squeezebox How 1996 Came To Be The Year of the Accordion

by Faith Defner
of the American Accordion Association

More than 50 people representing 23 states, Mexico and Canada, attended the Accordion Summit hosted by the American Accordionists' Association in Houston, during its July 1995 accordion festival.

Participants represented national organizations such as the Accordion Teachers Guild and the AAA, as well as regional groups such as the New England States teachers association (ATAM) and several clubs: the Bay Area Accordion Club, Chicago Accordion Club and the Texas Accordion Association (with club presidents from chapters in Austin, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston and San Antonio).

It was determined that a few common goals were needed to make joint action possible. The foremost goal was to have "people like the accordion." Another was to get people to know what the accordion is about through exposure. All agreed that our common bond was a love for the accordion.

The second meeting indicated great determination that some action should result from the Summit.

Thus the group proclaimed "1996 the Year of the Accordion" and agreed to publicize the concept of the "Year of the Accordion" at every opportunity and to increase the number of public performances of accordion by playing in public places-- parks, malls, museums, libraries, etc.

Each group will decide for itself how best it can function in this joint promotional effort and all will spread information about the program. The Year of the Accordion is a banner under which we can unite our efforts to promote the accordion through our own efforts and accordion activities-- always referring back to 1996 is the Year of the Accordion.

The Summit participants were also unanimous in praise for the effective publicity which AAA had garnered for its festival and the positive accordion image which had been fostered. The concensus was to continue with this effective public relations and positive image building. It was agreed that even a modest annual budget of $12,000-- $1000 monthly --could propel the accordion to greater public appreciation so long as consistent effort and regularity of theme would be maintained.

The group was enthusiastic about raising $12000 for an ongoing 1996 PR campaign. To date, the American Accordionists' Association has pledged $3000, and pledges have been made by ATG ($3000), ATAM $2000, R. Sattler $1000, bringing the total to $9000--- $3000 short of our goal.

Never-the-less, the American Accordionists' Association continues its efforts to publicize our instrument. In newspapers throughout the U.S. there have been articles applauding accordion as the bright new star of the music world. Just last week, Pop Music Critic Fernando Gonzalez did a great feature article about accordionists in the Miami Herald (copies available on request).

For those of you who are wondering where the Year of the Accordion will go, the answer is that it will go wherever YOU take it. This effort requires the cumulative muscle of the whole accordion community. Let's share the responsibility for its success. Wave the banner and make your accordion roar-- 1996 is the Year of the Accordion!

Your comments, suggestions and support are welcome.

Faith Deffner
American Accordionists' Association
P.O.Box 616, Mineola, NY 11501
Tel 516/746-3101 FAX 516/746-7085

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