|by Joan Grauman, AAA Historian|
Pioneer Women of the AAA
|Addie Cere served on the Governing Board of the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) almost her entire adult life. As the first woman to serve on the AAA Board, she was inducted in 1942. Addie served on and chaired numerous committees through the decades to follow. She served as secretary, second Vice President, Vice President and President (1982-84) of the AAA Governing Board.|
|1955, L to R: Mindie Cere, Maddalena Belfiore, Philip Crucianelli, Frankie Yankovic, Addie Cere, Ernest Deffner, Frances Margolis, and ? (from Detroit, Michigan)|
|Edvige (Addie) Ruggero was born in Turin, Italy on November 13, 1919 into a home filled with music. Addie’s father played the mandolin, guitar and violin in orchestras all over Europe. He performed for the Kaiser of Germany, the King and Queen of Italy, and the Archduke of Lichtenstein. Addie’s brother Robert studied violin and Addie studied piano at the the Royal Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music in Turin. Considered a young virtuoso, excelling at organ as well as the piano, Addie continued her piano and organ studies in Pittsfield, Massachusetts when her family emigrated to the United States.|
|As a young girl, Addie missed Italy and traveled back several times, returning to study at the Conservatory, before settling in with her parents in New York City in 1934. Having heard many accordion players in the venues in New York City where her father played, her interest in the instrument grew. In 1936, Addie met her future husband, the celebrated Vaudeville accordionist Mindie Cere. Together, while raising their two sons Paul and Ronald, they composed and arranged well over 100 original songs for the accordion. Many are still played today in student accordion competitions.|
|Addie’s first published composition|
|Addie and Mindie Cere created many “firsts” in the US during their loving and prolific 30 year marriage.
— The Ceres were the first husband and wife team on the AAA Governing Board.
— The duo created the first accordion school run by husband and wife instructors.
— They were the first husband and wife duo to perform on accordion together, starting in 1936. They performed at concert halls, night clubs and venues throughout the United States and Europe for the next 30 years.
|— Mindie and Addie Cere were the first couple to compose accordion compositions together. They composed popular pieces for the accordion from 1942 onward, pieces such as “Sparkling”, “Twinkling”, “Accordion Jump”, “Skipper”, “Jamboree”, “Cha, Cha Doll”, “Mantillas”, “Sea Breeze”, “Viva Toro”, and many others.
— They arranged numerous Italian Val Taro tunes for the accordion
— The Ceres were the first accordion family to perform together on television, playing with their sons Paul and Ronald in 1951. They played on the popular contest show, “LIve Like a Millionaire”. Their quartet won the 2nd prize.
|Mindie Cere died in 1968. Addie lived 37 more years after her husband’s passing. She continued to work tirelessly for the AAA as an adjudicator, traveling all over the east coast to state competitions, and she served on numerous committees, sometimes chairing four committees in one season. She also continued to teach, perform and to compose, Addie’s accomplishments led her to win four ASCAP awards and to be listed in the book, “Women in
|Frank Busso, Sr. worked with Addie Cere on the AAA Governing Board for several years. He remembers her fondly as an elegant woman, always well dressed and always focused on making sure that the AAA set high standards, not only in musical accomplishments, but also in professionalism in the accordion world. Addie was Vice President when Frank Busso was the AAA President. She knew Frank when he was a young boy in the 1950s competing in AAA competitions Although Addie was not Frank’s teacher, through the years she would often speak of “all of the arm bands” Frank would wear at these competitions. Each arm band represented a particular category a student had entered in the competitions. Like a proud mother, Addie spoke of this often (and of how often Frank won!). Her pride in the young accordion students helped to create a sense of “family” at the AAA events.|
|Addie Cere, adjudicator at the AAA’s Eastern Cup, 1968|
|Dedicated to the AAA until her death in 2005, Addie Ruggero Cere will be remembered for her tireless work and versatility in promoting the accordion for over 50 years. She was truly one of the key women pioneers in the development of the accordion in the United States.|