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Festival turns Buffalo into accordion capital of the world

Posted at 12:25 AM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 00:25:21-04

As many as 400 accordion players will descend upon the Queen City this weekend for the annual American Accordionists' Association Festival.

Attendees can expect performances by world renowned accordion players, workshops, competitions, and even the chance to audition to play the accordion with the United States Army band!

Frank Busso is the Treasurer of the American Accordionist Society and the spokesman for the festival. He said many people only associate the accordion with ethnic music, like Polka, but the accordion is used much more broadly than people realize. Many orchestras feature the accordion, and currently, several colleges and universities allow students to major in classical accordion playing. The accordion has been used in grammy-winning jazz ensembles, and even in modern-day pop music.

"A lot of times you can hear the accordion in the background of t.v. commercials," Busso said. "There was a volkswagen commercial where you could hear the accordion so beautifully."

Busso says modern day artists like Paul Simon, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Norah Jones have incorporated the instrument into their songs, and Billy Joel has even played the accordion.

Busso says it's the instruments versatility that makes it appealing to young and old musicians alike.

"The best part of the accordion, besides the fact it makes you smile, is that you bring it wherever you want and wherever you'd like to go," Busso said. "You can bring it in the backyard for a picnic or to your friend's house if you want to jam."

The festival will run through Sunday. Most events will take place at the Adams Mark Hotel in Downtown Buffalo, but a special "Evening with the Stars" concert will take place at the Tralf Music Hall, Friday July 8, 7:30 p.m. You can find more information on specific events here.