The following essay was originally published in the January/February 2007 edition of Accordion World magazine (editor: David Keen) and is presented here by the permission of Accordion World.
(See our review of Accordion World Magazine).
The Classical Accordion was featured on Dayton Public FM Radio stations WDPR and WDPG. Classical accordion aficionado (and mayor of Webster Station, Ohio) Charlie Campbell sponsored a $250 Challenge during the station's Fundraiser. He appeared on the air promoting the classical accordion and playing excerpts from Henry Doktorski's solo compact disc Classical Accordion Recital [editor's note: Henry's CD can be purchased at The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. eBay Store] in an effort to convince listeners to telephone the station and make a pledge. His theme was "Accordion, Yes!"
To make the broadcast more interesting, Campbell's partner on the show, Susie Weaver, a longtime supporter of the arts in Dayton, board member of WDPR, acted as a foil and proclaimed "Accordion, No!" and played classical music without accordion.
The contest was to see which format procured the most pledges for the station: "Accordion, Yes! or "Accordion, No!" Both announcers had a lot of fun which was enjoyed by the station's listeners. Mr. Campbell began by playing Doktorski's recording of the Minuet from J. S. Bach's Partita in Bb, and requested listeners to make a contribution and vote for more classical accordion music on public radio.
Next, Ms. Weaver retorted humorously, "Let's keep the accordion off classical radio and back on polka stations where it belongs! Vote 'No!'" and she played a movement from Bach's Orchestra Suite No. 2 for chamber orchestra.
The banter between the announcers was good fun, and entertained listeners greatly. Listeners also began calling and making pledges and voting "Accordion Yes!" or "Accordion No!"
However, Mr. Campbell had a slight edge, as the previous day he had sent an email message to Doktorski announcing the event, and requested Doktorski to send a message to the members of his classical accordion email list (over 200 people), including many overseas classical accordion lovers.
Tone C. Hundere from Norway was so excited about the event, that she publicised it by putting a prominent notice on the homepage of www.trekkspill.no the largest and most popular website devoted to the accordion in the Norwegian language. It is possible that hundreds of accordionists worldwide tuned in to hear the broadcast.
Mr. Campbell continued by playing Doktorski's recording of George Gershwin's Prelude No. 2, and Ms. Weaver responded by playing the same piece as recorded by violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Andre Previn. Campbell next played a movement from Doktorski's recording of Handel's Suite for a Musical Clock, and Ms. Weaver played another Handel piece by orchestra. The one hour contest broadcast ended when Charlie Campbell played two movements from Doktorski's recording of Alan Hovhaness 'Suite for Accordion', and then the votes were tabulated and announced.
The "Accordions Yes!" camp secured even pledges worth over $300 while the "Accordions No!" camp only secured two pledges worth $90.One $40 pledge came from Robert Karl Berta from Macomb Township in Michigan (former president of the San Francisco Accordion Club), who listened on the Internet. Berta wrote:
"Henry, That was fun ... and a great idea to promote the accordion. I told the person on the line that we had passed the info about the broadcast all over the accordion Internet community so there were a lot of people listening in via the Internet.
I suspect they weren't expecting people to actually call in and pledge "YES" votes. One of the "NO" votes didn't listen to the show ... they said they had to leave before it started but wanted to get their vote in. Hope they hear the vote tally.
I was laughing when they announced my name and mentioned that I actually knew you ... guess they thought accordionists lived in closets.
When I was talking to the operator it seemed they were surprised that a lot of people were listening in from other places via the Internet. They did mention that some people were listening in from Norway. Charlie did a great job ... hopefully he will be successful in opening up the minds of some people to the accordion in classic music."
Charlie Campbell concluded, "Henry had a heck of a lot of fun truly, the WDPR is a wonderful station and glad we were able to generate some pledges ..........Copyright 2007