Concert Review - 49th Annual Spring Concert

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010, 2:30 PM - UMKC James C. Olson Performing Arts Center
Meet the Musicians | Concert Program and Program Notes | Photo Gallery

UMKC Accordion Orchestra | Joan Sommers - Director | CDs | Order CD's | Contact  
2009 Concert Review  | 2010 Concert Review  | 2011 Concert Review
Concert Review - 59th Annual Spring Concert
We thank you for visiting the UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra website and this review of the 49th Annual Spring Concert held in Kansas City on May 23rd, 2010 at the James C. Olson Performing Arts Center.

We thank Wolfgang Simon (right) for providing pictures of the concert weekend with us for you to enjoy.

Meet the Members of the UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra

Joan C. Sommers, is continuing to be very busy as an adjudicator, clinician, and conductor at several musical events again this year. In July, as previously noted, she and several members of the orchestra will be busy performing or assisting during the Annual Music Festival held by the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International where she is serving as Chair and Coordinator of The Anthony Galla-Rini International Competition for Classical Accordion held in honor of one of her early teachers. In October she will be adjudicating the 4th V-Accordion International Competition sponsored by the Roland Corporation, after which she will travel to Verazdin, Croatia to adjudicate, participate in many CIA meetings and to conduct the World Accordion Orchestra IV in a World Premiere Performance of ICONOSPHERE, a new piece written by the well-known American composer-playwright-author, John Franceschina, and dedicated to her. Upon her return, she will once again present workshops and conduct the International Orchestra at the Las Vegas International Convention beginning on November 1.

She is looking forward to next year's concert of the UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra since it will be a celebration of 50 years for the accordion group concerts at the UMKC Conservatory of Music under her direction. She hopes you will join in that Celebration! One of the pieces to be performed on that concert will be ICONOSPHERE and another new piece, CELEBRATION OVERTURE, written by Los Angeles based TV-Film composer, Leonard Stack, especially for this 50th Anniversary Celebration. The World Accordion Orchestra I performed his piece Lest We Forget in 2007 in Alexandria, VA and the WAO II performed his second composition for accordion orchestra, Film Noir: City at Night, in 2008 in Scotland.


betty jo

Betty Jo Simon earned the Bachelor of Music Degree in Accordion Performance at UMKC and was very active as a performer during her school years. She toured with the UMKC Accordionaires on two of its overseas USO Tours and she gave the premiere performance of Paul Creston's Fantasy for Accordion and Orchestra as a winner of the Conservatory's Concerto and Aria Competition. After graduating she performed with The Fred Waring Pennsylvanians for several seasons. Betty Jo plays professionally around K.C. and continues to have her German polka band, the Alpen Spielers.; she is married, has two grown children and is now a very proud first-time-grandmother of a beautiful baby girl. Last August she played the Galla-Rini Concerto No. 1 with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra as well as several other solo performances in New Zealand.


Ron Barrow earned the Bachelor of Music Degree in Accordion Performance at UMKC and also toured with the UMKC Accordionaires on one of its overseas USO Tours, along with his wife, Judy, who also earned her accordion degree at UMKC. Ron and Judy have one son and three small grandchildren. In addition to music as a hobby, both Ron and Judy spend a considerable amount of time on their sailboat kept at Stockton Lake. He also earned an M.A. in Education from UMKC and an M.B.A. from KU.


joyce Joyce Davis began the study of accordion at a young age and earned her Baccalaureate of Music in Accordion Performance in 1979.  After several years of teaching accordion, she began work with the Internal Revenue Service where she continues today.  (Joan told her that if she didn’t write something about herself, she would do it.  So here goes: Joyce is one of those quiet people who is a star bass accordionist!  She just opens up the music and reads it perfectly and is always dependable, whatever part she is given.  Indeed, Joyce has played all parts, including the Elektronium and MIDI parts, at some time during her long membership in the orchestra.  She has also made numerous trips throughout the USA and overseas with the UMKC accordionists.  During her school years she became quite well known for her expertise in writing out music by hand for everyone needing a perfect manuscript.)

kevin Kevin Friedrich lives in New York, NY.  has just retired as President of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA), IMC-UNESCO, the international accordion organization which serves as the umbrella organization for all national accordion organizations. Having been elected to that important post for two terms, a period of 8 years, upon retirement he was given the new title of CIA Ambassador in recognition of his tremendous dedication to the CIA and the many accomplishments achieved during his terms in office. Kevin continues his work with Accordions Worldwide, the largest accordion internet site in the world, traveling to accordion festivals throughout the world providing online coverage. He also promotes the Accordion Museum he established in his home town of Dargaville, NZ. Kevin lives in NYC, but when not working on behalf of the accordion, he serves as a flight attendant on Delta Airlines, flying all over the world, and still finds time for personal practice and Thursday evening rehearsals in Kansas City. He earned the Bachelor of Music Degree in Accordion Performance at UMKC and afterwards spent a year studying in Paris with Max Bonnay. One of his latest accomplishments is becoming an American citizen in November of last year.

don Don Lipovac, a graduate of the Kansas City Conservatory of Music with degrees in theory and education, performed in Carnegie Hall and represented America as US-AAA Champion at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, Belgium.  He received the “Polka Hall of Fame” Award at Iron World in Chisholm, MN in 1992 and a “National Cleveland-Style Hall of Fame” Lifetime Achievement Award in Cleveland, OH in 2006 in recognition of his work in preserving and promoting Slovenian Cultural Heritage. Don started his musical career at the age of four, playing Slovenian melodies on a button-box accordion bought by his grandfather and later began piano accordion lessons with Alfred Vacca, who trained him thoroughly in the classics.  He has appeared on the Lawrence Welk Television Show during its period of great popularity and as a soloist with the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra.  He served as director of the St. John Tamburitzans for more than 35 years and was inducted into the Tamburitza Association of America Hall of Fame for outstanding contributions toward the preservation of Tamburitza music.

sam Samantha Jarquio has just completed her second year as a Landscape Architecture student at Kansas State University. She began at age 5 with Terry Bell in Independence and later with Joan Sommers at age 10. Samantha switched from piano to chromatic accordion and now plays both instruments as needed. She has won many different competitions, including of MAMA, ATG, AAA and has been US-ATG representative in the Junior Coupe Mondiale, where she earned a 7th place. Samantha also plays clarinet and has been featured soloist with the orchestra.

christine Christine Jarquio Christine Jarquio (Independence, MO) graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education with voice as her performance area, but has recently completed her first year in a Master's program at Florida State University. Christine has sung with the UMKC Accordion Orchestra and with the World Accordion Orchestra I in Alexandria, VA. Like her sister, she also began accordion studies as a youngster with Terry Bell and continued them with Joan Sommers, under whose guidance she earned the right to represent the USA-ATG in the Coupe Mondiale held in the twin cities of Štúrovo, Slovakia and Esztergom, Hungary. Though she no longer competes, she enjoys playing in the accordion orchestra when possible.

karen Karen (Scovel) Boocock lives in Wichita, KS, having been born there and growing up in the nearby suburb of Derby.   She earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Accordion Performance at UMKC after which she studied and taught voice. She has returned to the accordion in recent years and has traveled to KC for frequent rehearsals. The motivation to regain her skills has helped her get through breast cancer and reconstructive surgeries. She says her first accordion was a little blue plastic one and she danced around the house pretending to play music from Mary Poppins.

amy Amy Hatfield originally from the KC Area, earned her Bachelor of Music Degree in Accordion at UMKC and has traveled with the orchestra to many competitions and music festivals. She is the proud mother of a son and a daughter, both of whom are now becoming interested in playing a musical instrument. Amy is kept busy home-schooling her children. She and her family are the recent victims of a fire in their home which destroyed her two accordions and a piano as well as almost everything else in the home. Luckily, she and the children were not there at the time of the fire. In spite of that, however, she has been determined to come to rehearsals and continue playing with the group.

bob Bob Eichkorn played accordion as a young student while growing up in Topeka, KS where he continues to live.  Bob, in fact, was enrolled in the very first class of accordion degree students in the Conservatory of Music but was called into US Military service during his first semester of study.  He has retired after 41 years in Document Management Sales and Service, using Microfilm and Imaging Systems for Storage and Retrieval of Vital and Business Records in Northeast Kansas.

mickey Mickey Eichkorn also played accordion as a young student while growing up in Topeka, KS.  Mickey is a retired Registered Nurse who graduated from Stormont-Vail School of Nursing in 1964.  Both Mickey and her husband Bob Eichkorn played in the original Mid-America Accordion Symphony Orchestra in the years 1958-1960 that was based in Kansas City.   They came back to the accordion to play in the accordion orchestra for the celebration of Joan’s 40th year at the Conservatory.  Soon after last year’s concert, and with considerable encouragement, they decided to make the long drive from Topeka every Thursday evening to attend rehearsals of the orchestra and once again enjoy the music of an accordion orchestra.  They have three sons and five grandchildren.

cathysue Cathy Sue Weiss, originally from New York, started playing the accordion when she was 7 years old.  She won several competitions, including that of the 1973 NY State Championship.   In 1977 she moved to KC to complete her Baccalaureate of Music degree in Accordion Performance at UMKC. Since that time she has continued to play with the UMKC groups and has traveled worldwide.   Cathy currently works for Pitney Bowes and was awarded 2008 Top Sales Awards which included recent trips to Cancun, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  She resides in the Brookside area with her 4 dogs and 2 cats, all adopted through rescue work.  Weekends during the summer are spent on her boat at Stockton Lake.  She enjoys cooking and entertaining for her friends and treasures the time that she can spend with them.

Lou LeBrun from Springfield, MO, is a new member of the group and makes a very long trip up to UMKC each Thursday for all the rehearsals, after which she must make the same trip home again. All of us admire her spirit and dedication to playing with us this year. Born in Los Angeles, she began studying accordion at 7 years of age and in her teens studied with Galla-Rini. She taught and performed professionally for 15 years, got married and then worked as a computer programmer for 30 years. During that time Lou rarely played accordion but resumed her entertainment career in 2002 at the age of 72 and now entertains in the Springfield area. She is also a regular participant in the Dallas National Accordion Convention, the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, and the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia. Everyone hearing her play enjoys her bubbling personality, career anecdotes, and unique musical styling.

laura Laura Lee Crandall is a freelance percussionist in the Kansas City area and a graduate of UMKC, where she earned a bachelors degree in Percussion Performance. She performs with a number of ensembles in a variety of styles, from orchestral percussion with the Kansas City Philharmonia, to hand drums for the Alvin Ailey Dance Camp, and drum set with different rock and jazz groups. She also has been performing on the vibraphone for weddings and parties. Laura has played several times with the UMKC accordion groups.

Evan Maslak from Kansas City is currently a freshman percussion performance major. At UMKC he has played with the 3:30 Jazz Combo, the Percussion Ensemble, and the Wind Symphony. In addition, he teaches 10 students at the Keith Larson Percussion Studios in Olathe. This will be his first time performing with our UMKC accordion groups, although Keith and Brenda Larson, owners of the studio where he teaches, have played with the UMKC Accordion Orchestra both here and on tour.

brian Brian Steever is a jazz drummer from Jefferson City, MO and has just completed his sophomore year in the jazz performance program at UMKC, studying with Bobby Watson, Brandon Draper, and Gerald Spaits. Kansas City has been treating him well as he has been able to play around town with several local legends including Bobby Watson, Mark Lowrey, David Basse, Megan Birdsall, Clint Ashlock, Pat Conway, and Hermon Mehari in a trio called Tri-Dimensional, to name a few. He has also had the opportunity to study classical percussion with Dr. James Snell and Dr. Nick Petrella. Keep your ears open and catch him playing around town. Brian played with the Accordion Orchestra last year, too, on its Annual Concert.


Joan C. Sommers, Director
UMKC Community Accordion Orchestra
2312 West 71 Terrace, Prairie Village, KS 66208-3322 USA

Phone: (913) 722-5625 or E-Mail: