Joan Grauman, AAA HistorianAs the organization’s historian, I have been writing historical articles on events that led up to the creation of the AAA and were important for the AAA. This includes some of its influential members, as well as special events throughout the decades, and more.

AAA Historian, Joan Grauman.

Memories of AAA Events Through the Decades

— an ongoing photo article by Joan Grauman

Old photos, as well as more recent photos, can evoke amazing memories of accordion events of yesteryear. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be present at so many of the AAA events and festivals through the decades. I was blessed to get to know one of the founders of the AAA as well as many of the early renowned accordionists in the US. I heard fabulous performances, and made many friends along the way. I am certain that many of you have your own special memories of AAA events through the years! Please send me your favorite photos as I will be adding to this article on a regular basis. It will NOT be in chronological order. Some additions will be of a particular person, some of particular events — whatever comes to mind! As the AAA Historian, I have amassed an enormous collection of beautiful and historical photos that I want to share with all of you.

Let’s step back to 20 years before I was born. The young (and not so young) accordion greats of the 1930s were busily creating a new national accordion organization. The time had come to bring together accordion enthusiasts, teachers, publishers and performers for the purpose of standardizing switches on the instruments, standardizing accordion notation in sheet music, creating educational materials, accordion promotion, and the list went on. The first meeting of this new organization, the American Accordionists’ Association (AAA), took place in March, 1938.v

The planning of this organization, however, began a few years earlier. One thing that the founders encouraged was professional promotional 8 x 10 photos of the prominent accordionists of the day. These beautiful, glossy black and white photos were treasures to those who received them. They were often autographed and dedicated to the recipient. This practice lasted through the early 2000s! The first group of photos in my article will be of many of these early 8 x 10s. I hope you enjoy seeing them and reading the dedications! I will continue to post later promotional photos - so please send me yours!

Click each picture to see full size

Names of pictures:
1. Charles Magnante 2. Anthony Galla-Rini 3. Maddalena Belfiore and Myron Floren 4. Elsie Bennett 5. Abe Goldman, Charles Magnante, Gene Von Hallberg, Joe Biviano 6. Essie Bradshaw 7. Maddalena Belfiore 8. Louis Coppola 9. Elsie Bennett 10. Andy Arcari 11. Joe Biviano 12. Anthony and Dominic Mecca 13. Maddalena Belfiore 14. Charles Nunzio 15. John Serry 16. Don Mills 17. John Magnante 18. Frank Gaviani 19. Maddalena Belfiore 20. Elsie Bennett

Next group of photos are collages of colorful and delightful record album covers. The ones featured are from part of my collection and, of course, they all feature accordion soloists, duos and ensembles. It is truly hard to comprehend the enormous number of accordionists who created LPs in the 1950s through the 1980s!

Click each LP montage to see full size

Featured in my photo collages are LPs from greats such as Carmen Carrozza, Charles Magnante, Leon Sash, Steven Dominko, brothers Harley and Maurice Jones (New Zealand), Myron Floren, Dick Contino, and the list goes on.

Click each LP montage to see full size

What a pleasure it is to listen to these greats on my old turntable! If you have old accordion records, or come across any at yard sales, etc., take them home, dust off your turntable, pour a glass of wine, and ENJOY!

And remember: this is an ongoing article. I look forward to seeing your photos and including them in the article. Please send them to me at: