Our July Concert

For logistical reasons our July meeting was not one of our normal concert nights, instead it was a practice night. Despite the change a good time was had by all. For those of you who have not attended a practice night its basically like a concert night, but with no concert and no need to keep quiet 🙂 On practice nights people wander in around 8pm, sit, chat, drink coffee, play accordions, share tips, do more drinking, chatting, playing, learning, and generally people have a good time interacting with others. Some people come along to practice nights to have a good play away from their home environment. On practice nights the players choose a location in the room where they can do their own thing. If you want to learn the accordion or if you want a night of chatting, meeting others and learning, then the practice nights are for you. Our practice nights are normally on the first and fifth Wednesdays of the month so there are a good number of them throughout the year. Another reason for attending practice nights is that some members bring along second hand accordions or other items that are bought and sold. We also have given a lot of free sheet music away on these nights. This is music donated by families of club members who have died, or sheet music collected from other sources such as unwanted items donated by other players at the club. There is still a large box of sheet music available to browse through and if you have any to give away then please bring it along to the club and we will help find people wanting to play it.

David Batty


This Wednesday

This Wednesday is one of our practice nights rather than a concert night. There will be accordionists sat chatting, drinking coffee and learning music around the room. The doors open on Wednesday night at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. If you see someone you don’t know then please say hello and make them welcome to the club. I had a couple of enquiries about the club this week so we might have a new face or two if we are lucky and both of them are players too. I won’t be there but I hope you all enjoy yourself.


Lau Concert

The Folk Group Lau are performing in Bury on the 7th November, Fleetwood on the 24th November and Southport on the 26th November. Tickets for these dates range from £16 to £18. Lau is a British folk band from both Scotland and England, formed in 2005. Named after an Orcadian word meaning “natural light”, the band is composed of Kris Drever (guitar, vocals), Martin Green (accordion, piano, electronics) and Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle). To buy Tickets for any of the above events visit www.lau-music.co.uk/gigs/

Accordions For Sale

Scandalli (Red), Compact 96 Bass, Custom Built, Handmade Reeds, 37 Treble Keys – 3 Voice, 7 Treble & 2 Bass Couplers, £800

Galotta (Red), 72 Bass, 34 Treble Keys – 3 Voice, 5 Treble & 3 Bass Couplers, £600

If you are interested in either of these accordions contact Ann Tel: 01772 864887 Email: anncordion.parker@btinternet.com

300 Accordions Looking for New Home

Article Written by Liza Mulholland Caroline Hunt whose passion is accordions, and whose delight in all things squeezable has led to her acquiring over three hundred of these wonderful instruments. With a desire for quality over quantity, she prefers not to duplicate items, resulting in her collection of antique accordions being one of the best in the world, second only to Italy’s famous Castelfidardo Museum. As well as piano accordions, melodeons and concertinas, she has examples of bandoneons, flutinas, chemnitzers, and harmoniflutes; as exotic-sounding as they are uniquely interesting. I first met Caroline when she approached Bruce and I about the possibility of displaying some of her collection at Bogbain Farm. Both being musicians, we had been busy for some time developing the music side of our business there with regular folk sessions, gigs and concerts, so the opportunity to establish an accordion museum fitted perfectly with our vision for Bogbain. We did not wait to be asked twice! With her car packed full, Caroline made a number of deliveries with ever-more fascinating instruments, building up a beautiful, shiny display of around sixty five accordions, complete with information boards and books. Sourced from around the world, the selection included several rare items and illustrated the main developments, changes and technological advances in the squeeze-box story, as well as examples highlighting the characteristics peculiar to particular craftsmen, factories and countries. With well-kent, accordion virtuoso, Sandy Brechin, doing the honours at a fun opening night, our Bogbain Accordion Museum was duly launched. Despite playing accordion myself, I had previously no idea of its history, nor the diversity of specimens; some were Heath Robinson-type affairs with mutiple keyboards, horns, bells and bows that would confound even the most ambidextrous, whilst others were pearlised works of art, emblazoned with colour, enamel and diamante. I was intrigued and stunned when she brought in a glass case containing a peculiar-looking free-reed instrument that you blow into, and explained that this type of Chinese Sheng was in fact an ancestor of the accordion. Not only was my own accordion knowledge greatly enhanced, but the collection proved a hit with our customers. The accordion is an attractive instrument and despite a somewhat – and I maintain, undeserved chequered reputation, there is something irresistible in seeing dozens of them all stacked up. I loved how visitors’ eyes widened when first spotting the accordions, only to be drawn to them in wonder, and many people travelled considerable distances to see the collection. Needless to say, our little museum was much-loved by our fellow-musicians and folk-lovers attending our sessions and, later, our music festivals, but sadly it was not to last. When devastating personal events meant I could no longer work alongside my husband, I had no option but to withdraw from our business. Caroline was back to square one. At times, over the years, she has had her accordions stacked floor-to-ceiling in her own house, and since her eviction from Bogbain, has stored the instruments in friends’ lofts, garages and spare rooms. She is still seeking the ideal venue in which to house a permanent collection, and just as Castelfidardo attracts many thousands of visitors each year from all over the world, so Caroline’s three hundred accordions – in the right location with adequate space and facilities – have the potential to become a major Scottish visitor attraction. In the meantime, there is a rare opportunity to view some of them during Accordion Day in Auchtermuchty on Saturday 8th August. Caroline will present around thirty antique instruments dating from 1850 to 1960, and where better to do so than Sir Jimmy Shand’s home-town. A selection of his accordions, photographs and memorabilia, by kind permission of Jimmy Shand Junior, will also be part of the exhibition, which can be found in the Victoria Hall, Burnside, Auchtermuchty, between 12 – 4pm. Caroline welcomes those wishing to try some of her instruments and will have a selection of children’s accordions available for younger learners. An afternoon workshop on maintenance by ‘Jock-the-box’ will ensure accordionists are better equipped to look after their machines and, with Jock playing for the evening ceilidh, Auchtermuchty’s Accordion Day will be rounded off in perfect style. If Caroline is representative of today’s collectors, then we are fortunate indeed, for she is someone with a sense of history, of posterity and who, through personal study and use of her own time and resources, has developed her initial interest in accordions into a substantial artistic legacy of great importance to Scotland. Her collection is part of a wider cultural inheritance, vital to the story of our folk music and heritage, and which she is generously willing to make available to the public for the benefit and enjoyment of all. Please get along to Auchtermuchty if you can on 8th August – I promise you won’t be disappointed. Visit Caroline’s website at www.antiqueaccordions.com


Memorial Plaque for St Albans Busker

Thousands of pounds has been raised for a memorial plaque to honour St Albans’ legendary accordion man. Hundreds turned out to a busking event in memory of John “Paddy” Delaney, held in St Albans on Saturday 4th July. For more than 35 years, John Delaney was a regular fixture outside W H Smith on the High Street of St Albans, where he played everything from old classics to nursery rhymes, as well as special requests from his audiences. John known for his quirky outfits and cheerful disposition, passed away at the end of March aged 86. St Albans singer Melanie Wall organised a busking event and street collection to raise money for a suitable memorial. Melanie who organised the event said: “Words cannot describe how wonderful the busking event was but the crowds, the applause and the atmosphere spoke volumes. The turnout and the money collected are testament to the love and respect that St Albans folk had for Paddy. It was a pleasure to meet his widow and many other members of the family who were clearly touched by the musical tributes and the reaction from the crowds.” They were also presented a beautiful picture by local artist Mandy Reekie. Those attending wore Mr Delaney’s trademark stripy T-shirt, beret and scarf as a tribute. Acts included a saxophonist, accordion player, established and lesser known local acts and a young duo. Organisers said they day was so successful, they are considering making it an annual event. Shelly Henderson helped collect money for the memorial said: “The busking event was really heart-warming and touching. As soon as people saw paddy’s picture on my collection tin they stopped to tell me how much their own childhood memories of him meant to them personally and dug deep to donate. People really enjoyed his music and especially the effort he made to sing children’s songs and give so many people happy and memorable childhood memories. He is a regarded as an iconic part of St Albans history performing for over 35 years dressed in his beret and red scarf. So many people thanked us for what we were doing and the town was awash with people in striped tops, berets and red scarf’s in his memory. We celebrated his memory with music and the St Albans community really showed their appreciation for Paddy.” The event Ended with a huge chorus of locals belting out ‘thank you for the music.’“ The event raised a total of £1,600. Mrs Wall presented a petition to the mayor on Thursday 9th July calling for a suitable memorial for John. St Albans Council were unanimous in its decision to allow the memorial, opting for a plaque to be put in Upper Dagnall Street to mark permanent performing spot for buskers. Melanie said: “I love this idea. It would be a ‘living’ memorial that encourages music to be played by the young, old, established musicians and those just starting out- something that Paddy encouraged.” Councillors Roma Mills, Chris White and Beric Reed all spoke in support of the memorial before the full council voted to grant permission. Cllr White said: “I think in an era like today towns like St Albans are in danger of being clone towns with the same sets of nationals shops up and down. It was therefore nice to have someone like Paddy who made St Albans different.” The busking day raised £1600 for the plaque, with more donations on their way.