Las Vegas International Accordion Convention 2016 – A Grand Success!

Celebrating 17 years of Accordion Stars in Las Vegas! This year we had attendees from all over the USA and most provinces of Canada plus other countries including Australia, France and Mexico.

Each of the four evening dinner concerts was amazing. The first night started with Mike and Steve Trucco playing duets during dinner. The audience loved them! Next up was a visitor, Henry Doktorski, who performed several numbers. Henry was followed by the legendary Joey Miskulin. Many people equate Joey with Polka’s and old time country music – but his real love is jazz. We heard a remarkable concert featuring Joey with Ken Seifert on bass, Rich Delabio on drums, and Charles McNeal, an amazing talent, on saxophone, which completed the jazz combo. What an opening night!!

Tuesday (along with Wednesday & Thursday) was filled with workshops and classes. After lunch the house lights came down and we all watched the movie “Accordions Rising” with the noted filmmaker Roberta Cantow. Then it was back to classes and the first day of orchestra rehearsal with Professor Sommers.

Tuesday night Nancy Leonard strolled during dinner followed by our Honorary Conductor Award Concert. The concert featured Mary Tokarski who played some wonderful songs from various generas as only Mary can! Next was our guest of honor, Mario Pedone, this year’s Honorary Conductor! Mario really knows how to please the crowd and with his humble style brought the audience to their feet! A highlight of the evening was when Mario received the Honorary Conductors Award and asked Joan Sommers if she remembered coming to Caracas many years ago to adjudicate at a competition. Mario reminded Joan he was the 14-year-old boy she picked as the winner. It was a magical moment anyone present will not soon forget!

Wednesday night the evening started with a preconcert dance featuring Gordon Kohl followed by a full evening concert. First up, Mike Zampiceni played Latin classics and standards, including some jazz. Mike has a great style, which always lets the listener hear the melody. Tonight we gave award two Art Van Dammer Education Awards. Congratulations to Beverly Fess and Lou Jacklich. Thanks for your tireless contribution to accordion artistry and music as outstanding mentors and teachers! Next were Kim & Dan Christian who as a duet were a total powerhouse! Amazing how they sound as one – they have been playing the accordion together since they were children and what a great sense of humor and stage presence they have!

Thursday lunch was a great discovery – one of our long time attendees was asked to play – Gail Campanella – and did she ever do a great job! Gail was practiced, poised, and calm in her musical style and presence. Then we heard from the great Pete Barbutti who brought tears of laughter. Pete has been a perennial favorite for many years at Las Vegas – and we are always glad to have him join us!

Thursday night Alex Savastian was absolutely beyond amazing – he had at least 5 standing ovations during his 50-minute concert. The first few numbers were Russian original compositions – and after that he played more popular light classics and really brought the house down – or should we say to their feet over and over again. THEN Joan Sommers really outdid herself. Alex, along with several other featured artists, joined the orchestra comprised of 40 accordions on stage with timpani and percussion. Solo vocalist Lady V and Her Friends (a local choir) joined the orchestra for what was truly an amazing grand finale! A reminder of the importance of LIVE MUSIC! Nothing could ever take the place of being there to hear in person the JOY of Music!

The date for 18th annual event will be October 23-26, 2017. Registrations are already being accepted and you may visit for special invitation pricing. Look for more information about this special event as we help celebrate Joan Sommers 10th Year conducting the Las Vegas International Accordion Orchestra!

Stacks Image 7