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Gulf Coast Accordion Jamfest 2012 competition winners

First Accordion JamFest and Competition: A Success!

by Rita Davidson
Accordion JamFest 2012MecaEdwin De Leon Performs his 1st Place Solo at the first Gulf Coast Accordion Jam. He performed 2 selections of different styles in round 1 and the judges asked for a huapango for round 2. He won a large trophy and aHohner Corona II.

The first Gulf Coast Accordion JamFest & Competition was held on Saturday Nov. 17, 2012  at  Meca - Meca,1900 Kane Street Houston, TX. An entire day was devoted to competitions and jam sessions. Professional and Youth Bands performed. Contestants and attendees were encouraged to bring their accordions and play on the jam stage and outdoor gazebo area.

The organizers of the first Gulf Coast Accordion JamFest were: Shelia Lee with Heritage Arts Productions (Director for Houston), Estevan Azcona with MECA, Gilbert Reyes with Hohner US, Steve Albini with RolandUS, and Willard Palmer III. Directors for Dallas and Austin for 2013 are needed.

The competition was open to 
1. All ages (4 to 99 yrs old - there is category for 61 and older!), 
2. All accordions (Button, Chromatic, Piano Keyboard, Cajun/Zydeko), 
3. All styles (Norteno, Conjunto, Vallenato, German, Italian, Bohemian, Celtic, Zydeco, Cajun, etc.) 
4. Semi-Professional and amateur! 
 
It was actually two competitions in one: 
First - SOLO COMPETITION:compete on your accordion by type accordion and style music - by your age 
Second: JamFest OPEN TITLE - compete within your age bracket - with multiple songs!
 
Accordion JamFest was sponsored by: RolandHohner, Meca, Houston, Heritage Arts Productions. Houston Accordion Performers, Master the Accordion Workshops.
There were 35 - 40 entries in the competitions. For this first competition – the judges selected two winners from each category for the JamFest Category which requires the accordionist to perform with backup musicians – of their choice or they provide the group.They perform 2 selections and can be invited back – where the judges will ask for a style – such as a two-step for Cajun, Schottisch for Keyboard or chromatic, Huapango for button.

For this first competition – the judges, Steve Albini and Tatiana Semichastnaya selected two winners from each category for the JamFest: Phto: L to R – Meg Hada 2nd Keyboard, Tatiana Semichastnaya – Judge fromRoland, Miguel Chavez Jr, 2nd Button Over 16, Edwin DeLeon, 1st Button under 16, Anthony Castillo 2 Button under 16, Yesenia Garcia 1st Button over 16 and Sweepstakes Winner, Steve Albini – Judge from Roland, and Willard
Palmer III, 1st Keyboard

The 2012 JamFest Winners: 
1st Place – 13 Year Old Edwin DeLeon who won a free Hohner Corona II donated by Hohner.
2nd Place – 13 Year Old Anthony Castillo who won a free Roland Fr18 donated by Roland.

Sweepstakes Winner – Top Honors and Recipient of Sweepstakes Trophy AND $500 Scholarship went to 17 Year Old Yesenia Garcia

The goal is to unite the Accordion World of keyboard, button & Cajun Zydeco players and promote MORE than just solo artists!

Winners in other categories were:
5 yr olds - 1st Place Button Solo - Mia Montemayer [Photo of Mia & Ethan – 1st place winners under 9 with organizer Shelia Lee
9 & Under - 1st Place Button Solo – Ethan Hernandez, 2nd Place  - Samantha Montez- 3rd Place Alex Gomez
Over 10 yrs old - 1st Place Keyboard Solo – Eliliano Himari - 2nd Place – Kane Rodriguez, 3rd Place – Juan Martinez
Over 12 yrs old - 1st Place Button Solo – Anthony Catillo  
Over 16 yrs old - 1st Place Button Solo – Yesenia Garcia, 2nd Place – Tie Rene Montes Jr. & Miguel Chavez Jr.,  3rd Place  - Brenda Martinez
Over 21 yrs old – 1st Place Cajun Solo – Christine Garbs, 2nd Place - Maryjean Sargent
Over 40 yrs old - 1st Place Keyboard Solo – Brian Berkin, 2nd Place – Megumi Hada, 3rd Place Ann Sliter
Over 69 yrs old – 1st Place Chromatic Solo – Willard Palmer III, 2nd Place – Tom Bassett 

Photo of JamFest Winners: L to r – Tatiana, Miguel, Edwin, Yesenia, & Anthony)

Future plans include holding the competition 3 times a year in different cities with San Antonio as the early summer location. The goal is to unite the accordion world of keyboard, button & Cajun Zydeco players and promote solo artists and groups. Check future issues of the USA news for more details.

For further information: slee@shelialee.com

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Comment by brian.berlin on December 16, 2012 at 6:33pm

It was a lot of fun!  Thanks for all the work that went into the competition and thanks to the judges and sponsors!!!

I hope to bring in more Cajun and Zydeco folks next time PLUS my Pearland kids!

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