2013 Convention Review
Dear Friends,
What an amazing week at the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention! First it was great seeing our host hotel looking beautifully refreshed and clean. But the magic started on Monday with Gina Brannelli playing for our welcome registration and continued until the last note rang out Thursday night from the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra under the direction of the esteemed Joan Cochran Sommers.

Monday evening at our welcome concert we enjoyed a wonderful dinner while we listened to the music of il maestro, Mario Pedone. Following this was our welcome concert with Dick Contino looking great and playing a full Las Vegas style show backed by his wonderful musical director Corky Bennett on keyboard, Pete Contino (Dick’s son) on drums, and Bob Sachs on bass. The party continued with great performances at Club Concerto by many of our attendees – what a great nightspot – it was the place to be!

Tuesday morning we enjoyed classes with full rooms and lots of happy faces followed by lunch with the sounds of Gordon Kohl on his Concerto accordion. We were thoroughly entertained with a wonderful jazz set by Jerry Cigler and Paul Betken accompanied by Ken Seifert on bass and Rich De Labio on drums. What a great and enjoyable sound. Thanks so much Jerry and Paul – you are amazing musicians!

It was back to classes with the first orchestra rehearsal and many exciting Master Classes that afternoon. Magic seemed to be in the air and it really came shining through that evening with a wonderful meal featuring beef tenderloin paired with salmon served as only the Gold Coast staff can do. The truly first class dining for 270 served by an amazing staff added to the magic of the night, which was enhanced by the strolling accordionist, Nancy Leonard. Our Tuesday evening Concert began with an exciting performance by Il Sole featuring Tatiana & Steve for a fun filled set.

Then our 2013 Honorary Director took the stage. Yes, Joey Miskulin transported us around the world and thoroughly entertained & mesmerized the entire audience. What a great performance Joey gave along with Julian Tanaka on clarinet, Ken Seifert on bass and Rich De Labio on drums – we heard a true accordion legend and consummate entertainer! Joey, you are totally amazing – WOW!

After a late night at Club Concerto classes the next day were again full. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch with music by Chuck Henry followed by a discussion panel featuring all of our honorary directors. Those present including Joey Miskulin, Pete Barbutti, Dick Contino, Joan Cochran Sommers, Peter Soave, Gina Brannelli, and Jeff Lisenby!

The Wednesday evening Concert was really a fun and exciting event with many attendees in fantastic costumes. The evening started with a costume ball featuring dance music by Gordon Kohl and Chuck Henry. The hotel rolled out a wooden dance floor to accommodate the dancers. The Parade of Costumes began at 8 PM followed by awards for best costume. We enjoyed a great musical performance by Peter and Mady who concluded their set accompanied by friends Mary Tokarski and Stas Venglevski. Closing the evening out was Jeff Lisenby who took the stage with a vocalist, bass and drums to bring us a Broadway musical review, among other exciting sounds. Oh what a fun night it was - costumes, dancing and great music. What more can one ask for? And the party continued into the wee hours of the morning at Club Concerto with not an empty seat to be had!

Thursday there was magic yet a bit of sadness in the air – sadness only because this was the last day of the event! Classes were again well attended and lunch was filled with the sounds of Steve Albini on his Concerto accordion. Then it was time for some fun laughs as Pete Barbutti had everyone in stitches. There followed a surprise performance by father and son duo, Bob and Beau Mansfield – discoveries from Club Concerto! It was back to class and the final rehearsal for the orchestra.

Thursday evening was our crowning event – our gala finale with awards for best dressed and a fantastic dinner prepared by the Gold Coast Executive Chef! Tonight we heard from Mary Tokarski, who was absolutely astounding in her musical presentation, followed by Stas Venglevski with a special duet with Joan Cochran Sommers – what FUN! Then came the grand finale as 32 accordion players took to the stage along with a full symphony percussion section and again we heard the glorious sound created by Joan Cochran Sommers conducting the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra! It was truly a fitting grand finale to what was described by many returning attendees as the very best year yet!

Paul Pasquali reminded us that the first Las Vegas International Accordion Convention was held in August of the year 2000. Paul was proud to announce the special anniversary date of August 17-21, 2014, which will mark the 15th anniversary celebration. Amazingly, our room rates will only be $28 a night! Joey Miskulin also came up to the stage and announced he will be returning in August 2014 to help us celebrate. This was greeted with much joy as we all are looking forward to a huge 15th annual celebration! Come join us as we commemorate 15 years of celebrating the accordion!