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Festival Orchestra

The ATG Festival Accordion Orchestra Concert is a long-standing activity which brings members from all over the USA plus a few foreign countries such as Canada, Austria, and
New Zealand.


The Festival Orchestra is open to festival attendees of many different levels (except the very beginner).  In addition to acoustic accordions, there will also be digital accordions, as well as supporting players on timpani, drums, various percussion and mallet instruments.

Conductor Joan C. Sommers is a lifelong ATG Member, past President and ATG Champion.  She is founder of the CIA World Accordion Orchestra was awarded the title of Professor Emerita upon her retirement from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory of Music (USA), where she established and taught the accordion degree program for forty years. She has arranged innumerable works for the accordion orchestra over many years, often for the UMKC Accordion Orchestra, a large symphonic accordion orchestra, which, under her direction, competed in and won more First Prizes in Virtuoso Accordion Orchestra Competitions than any other similar American group. This is a record still unbroken today.


In both 1955 and 1956 she earned the right to represent the USA-ATG in the Coupe Mondiale and, although she didn’t win, it was those experiences that opened her eyes to the tremendous opportunities available to accordionists; perhaps it also fixed her life-long interest in worldwide accordion activities. Most recently, she celebrated the 50th Anniversary of her UMKC Accordion Orchestra when they presented their 50th Gala Concert at the University.


As the arranger, Joan has had many years of experience as a teacher, a conductor, and an arranger for accordion orchestras at all levels. Many of these arrangements were used by her own orchestras in competitions held throughout the USA and on the many tours made by her groups overseas as well.


Joan C. Sommers has held positions in several music organizations, including the Accordionists & Teachers Guild International (ATG) and the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA – IMC-UNESCO). Today, Professor Sommers enjoys performing with fellow accordionists in duo, with other instrumentalists and with the UMKC Chamber Accordion Ensemble. In addition to her performing, she continues to adjudicate, coach soloists, prepare accordion orchestra arrangements, and conduct accordion orchestras regularly. After her retirement as CIA Vice President, she was unanimously awarded the status of CIA Honorary Member.


Joan looks forward to welcoming you all to participate in the ATG Festival Orchestra in Kansas City!


Photo of Joan C. Sommers
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