DAC President Susan
I was born in 1951 in the
Bronx, New York, and I listened to lots of records, and watched Myron Floren on the
Lawrence Welk Show. I remember seeing an accordion player at a family party when I
was 8 years old, and loved the way the man walked around the room with it, and the
powerful sound it made, and the flowing bellows were grand. I nagged my parents for
2 years for an accordion, but my parents bought me a piano when I was ten, with the
promise that I would practice often. We lived in an apartment building, and I
played so often that I disturbed the neighbors. I did buy a gently used accordion
when I was 12 years old for $200, and I am still playing it today. I love to play
pop music, rock and roll, ethnic music, and folk music.
I took lessons at the Joe Biviano Studio in Manhattan, and was proud to ride
the subway all by myself. I earned some trophies in competitions when I was 16 and
17 years old. I majored in music at Lehman College in the Bronx. I have used
music in all of the jobs I have had. I taught music in nursery school, Sunday
school music, and led choirs where I worshipped, and at my job. I also play at
assisted living centers in the area. I arranged for our club to play at the
Kirkwood Highway library several times. Some of our members also played at a winery
recently, as well as talent night at the Newark Library.
I was happy to join the Delaware Accordion Club in 2001 and meet many
wonderful players. I look forward to attending the meetings and hearing different
styles and genres of music. I took over the duties of secretary and treasurer a few
years later. I am happy to become the second president of the club, and hope to see
more people joining, continuing our meetings, and playing for the
DAC First President (In Memorium)
Joe Oberly, DAC President of 17 years, passed away September 29,
Click Here for Obituary
I am the oldest of 5 children. My mother
played the piano and some accordion. Through her encouragement, I started playing the accordion
at age 7. My instructor, Mrs. Elaine Sullivan of New Castle DE, would come to our house once a
week charging $2.85 a lesson. Mrs. Sullivan was with the Stancato National Accordion School of
New York and I performed with their band. She stopped teaching when I was 13 years old due to
the death of her husband.
I was drafted into the army in 1966 and served 3 years in Okinawa Japan. While in the service I
studied Kempo Karate and earned a First Degree Black Belt. Upon returning to the states, I
earned a Brown Belt in the form of Korean & Japanese Karate. I started teaching martial
arts and became known as Karate Joe.
In 1985 I became a Third Degree Master Mason with the Lafayette Lodge #14 in Wilmington DE. I
also received the Scottish Rite's 32nd Degree also in Wilmington DE.
With raising two daughters as a single parent, my career with New Castle County as a Tree
Surgeon, and my interest in Antique Cars, it wasn't until 1995 that I began to play the
accordion again.I began taking private instruction from Paul Packo who played the accordion
professionally for 60 years. He also filled in for Myron Floren on the Lawrence Welk show.
After attending an accordion festival in 1996, I joined the Acme Accordion School in Westmont
NJ. I took lessons from Stanley Darrow and also played in the JR Westmont Accordion Band. I
then began taking lessons from Ed Tafelski of Minquadale DE. He played as a boy and continued
in the Air Force Band during WWII. He performs at various functions professionally and has
raised a family with his accordion skill. He still gives instruction to myself and others
In the last 24 months, I have bought at least 50 accordions and placed them with people
interested in taking accordion lessons. In October of 1998, Joe Alexander and Stanley Darrow
founded the Delaware Accordion Club and I was appointed President. We started with six members
and have grown to approximately 50 members. We meet informally every third Sunday of the month
at the Jam n' Java Coffee House owned by Patrick Matic in Newark DE. We play accordions, share
music, news and events and encourage newcomers to perform open-mike.
For the past two years, I have competed and won at the American Accordion Musicological Society
Symposium and continue to receive instruction from Ed Tafelski. Additionally, within the last
year I have created an accordion museum that was featured in the CrossRoads section of the
Wilmington News Journal (4 May 2000). Many accordions have been privately donated for the
preservation and appreciation of the instrument.
Most recently I joined the Closet Accordion Players of America who are dedicated to improving
the image of the accordionist. I also perform at open-mike sessions at the East End Cafe in
Newark DE and perform at New Castle County Christmas parties, birthdays, weddings and car
shows. Recently, I have created a travelling show-tell and play.
My future plans are to continue advanced lessons and play in a more professional capacity. I am
looking forward to sharing my travelling museum with churches, schools and other organizations.
This fascinating instrument has enjoyed a rebirth in this new century and I am proud to be
called "Accordion Joe."