50th birthday and 30 years of artistic activity, J. Dranga, (Professor at the Academy and Russia's "Distinguished Artist") performed works by V. Porozky.

    The world-famous "Ural-Trio" celebrated 40 years of artistic activity in the first half of the final concert. During the second half, composer-bayanist V. Novikov performed, along with the Tshudo-Quartet and the Ural-Trio to honour A. Shalajev and V. Gridin who passed away last year.


    Contributed by Faithe Deffner, President of Titano Accordion Company

    In a recent off-Broadway showing, "Wonderful Tennessee" a play by Brian Friel, presented the accordion in a very unusual manner. Actor-accordionist Ray Rue, cast as a victim of lung cancer, unable to speak, uses his accordion as his voice to convey feelings and thoughts in a provocative interchange with family and friends as they spend some time together on a remote pier in Ireland. It is amazing how the accordion "speaks" eloquently that which the character is no longer able to say.

    During the summer, Ray Rue combined his avocations as accordion player and Elvis impersonator in "If Elvis Played Accordion," a workshop skit for the American Accordionists' Association. The actor-accordionist will be at AAA's Festival in New Orleans from July 8th to 12th, 1998.

    In addition to acting and playing accordion, Rue is a professional artist whose paintings are on display at hotels and corporate offices throughout the U.S. A volume of his poems on the Arthurian Legends was published last year and his forthcoming book, "A Host of Angels" will feature his paintings, prose and poetry.


    Subject: Thank you

    Thanks to Accordions Worldwide I have been in contact with many new friends all over the world. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to help other people with your experience. Accordions Worldwide gives us the possibility to get in contact and to communicate! Thanks a lot!

    Dr Herbert Scheibenreif

    Dear Herbert,

    Thank you for your kind letter. It's great to know that Accordions Worldwide has helped you in this way. I personally have also enjoyed my contact with accordionists throughout the world.

    Christine Adams
    News Manager
    Accordions Worldwide

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