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The American Accordionists’ Association turns 80!!

Joan Grauman Morse, AAA HistorianIn March of 2018, the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA) turned 80 years old. As the organization’s historian, I have been writing monthly articles on events that led up to the creation of the AAA, some of its influential members, as well as special events throughout the decades, and more.

Below is the 6th article. Links to the other monthly articles below that.
Joan Grauman Morse, AAA Historian

Documenting the Fascinating History of the AAA

I became the AAA Historian six months before the association’s 70th anniversary in 2008. It came as a shock to me when I was told that there had never been an official historian prior to myself and that there were no files, no organized photographs, no documents – nothing that was readily accessible to me.

I had to start from scratch. I was totally determined to come up with a reasonable 70 year presentation for the July festival, so I turned to my wonderful mentor, Faithe Deffner.
1. AAA history 1930s through 50s
1. AAA history 1930s through 50s
Pictures from the display made by Joan Grauman Morse for the 80th anniversary of the AAA (July 2018) was extensive. Included with this article are the photographs of this display.

I will help you;, said Faithe, and she certainly did! For those who never knew Faithe Deffner, she was "Madame Accordion": the greatest promoter of the instrument, of the AAA and ATG and, well, a brilliant promoter of just about "everything accordion"!
AAA 1950s through 70s
2. AAA 1950s through 70s

Immediately, I received about five heavy boxes of periodicals, journals and newspaper articles in the mail from Faithe, and then she came to stay with us for a few days to help me get started. With her amazing assistance, I was on a roll!!
Accordions at Carnegie Hall
3. Accordions at Carnegie Hall

I found myself LOVING the process of documenting the AAA's fantastic history. Our good friend from California, Mike Roche, found and put online bids on about 20 "Accordion World" magazines from the 1930s and 40s for me. With these magazines and Faithe’s articles, I started to "picture" the early decades of our organization and was able to create my first few large display boards for the archival display.
AAA 1960s and 70s
4. AAA 1960s and 70s

Renowned accordionist (and photographer!), Lou Coppola went straight to work and spent countless hours preparing hundreds of his photographs for me from his decades in the accordion world. His pictures were incredible and told so many stories of the "golden age of the accordion" on up to 2008.

Lou patiently described events and identified the people in the photographs. Soon, I came to know the greats - the amazing musicians who gave their all for their beloved instrument, the accordion. Thanks to Lou, I had information and photographs for several more archival display boards.
AAA 1980s and 90s
5. AAA 1980s and 90s

Sharing the history of this wonderful association has been a real joy for me. My display for the 80th anniversary of the AAA (July 2018) was extensive. Included with this article are the photographs of this display.
Maddalena Belfiore's accordion
6. Maddalena Belfiore's accordion

Additional information about the above photo.

Maddalena Belfiore’s accordion: Maddalena Belfiore was a well-known and well-loved accordionist and teacher. While raising a family, running a music studio, accordion orchestras, adjudicating and performing all over the east coast (including a solo performance in Carnegie Hall), she worked tirelessly for the AAA, until her untimely death in 2007.

Her Dominator accordion is displayed in this photograph along with a photo of Maddalena at the age of 14, in 1943, playing the instrument.
Miscellaneous 1970s to early 2000s
7. Miscellaneous 1970s to early 2000s

I will continue to write articles on the association’s history through 2018. Thanks to all of you who continue to donate excellent photos and memorabilia for our Archives!!
Coupe Mondiale 2007, USA
8. Coupe Mondiale 2007, USA

I hope that in ten years, our 90th anniversary celebration will be filled with young accomplished musicians, festive concerts and innovative exhibits, and a real sense of hope for the future of our beloved instrument!
Faithe Deffner Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009
9. Faithe Deffner Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009

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