Jim Lemke of Salmon Arm (left)

Jim Lemke of Salmon Arm (left)

Accordions tune up in Enderby

Members of the Vernon Accordion Club take over where the Kimberley Accordion Festival left off

After 39 years, the renowned Kimberley Accordion Festival was cancelled in December.

But accordion players who enjoyed the camaraderie there still wanted to get together, so Nyla Hirsch, leader of the Vernon Accordion Club, and her husband John organized a casual get together at the Enderby Riverside RV campground in July.

“Accordion players are great,” said Nyla Hirsch. “When you ask them to spread the word they get right to it. As a result, the Accordion Get-together held July 8 to 11 in Enderby had a bigger turn-out than expected.

“It was planned as laid back but it should have been more structured for the public because there were crowds of spectators.”

George Jaegli of Leduc, Alta. became the official camp cryer with a wake-up call of accordion music as he strolled through the park every morning. And there was music somewhere and everywhere in the park every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. except for meal breaks.

About 36 accordion players attended the event. A Get-together music book was put together and enjoyed by all in attendance. Wednesday evening 19 accordions were all playing together and on Thursday afternoon 15 players got together with all kinds of different makes and styles of accordions.

“What a thrill to have great musicians from all over B.C., Alberta, and even Montana together in Enderby for four days of great music and great weather,” said Hirsch. “The consensus was to have it in the same place at the same time next year and you can bet there will be a lot more accordions then.

“Enderby may become as well known for an annual accordion festival as Kimberley was.”