Accordion News Round-Up for March

I_want_youGot an accordion? Love cheese? Some folks in Wisconsin would like to have a word with you:

Send us your accordionists, Green County Cheese Days pleads

Turns out that the 100th year of the festival is coming up in September, and organizers are hoping to celebrate it with the performance of a 100-accordion orchestra.

Brie there or be square!

An article in the the Dallas Morning News profiles accordion-playing couple Elena and Gregory Fainshtein. It offers some good insights on keeping accordion alive in the modern world and the importance of spreading the accordion gospel:

“If we don’t get youth involved, we’re not going to have a future. We just need more people playing. They don’t have a resistance to it. They’ve just never been introduced to it.

Lastly, legendary jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans recently announced that he is retiring at the age of 91. Why mention this in an accordion blog? For one, the harmonica is a close cousin to the accordion (they’re both members of the free reed family of musical instruments). Secondly, as the highest-profile ambassador for harmonica in jazz, Thielemans created a level of respect for “unconventional” instruments that had to trickle down at least a little bit to jazz accordion.

And lastly, it turns out that accordion was his first instrument!

So I’ll wind up this post with one of my favorite Toots Thielemans tracks. He’s best known for Bluesette, but I really like this 1979 pairing with pianist Bill Evans on the Phil Markowitz tune Sno’ Peas:

New MOOC: “Developing Your Musicianship”

coursera_musicianshipIf you’ve always wanted to beef up your knowledge of the basic nuts and bolts of music, you might want to check out the latest MOOC (“massive open online course”) from Berklee College of Music:  Developing Your Musicianship.

The course starts on April 1st (no foolin’!), but registration is open now. It’s totally free, suitable for all instruments, and you can drop the class at any time if you decide it’s not up your alley.