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Accordion Music Show Entertainment

Chicago Accordion Club Entertainment July 17, 2000, featuring showman extraordinaire
Tony Lovello
"Precision, Execution, and Authority"
By Frank Rossi

On July 17, 2000, the Chicago Accordion Club was pleased to have Tony Lovello perform in concert to entertain for a packed house. The introduction was done by CAC Advisor and past president John Simkus. Mr. Lovello has been touring the country with his Petosa accordion conducting seminars and workshops on the accordion. He will return to his home in Lexington, Kentucky, where he has run his hotel for the past 31 years. He is featured at the A.T.G. (Accordionists & Teachers Guild, International) this Thursday, July 20th through the 23rd at the Lisle/Naperville Hilton. His upcoming schedule includes a performance at the Tom Collins Club in Montana followed by a workshop at the IAC (International Accordionists Convention) in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is most famous as a member of the musical group The Three Suns of Twilight Time and Peg of My Heart fame. John SIMMs wanted everyone to know that he, too, had played with the Three Suns in 1954 - along with his record player!

Tony thanked everyone for coming out to support the accordion adding that Dick Schmidt and the present members of the Peoria Area Accordion Club could go out to the car because they have already seen his show! He recalled that while touring in Korea with Debbie Reynolds and others, a U.S. soldier was very excited to see him and asked him for his autograph - Not as Tony Lovello the entertainer, but as he thought Tony Lovelli - the professional basketball player. Tony felt so bad for the guy being in the trenches of battle that he signed the autograph as Tony Lavelle!

The entire evening was one full of laughter, fun, and amazement as Tony, with his unique style of relating interesting and funny stories, mixed some razzle dazzle with both his precise playing and sharp wit. After hearing him play, most of us in attendance felt like rushing home to pick up our own accordion to brush up on those scales and exercises. While some musicians simply go through the motions - Tony puts his heart and soul in his performance and with his natural teaching instinct makes you feel as though he wants you to become a better player.

He explained that his father taught him the accordion and then he demonstrated accordion classics such as Nola, Dizzy Fingers and Sharpshooters March. Although he wanted to pretty songs like Under Paris Skies, his father insisted on him playing songs like the Lone Ranger Theme titled The William Tell Overture - which he played for us. Then came the sounds of Jazz. With players like Ernie Felise, Art Van Damme, and John Simkus ( he lightheartedly teased John throughout the show). Unfortunately, he said that he did not possess 16" fingers for the big block chords, so he decided to move on to another type of music that he could master. His brother, who produced Hee Haw for 28 years, told him that he heard Dick Contino on the Horace Heidt show play Lady of Spain - with FLASH that included BELLOW SHAKES. So he found his musical niche where today he is ranked among the very best.

He then walked among the audience wearing a wireless microphone. He later shared with us that he uses a Shure model UT4. He had installed the devise on the back of his accordion with Velcro. This enables him to bring his show out to his audience so they can see and hear him up close and personal! He then played some Italian favorites including Retorna Sorrento and Way Marie demonstrating his mastery of the bellow shakes while using dynamics while playing everything tasty. He then performed Twilight Time and taught us his technique he used for a smooth and effective glissando. Other favorites performed were Peg of My Heart, Don't Take Your Love From Me, and a six-minute version of Malaguena which once again caused the full house to rise in a unanimous standing ovation. He then said that he would play something slower and proceeded to play a quick-fingered Montana where he stopped occasionally to share amusing stories. He played excerpts from Phantom of The Opera and Jeckyl and Hyde while placing a red cloth over the keyboard exclaiming that it's the best way to clean the keyboard! All in attendance had just realized that we had been seeing the consummate showman's showman in Tony Lovello. He wrote and performed a humorous song entitled, Now, did you write your name in spray paint on that overpass last night? The song is about an accordionist who loves his accordion so much that he climbed on the overpass one night and wrote a message so everyone passing would know. The message read (you guessed it) John Simkus Loves His Accordion!

Closing out his show, he showed us his warm-up exercises he does before a performance. He also shared how he identifies every note on the keyboard and gave us an example of how to learn to control the bellow shake. He has three video tapes for sale including Hints, Tips, and Helps featuring the glissando, The Bellow Shake explaining how he uses his chin to hold the accordion - featuring Malaguena, and Tony Lovello - The Showman featuring his arrangements and how he can successfully hit any chord any time on the keyboard without looking - once the accordion is in proper alignment. His last song was Spanish Eyes and he demonstrated all of his techniques or tricks as he calls them, in this song.

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