Because we didn't have a workshop scheduled for the July 13 meeting,
we had the luxury of sitting back and listening to two of our members
demonstrate some of the range of their playing. Peter DiGiovanni's and
Wendy Morrison's performances were thoroughly enjoyable, and we still
had time afterwards to practice for the December concert.
Peter started with "Gypsy Love" by Franz Lehar (who also wrote
"The Merry Widow"). This piece, which Peter learned from a CD,
"is very tuneful and the harmonies are straightforward, for the most
part, so I was able to pick up most of it pretty quickly," he said.
"But even after I had the tune in my head, there were some transitions
and chords that required repeated listening and some trial and error to
figure out. Then I had to find the appropriate bass treatment and fingering
to get the chords I wanted." In his workshop at the September WMAS
meeting, Peter will describe some of the mental processes he undergoes
in learning by ear.
The second tune was "The Arpeggio Polka," from a book of compositions
by Helene Criscio (polkas, waltzes, mazurkas, etc.). The book, which Peter
recommends "without reservation," is available at the House
of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park.
The final piece in this set was "The Florentiner March," by
Julius Fucik. Peter learned it mostly from a CD, "but some of the
countermelodies that added greatly to the pleasure ... were tough to hear,
so I ordered the miniscore and put some notes on paper." He said
he played enough of the piece at the meeting to give the audience a feel
for it. "Some of the sounds I want to create require improved playing
skills and lots of trial and error (melodies in the bass, bellows shakes,
rapidly repeating the same 16th notes, etc.), which is all part of the
fun. With the help of the miniscore, I also constructed a second accordion
part (right hand only) and hope to play a duet in the future," Peter
Wendy opened with a dance tune from Quebec, "Reel a Beatrice,"
that she learned from a French-Canadian one-row button accordion player
many years ago. While playing, Wendy showed how the accordionists and
fiddlers in Quebec provide percussion and keep time, seated, by clogging
(foot-tapping/dancing) on a wooden floor, wearing hard-soled shoes. She
was wearing sandals, and the floor was linoleum, "but I think [the
audience] got the general idea," she said. "I hadn't done this
technique in a long time, so I started slowly with the foot tapping, then
I sped the tune up to normal dance tempo and stopped clogging."
Wendy's second piece was a traditional Jewish song in waltz time whose
lyrics consisted of a series of biblical quotes about the Patriarch Jacob.
"Only I didn't sing, because I can play much better than I can sing,"
The final piece was a long medley of klezmer tunes that Wendy's band
Klezcentricity has been working on: a Khosidl, a march, and two Bulgar-Freylakhs,
all learned from a book of tunes collected by a Moldavian clarinetist.
We look forward to Wendy's workshop in October.
The Holiday Concert is scheduled for December 12. If you were in the
concert last year, you should have the music for most of the songs we
will use this year:
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
Up on the Housetop
Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
How Brightly Shines the Morning Star
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Raindeer
In addition, Wendy has provided the music for a Hanukkah song, "Hanerot
Halalu" (These lights that
Again in August we do not have a formal workshop scheduled, so we're
looking for a couple of people to perform at the meeting on the 10th.
Also, it's really nice if someone plays while we set up, to get us in
the mood. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you'd like to volunteer. (Mike Surratt has volunteered.)
(UPDATED) Joan Grauman would like to lead
a small teaching/playing accordion band using her favorite advanced beginner/intermediate
pieces that she has played over the years. She says she has a lot of sheet
music and is in the process now of writing out some things to use in this
group. Examples: a gorgeous arrangement of Greensleeves, El Choclo, Lara's
Theme, Gold and Silver Waltz, a Viennese waltz medley, Edelweiss, a GREAT
Irish waltz, "Star of the County Down" that her friend wrote
an incredible second part for (download the music from the Miscellaneous
page), some Italian pieces, Ashokan, and Lonely Accordion. Almost
all of these are dance pieces, but also good concert pieces. Contact Joan
for details at (301)279-8716 or email@example.com.
Several of our members attended the American
Accordionists' Association festival in Quincy, Mass., last week, and
one member even ended up on the front page of the Boston Globe. We'll
have a copy of the photo and article at the August meeting. (On the Globe's
web site, her head was cropped out!)
Lots of events coming up
Concerts this Thursday, July 22, are by the Eastern European group Harmonia
at Nottaway Park in Vienna, and by the American Balalaika Symphony at
Strathmore Hall in Bethesda.
Wednesday, July 28, Russikye Musikanti is at Lee District Park in Springfield,
Saturday, August 14, is the picnic at Dale and DeAnn Wise's place in
Burr Hill, Va., from 10:30 am to 5 pm. You should have received the details
in a separate email. Please respond to Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org
as to whether you're attending. Hamburgers, hotdogs and beverages will
be supplied, but otherwise it's potluck. Also bring your accordion and
Saturday, August 28, Brave Combo is playing at Blob's in Jessup, Md.
Contact Dave Ball at PolkaDave@msn.com
if you'd like to join the WMAS group going up there. He'll take care of
September 2 is the season's first Brat Night at the Del Ray Dreamery
on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria. Paul Przedpelski provides the music,
but the Dreamery has offered to let WMAS members play on an open-mike
basis during Paul's breaks. Contact him at email@example.com
if you'd like to sign up. Brat Nights will continue on the first Thursday
of the month through April, from 6 to 9 pm.
A September 28 concert in Danville, Va., featuring Tony Lovello, aka
the Liberace of the Accordion, will benefit the Danville Life Saving Crew.
Details on these events are on the calendar.
AND FINALLY, ALL RUMORS TO THE CONTRARY, STELLA ALLISON IS ALIVE AND
See you soon!