Tuesday, June 9, 2015

MEET GRIFF ZIEGLER, WALLOWA VALLEY'S NEW ACCORDION TEACHER

Eastern Oregon has long been bereft of accordion teachers. Our alpenmeister, Chuck Anderson, knows because he's been searching for one since he arrived in Wallowa County in 2009.

Enter Griff Ziegler, who has just moved here from Idaho. 

Griff has a vision:

What if I were able to offer accordion lessons free to elementary students? What if I started an interest in accordion in young people in this valley – in their schools? Why not? 

To accomplish this I need help. Specifically, I need 12-bass accordions, small student-model (or ladies') accordions and music stands.   

I am sure that some of you know someone who has a dusty old accordion they can donate to this cause. To start, I need 8 to 10 12-bass accordions. As the students progress, they will need larger accordions, perhaps student models.   

Eventually I will need loaner 120-bass accordions. Can you help me?

You can contact Griff at 208-651-2536 or griffbz@gmail.com.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

OUR TALENT LINEUP FOR 2015

Salzburger Echo, a lively, internationally known band from Utah with the unusual specialty of Swiss alphorn playing, will be the headline act at the 2015 edition of Oregon’s Alpenfest.

The annual Swiss-Bavarian festival takes place Sept. 24-27 with four performances at Wallowa Lake and additional activities in Joseph and Enterprise. In addition to live music, Oregon's Alpenfest will feature Swiss yodeling, Alpine folk dancing, solo alphorn music, accordionists, the Alpine Art, Antique and Craft Fair and traditional brawurst and beer.

For the second year in a row, there will be free polka lessons.

Details and ticket information are available on this website. For tickets, click the red bottom at left.

Salzburger Echo comes from its home base near Salt Lake City to play for the first time in eastern Oregon. Although the band usually performs elsewhere on Alpenfest weekend, the musicians decided to give Wallowa County a try this year, according to Alpenmeister Chuck Anderson.

The band brings the Alps to audiences, playing Old World and contemporary folk music from the alpine regions of Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The band entertains with the 12-foot alphorns, Swiss cowbells and harmony yodeling as well as more traditional instruments.

Together since 1992, Salzburger Echo has played many venues and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including Mt. Angel Oktoberfest in Oregon, Snowbird's Annual Oktoberfest in Utah, Las Vegas Oktoberfest, Ruidoso Oktoberfest in New Mexico and Oktoberfest at Snake River Brewing in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Popular acts returning to Oregon’s Alpenfest include Swiss yodeler Arthur Brogli, who hails from Lodi, Calif., but has entertained throughout the country and was a huge hit in 2014. Brogli is a Swiss native and the eldest son of Swiss immigrants. As a boy, he and his brothers and sisters sang for various Swiss events up and down the West Coast. Amazingly, he doesn't read sheet music but he plays everything by ear. He composes some of his own songs and lyrics.

Among his accomplishments are singing at Apple and Strawberry festivals in Michigan, Swiss Days in Berne, Ind., and playing a leading role in starting the first Oktoberfest in Snowbird, Utah, 40 years ago. He also sang at the Swiss consulate in San Francisco to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the creation of Switzerland.

Also performing are the Tirolean Dancers of Oregon, popular Alpenfest entertainers for many years. Their energetic style is typical of Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The dancers hail from all over Oregon and Washington. They are regulars at Oktoberfests throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Professional polka dancers Randy and Ashley Thull of Wisconsin will return to dance during performances and give free polka lessons before each performance.

Solo alphorn player Bruce Coutant lives in nearly Lostine, where he crafts alphorns as one of few alphorn makers outside Europe.