Accordion Club proposal



Accordion Club proposal

Postby Matt Butcher » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:15 am

Two of the local accordion clubs stopped meeting in the last couple of years for various reasons. A couple of us who used to like going have decided to start one up again - we think the demand is there (although there is a lot more to do musically than there used to be so more competition for people's time).

I would welcome any comments on what we have in mind. Everyone will have their own idea of a good night out so the idea is to have a format that works for enough people. So any thoughts are welcome.

- The aim of the club is for people to meet, relax and share some music. Although I hope it will be entertaining, the aim of the club is not to entertain an audience. There are other places and clubs that do that very well.
- (if things take off we could pay an artist to play occasionally but that's not planned at the moment)
- The club will meet in the bar area of a private members club. This means abiding by the rules of the club. We know the place and have the support of the members and we know they appreciate the music. There will be an entry fee but a low one (the £1 required from guests to comply with regulations on private members clubs).
- It's a social evening - people will be talking while music is being played, there won't be silence. (Some find chat annoying, some find the silence intimidating, some want to listen intently, some want to let the music wash over them, and anyway it's in a bar area).
- There will be a microphone and speaker at low volume to give a bit of body to the sound and confidence to the players
- There will be a compere to keep things flowing. (That would be me, at least to start with.)
- Any style of music would be welcome, and other instruments would be welcome too if they fit in with the overall feel (personally, I like everything). There will definitely be old time songs and folk/trad music, but there could be plenty of other things depending who turns up.
- (Assuming anyone turns up) part of the night will be for individual playing (or duets, bands etc.). People will be encouraged to let the organisers know in advance if they'd like to play so we can plan the evening but we can be flexible on the night to an extent. It may be that not everyone gets a go, depending. If anyone would like midi backing or other accompaniment, let us know and we should be able to sort something out though it might be a bit rough and ready. The performances are informal, no one minds if you mess it up.
- The rest of the night is for group playing. We will share some tunes with chords beforehand, to start with some from an old time songbook, and some folk/trad, fairly easy, then on the night get together and play them and try to make a decent sound out of it. (Participation is what a lot of the players want.). Probably have a couple of goes through each set so if anyone didn't get a go first time round they get another chance. We would also ask and encourage people who come to send round tunes for the group playing at the next meeting, as long as they were fairly easy.
- the compere and other organisers would need to keep an eye and make sure as many people as possible were getting something out of it.

Maybe that's obvious, maybe not, but any comments welcome as I'd like it to work! Even in a low key way.
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby george garside » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:22 am

sounds worth a try Matt. The only point I would comment on is what is ,to me, something of a contradiction i.e allowing people to talk during playing and having amplification! What could happen is the more people 'chat' the louder the amplification so as to be heard over the 'chat' - then louder chat to be heard over the amplified boxes.etc etc!

Unless the room is very large boxes are one of the instruments that don't need amplification. Perhaps a 'quiet end of the room for those who want to talk ?.
In the musical world I inhabit it is the norm for people to shut up while playing is in progress and it is even frowned on for people to go in and out of the room during playing. Perhaps discourage chatting whilst playing is in progress but have a ?20 minute interval for chatting, going to the bar, having a pee or whatever

george ;)
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby TomBR » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:31 am

Sounds a great plan. I agree with George's comments, it's easy to get into an "arms race" on volume, but maybe nothing can be done in the setting you've got.
I assume you're looking at W B'ham? Sorry to say prob just a bit out of range for me from west of Oxford.
Good luck!
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby JerryPH » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:33 am

After having been at my first ever meet just this last Wednesday, I can tell you why this local one has been going on succesfully for decades, but that magic recepie for your location(any location actually), is going to have to depend so much on 2 things:
- Defining the kind of music and atmosphere of the event
- Attracting specific people that enjoy the chosen music and atmosphere

In my case, what I saw is that one accordionist ran the majority of the show (the president of the club), and during the evening I was there, 4 other accordionists attended. Only 2 soloed a couple of songs and 2 randomly accompanied the president (there were 2 other people that sang and also a guitar and sax for 1-2 songs each). They had a musical theme that was loosely followed, but apparently this was the first time. Though there were only 5 people playing, there had to have been close to a hundred people there. It started at 6pm and ended at 9pm and in between all this, it being a restaurant, the people ordered supper, drinks and desserts.

There was a small PA system that one could plug-in to and there was a mic (for me, the system was set up a touch too bass heavy). The overall feeling of the night felt a bit random but very jovial, often with the audience joining in with the song or waving napkins. Lots of applause and appreciation was shown to everyone. I must admit, the average age of the participants had to be in the mid-60's and I wish there were more younger people there to represent. If I was to play there, being in my mid-50's, I would easily have been the youngest one there... lol.

The club has a small website and there were several people taking pictures so we're going to appear on it at some point. In this case the event is more for people that appreciate the accordion than the actual accordionists themselves, and it is a light, informal, loosely organized event that was quite fun.

To run these kinds of events does take the planning, organization and participation of lots of people to make it run smoothly, but the key ingredient is passion. If you are passionate and work hard at it, the success will just naturally happen. The person at the top of the chain is the key to it all. I bet if you ask why the other clubs disappeard, it was because the organizer got busy, sick or just lost the passion and things dropped off and stopped.

I could go on and on, but I think that I will stop here and hops that you can gleam a few ideas from my post and implement them. It's not hard to set up the club... the hard part is making it successful and lasting.

Good luck!!!
My musical memoires blog/website: http://www.AccordionMemories.com
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby Soulsaver » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:47 pm

It sounds like a fun project, & you've got a venue?


Good luck with it, Matt.
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby acordiansam » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:44 pm

I have been in 2 accordion clubs over the years unfortunately both were over 100 mile drive so after a couple years each one went away. One was Wednesday night in an Italian restaurant. The other was in a private hall. The private hall when we played there was usually silence and attention to whoever was playing. The restaurant would usually quiet down somewhat but still people eating,drinking and haveing casual conversation. Both venues seem to work out fine. The restaurant one had a bunch of jazz players that was a little more of my interest. The private hall one was mostly all traditional accordion music.

Due to the accordion is not my only instrument I belong to a fiddle club that has a floormat. It's at A community center where there is a main stage for people to perform. Then two jam areas one inside a separate room and the other usually in a large patio. For the performance area there's a sign-up list where you can play 3 to 4 songs of your choosing. It can be solo or as a group. It is a pretty diverse crowd and somehow we all get along most of the time. Oh and yes I play accordion there also along with guitar and fiddle lots of fun. Best of all I'm lucky it's only 10 miles from my house!

Just a couple different formats of clubs that I've been in.
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby george garside » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:37 pm

acordiansam wrote:I . Best of all I'm lucky it's only 10 miles from my house!

.

which is where ( in case anybody else would like to join!)

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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby Matt Butcher » Sat Oct 29, 2016 5:28 pm

Thanks very much everybody for taking the time to comment, I do appreciate it.

Ed, yes the venue is agreed, I won't name it just yet till we have formally booked in the rooms, I don't want to offend anyone, but they have agreed.

Tom, it's in Shirley, S. E. Birmingham, not far from the M42 - still probably outside of your striking range from Oxford, but you'd be very welcome of course... Let's see if we can get something going...

Jerry, in think we can get away with not pinning the type of music down too much, because in the last few years something interesting has happened round here in that some of the barriers between players of the good old tunes and folk players have broken down, so a lot of the people we are aiming at play old time songs, pop, English folk and European folk as part of a general attitude of enjoying music. People who hate old fashioned stuff might be disappointed but to be honest they would probably know what to expect... I can imagine, though, that it could be hard to define the skill level, so that everyone can get involved and be satisfied. Well, they won't all be satisfied, I can tell you that before I start, we'll have to try to be responsive (if anyone comes at all...)

Yes, with the previous clubs tiredness, family illness, personal health, sheer old age, and all those things played a big part in them stopping meeting. There is also more for people to do than there was; the question is, do people need one more thing in their diaries? (and what will persuade them that they do?). I'm fine with running the nights - realistically I'm not going to be out and about spreading the word though, unless on the Internet, so that's where teamwork will need to come in if it's going to work. (But, it doesn't have to be big to be worthwhile.)

George, your point about the arms race on amplification is very valid. It is an acoustically dead and long room where the players will be down one end and the talkers up the other. I have sorted out sound in a very basic way for a few dodgy rooms and outdoor performances (I don't know what I'm doing but sometimes it works). We'll have to play it by ear.

Thanks everyone for taking the trouble to comment, including all the comments that I haven't responded to. if you don't mind, I'll let you know how it goes on.
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby hais1273 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:20 am

I think this sounds like a good idea. I'd suggest you should go for it. As for the repetoire, well at The West Sussex Accordion Club we play a bit of everything, some highly "technical" pieces arranged by a "proper" musician in two or three parts,to simplified tunes of all sorts from the the Busker books and folky repetoire. Our leader make it fun and makes sure every one is made to feel welcome, from raw beginners to highly experienced musicians and I think this welcome is what makes the club successful. No snippy little comments about mishaps for example...

Some of the tunes/pieces are really not to my taste but it's good to play in an ensemble, to have musical horizons extended, listen to some fine players and make new chums.

Coffee tea, beer, cake and other refreshments at halftime are crucial!
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Re: Accordion Club proposal

Postby acordiansam » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:50 pm

I'm sorry George got bizy and forgot to follow the post.

The restaurant is in Burbank I believe it Valintino's. The club name is Accordiners.

The 2nd is in Santa Barbara they meet at a private housing facility with an auditorium.
They are called AIMS accordion club.

The third by my house is in Oak View. They meet in the couminty center. The club name is old time fiddlers but due to all the different people that belong to the club the music played is quite diverse.

All in California USA.
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