Page 44

the arts

What’s Trending? Accordions!

Having a grand old time playing accordions are (L to R): Sandy Pancoast, Mary Reetz, Holly Holm and Sharon Carlson. Not pictured Brook Mallak.

By SHARON CARLSON

I

never was much of a trendsetter -the last girl in my ninth grade class to get rock and roll saddle shoes and spin Pat Boone records while all my friends were groovin’ with Elvis. And finally getting a smartphone after our daughters threatened to communicate only by text. But now I find myself on the cusp of one of the country’s latest trends -playing the accordion. 44 Fall2016 2016| |her hervoice voice 44 Fall

I strapped on my Italian powder blue instrument for the first time a year and a half ago. Not interested in jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku to slow down my brain from aging, I thought the challenge of keys, buttons and bellows would help avert mental decline. I was not alone in playing and enjoying the sounds of this century-old instrument. About once a month the accordion cases are open, the music stands assembled and five women gather to play and enjoy accordion music together. Our mentor and teacher Sandy Pancoast, organizes, guides, directs, advises and leads our small group of fledging players. Sandy was 8 years old when she saw a neighbor girl playing an accordion and ran home to ask her parents for lessons. After five years and three accordion upgrades at age 13 she started teaching for Ted Johnson’s Accordion School. When asked about playing for others, Sandy says, “My biggest issue is that I am no longer able to do perfect performances.

My fingers, eyes and mind are older and slower. I have to let go of achieving perfection.” Sandy would like to dispel the notion that accordion players play only polkas and waltzes. “There are so many different genres we can play, including classical.” Mary Reetz didn’t start playing the accordion until after she retired. She met Sandy and her mother at church and after finding out that Sandy played and taught accordion, she asked if she would teach her. “I always liked the way an accordion sounded, like almost any instrument in a band or symphony orchestra. I was attracted to the beauty of the instrument and all that colorful mother of pearl.” She also recalled the memory of spending every Sunday night watching Myron Floren playing polkas and smiling. “Who can be sad when there is a polka playing?” Holly Holm has the same reason for making this her instrument of choice. “Once people find out that I play the accordion, the first question out of their mouth is ‘Why did you

Her Voice Magazine Fall 2016  
Her Voice Magazine Fall 2016  

Straw Bale Gardening: While she downplays her gardening acumen, Mary Aalgaard gives a thorough how-to on straw bale gardening. • Ladies in...

Advertisement