I'm having trouble keeping the calendar up to date what with new gigs, changes, and a cancellation or two. I hope you're checking back regularly. The good news is that I'll be playing at La Habra Senior Center every Monday from 10:00 to noon for the foreseeable future. I'm booked through October so we'll about after that then. Come on out for some dancing and a good lunch. If we can build Mondays back up, hopefully they'll keep me there playing.
Buena Park had to cancel this month for the last Friday morning dance due to a conflict of events. Not to worry, I'll be back the last Friday of October.
We'll see you out on the dance floor real soon.
A quick note to all my La Habra dancing friends. I'll be playing there this Friday morning (9/8/17) from 10:00 to noon. It's a spur of the moment thing so I hope you're checking this site regularly.
I've been making lots of edits to the site - some minor and some not-so. The important ones of course are always on the calendar. It's up to date through October but as this is the season for Oktoberfests, things can change rapidly so check back often. I just booked 2 new gigs in September as I was working on this.
The major change would be that of my picture at the top of this page. I felt I should update it with a picture of my new Petosa accordion. It was custom made for me in Castelfidardo, Italy. It took over a year to build and then I had the grill covered in 24 karat gold and put in $2,000 of electronics. I truly is like no other in the world. I've had nothing but compliments and I love it. It plays as smooth as butter and sounds wonderful - even when not plugged in my electronics.
I'm thrilled to be back playing for the Colony Dance Club in Ontario on Tuesday afternoons. I played there yesterday (8/29) and will play there again on Halloween. I'm looking forward to the possibility of getting back there on a regular basis come the first of the year. They're a fun group that loves to dance and they have about 90 to 100 every Tuesday afternoon.
We'll see you on the dance floor sometime soon.
At last I think I've got this new web-site formatted and up and running. If you've been following my calendar, you can see I've been a busy boy. Where were all these gigs when I was 25 and had more energy. Oh well, I love to play so all I can do is look on the bright side. You may have noticed the photo of the Old World Restaurant above. I just started there a week ago and would love to have my friends come down and visit me sometime. I'll be there most Saturdays from 5 to 9 and Sundays from 4 to 8 through July (and maybe longer) so come on down and have a bratwurst and beer.
I'm also going to be playing for the newly formed Chino Dance Club so be sure to watch for that in the calendar as well.
The Cotati Accordion Festival is coming up later in August. I think this will be my 8th??? year playing up there. It's a wonderful place for a quick weekend get away but book your lodging early - they fill up quickly. Info is on the August calendar page. There are other things in the works as well so be sure to check back often.
In the meantime, keep dancing and stay young.
A quick reminder: I'm back playing at Buena Park on the first and last Friday of the month from 10:00 till 11:30 AM. Pass the word. It's been over 6 months that they've been re-modeling and, therefore, had to suspend the dance - but everything is back to normal and I'm back playing again. Also - I just got booked back with the Colony Dance Club for May 30, Aug 29 and Oct 31st. After over a year's absence, I figured out how to downsize my setup so as to be able to tear down and pack up within a half hour. That apparently was the issue that cost me the gig. It's good to be back playing for them.
Took care of an error or two and added 6 new gigs. Thanks to Jennifer Bush at La Habra for a last minute gig and catching a day/date error.
Just a quick note to wish everyone a Happy New Year and to hope your holidays were joy filled. How quickly the gigs can come in. After coming back from our vacation in November, I looked at my January calendar and it was rather bleak. In a few short weeks it filled out very nicely - so we're off to a great start in the new year. We hope you are as well. The re-modeling at Buena Park has been completed enough to allow the Friday morning dances to resume. That's the first and last Friday of the month from 10:00 to 11:30. Hope to see you there and remember to check back often as the bookings are coming in at a good clip.
Lots to talk about in this update. I just returned from performing at the Cotati Accordion Festival. It's one of the largest accordion festivals in the country and I've been honored to asked to perform for the last 9 years. It's quite an event. We've had friends from all over the country come and enjoy it with us. If you're looking for something unique and entertaining next August 19th & 20th, come join us. Look under the Audio/Video tab and you'll find my YouTube video of what goes on.
I try to keep the calendar up to date but what with all that's been going on, I've been remiss. I was booked for all the Tuesdays and a Friday at the La Habra Senior Center, but they never made it on the calendar except for the upcoming Tuesday - the 30th. The crowds have been getting larger so come join us for some dancing and a wonderful lunch.
Buena Park has suspended the Friday morning dances (first and last Friday of the month) until January. The remodeling they're going through has put space at a premium and they've had to cancel those dances. Please keep checking back to this site and I'll let you know as soon as they resume.
Lastly, the dance at La Mirada was moved from Sept 2nd to Sept 9th due to the Labor Day Weekend. I just received the contract and noticed the change. A number of you pointed this out to me last Saturday. I guess I was the last to find out. Better late than never I guess.
All this is to say, keep checking back and I'll try to have the latest info for you on where and when we're playing. Keep dancing...
Well, if you're checking my calendar regularly, you may notice I have a last minute addition for the month of July. I'll be at the La Habra Sr. Ctr. on Tues the 26th from 10:00 am to noon. I was there last Tues (the19th) but I wasn't booked until the day before and had no chance to get it on my calendar. Sometimes things move quickly in the music business. Come on out next Tuesday and bring a friend. I may have the chance to be playing there more often if their budget will allow for it. Here's hoping...
I just added 10 new gigs to the calendar for the Saturday night Buena Park dance. If you haven't had the chance to attend, please join us. I personally don't dance (much to the dismay of my wife) but the people who do tell me they have the best dance floor in Orange County. They have refreshments, door prizes and live music. We're usually the 4 Saturday of the month but it can change so make sure to check the calendar. This month, July, we're there twice - the 16th and the 23rd. Come join us.
If you're up to a little bit of traveling (short vacation?) and a lot of fun, you might consider driving up to Cotati California (about 40 miles north of San Francisco on Rt 101) for the Cotati Accordion Festival. It's the largest accordion festival in the country. I describe it to people as a kind of "Woodstock" for the accordion. I'll be performing there on Saturday and Sunday morning for the seventh year. For a quick peek, click here and scroll down to the Cotati video I put together.
Remember - Buena Park Friday morning dance/luncheon will only be on the first Friday of July, August and September. They're doing some re-modeling so the last Friday of the month won't be available.
Accordion update - I still don't have my new Petosa but I just got off the phone with Joe up in Seattle and he says it's ready to ship. Hopefully, I'll have it in my hot little hands in a couple of weeks - please do NOT hold your breath.
Well the year is half over and things are looking pretty good. I've just updated the calendar through the end of the year but there will be more to come shortly. Several venues are putting their calendar together for the coming fiscal year and don't have a schedule as yet. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for changes. Speaking of which, Buena Park Friday morning dance/luncheon will only be on the first Friday of July, August and September. Normally, it's the first and last Friday but one of their halls is under construction and they're having to move things around. Come fall everything will be back to normal. I just checked - the end of this month will make 8 years I've been playing for the Friday morning dances. My how time flies. I never thought I'd want to play a gig as a single but the opportunity to play that job convinced me otherwise. Now almost one third of my performances are singles. It was a real gamer changer. See you on the dance floor.
What with Christmas and New Year's Eve, I'm just now getting around to updating the calendar for next year - 2016. I haven't put the numbers together yet, but we had a great year. In addition to the Jimmy Kimmel show, I accompanied a lovely Chinese lady on a Chinese bamboo-hammered dulcimer for the Chinese Moon Festival at the Barclay Theater in Irvine. I didn't understand much of what went on, but everyone seemed to enjoy the show and it was certainly something different for me. Usually between Christmas and New Year's Eve I don't have any gigs as people are gearing up for New Year's Eve, but this year I actually had 2 engagements - icing on the cake to finish out the year. A big thank you goes out to all the terrific musicians I've been able to play with this year and all the wonderful clubs, organizations, and dancers we've been able to play for. We couldn't have done it without you. Now, check out the calendar, and let's start planning our parties for 2016.
As you can see, it's been a couple of months since my last entry. Now that Oktoberfest season is over, I can take a deep breath, pack up the lederhosen and move on to a more musical subject than the last entry. First of all, I'd like to thank all the fine musicians I had the chance to work with the last 2 months - Mick Waller on guitar, Adrian Tapia on sax, Mark Rowland on sax, Tim Messina on sax, Dean Roubicek on sax, Jimmy Ogden on tuba, Randy Angling on tuba, and Roy Wiegand on trumpet. They're all wonderful players and make my job so much easier. A big thank you needs to go to Peggy Phillips of Dial M. She's the agent that got me the gig on the Jimmy Kimmel show, as well as others. She's a joy to work with.
I haven't started to put 2016 gigs on the calendar yet, but I will be doing that soon so keep checking back. Everything else should be up to date.
I hope this is not where you're getting your news but considering my previous post (see below), I thought I needed to update it with this item from the Sacramento Bee - a rare but major win for all of us who use gasoline in pursuit of making a living:
"In a major setback for Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate agenda, the governor and legislative leaders on Wednesday abandoned an effort to require a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030.
The announcement followed weeks of lobbying by oil companies and resistance not only from Republicans, but moderate Democrats in the Assembly."
Don't, however, think this is the end. Stay vigilant.
My website was never published to advance any political agenda, but it has come to my attention that the legislature of the state of California is trying to pass a bill that would affect my music business (as well as anyone who drives an automobile) and ultimately the amount I would have to charge for my services . I feel I need to let you know about this possibility. SB350, which is working its way through the legislative process as we speak, has the following goal written in it and I quote from the actual bill - Section 2 a.(2) -
"To reduce today's p[etroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50
This would give the California Air Resources Board, C.A.R.B., essentially free rein on how to achieve this which could include, but not necessarily be limited to: surcharges, increased gas taxes, rationing, and even monitoring individual's consumption records. Now, if you believe in "global warming," and increased "greenhouse gases" and you support "cap and trade policies", you may think this is all well and good. This is not to convince you otherwise but rather to put all my clients on notice that if this is passed and my fuel costs go up commensurately, I will have no other choice but to increase my fees to cover my increased costs of doing business. As you may or may not know, gasoline is the life-blood of a musician's trade. I can't get to the gigs without it. All the equipment I bring to a gig for your dancing pleasure is transported in a truck that gets about 8 mpg and nothing the CARB passes is going to change that. While the full brunt of this bill doesn't take effect until 2030 (heck - I'll be 81 and who knows if I'll still be playing then anyway), it will effect everyone else in the state. If this concerns you, I might (actually I already have), contact your local state representative and express your feelings. Thanks for considering this. If you think this is long, you should (and can) read the entire bill - if you can get through all the legalese. You can see it here:
Now on a happier note - for an accordion player with a pair of lederhosen, this begins our hectic season - that's right, it's time for Oktoberfest parties. I have 18 dates booked so far in Sept (a record, I believe) and 17 in October - with more to come I'm sure. Check back to web-site often as the gigs tend to come in fast and furious during these next 2 months. I'll try to keep everything current.
For those of you who don't check the calendar regularly, be aware that Buena Park Senior Center will be closed on Friday July 3rd for the 4th of July weekend. That means there will be no dance that morning. Not to worry, I'll be back the last Friday - July 31st. See ya then.
After all the computer problems I've had over the past several weeks, I figured it was about time I up-dated the calendar. I hadn't realized it had been that long. It's always somewhat of a chore to make sure everything is up to date but it has to be done and so now it is - through the end of the year.
For some unknown reason I got locked out of the computer - passwords just wouldn't work. After hours with Microsoft, Dell, and Carbonite, it was finally determined that I was going to have to re-install Windows - what a pain. The good news was that all my data was intact - the bad news was I had to re-install all my programs and software. That meant finding the discs, locating passwords, re-configuring all my preferences. There was a time when I entered every gig on a slip of paper and filed it in my calendar. It was safe as long as I didn't lose my calendar - I was paranoid about that. Now that everything is on the computer, I'm still paranoid but at least now I have backups. Everything is stored in the cloud. As long as it's up to date - I'm safe.
Stay tuned - there will be more gigs coming in. I'll post them asap so check in every once in a while. We might be playing someplace close to you.
Well, we can put another year to bed. My mother used to comment on how much faster the years went by as she got older. I laughed and told her she was just being a little silly but now I realize she was right. Not much I can do about it so I guess I'll just have to "go with the flow".
We had a very good year last year and were off to another one coming up - almost 80 gigs booked to far and we're just 2 weeks into the new year. For that I have all of you to thank. Almost every gig we get has been the result of someone hearing us and recommending us. We are truly thankful for your support.
I'm a little frustrated as I still don't have my new accordion. For those of you who don't know, I special ordered a brand-new Borsini accordion last March, but they still haven't finished it yet. They say it takes almost a year to build one. After all, there are about 15,000 hand-made parts that make up the construction of one. Mine it going to be gorgeous. Instead of the traditional black, I'm having it made in a natural polished wood finish with ivory colored bellows and gold trim. I'll be sure to post a picture when I get it.
It's taken all afternoon, but as of today (1/13/15) the calendar is up to date for the rest of the year. There will be more gigs coming in and I'll post them asap so check in every once in a while. We might be playing someplace close to you.
Whew! It's only been a month since I last posted, but I'm tired just entering the updated gigs for October. As you might have guessed they're mostly Oktoberfests. There is a private party with an Italian theme at Chapman University on Columbus Day in there just to mix things up. I'm really giving my lederhosen a workout. I'm up to 23 gigs for the month - an excellent month, although just 2 gigs shy of my record. That was back in 2012 when Igor was scouting out gigs. I do miss him and not just because of the gigs he found. He was one of those larger than life kind of guys. You couldn't help but like him.
As my name gets spread around, I find I'm getting gigs from more sources which gives me the opportunity to play with talented new musicians. It's a challenge but exciting. Keep checking that calendar for updates and to see if I can possibly break my record.
A quick reminder to check the calendar regularly - things change on the spur of the moment. A lot of the gigs I have in September and October are coming in from a variety of sources - event planners, agents, other musicians, etc. and many times the details are in flux. You'll see there are several gigs I have booked that I don't even have an address for as yet. Be patient, that's the music business. I'll get them and post them as soon as I can. I'll fill you in on Cotati in a later post. It's getting late and I have a gig tonight.
Tomorrow Linda and I leave for the Cotati Accordion Festival. This will be my 5th time performing up there and I love it, even though I put in a lot of work. Normally, I play 1 1/2 hours on Saturday morning and again on Sunday morning followed by my good friend Chuck Berger. The last 2 years (and this year as well) he's had to cancel due to health challenges. That means I'll play my shift and his as well. The Steve Ballich Band plays for dancing from 1 pm to 5 pm but this year Steve Ballich Sr. had to undergo gall bladder surgery and so won't be able to play in his own band. He asked if I would fill in for him and I, of course, agreed. He got me started playing at Cotati and has become a good friend. We all wish him a speedy recovery. He turned 90 this year and is still playing. I think that's a great goal for me, although I get tired just thinking about it. Anyway, that means I'll be playing almost 8 hours each day. Someone said once that if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life - it's true.
Closer to home, we're going to be playing for a new venue on September 19th - the Walnut Senior Center. One of our dancers suggested that we check it out. They're going to give us a try. We certainly hope this will lead to gigs there on a regular basis. Virtually all of our gigs over the years have come from the recommendations of the people we've played for. We don't take that for granted and are certainly thankful to all of you who have played a big part in our success.
Make sure you check out our calendar as I've been adding new engagements. We've got a big September coming up followed by an even bigger October.
Whew! I just got through updating the calendar through the end of the year and it took some time. As I mentioned last time, both Palomares and Buena Park have scheduled us for the coming year and it took some time to get everything entered. I hope it's 100% - I have been known to make an itsy bitsy error on occassion. I've also started booking our Oktoberfest parties. If you're planning one and you'd like to have live music, better get on the stick - dates are filling up. Seems like everybody wanted Oct. 4th and I already have 2 gigs booked for that date - 12 total so far for the month. More good news is on the way but I've gotta run - time to set up for our Buena Park dance tonight.
I've finally gotten around to adding a picture of our newest Associate, Adrian Tapia. We played for the Rancho Cucamonga Senior Prom last Saturday and we had our picture taken in our tuxes - very snazzy. We love playing for them and everyone had a great time. Also I've been a busy boy and added a new recording to the site. Head on over to the "Audio" tab and take a listen. It's just me and Mick (mostly Mick) doing an old Santos and Johnny tune - "Sleepwalk". I bought a new Tascam recorder and am trying to learn how to use it. i think it turned out great and so I hope to be doing more. For years people have asked if we had a CD and I've had to say no. Maybe before long, I can say "Of course." Not too much new on the calendar side but stay tuned. Palomares is booking us for the rest of the year (through December) and Buena Park will be coming in with the new calendar for the upcoming fiscal year, so there'll be lots of new gigs to add before long. Keep your fingers crossed. I've been talking to Walnut Senior Center and San Dimas Senior Center so there are even more possibilities. Thanks for listening and keep supporting live music. We appreciate it.
We just added a date to the calendar for a new organization - The Nightlighters Dance Club. We'll be playing for them in June and hopefully for other dances in the future. That booking comes as a result of a recommendation from a couple with the Toppers Dance Club at the Petroleum Club and for that we thank you. Almost all of our engagements are a result of a recommendation. I also added a couple of dates for the Rancho Cucamonga Senior Center. We love playing there. They get a wonderful crowd. Several of the clubs and cities book through June and will be adding engagements for the next fiscal year starting in July so stay tuned for more gigs to be added to the calendar soon.
If performances could be bottled-up to be pulled out and used again in the future, last night, playing for the "Senior Prom" at the Cypress Senior Center would have been one of them. We had a great time and would like to thank the students at the Oxford Academy High School for having us back again this year. Everyone, including us, had a fun time. They had the room decorated, lots of food and drinks, the dance floor is one of the best in Orange County, and we were on a roll musically. We're looking forward to next year. If you haven't been out to dance with us in a while, put on your dancing shoes and join us. Check the calendar - there are lots of dates to choose from. It's great fun and good exercise.
Once more we can report that the old year is past and we look ahead to the new year with anticipation. I can now announce that we have added a new venue to our calendar. Starting in February we will be performing at Palomares Park in the city of Pomona. The date is not regular so you'll have to check the calendar, but we'll be there once a month through June (and hopefully longer). This engagement has been in large part due to the urging and recommendations from our friends at the Colony Dance Club. The Colony Dance Club came as a result of playing for Linda Whitehead who hired us for the Rancho Cucamonga Senior Center. You see the pattern? People are sometimes surprised when they ask if I book through an agent and I tell them no. Virtually all our gigs come from the recommendation of someone who's already heard us and everyone knows the best recommendation is "word of mouth". I've never really had to "sell" our band. Someone has already done it for us and for that we are truly appreciative and offer our sincere thanks to all our supporters. Happy New Year and keep dancing...
The lederhosen and chicken hat have been put away for another year. While not quite a record-breaking month, October was very solidly booked and I appreciate all of you who helped to make it so. Adrian Tapia, our newest member - who plays tenor and alto sax as well as flute, has been a real asset to the band. He's been a perfect fit and sounds like he's been playing with us for years. It takes a real talent to be able to do that. Our audiences love him. If you haven't heard him yet, you're in for a treat. Obviously, someone that talented is in big demand but we've been lucky enough to be able to use him for almost every gig we've played in the last several months. We look forward to playing a lot of gigs with him.
After a busy October, November has always been a month for us to take a deep breath, relax, and be thankful - for family, friends, the many blessings that we've received, and of course, for our many supporters.
As always, keep an eagle eye on our calendar. I just got through updating it with 12 new gigs for the coming year (that brings it up to 68 so far for 2014), and with a number of recommendations we've received, we'll hopefully have the chance to add a new venue or two in the coming year.
Well, the Oktoberfests are in full swing. Quite a few have come in at the last minute and I've been thrilled to be able to do them. My reputation must be starting to spread as I've been asked to play with several other bands around the L.A. area. It's very exciting to sit in with a band you've never played with before. I got my start doing that almost 40 years ago and I'd forgotten how much that can improve your playing. You're constantly having to adjust your playing to match new arrangements, styles, tempos, keys, etc. It really keeps you on your toes. I love it but don't worry, I'm not about to stop booking my band anytime soon.
On a sad note - the only thing constant in life is change and after over 35 years together, my drummer Paul and I will be parting company. He's been a loyal, faithful part of the band for many years and I hated to see this day come, but personal issues have arisen that have prevented our association from continuing. I wish him well in all his future endeavors.
On a happier note - as of the moment, I'm going to be replacing Paul with a sax man. I used Adrian Tapia last Saturday. We sounded great and the crowd was enthusiastic. He's a wonderful musician (there's a platinum record hanging on his wall), and he's a nice guy. He will add a lot to the fullness of the band. I hope I'm able to book him for as much as I'd like - we'll see.
Keep checking the calendar - I've just posted a number of new gigs this morning. Even if some of them are not in Orange County, there might be one close to where you live.
Make sure to keep your eye on my calendar. There have been gigs added and some dates have opened up. The big news is that Buena Park will be opening the newly remodeled recreation center on the 15th. I've seen it and it's gorgeous and not to worry - they've kept the same dance floor. That means the Saturday night dance will move back in and the Friday morning dance on the first and last Friday of the month will start again on Friday morning, August 30th. Yeaaaah!!!
Most of you, unfortunately, won't be able to make it to the Cotati Accordion Festival in - where else - Cotati, CA, about 15 miles south of Santa Rosa on Highway 101. This will be my 5th year playing there and it's always a blast. Don't believe me? Check out the slide show under the "Audio/Video" tab. Not to worry. If you can't make that, The Big Squeeze - Orange County Accordion Festival is coming up again real soon. They've moved the date up. This year it'll be the last Sunday of Sept. (the 29th) and I'll be hosting a stage again there this year. Lot's going on and that doesn't count the Oktoberfest parties that'll be coming up in October - of course. Stay tuned.
I guess I'm really on a roll. I just posted another video of the band playing at the Yorba Linda Community Center. We love playing there and not just because it only 3 miles from my house. It was time to kick it up a notch so I figured a little "Mustang Sally" was in order. I also added two links for an educational purpose, but don't let that stop you. One explains how to play a Bayan, an accordion with buttons on both sides, and no, I can't play one. The other shows off a master at playing one and all the different styles you can play on an accordion. He is truly phenomenal - enjoy.
Good things come to those who are patient. I just posted another video taken at a dance in Rancho Cucamonga. It's a simple medley of 3 old time ballads, but it really shows off the versatility of my keyboards. The instrumentation is perfect as is the voicing - it really sounds like trumpets, trombones and a string section. It's the reason we can tell people we're the closest thing you can get to a full orchestra and still only have 3 musicians - enjoy.
I just posted the first (but hopefully, not last) video of the band. We were playing for the California Club at Leisure World Laguna Woods in front of over 300 members. We play for them regularly and love it. They love to dance and have a great time. It makes this job a real pleasure. I featured Mick on one of his favorite oldies. He does a great job. Check it out under the "Audio/Video" tab and let me know what you think.
6/21/13 - UPDATE:
Unfortunately, the Friday morning dances have now been pushed back to start on the last Friday of August - that would be August 30th. :-( I've been told this is because the new lights that were ordered, have not come in as yet. I'm sorry for the delay but I, obviously, have no control over these circumstances. I'm looking forward to getting back on the Friday morning as much as you are. Stay tuned...
The Friday morning dances at Buena Park will possibly start back up on July 12th. I know that's the 2nd Fri. but we want to get back dancing as soon as possible and we're all hoping the restoration will be done by then. That 2nd Friday is a one-time occurrence. After that, we go back to our normal schedule of the first and last Friday of the month. Stay tuned...
The Friday morning dances at Buena Park have been canceled until further notice due to construction in the center. Hopefully, it'll just be 6 or 7 weeks until we have a beautiful new facility for our dances. Keep an eye on my calendar as I'll post any updates as soon as I know about them, or you can email me or call the Buena Park center. We're all looking forward to getting back to our normal
I do have a guest book. I'd appreciate it if you signed it. It's also kind of a blog where I can comment on things musical from time to time. Check it out and be sure to check the calendar as gigs get posted regularly.
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