Henry’s former student featured in accordion newsletter

Brian O’Boyle.

October 2021: Henry’s former student, Brian O’Boyle, was featured in the October 2021 newsletter for the Petosa Accordion Company. The fourteen-year-old eighth-grader began studying accordion with Henry in April 1998 (his first lesson was April 23rd) when Henry served as the Instructor of Accordion at the City Music Center at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As noted in the newsletter, Brian indicated that his studies with Henry taught him “the importance of tastefulness and expression in music,” and “to take the accordion seriously and practice hard,” which enabled him “to develop and progress as a musician.”

After high school, Brian studied at Duquesne University where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sound Recording and a Master’s Degree in Multimedia Studies. Brian continued playing accordion (both piano accordion and button box accordion), and received a partial scholarship to play accordion (and other instruments) in the award-winning Duquesne University Tamburitzans international folk music and dance ensemble. During his four years with the Tamburitzans, Brian played about ten different instruments, some which he taught himself how to play. After graduate school, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and married the daughter of the famous accordionist Joey Miskulin. Brian played in the Klancnik and Friends Slovenian and Cleveland-style polka band, which in 2017 won “Band of the Year” at the Polka Hall of Fame. That same year, Brian won the Eric Stehle award for “Sideman of the Year.”

Henry noted, “Brian was a diligent and thoughtful student, and he practiced his lessons! I recall he studied with me for a couple years. Sometimes we had our lessons at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Pittsburgh when I worked as Director of Subtitles for the Pittsburgh Opera. He and his family attended Sunday mass at Saint Sebastian when I served there as music director, organist and choir director, and I recall he played his trumpet for holy day festivals. I am quite proud of Brian, and am honored that he remembered our studies together from more than two decades ago! Congratulations, Brian!”

Young Brian O’Boyle (c. 2001). Photo courtesy David and Mary Ellen O’Boyle