There were a couple of duos and some individual performers, providing an afternoon of entertaining accordion music on Sunday in Escalon.
It was the March meeting of The Good Time Accordion Club, which gathers for its monthly sessions the first Sunday of the month. Meetings are at 2:30 p.m., hosted now at the Escalon United Methodist Church, 2000 Jackson Ave., Escalon.
With an attendance fee of $5, those coming in are treated to a full two hours or so of accordion playing, some information about the music and the club’s upcoming activities, and a spread of refreshments to enjoy during a break in the music.
Leading the group, serving currently as President, Secretary and Newsletter Editor is Jana Maas, who lived in Modesto for several years but relocated to Clovis four years ago. She now makes the trip once a month to Escalon for the meetings.
“We get them locally here in Escalon, we get some from Modesto, we get some from the foothills and some from the Stockton-Lodi area,” Maas said of club members, while audience members attend from throughout the region as well, including the Oakdale-Riverbank-Escalon area.
A draw of the organization is that you don’t have to be an experienced accordion player, she added, as all ability levels and all ages are welcome.
The monthly gatherings give club members the chance to perform for the audience.
“We have enough members that can usually do the meetings but we do have guest performers a few times a year,” Maas noted.
As far as what draws the crowd in to hear the music, Maas said it is a simple premise.
“I think they like the music, there’s so many different ability levels and styles and so you get a wide variety of music,” she said.
It also is a bonus that the group now has its monthly gatherings at the Escalon United Methodist Church, she said, where they are treated very well.
“We have a wonderful refreshment committee that provides kind of a banquet of goodies and of course, the people, they are all a very warm and welcoming group,” Maas said.
The March 5 program started with Olga Klobas of Turlock and Navaz Jasavala of Modesto, who were followed by solo performer Nives Guthrie. Janet Accardo also prepared a few pieces to play and then Maas was center stage.
Each offered some introductory information about the pieces they played. Club member Jim Decker had several pieces prepared, including one that was a six pager, he said, and required several music stands set up side by side to hold the sheet music.
Rounding out the musical entertainment for the afternoon was a well-known brother act, coming in from the Lodi area to perform. The Nicolini brothers, Joseph and Paul, arrived in matching golfing outfits – including hats that featured a golf ball on the green – and kept up some entertaining patter as they introduced their various pieces. The finale – much to the delight of the several dozen in the audience – had the brothers exchanging accordions, putting each other’s accordion on their back and then standing face to face, playing the accordion on their brother’s back.
“Don’t try this at home,” they quipped.
Along with Maas, club officers include Vice President/Emcee Gene Bartolomei of Farmington, Treasurer Nives Guthrie, trustee John Certini, trustee/photographer Gayle Certini, trustee Joe Perazzetti, trustee/sunshine officer Loretta Fager.
Maas majored in Accordion at Stanislaus State and also plays flute and saxophone; she taught music in four school districts during her teaching career, including Sylvan School District and Modesto City Schools.
The club has had several different meeting locations over the years but Maas said they are pleased with the Methodist Church location and encourage everyone to come in and enjoy the music each month.
“We welcome any player,” Maas added. “It doesn’t matter how skilled they are.”
The goal, she said, is to instill a love and appreciation for the music and the instrument.
The April meeting is scheduled for Sunday, April 2 at 2:30 p.m.