You read it right. June is National Accordion Awareness Month.
Let’s take a moment to pay homage to this most misunderstood of musical instruments.
Were you aware that:
1. The accordion is the official instrument of the great city of San Francisco? Well, it is, and it has been since 1990.
2. The buttons on one side play the “chords” or accompaniment notes, and the piano keyboard is used to play the melody?
3. No sound comes out of the instrument unless you push and pull on the “bellows”, the fan-shaped part in the middle?
4. Famous people who play the accordion include Lucy Liu, Billy Joel, Ross Perot, Weird Al Yankovic, and YOURS TRULY?!?
Aww, check out that sweet, young, 16-year-old thing playing the accordion in that picture. That’s me in my high school musical, Leader of the Pack, a story about the life and music of Ellie Greenwich, who wrote hits including “Leader of the Pack”, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, “Be My Baby”, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and countless others. I had the lead role of Ellie, and, yes, I actually learned how to play the old squeezebox for the show. The keyboard part of it wasn’t such a problem since I already knew how to play the piano, but the gazillion buttons on the other side (see photo above) were a whole different story. Sure, they’re marked, but you don’t have time to hunt for each chord, so you basically have to know where all the buttons are located to be able to play anything decently.
So, in honor of National Accordion Awareness Month, I urge you to attend an accordion concert near you, or do the next best thing--go to YouTube and watch a video or two. I recommend this video if you want some seriously amazing accordion music. Or, if you don’t, you can always watch Urkel get all hot and bothered over an accordion duet with a pretty girl here.