My mother played the accordion, and one of the first songs she taught me to play as a young child was the "Beer Barrel Polka". A frequent outing of our family's was to a German beer garden, where I would stand, engrossed in watching the accordionist on stage play; I wanted so much to ask him if I could play it.

As the youngest of four children, I waited some years for my turn at having music lessons. I finally began formal accordion training at the age of 12, studying with Frederic Tedesco in Baltimore, Maryland. It was such a privilege, I put my heart and soul into it. In high school I was chosen as "the most talented girl", and at age 17 was playing professionally in Baltimore and surrounding area. I played on the radio, TV, in a band, and in floor shows (with my heart in my mouth for fear I'd be arrested, as i was under-age).

Marriage and family removed me from the performing scene. I taught accordion for 12 of those years, conducting my own accordion band.

For a number of years I played almost none, for a variety of reasons, including having an accordion which was too heavy.

Eventually we moved to Arizona. About five years ago I heard about the Accordion Club, called Al Monti, and went to talk with him. In his efforts to encourage me to return to playing, he sold me (very reasonably) his old light-weight Excelsior accordion. And that was the beginning of my playing again. Thank you, Al.

I now also have an Excelsior midi accordion and play for shows, parties, clubs, and our church in Sun Lakes and the surrounding area. I've recorded a CD of old favorites as well as a CD of our friend, Bill Berry's vocals with my accordion accompaniment. Behind every person who is "out there" is a support person who makes it possible. Thanks to my husband, Gail, who listens to my hours of practicing, hauls my equipment, and hooks up wires for me.

What would life be without music? And without the accordion?
Copyright © 2009 The Arizona Accordion Club