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Accordion Convention

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  • texasjoe43
    Happy music makes the good times roll 12:00 AM CST on Sunday, March 4, 2007 By CAROLYN TILLERY / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News In the mood
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2007
      'Happy music' makes the good times roll

      12:00 AM CST on Sunday, March 4, 2007
      By CAROLYN TILLERY / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
      In the mood for a little Slovenian polka music? How about a tune or
      two from the Balkan countries? If so, you're in luck.

      'Some people stay up all night playing the accordion,' says
      Dallasite Norman Seaton, who formed the accordion group.
      The National Accordion Association is hosting its 20th annual
      convention Wednesday through March 11 at the Richardson Hotel in
      Dallas resident Norman Seaton, who started playing in 1981 and
      formed the association in 1986, said 35 states will be represented
      at the convention.
      "Some people stay up all night playing the accordion," said Mr.
      Seaton, the association's president.
      Variety – in musical styles and skills – are sure to be found at the
      convention, said Allen resident Jim Rommel, who is conducting one of
      the workshops.
      "There are all kinds of accordions, as they come from so many
      different countries," Mr. Rommel said. "You'll hear Cajun, Russian,
      classical – just all kinds of music. Then, of course, there's
      Germany, Sweden, France and even Mexico music."
      Mr. Seaton, who plays a Petosa piano accordion, said he and his
      wife, Sharon, took up the instrument after a chance encounter.
      "We visited a local German restaurant, and there were two accordion
      players performing there," he said. "My wife said she had always
      wanted to know how to play the accordion. I'm the type of person who
      if someone says they want to do something, I'm an enabler."
      Mr. Rommel, who has played the accordion for 32 years, always
      travels with his accordion and finds jam sessions all over the
      country. He learned to play as a child after a door-to-door
      accordion salesman offered free lessons.
      Both men contend the biggest misconception about the accordion is
      that it is difficult to play.
      "It's got a worse image problem, because people like accordion
      jokes," Mr. Seaton said. "They use the music in a lot of television
      commercials. But simple songs can be picked up almost
      immediately. ... It's probably the most joked-about instrument,
      followed by the tuba."
      He also has an old button accordion, which has buttons, rather than
      keys, to play.
      "This one, an Organola, I got for $19.85 worth of postage," he said,
      motioning to the instrument at his home. "I was contacted by this
      man – he was 90 – who found it in a field during World War II and
      told me I could have it if I paid for the postage to get it here."
      Mr. Seaton said the accordion originated in Europe in the early
      1800s and was popularized in the 1850s. It caught on in the U.S.
      during the vaudeville era.
      An instrument can cost from $1,500 to $15,000.
      Dallas resident Nick Ballarini has been playing the accordion for
      more than 50 years. He said there's one problem with the instrument –
      or, specifically, with accordion players: age.
      "I would like to see more young people learning to play," he
      said. "That's its stereotype, except in Europe and China."
      Mr. Ballarini said the instrument's attractive quality is it
      produces "happy music."
      "I just like to play it pretty," he said. "I like to play at places
      like the arboretum and just play what people want to hear."
      The convention will offer workshops, jam sessions, accordion
      orchestras, performances and a polka party and concert.
      Numerous events are open and free to the public. For $10, you can
      attend a polka dance, accordion concert or folk dance lessons.
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