All photos and text: © fo2:2re  and ©

Copyright © 2001-2008


"Now it's done" -

also at SMASH 2008


Despite the gloomy picture painted by the media regarding the America economy and the world financial crisis, the 8th accordion SMASH went ahead as planned from 14th to the 16th November 2008. In such dismal economic times it is more important than ever to enjoy ourselves with music, meet friends and make new acquaintances.


  Holiday Inn, International Drive, Orlando          


America’s President elect, Obama, faces great challenges ahead. So far, we have not heard if he plays a musical instrument, if he does it is doubtful if it would be an accordion. President Karen Adam of the Florida Accordion Association (FAA), is far from a newcomer and has been responsible for arranging earlier SMASHes. The Southeast Accordion Association includes the states in the Southeast corner of the USA – Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. It is always challenging to arrange for large numbers to come together in a gathering, but it is so much more difficult when there are such large distances involved. Approximately 200 decided to take a holiday in Florida to play music and generally have a good time. This year, the youngest attendee was 9 year old Jamie Miyagawa from Navarre in Florida, who demonstrated what she had learned on the accordion since she started in March. The SMASH' eldest was over 90 years of age.


  The Accordion Front Street Café hosted by Alvaro "Beaver" Barsi (left)       Jamie Miyagawa 9 years old  


Friday night started in the usual relaxed tempo in the Café Accordion at the hotels Front Street Café. Just as always the smiling Alvaro “Beaver” Barsi kept track of the playing schedule but found it difficult to limit everyone to play just two melodies giving as many as possible the chance to play.


  Jerry Tramontozzi  "The Energizer Rabbit"       Tore "The Troll"  



On Saturday morning the programme started at 09.00 with twenty minute concerts from those registered. This went on all day, non-stop, only pausing for lunch and dinner but even then there was still music to be heard as volunteer “strollers” went around the tables entertaining with their accordions.


Even though many of the participants had been before, Karen Adam tried to find new artists to satisfy the appetite of loyal audience like the colourful John Lobosco from Pt. St. Lucie with his red Roland accordion. His repertoire gave us Norwegians immediately associations to our Steven Ackles and that's great!



  Lenny Feldmann          



  John Lobosco          



However, Mr. Lobosco's appearance is just a colored dot compared to Mr. Tony Lovello's stage show - America's living accordion legend known as "the Liberace of Accordion". Despite his age of 75, he still has an enormous show factor you probably not have seen before. He has toured with e.g. Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra. Maybe he one day appears in Norway or Sweden. For the first time Eddie Monteiro from New Jersey attended the SMASH. He is a specialist jazz accordionist who has performed at jazz festivals in many different countries.

Eduardo Reyes from San Juan in Puerto Rico had travelled even further. His own “Caribbean Jazz” style with a mixture of flamenco, Latin and jazz was very pleasing to the ear. There were more Latin rhythms from Maricarmen Vazquez on accordion and Gerardo Aguillon on violin, both originally from Cuba.




  Gerardo Aguillon       Maricarmen Vazquez  



          Maricarmen Vazquez, Gerardo Aguillon and Walter  



  Walter Kasprzyk          



  Mary Tokarski          



  Eddie Monteiro....       ...also "borrowed" Gerardo Aguillon to play with him.  



  SMASH orchestra - also this year conducted by Mary Tokarski          



  Jamie Miyagawa 9 years old enjoyed playing in an accordion orchestra for the first time.       Take a close look at this picture - who does not fit in? ;-)))  



  Tony Lovello       "Go and get a CD", Tony says when anyone in the audience answers correctly to his questions.  



  Jamie will probably never forget this happening.       "Go - shoot"  



  Eduardo Reyes (accordion)          



  ...played with Eduardo Reyes       ...played with Eduardo Reyes  


Then at last the main artist, all the way from Atizapan in Mexico, entered the stage, Antonio Barberena, born in 1962. He has been a student of the Italian Master Sergio Rizzardi,  and in 1978 he took first prize in the 5th National Accordion Championship in Mexico City. We can only deduce that accordion concerts are held in most places around the world, and we feel so happy and fortunate each time we meet new world famous artists. Barberena gave a steady and traditional repertoire of mainly classical music.



  Antonio Barberena          


Antonio Barberena had several duties that evening. Totally impassive Karen Adam introduced all the artists as she always does. Shortly after the 2007 SMASH, Karen announced that she intended marrying the accordionist Walter Kasprzyk (well known as a member of the famous “K” Trio). Antonio quickly had to change into his tuxedo to be Walters best man. Tony Lovello was the music maestro and Karens 9 year old student, Jamie, was the ring bearer. After the wedding ceremony everyone went straight over to the Front Street Cafe to cut the accordion shaped cake and dance the wedding waltz. The party continued into the wee small hours.



  Antonio Barberena (best man) og Walter Kasprzyk (groom)          



  Dick Albreski in hand with the bride - Karen Adam          



          ...and then it was done!  



  Wedding waltz in Front Street Cafe