The Milwaukee Accordion Club is still performing 31 years later
FRANKLIN, Wis. – Hell, this might be one of the most “Milwaukee” clubs you’ve ever heard of. It’s called the Milwaukee Accordion Club (MAC).
“I like the sound first and foremost. I love the music he makes,” said Pam Raskin, the band’s vice president.
She has been with the club for about 20 years. But understand, she hardly plays the instrument anymore.
“You could say I’m kind of an accordion groupie,” she laughed.
For her, the MAC reminds her of when her father played the accordion. Moreover, she called the accordion a bright and full instrument that brings joy to her soul.
“It’s just a fun, special type of music.”
The band plays at the Root River Center once a month. They have been dating for 31 years.
“The Milwaukee Accordion Club is a group of people who exist to preserve the joy and skill of playing and listening to accordion music,” said Jerry Smeiska, group manager.
They play polka, classical music and jazz, among others. They will also invite guests to play at the monthly meetings.
“It’s just very unique, you know. On a piano, you really can’t change the sounds a bit. On the accordion, you get different sounds depending on what song you’re playing.”
Accordions aren’t the only instrument played here, either. Concertinas and button boxes are also part of the ensemble’s cast. These two instruments are like cousins of the accordion.
Now the accordion is not as popular as it used to be, but maybe this band will inspire new generations to play. Or, someone might come across an old accordion and decide to pick it up and give it a whirl.
“There’s a popular saying that there’s an accordion in every attic in Milwaukee and I think that’s probably more true than false,” Smeiska said.
But the accordions brought to the Root River center aren’t neglected or gathering dust. They keep the classic tunes from decades ago alive and well.
The MAC celebrates its 31st anniversary on March 28 at the Root River Center at 6 p.m. It costs $5 for members and $10 for non-members. You can find more information or request to join the group at their Facebook page.
One last note, the MAC does not teach or sell accordions. However, they can put you in touch with instructors or repairers if your instrument is damaged.
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