A Growing Accordionists Movement is happening in Vancouver

A Growing Accordionists Movement is happening in Vancouver

Todd performed accordion at the Vancouver Story Telling Society's January programs in 2006 & 2007.  Here he poses with Pauline Wenn – photo Deb Martin

Every year I meet new accordionists.  Some have played for years.  Some have just picked up the instrument.  I have played accordion since I was 10 years old.  The following year I entered the Kiwanis Music Festival.  Soon I was winning certificates in for 3rd, 2nd or 1st place.  I learned to play “concert arrangements” for music competition.  This included Brahm's Hungarian Dance No. 5, Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C Major, and even Gerswin's Rhapsody in Blue.

At the 2006 Word On the Street Festival, I met Rowan Lipkovits  – performer and accordionist.  Rowan says he wants to become synonymous with the accordion in Vancouver.  To succeed in this endeavor he hosts a CFRO Co-Op Radio program titled Accordion Noir, and he has started up a Tuesday Night Accordion Circle. 

It meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at Little Mountain Studios. 195 East 26th Ave., Vancouver
Next meeting will be Tuesday, May 8th.

Below is Rowan's report from the first Vancouver Accordion Circle.

A dozen squeezers of bellows gathered last month to play a bit of  how and tell with a half-dozen instruments, comparing notes and experiences ranging from learning accordion in the 1930s to trying to figure out how to use them today!

This helped to establish a crucial point: apparently there is some mass interest in this much-maligned instrument!  So we are doing another one, and will continue on the second Tuesday of every month until Lawrence Welk arises from the dead and overthrows human civilization with his zombie polkas.

The circle remains a bit unfocused, but I'm hoping that with some group input that can be tightened up — examples of things we can achieve as a community include:

•    helping would-be students find teachers (I'm already in negotiation with the Slackademics workshops to provide an  introductory “rudiments of music”  session for our musical novices);
•    helping would-be teachers find students (these items kind of do go  together);
•    helping would-be public performers find bands and ensembles that are looking to incorporate a little squeezebox (when last inquired, the Ukrainian Hall at 805 E. Pender was looking for an accordionist for their folk orchestra — my recollection also has it that the accordion marching band, last seen in
•    the St.Patrick's Day parade, is looking for some fresh blood);
•    sharing information regarding local events where accordions can be heard (such as our weekly all-accordion radio show Accordion Noir* at CFRO CO-OP Radio, 102.9 fm! … sadly still at 2 am Friday mornings, but moving soon!);
•    and of course getting to the bottom of where to go to get accordion repairs and modifications done.
We also get to share songs, stories, album recommendations, and some /terrible/ jokes, as well as getting to ogle everyone else's beautiful instruments.  Maybe we make some friends!  If all we make is some beautiful music, we still end up ahead.

We're still using the facilities at the Little Mountain Studios,
located at 195 E. 26th at Main — a little chilly last time, so bring a jacket just in case — but as the seasonal weather improves perhaps we can go on field trip excursions to parks and terrify everyday citizens.

* One parting aside: we've been granted a one-off prime-time spot for the CO-OP Membership drive April 29th, from 7-9 pm: we plan to run two hours of  accordion musics from Latin America, from cumbia and conjunto to forró and, we hope, some exclusive live recordings of a local bandoneon player sharing tango music!

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