Crawley Accordion Orchestra
The Crawley Accordion Orchestra was formed in 1976 by Richard Seagar, a local accordion teacher, with both a Senior and Junior Orchestra.
In the earlier days the orchestra appeared on TV in Harry Secombe’s Highway programme, and had broadcasts on BBC Radio Sussex. They were also involved in frequent exchanged visits with Doresten’s Accordion Orchestra in Germany.
Since 1989 the orchestra has given many concerts at the Hawth Threatre in Crawley, and in 1994 they were invited to play at Regents Park Bandstand and made several subsequent performances there. They have gained a very good reputation in the Surrey/Sussex area. For a long time rehearsal were at Hookwood, near Gatwick Airport, but since 2006 practice have taken place in Ockham Village Hall. The CAO has links with the Flanders Accordion Club at Lille, and an orchestra ‘Villakkordeon’ in Wuppertal, in Germany and given joint concerts.
The orchestra plays a wide variety of music in five parts, from popular easy listening music to classics. The range includes waltzes, tangos, and marches, song medleys from shows, French Spanish, Italian, German and South American music. Compositions from one of the world’s greatest bellows musicians, the Brazilian bandoneon player Astor Piazolla, have recently been added to the extensive repertoire. Concerts have been regularly given at Cranleigh Art Centre and Village Hall, in the bandstands of Horsham and Guildford Castle Grounds and various other Venues, and at the Eastbourne Accordion Festivals.
Though a smaller orchestra than in the earlier days, the CAO has maintained its high standard of playing, and was awarded a substantial grant in 2008 to purchase new music. The orchestra uses acoustic piano accordions and one acoustic bass accordion. Playing members come from a very wide area. They have been several changes in Musical Director, and in July of 2013 the directorship and leadership was passed on to Gennaro Fiondella.
Tillingbourne Accordion Orchestra
The Tillingbourne Accordion Orchestra (then known as the Tillingbourne Accordion Band) was founded in 1988, meeting for rehearsals in Albury Village Hall. In 1992 it moved to its present venue, in the annexe to Ripley Village Hall, where it still meets on Tuesdays at 8pm and potential members are always welcome.
In April, 1990 the Orchestra founded Guildford Accordion Club, open to all , both players and non players. The Club meets on the third Friday of every month in Ripley Village Hall.
Since its foundation 17 years ago the orchestra has played at many venues, often in support of charities, in Nursing Homes and at a variety of functions, in Surrey, Kent and London locations. The Musical Director at its inception was Mike Naido who was followed by Pete Denham and then a number of others, the present baton holder being Marion Szuman. We are available to accept bookings. large or small.