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2022 ATG Festival Review (Through the Lens of Attendees)

Compiled by Esther Lanting

What stood out to you about the 2022 Festival? What will you remember?

Gail Campanella, Santa Barbara, CA

  • Festival Petting Zoo. LOVED the Petting Zoo. And LOVED meeting the moms/dads and the children they brought to do the “petting”. It is always a thrill to introduce a person, young, or young-at-heart, to the accordion. The accordion opens up a whole new world to those willing to give it a try.

  • Playing in the Anniversary Orchestra in the beautiful auditorium at Armeding Hall at Wheaton College was a wonderful experience for me. I was sitting amongst amazing accordionists with the renowned Joan Cochran Sommers at the helm.

  • John and I enjoyed an afternoon walk in nearby Naperville… of our favorite towns in the Chicago area.

Joan Grauman, Golden, CO

After so much isolation due to the pandemic, the ATG Festival was “just what the doctor ordered”! The atmosphere during the entire event was was just so warm and welcoming. There were so many highlights: seeing many old friends and making new ones; attending the workshop with Joan Sommers prior to orchestra rehearsals — so informative and a lot of fun — and then there was the festival orchestra! Joan’s personality and her musical expertise make participation in her orchestras total joy —along with lots of challenging work, which I need and love. All of this, plus the performers, the accordion petting zoo, the Racine Orchestra, the exhibits, and the helpful Board members (and Susan Baert at the reception table!) made for an absolutely perfect event!!!

Peter DiGiovanni, Oakton, Virginia

This was my first ATG and I loved it. It was great to share it with so many that I had not yet had the pleasure of meeting. I felt that everyone there was treated as an equal regardless of their skill level, whether they were a VIP, or whether they competed. The orchestra experience had the energy that only Joan can generate. I loved the selections – especially Finlandia. A highlight for me personally was the accordion/bayan workshop’s performance of my Accordion Merry-Go-Rondo at open mike. It’s the best it has ever sounded, and the spontaneous standing ovation was heart-warming. I look forward to next year’s convention.

Brian Money, Vancouver, BC, Canada

The 80th anniversary ATG festival this last summer was truly a wonderful accordion experience. What stands out to me most is (1) the organization is international as was reflected in the festival concerts, (2) ATG’s use of Zoom, and (3) Anthony Galla-Rini’s legacy of accordion excellence and relationship building was represented and lives on.

The festival provided an opportunity to rekindle accordion friendships I made at the numerous Anthony Galla-Rini accordion camps from 1990 - 2007 at Silver Falls Oregon and San Diego, CA. Joan Grauman, Ron Griffin, Gordon Kohl, Esther Lanting and John Simkus were a few of attendees at this year’s ATG festival who also enjoyed many Anthony Galla-Rini accordion camps with me.

The success of the festival would not have been possible without the efforts of many ATG volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scene for over a year. In addition to the ATG volunteer work, I think IT technology played a big part in the success of the festival. Zoom technology was used in an excellent way with our biweekly Wednesday workshop, Holiday Gathering, and ATG accordion teacher’s student performances. Zoom was used to help members of the ATG orchestra learn our festival orchestra music. Zoom kept the ATG connected and learning new things. The availability of a Zoom rehearsal, both live and recorded, was a fantastic use of technology. An additional benefit for me it was great to come to the ATG festival and meet so many ATG members I had seen on Zoom.

All ATG members who played in Joan Sommers festival orchestra owe a great thank you to Joan for all the hard work she did to arrange and select the music for our amazing 80-person orchestra performance. I can’t imagine all the email orchestra music questions from orchestra participants Joan had to answer. In the end our final orchestra concert performance was a great success with only 3 orchestra rehearsals.

The ATG concerts truly reflect the ATG’s International membership:

  • Dr Michael Bridge, Toronto, ON, Canada

  • Gordon Kohl, San Diego, CA

  • Murl Sanders, Seattle, Washington

  • Mirco Patarini, Scandelli Accordions Italy

  • Nikolai Bine, Victoria, BC, Canada

  • UMKC ensemble, Kansas City, MO

My favorite concert was Anthony Galla-Rini’s Concerto No 2 in E Minor performed by Stas Venglenski with the Racine Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr. William Morse which aroused the audience to a much deserved standing ovation.

Many other festival events such as the accordion petting zoo and member competitions all deserve honorable mention.

In summary all ATG members who participated in this last summer’s 80th ATG festival helped make this significant decade celebration a great success. All ATG members can be truly thankful for Anthony Galla-Rini’s foresight in founding our wonderful international accordion organization in 1942.

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