Who can believe another year has gone by since the last time we were all together at the Eastbourne Accordion Festival? But we were pleased to be back. We were promised a jam-packed programme, with plenty of workshops to keep us busy. Boy were we not disappointed!
This year the line up included: –
Artists – Marco Valenti, Harry Hussey, Roman Voloshchuk, Steve Roxton, The Lukins Family, Gennaro Fiondella and Colette McKeown, and Capers and Japes providing the ceilidh.
Teachers – Sammie Peckover, Angie Lukins and Jean Hanger, Gennaro Fiondella.
Traders – The Accordion Shop, Harry Kipling’s Accordion Treasures and The Squeezebox Market Place.
Unfortunately, Alan Young was unable to attend the festival due to ill health. We wish him well on his road to recovery and hope to see him back in our line up very soon.
Harry Hussey kicked off the festival at the welcome party, playing ‘Harry Style’ numbers while everyone collected their information packs, had a hot cuppa and chatted to old friends and new ones that would be made over the course of the weekend. After dinner, Roman Voloshchuk was the first to take the stage thoroughly entertaining us with a set including a variety of tangos to whet our musical appetites. After a short interval, Marco Valenti took to the stage giving a jaw-dropping virtuoso performance receiving a standing ovation. His set included delights such as Libertango, Rossini, Vivaldi. Steve Roxton followed rounding off the concert with various sing-along tunes. We all headed off to bed with a head full of wonderful music. Those that stayed in the bar were singing along with Gennaro Fiondella until very late!
Saturday brought the start of the workshops, the orchestras were well attended and enjoyed by everyone. A variety of pieces from Perfect (Ed Sheran) to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with some ragtime, waltzes and folk tunes along the way catered for all abilities. Gennaro held a Roland Accordion workshop which was specially requested. It proved to be a popular choice and gave the attendees a chance to swap settings, hints and tips on how to use these versatile instruments to their full advantage.
The Guest Concerts followed giving the guests their time to shine. There was a variety of instruments this year which was lovely. We also had the pleasure of two of Gennaro’s young pupils playing, two stars in the making that’s for sure! It is always interesting to hear the different pieces everyone has been working on at home.
During the lunch break Harry Hussey entertained us all in the bar area with an extensive repertoire of musical delights. It is always a delight to hear Harry play he is an integral part of all accordion events. After lunch, the lovely Jean Hanger took the vintage orchestra. The array of vintage accordions is always a breath-taking one. Those taking part in the vintage orchestra take such pride in their instruments and provide a lovely sound.
Saturday evening was another stunning gala concert starting once again with the musical stylings of Roman Voloshchuk. Entertaining us with his unique cabaret-style performance. After the interval, it was an absolute pleasure to enjoy listening to the Lukins family perform. Angie, David and Andrew play perfectly together giving a perfect rendition of marches, waltzes and a couple of pieces from Martin Lukins private arrangement collection. What a treat!
Marco Valenti once again entertained us with his solo classical repertoire. Marco manages to take the boundaries of what we think the piano accordion is capable of and push it beyond that with his own arrangements of classical wonders. Then it was Ceilidh time with Capers and Japes. It was good fun, we danced our socks off then relaxed in the bar with Steve Roxton till late.
Orchestra rehearsals continued in earnest on Sunday Morning. The afternoon brought the Orchestra Concerts and more guests who were keen to show us their talents. The ever wonderful Harry Hussey kicked off Sunday evening proceedings taking requests from the audience. We enjoyed delights such as Mornings at 7, The Dam Busters and other well-known classics. Next up we had a treat and got to enjoy the musical talents of our organisers Gennaro Fiondella and Colette McKeown playing some of Gennaro’s own arrangements. They worked hard behind the scenes organising this festival, it was lovely to watch them relax and play. Up next was Marco with more musical treats including a fantastic 5-minute virtuoso performance of The Carnival of Venice, Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy and more Rossini and Bach. There was a break for the raffle which raised £178.10 for Children with Cancer Fund in Polegate.
The evening concluded with Gennaro calling up the artists and teachers for the finale Jam session giving the guests a musical feast of well-known songs to join in.
Those that will have left on Sunday evening will have missed the 1.30 am meet up with storm Ciara in the car park due to being evacuated when the hotel bin store caught fire. All was well, no one was hurt and we got a bonus set from Roman including ‘When smoke gets in your eyes’ and ‘Relight my Fire’!!
There are lots of photos in the gallery, you are welcome to download any you wish. If you have any you would like to add please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much to Colette and Gennaro for a fun-filled weekend of musical wonderfulness connecting with friends new and old. Until next year…..
By Sammie Peckover.