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Future of the Accordion aims to keep tradition alive 


Accordion to a recent survey, replacing words with the names of musical instruments in a sentence often goes undetected.

If you enjoyed that pun, you would probably enjoy the Roy Babstock Beaches Accordion Festival on the Eastport Peninsula.

Last Thursday was the Future of the Accordion concert, bringing youth of varying skills and abilities to play at the Beaches Heritage Centre.

Organizer Roger Bradley says the aim was to keep the longstanding tradition of accordion music alive in the province.

“What we do is we feature all young accordion players at all levels. Some are beginners and some are very accomplished accordion players,” Bradley told TC Media.

The children came from across the province — from west to east — and this year there were accordionists from Lourdes, Bishop’s Falls, Gander, Fogo Island, Eastport and St. John’s.

This is the 13th year for the festival and the 10th year for the Future of the Accordion performance.

“The focus of the festival is to keep the tradition of the accordion alive. We didn’t want it to die. With this show we are encouraging young people to form and develop their skills. So, 20 years from now when all the older folks are moved on, we’ll have new younger players coming up the ranks and filling the void,” says Bradley.

“So we’ll always have accordion players hopefully,” he added.

The youngest player was seven and the oldest was 16.

This was the second time playing the festival for 15-year-old Dawson Green. He’s been honing his accordion skills for five years.

“I like hearing the older guys play. I play at the fundraisers and festivals and stuff,” Dawson said.

Brandon Bowen doesn’t let his cerebral palsy hinder his playing. He cranks out tunes like a pro from the comfort of his wheelchair.

“Actually in September I’m playing at a festival and I’m getting paid fifty bucks,” Brandon told The Packet with delight.

The 11-year-old only started playing a year and half ago, but already has a large repertoire of songs. He performed Grey Foggy Day, Squid Jigging Ground, Tiny Red Light and Mussels in the Corner.

“I always loved music and ever since I was younger I used to watch the Ryan’s Fancy videos on tape,” says Brandon, who recently had the opportunity to play with Ryan’s Fancy member Fergus O’Byrne.

Kyle Morgan from Bishop’s Falls made his triumphant return to the festival after missing out last year event due to a broken wrist.

This was his third time playing the event.

Morgan was an obvious fan favourite and played the accordion and a washboard tie he had gotten from Buddy Wasisname. His Buddy Wasisname influence was evident as he brought the house down with a comedic slowed down arrangement of I’se the By.

Kevin.curley@thepacket.ca

If you enjoyed that pun, you would probably enjoy the Roy Babstock Beaches Accordion Festival on the Eastport Peninsula.

Last Thursday was the Future of the Accordion concert, bringing youth of varying skills and abilities to play at the Beaches Heritage Centre.

Organizer Roger Bradley says the aim was to keep the longstanding tradition of accordion music alive in the province.

“What we do is we feature all young accordion players at all levels. Some are beginners and some are very accomplished accordion players,” Bradley told TC Media.

The children came from across the province — from west to east — and this year there were accordionists from Lourdes, Bishop’s Falls, Gander, Fogo Island, Eastport and St. John’s.

This is the 13th year for the festival and the 10th year for the Future of the Accordion performance.

“The focus of the festival is to keep the tradition of the accordion alive. We didn’t want it to die. With this show we are encouraging young people to form and develop their skills. So, 20 years from now when all the older folks are moved on, we’ll have new younger players coming up the ranks and filling the void,” says Bradley.

“So we’ll always have accordion players hopefully,” he added.

The youngest player was seven and the oldest was 16.

This was the second time playing the festival for 15-year-old Dawson Green. He’s been honing his accordion skills for five years.

“I like hearing the older guys play. I play at the fundraisers and festivals and stuff,” Dawson said.

Brandon Bowen doesn’t let his cerebral palsy hinder his playing. He cranks out tunes like a pro from the comfort of his wheelchair.

“Actually in September I’m playing at a festival and I’m getting paid fifty bucks,” Brandon told The Packet with delight.

The 11-year-old only started playing a year and half ago, but already has a large repertoire of songs. He performed Grey Foggy Day, Squid Jigging Ground, Tiny Red Light and Mussels in the Corner.

“I always loved music and ever since I was younger I used to watch the Ryan’s Fancy videos on tape,” says Brandon, who recently had the opportunity to play with Ryan’s Fancy member Fergus O’Byrne.

Kyle Morgan from Bishop’s Falls made his triumphant return to the festival after missing out last year event due to a broken wrist.

This was his third time playing the event.

Morgan was an obvious fan favourite and played the accordion and a washboard tie he had gotten from Buddy Wasisname. His Buddy Wasisname influence was evident as he brought the house down with a comedic slowed down arrangement of I’se the By.

Kevin.curley@thepacket.ca

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