Our August Concert

For logistical reasons our August 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 local players concert nights featuring performances from our local players. The doors open on Wednesday night at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Please come along for a night of musical entertainment and socialising. Please bring along your friends and anyone who might be interested in attending. If you see someone you don’t know then please say hello and make them welcome to the club. If you are a player then please make sure you bring your accordion along to give us a tune.


How playing an instrument benefits your brain

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout. To watch the TED lesson on this subject visit http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-playing-an-instrument-benefits-your-brain-anita-collins


Folkestone Accordion Festival

This is to be held at The Burlington Hotel, Folkestone from September 25th to the 28th 2015. Featuring Gianluca Campi, Jovan Rnjak, Sammie Catling, Harry Hussey and John Romero. Teachers for the workshops are Sammie Catling, Nigel Pasby, Jean Hanger and Harry Hussey. Organisations and Traders feature The Accordion Shop, Harry Kipling’s “Accordion Treasures” and Carillon Music. Contact John Romero on 01606 270148


5p Charge for plastic bags from 5th October

The government has brought in a 5p charge for single use plastic bags, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. The charge will not apply when using the bag to carry uncooked fish and fish products, uncooked meat, poultry and their products, unwrapped food for animal or human consumption – for example, chips, or food sold in containers not secure enough to prevent leakage during normal handling, unwrapped loose seeds, flowers, bulbs, corns, rhizomes (roots, stems and shoots, such as ginger) or goods contaminated by soil (such as potatoes or plants), unwrapped blades, including axes, knives, and knife and razor blades, prescription medicine, live aquatic creatures in water, woven plastic bags, goods in transport, such as at an airport or on a train, plane or ship, considered as sealed packaging for mail order and click-and-collect orders (regardless of handles), returnable multiple reuse bags (bags for life), used to give away free promotional material, used for a service but there’s no sale of goods, such as dry cleaning or shoe repairs. If you put other items in the bag with an exempt item you will have to pay for the bag. You also won’t need to pay if the employer has less than 250 employees. In Wales plastic bag charges were brought in 2011 which has resulted in a 71% reduction in the number of single use plastic bags handed out and an increase in the use of “Bags for Life”.


Accordion Concert in Liverpool

Ksenija Sidorova on Accordion and Thomas Gould on Violin. Tuesday 13 October 2015 7:30 pm at the St George’s Hall Concert Room. Their Programme will include: Bach Violin Sonata No.6 in G major, Piazzolla Café 1930, Oblivion, Schnittke Suite in the Old Style and Vittorio Monti Czárdás. The Liverpool Phil says “The young British violin virtuoso Thomas Gould and Accordionist Ksenija Sidorova are one of the most revelatory partnerships on the current scene – prepare for a lively, insightful and completely original take on music by Bach, Schnittke and Piazzolla”. Tickets cost £25 http://www.liverpoolphil.com/16820/events-classical-music/ksenija-sidorova-accordion.html


Country Music Revival

Country Music is having somewhat of a revival especially in Ireland and in the UK. Artists such as Nathan Carter who’s last two albums outsold One Direction in the Irish Charts, the Liverpool Born Accordionist got his break when he performed for Pope John Paul II in Rome while he was a choirboy at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Nathan spent his summers with family in Ireland, winning medals for singing and playing the accordion. Nathan is now touring the UK and Ireland selling out venues. The BBC recently aired a documentary in Northern Ireland covering the Country Music and Country Dancing revival in Northern Ireland, Young People Knowing How to Dance and attending Dances is now replacing the previous trend of going to nightclubs, in the BBC documentary attending Dances is the new way to find a spouse. The Guardian recently wrote about how the UK is set for a Country Music Revival this summer with British Country Duo The Shires reaching the 10 top albums in the UK Official Charts, They are the first UK signing to the revived Decca Nashville label. In March there was a two day country music festival at the 02 arena in London with music from US acts who’s names are huge back in the US but who will still be relatively unknown to many in the UK the headliners were Luke Bryan and trio Lady Antebellum. The 50,000 people that attended suggested that the appetite for country music is growing, tickets for next year’s Country to Country festival are already selling fast with the event likely to become an annual staple in Britain’s music calendar. There are Country bands popping up all over the UK, it will be interesting to see if Country music will make a big of a revival as music experts seem to suggest it will. Will this mean that we see an increase in the amount of people picking up the accordion?


WW2 Veteran reunited with commrade’s Accordion

A World War Two veteran has been reunited with his best friend’s beloved accordion – more than 70 years after they played it to entertain their comrades on the front line. Desert Rats Alf Jackson and Bill Howard formed a “band” while fighting their way across the Italy, playing the hits of the day on their cherished accordions. Bill serenaded his comrades using a beautiful black Scandalli accordion that he bartered from a starving Italian family in exchange for food. The friends went their separate ways after the war but Alf decided to track down his fellow soldier almost 70 years after they served together. He sadly discovered Bill had died shortly after the war but his family had kept the Italian instrument, gathering dust in an attic for decades. Alf, now 94, met his old friend’s children – who never really knew their dad – and held the old accordion which had brought them so much joy during the war. Grandfather Alf, from Llantwit Major, south Wales, said: “Bill was quietly spoken, a good leader, a great musician – just a decent bloke. “Thinking about it all brought back all the memories, good and bad. It’s a real shame we never got together again.” Alf served in the Eighth Army in North Africa, fighting in the Halfaya Pass and at the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, before being transferred to Italy. Bill was the corporal in Alf’s unit when they were stationed outside the town of Castelfidardo – the world capital of accordion builders. Motorcycle dispatch rider Bill was impressed by Alf’s Settimio Soprani accordion and wanted an instrument of his own. The pair learned of an Italian family who owned a Scandalli Butterfly Model and had a whip-round amongst the soldiers to get enough food to exchange for it. Bill and Alf played as a duo, cheering up the dark evenings for their unit and even performing at an “officers-and-local-girls dance” in an Italian village. They were joined by a talented violinist who use to play fiddle with them – although Alf has no idea what became of the soldier from West London who was known only as “Liddell”. Alf decided he wanted to know what had become of Bill while going through his old war photos at his home – he took out a photo of Bill and realised his address was written on the back. He tracked down Bills family – and discovered he had had a son in 1947 and twin daughters in 1951 but tragically passed away in 1953 just eight years after VE Day. Old soldier Alf met with Bill’s son Tony, 68, and Allison, 63, to tell them stories of the war and share a “toast to absent friends”. He held the old accordion – which still looks good but can no longer hold a tune – at Allison’s home in Kings Norton, Birmingham. Retired care worker Alison said: “Alf is a quite amazing man. We’ve had a day we will never forget.”

Midland Accordion Festival

The Midland Accordion festival is on 6th – 8th November 2015 at the Quality Hotel , Dudley. The weekend will comprise of Concerts, workshops trade stands and socialising. . To book your place and for more information contact Barry Smith on 01215 594620 or email accordions2010@hotmail.co.uk


Nick Searle

One of our members, Nick Searle, sadly passed away on the 26th August 2015, he was 92 Years old. Nick Flew Mosquitos during the war and had many an interesting story to tell, including how, after being shot down, while posing as a photographers assistant, he hid in a cellar while some of the German top brass were having their photographs taken in the photography shop above. His funeral was held on Friday 11th September.


Tea Dances

Afternoons with live music provided by organist Chris Hopkins (Direct from the Blackpool Tower Ballroom). Refreshments available. Featuring mixed Ballroom and Sequence dancing. 2pm on 22nd September, 20th October, 24th November and 15th December at Preston Guild Hall, Tickets which cost £5.50 can be bought from 01772 804444 or from www.prestonguildhall.com