Founded in 1940 in Chicago by President Emeritus Anthony Galla-Rini, the Accordionists and Teachers Guild, International (ATG), while 82 years old as an organization, after Covid related delays, was finally able to reunite in person and celebrate their 80th Anniversary Festival in Lisle (Chicago), Illinois.
Featuring a line-up of artists representing diverse musical genres, guests and activities included: Michael Bridge (Canada), Stas Venglevski (USA), Mirco Patarini (Italy), Nikolay Bine (Canada), Murl Allen Sanders (USA), 80 member ATG Festival Orchestra, University of Missouri Kansas-City (UMKC) Community Accordion Ensemble, an Accordion Petting Zoo, competitions, educational workshops, social activities, exhibits and much more!
ATG President Mary Ann Covone and the Board of Directors welcomed attendees from as far afield as Austria, Italy and throughout the USA and Canada to the four day festival which showcased the accordion at its finest.
Paying homage to their founder, the ATG released a new CD showcasing the Concerti of Anthony Galla-Rini. Concerto No. 1 features US Champion soloists Karen Fremar, Robert Sattler and Jeff Lisenby each performing a movement with the UMKC Accordion Orchestra under the direction of Joan Sommers; Concerto No. 2 features Stas Venglevski with the Racine Symphony Orchestra on the direction of Pasquale Laurino and the CD includes an incredibly rare bonus track of Galla-Rini himself performing the World Premiere of his Concerto No. 1 with the Oklahoma City University Symphony Orchestra under the direction of James Neilson, recorded in 1941. To celebrate the new CD and the 80th Anniversary, Stas performed the Concerto No. 2 at the Gala Closing Concert with William Morse conducting the Racine Symphony Orchestra.
New this year was the popular “Petting Zoo” where the general public was invited to get some first-hand experience with the accordion. Popular entertainer Jane Christison performed popular children’s pieces while volunteers with 12 bass instruments assisted the public with their introduction to the accordion.
The festival culminated with the magnificent 80 piece accordion orchestra in honor of the 80th anniversary. The orchestra presented a spectacular program of works by Jarre, Galla-Rini, Sibelius, Kabalevsky, Hardiman and Rodgers and Hammerstein in the Armerding Concert Hall at Wheaton College, under the direction of world renowned conductor and past ATG President Joan Cochran Sommers.
Mirco Patarini, President of the Confédération Internationale des Accordéonistes (CIA) was in attendance to offer his congratulations to the ATG. Galla-Rini himself was a former CIA Vice President and successfully petitioned the ATG’s CIA membership more than 70 years ago at a General Assembly in Paris, in 1951.
Further information including purchasing the new Galla-Rini CD and Concert and event videos will be available at the ATG website at atgaccordions.com soon.