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Milwaukee Accordion Club continues to perform 31 years later

Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 10:58:28-05

FRANKLIN, Wis. — Holy cow, this might be one of the most 'Milwaukee' clubs you have ever heard of. It's called the Milwaukee Accordion Club (MAC).

“I love the sound first of all. I love the music it makes," Pam Raskin, the Vice President of the group said.

She has been part of the club for around 20 year. But get this, she barely plays the instrument anymore.

“You might say I’m kind of an accordion groupie," she said with a laugh.

For her, the MAC reminds her of when her father played the accordion. Plus, she called the accordion a bright and full instrument that puts joy in her soul.

"It's just a fun, special type of music."

The group plays at the Root River Center once a month. They have been meeting for the past 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," Jerry Smeiska, the group director said.

They play polkas, classical, and jazz music 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 little 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 featured in the ensemble cast. Those two instruments are like cousins to the accordion.

Now, the accordion isn't as popular as it used to be, but maybe this group will inspire new generations to play. Or, someone might stumble upon an old accordion, and decide to pick it up and give it a whirl.

“There is a popular saying that there’s an accordion in every attic in Milwaukee and I think that is probably more true than false," Smeiska said.

But the accordions brought to the Root River center aren't neglected or gathering dust. They are keeping classic tunes from decades ago alive and well.

The MAC has their 31st anniversary event 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 out more information or inquire about joining the group at their Facebook page.

A final note, the MAC does not give lessons or sell accordions. However, they can get you in touch with instructors or repair people if your instrument is damaged.

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