Accordionists from around the World meet in Las Vegas!
June 22 – 25 marked the fourth annual Las Vegas International Accordion Convention.  This year nearly 500 attendees were in attendance from all over the World.  We had people from Australia, Portugal, England, Italy, Canada and almost every state in the USA in attendance.

Registration began Sunday with a reception featuring Gina & Romany Rye performing from 2 to 5 PM.  Sunday evening was a Gala Prime Rib Buffet during which Joe Vento played dinner music - followed by Dick Contino playing in concert with Corky Brumble on keyboard and Pete Contino (Dick’s son) on drums. 

Monday classes began at 9 AM and ran all day.  Over 40 workshops, classes and master classes were offered over the next three days.  Monday lunch we heard from Gordon Kohl and featured "Lunch with the Legend" Myron Floren.  Myron talked about his career and answered the audiences questions.  Of particular interest was when Myron explained he grew up on a farm in rural North Dakota and never had a music lesson in his life.  Yet he went on to become the most recognized accordion player of all time.  Monday evening after dinner we heard from Mirco Patarini, Janet Todd and Don Lipovac which was an exciting and varied concert.

After the Concert everyone headed off to Club Concerto where Gina & Romany Rye provided Dance music and hosted guests who wished to perform.  This fun event went on into the early hours of the morning and was repeated each night.  Club Concerto has grown in popularity every year and allowed everyone a chance to unwind at the end of the day and make new friends,

Tuesday, we heard from Ron Borelli as we ate lunch and then lunch with the legend was Art Van Damme.  Art answered a few questions and performed for a full hour with drums, bass, vibes and guitar. 

If ever there was a bit of heaven this was the hour.  Art was in rare form having just completed several engagements many were saying Art was better than ever.  Thanks Art, our 2000 honorary director, who has returned every year with great enthusiasm for the event.

Also on Tuesday was a rare photo opportunity as our host Paul Pasquali called up Art Van Damme, Dick Contino, and Myron Floren (2000, 2001 & 2002 honorary directors).
  It was a rare opportunity to see these three accordion legends all together.  It was at that moment that the 2003 honorary director was asked to join this special circle.  Gina Brannelli, was given the honor and title of the 2003 honorary director.  Gina who is currently president of the NAO in the UK and serves on the World Cup Organization, teacher and performer was recognized for her great contribution to the accordion.

Tuesday evening we heard from our Deiro Scholarship winners Brian Wong and Daniel Jakolich followed by an amazing Italian artist Mario Pietrodarchi - only 22 years old - who stunned the audience.  Mario was awarded the 2003 Guido Deiro Performance Award for outstanding young performer.  Next was a wonderful performance by Julien Labro and Mady Soave and then it was time for some laughs – Pete Barbutti favored us with a few short pieces on his “CORDEAN” but brought the house down with laughter.  The final artist was Myron Floren who entertained the audience and brought the house down with applause.

Wednesday we heard from father and son duo Steve & Michael Trucco during lunch. As lunch concluded that Count Guido Diero Junior – son of the famous vaudeville accordionist Guido Diero (and sponsor of the Guido Deiro Award) took the stage to present a Premier Showing of the first musical motion picture recorded ever.  A very memorable moment for everyone in attendance.  You actually felt like Guido Deiro was there playing for us.  The process was known as a Vida Phone and the project was restored to pristine picture and audio.  The Count was kind enough to provide the audience with a Giant Screen presentation of the original performance by his father.  He then told the history of his father the first to Play and coin the term Piano Accordion who was a top vaudeville performer and married to Mae West.  Then we heard from Pete Barbutti as our lunch with a legend series came to a conclusion.

Wednesday night the Crystal Frosini Awarded was presented to Golden State Accordion Club for its contribution to the accordion, its music and culture for the year 2003.  Also this evening Dr. Shireen Moors announced she will make an annual pledge to the Las Vegas Internaitonal Accordion Convention to present an Excellence in Teaching Award to be named after Lawrence T. Pino

The Wednesday concert began with French accordionist and maestro at the Marseille Conservatory of Music – Jean-Marc FabbianoGinny Mac once again wowed the crowd with her home-spun Texas charm and talent.  She was joined this year by a guitar violin combo.  Next from Italy,  Renzo Ruggieri who stunned the audience with his brilliant performance – Renzo’s brilliant performance of American Standards in his wonderful Jazz Style was incredible.  Next on was Kenny Kotowitz – what a wonderful smooth sound this artist projected.  Mady Soave then closed the evening with a short but wonderful performance.  Then it was off to Club Concerto to celebrate and say good-bye to friends. 

June 13, 2004 was announced as the date for the 2004 event.  Over 100 people signed up for next years event Wednesday when the date was announced.