Our April Concert

Our April concert started with David Rigby playing Spinning Wheel, Snow Waltz, Whispering Hope, After The Ball, Highland Cathedral, In The Good Old Summertime and Daisy Bell. Tom Bennett was our next player, he took to the stage and played Moonlight Serenade, At Last, I Know Why and So Do You, My Prayer, Elmers Tune and Johnson Rag. John McCormick then played O Sole Mio, Ramona, Katarina and Musettas Watlz. It was my turn so I played Black Mask Waltz, Oslo Watlz, Cruising Down The River, Forever Blowing Bubbles, Old Bull and Bush, Lassie From Lancashire, My Girls A Yorkshire Girl, A Gordon For Me, I Belong To Glasgow, Keep Right On, Sailors Horn Pipe and American Patrol. It was now break time, after the break we started the second half with John Lennox playing Those Where the Days, Speak Softly Love, L’Accrdeoniste and Under Paris Skies. Our next player Colin Ensor gave us What More Can I Say, The White Rose Of Athens, There Must Be A Way, Sands Of Kuwait, Why Did You Make Me Care, Leaving Lerwick Harbour, Maigret, Music Of The Night Seth Davey, and Dublin In The Rare Old Times. It was time for Bernard Bamber to take to the stage, Bernard started with Tennessee Waltz, Carolina Moon and Missouri Waltz, then continued with We Got Sixpence, This World Is Not My Home, Drifting and Dreaming, Tober Moray Bay, Light Of Luochindaal, Lonley Scapa Flow and Kaiser Bills Batman. Our next player Graham Driver played Red White and Blue, Whispering Hope, Vantitaisse, Upton On Severn Stick Dance, Carolines Waltz, The Crab Fish Step Dance, Mad Maul Of The Cheshire Hunt, Weasel’s Revenge, Rochdale Coconut Dance and Staten Island. A player making his debut tonight was Brendan Moran, Brendan plays some great Irish music including some great jigs and reels, he started with two Reels – The Cameronian Reel and The Hunters Porse. Brendan then went on to play some hornpipes including The Black Swan and The Golden Eagle before finishing with Silver Spire and Twelve Pins. Once again we had enjoyed a great night, we had a good laugh, heard some great playing and enjoyed meeting accordion friends again.

David Batty

This Wednesday

This Wednesday is one of our guest artist concerts featuring the welcome return of George Syrett . I have been asked a few times if I can get George back sometime, well this month we have managed to do it. Be prepared to be entertained . George always goes down well at the club and is a long time favourite of many club members. So come along on Wednesday for a great concert and some great socialising. Doors open at 7.30pm. See you there.

Price Increase

Reluctantly we are having to put the entry price to the club up by a pound from this month. This is the first price increase since 1997 !! I have tried to keep the cost down since I started the club but due to rising costs this has not been possible any longer, but I think that 13 years without a price rise was a good run. On Guest Artist nights the door price will now be £4 for Members and £5 for Non-Members, for the local players nights the new door price will be £3 for Members and £4 for Non-Members. The practice night price will stay at £2. This is the only way we can continue to have a great guest artist ever second month, a newsletter printed and posted every month and pay for room hire, raffle prizes etc. Folk who were told at the practice night said it is still great value for money and wondered why it had never gone up before, some had already worked out that it was not possible to put on so much for so little so we very understanding..


Neil Fodden

Neil Fodden the editor of Accordion World suffered a stroke and went into a coma, he died on Tuesday April 27th 2010. He leaves behind his wife Kath and daughter Karina who will take over the editors position on Accordion World magazine.


Black Country Accordion Club

We have ebooked Tom Cowing and Cythia MacKenzie to play as our guest artists for the 21st of July. Tom has been asked for by a few people at the club, well in July you can see him in concert at Leyland.


George Syrett

This months guest artist is George Syrett, he was born in 1936, well known for playing, compering and leading workshops at accordion festivals. Also a singer composer, and accordion teacher. He is an entertainer who has worked extensively inside and outside the accordion world, presenting his own individual brand of music, song and humour. Often in the company of his equally madcap drummer, Rodney McNamara, a concert performance is likely to feature George Syrett’s lively version of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”, gloriously climaxing with high kicks resembling Basil Fawlty’s famous goose-stepping sequence in the Fawlty Towers episode, The Germans. His musical background has been rich and varied, to say the least. During National Service, he played the piano and accordion in an army dance band, and so frequently that he claims to have never done a guard duty! He has played the piano in pubs, the electronic organ in clubs and the cinema organ in his home city of Leeds. He has played ‘dep’ gigs as pianist with such great bands as Joe Loss and Harry Gold & his Pieces of Eight, and even played the famous WurliTzer organ at Blackpool Tower. As an accordionist he has made appearances in accordion clubs, the Bridlington and Caister Festivals, plus regular playing trips to Montana, USA, where he has been popular for many years. In 2003 George was dubbed the “King of the stand up Accordion” by compere following a concert performance in West Sussex.One of the highlights in George’s Career was his performance at the Globe Theatre London, and more recently bringing the house down at the festival of Castelfidardo, Italy.


NAO UK Blackpool

It’s the Annual National Accordion Organisation UK Championships and festival in Blackpool next weekend the Friday 23rd till Sunday 25th April 2010, the rough programme is Friday evening welcome at the Metropole Hotel, Saturday and Sunday competitions in the newly refurbished Metropole Hotel, spectacular Saturday evening ceilidh, Sunday evening is farewell showtime.


Geoff Holter Accordions

Geoff Holter Accordions based in Darlington has now closed their website reads ” We are now closed. Geoff, Val and Nigel, would like to thank all their customers for their valued custom over the many years.” Here is a newspaper article we found about Geoff and his Accordion Repair business in the Northern Echo published in 2004. He can’t play the instrument, but Geoff Holter is one of the few people in the country who can repair accordions, and he’s still in demand. Alison Lewis reports. Accordionists are few and far between in the North-East, so opening a repair shop here might seem like a foolhardy venture. The fact that Geoff Holter has spent almost 50 years repairing accordions in the region, but can’t even play the instrument adds to the mystery of how he ended up with his business in Darlington and how it has been successful enough to survive since 1987. Geoff and his team all started out in accordion repairs at Bell Accordions in Newton Aycliffe. The 69-year-old says he never wanted to be an accordion repairer, but after he left the Army and married his wife Mary in 1957, he was told that if he took a job on the trading estate in Newton Aycliffe, the couple could get a house nearby. Geoff always intended to leave and find something more lucrative, but caught the accordion bug. “I ended up at Bell’s for 30 years and I progressed in that time from being an apprentice to manager of the premises,” he says. “When the business closed in 1987, I decided to start up on my own, and everyone I worked with came with me, as well as a lot of the customers. “I know accordions inside out, we do all the tuning of them, the lay-outs of the mechanisms – but I don’t play them. When I started at Bell’s they were offering to give us lessons, but I never took them up on it, because I had no intention of staying,” he explains. “To me this is a working hobby – I should be retired I suppose, but for us here, it’s about getting the job right. It so satisfying, especially on the older accordions, which come in looking like a heap of junk and go out in a first class condition.” One of his favourite projects was restoring the Green Howards’ accordion, an instrument which survived a 500-mile trip in a wheelbarrow across Europe during the Second World War. It is now on display at the regiment’s museum in Richmond. Geoff says he employs some of the best accordion repairers in the land and that the business is perfectly placed geographically. “Our business isn’t local, it’s nationwide,” he says. “We have customers from the Shetlands, Ireland and right down to the Channel Isles and across to the West Country. If you look on a map, we’re bang smack in the middle of the country and if you take Scotland and Ireland into consideration, we are handy for everyone. “There aren’t many accordion teachers in the North-East so there aren’t many players, but in pockets elsewhere in the country there are lots of kids learning, because there are good teachers there.” Geoff sells the instruments too. Just a few days before I visit Geoff’s workshop in Whessoe Road, he has had people from Wrexham in Wales over to have a look at the new accordions he also sells from the premises. People often drive for hours to bring their treasured accordions to him for repair, rather than entrusting the job to a courier. This is because good repair shops and stockists of new instruments are few and far between, and because accordions are not cheap; they start at around £300 and go up to £23,000 for a top-of-the-range instrument. Fortunately Geoff and his team not only offer excellent workmanship, they are also the only firm in the country which can make new bellows for accordions. While many would probably think learning to play the guitar, piano or the fiddle would win more points in a popularity contest, according to Geoff, the accordion remains a very sociable instrument. “If you have an accordion, you’re welcome at a party anytime,” he says. And the kind of party an accordion is played at has a direct effect on how often it needs repairing – the dustier, smokier or nearer the coast, the better for Geoff’s business. “If they’re played by someone who lives by the seaside, they go rusty inside,” he explains. “They suck in the salty air and that corrodes them. People who play at a lot of ceilidhs get a lot of dust off the dance floor in theirs and people who play in pubs – that’s terrible, they get all sticky inside and stop playing because the bellows get full of smoke – but it keeps us employed.”