Saturday Accordion Festival seeks to pass on its hobby | Local News

RICK BROWN, Yard Light Media

ORD – The Fabulous Accordion Festival was born out of a desire to keep creativity alive in Ord during the last few years of pandemic shutdown.

“During COVID and while our theater was closed, we held something we called the ‘Ghost Light Performance Series,'” said Dahn Hagge, director of Golden Husk, a performing arts center in Ord. “It was a virtual series. We invited artists to come and we recorded their performances so that we could publish the recording online.

One of the performers, Laddie Bruha, played his accordion and told stories.

“He plays button accordion by ear,” Hagge said. “We posted this performance online and it received around 12,000 views on Facebook.”

Hagge realized how performers like Bruha, 84, a retired farmer from central Nebraska, have kept an important part of Nebraska’s heritage and culture alive.

In the video, he said, “I have 11 accordions. I like to play. I’ve played most of my life and I have a son who took over my band. I was raised on button accordion music; my grandfather played and my father played and my brother played – and I played and now my son plays. I don’t know if this is the end or not. »

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After the final video was produced, Hagge imagined an event celebrating artists like Bruha.

“It’s such a strong part of our heritage,” she said. “There are so many people passionate about it. We need to create an event that honors Laddie and all others who have this rich heritage of polka music and the accordion.

Hagge hosted the first event in 2021 and quickly decided to make the Fabulous Accordion Festival an annual tradition.

The Fabulous Accordion Festival, a day of polka, art, storytelling, dance lessons and kolaches begins with a jam session at 2:00 p.m. Saturday at the Golden Husk in Ord. Admission to the festival is $10.

“Last year we had 25 button accordion players from across the state in the jam session,” Hagge said. “It was really cool. Laddie will be bringing her 11-button accordions from different countries to display.

At 4 p.m., the Three Guys Polka Band will play for a dance. For those who need a little instruction on how to polka dance, Ron and Judy Bauer will teach some basic steps.

“It’s about the happiest music you can listen to,” Hagge said of polka music. “I love watching little kids when they listen to accordion music. They just can’t stop dancing, smiling and celebrating when they hear it. Those are the things we love about it. topic.

In the Ord region, Hagge noted the size and strength of the Czech, Polish, and German cultures.

“This music has been passed down from generation to generation,” she said. “It’s really something that we need to preserve and honor. One of my greatest hopes – and my creative dream – would be that we could organize an event where our current people who play the button accordion could teach other people how to play so that we can preserve this part of our heritage.

Hagge recalled the importance of this culture within her family when she was growing up.

“Even when my parents were little – and they are now in their 70s – the square in downtown Ord on a Saturday night was always full of outdoor musical performances,” she said. “And there were people speaking different languages ​​on every corner. People would come downtown, spend the evening going from corner to corner and hear stories of different cultures that lived in our area.

Hagge thinks the Fabulous Accordion Festival honors the past.

“And may it also preserve it for our future,” she said. “People who play the button accordion love to gather, be together and enjoy the music.”

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