After Alicia Baker and I completed the arduous negotiations establishing the terms upon which she would join us as an accordion instructor at Django in June—I believe it was 2 emails apiece—I asked her for some “fun facts” to include in her bio. Her response:
“I play accordion.”
I think we’re going to get along fine.
At Django in June this year we’re going to organize the accordion component slightly differently than we have in the past. One instructor (Sonny Barbato) will take the lead in the jazz improvisation department. Alicia will help in that area as needed, but her main focus will be on la musette and songs with vocals, both of the French chanson variety and standards from this side of the pond. Here she is performing a medley of musettes at the San Francisco Accordion Club meeting in July 2017. The first is “Rivalité Valse” composed by Lo Duca and Joseph Columbo. The second is the well-known “Sous le Ciel de Paris” (Under Paris Skies.)
Alicia has been playing the accordion since the age of 6. She has earned multiple music degrees from Oregon State University, one of which is in piano performance. Her repertoire spans a wide variety of musical genres including french musettes, jazz standards, gypsy jazz, Parisienne jazz, opera, folk songs, polkas, contemporary, classical, techno and popular hits throughout the decades. She has competed at and won multiple international accordion competitions, in addition to headlining major accordion festivals all around North America. Here’s a video filmed at one of them—the Kimberley International Old Time Accordion Championships (KIOTAC.) She and Canadian Michael Bridges chose “Tico Tico” for an encore and, by all appearances, had a blast.
Alicia’s other bachelor’s degrees are in vocal performance and choral education. She also holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from University of Colorado Boulder. That will make it a breeze to incorporate a chanson component to our accordion (and mixed-instrumentation) offerings this year. She’ll not only be able to help with the choice of repertoire and arranging of songs for vocal/accordion performance, but she is well qualified to assist with vocal technique as well. I look forward to hearing her (and you!) sing this with a rhythm section of live musicians out on the lawn at Django in June:
(I found a more recent, and better quality video of Alicia performing “C’est si bon” here, but couldn’t get it to embed for some reason. Try that one as well!)
PS. Alicia has been working with Roland corporation since 2009, when she competed in the International V-accordion Competition. She now serves as a full-time product specialist, demonstrator, and clinician on Roland digital pianos and V-accordions. So feel free to geek out with her on all things Roland over lunch.