Henry Doktorski
Organist Accordionist Composer Conductor Author Educator
Performing and Teaching in Alaska
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
Doktorski performs for the "Meet the Guest Artists" Sunday afternoon concert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Charles Davis Concert Hall. Photo by Sundi O'Mara.

Henry Doktorski served on the music faculty at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus for two weeks during July 2005 as instructor of accordion.

The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, founded in 1980, is a study-performance festival held annually on the beautiful University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The curriculum includes classes in music (strings, guitar, woodwinds, brass, celtic and classical harp, classical and world percussion, voice, choral, fundamentals of music, and now accordion), dance, theater, opera theater, story telling, creative writing, healing arts, visual arts, and ice skating.

Doktorski taught three classes -- Beginning Button-Box Accordion, Beginning Piano-Accordion, and Intermediate Piano-Accordion -- which met every weekday evening from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. The classes were so popular (about forty students enrolled, and some travelled great distances from Ohio, Florida, California, and Arizona to attend) that the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper published a half-page article about the classes in their July 21 issue. To read the article, Click Here.

Special guest 83-year-old Karl Carlson, a long-time Fairbanks resident and professional accordionist, lectured and performed for the classes on Thursday July 21.

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
The Beginning Button Box class performs at the Fairbanks Elks Lodge.
Photo by Richard Duke.

The highlight of the Festival for the accordion students may have been the free ninety-minute concert presented on the stage of the Fairbanks Elks Lodge on Wednesday evening, July 24th for the pleasure of patrons and guests. All three classes performed, and the more advanced students, such as Gerald Sudkamp, Elaine Andalora, Christine Upton, Marlene Bubenicek Bach, and Antonio Marcantonio performed solo pieces. The distinguished guest of honor, Karl Carlson, also performed. To read students' comments, Click Here.

Doktorski was also a featured performer at FSAF faculty concerts, and performed Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5 and his own Theme and Variation on Richard Roger's "Edelweiss" at the Sunday afternoon July 17th "Meet the Guest Artists" concert. He also performed his own arrangment of Clarinet Polka at the July 18 "Lunch Bites" noon concert.

Doktorski was especially honored to be chosen to be the headliner at the Friday night July 22 formal recital at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Charles Davis Concert Hall. At this concert he performed J. S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C Major (BWV 553) on the University's 66-stop three-manual 1982 Gress-Miles organ (the largest pipe organ in the State of Alaska), and Guido Deiro's vaudeville hit, My Florence waltz, on his 1978 Victoria accordion.

Jo Ryman Scott, the founder and producing director of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, explained, "It was our pleasure to have Henry as one of our 90+ guest artists at our Festival this summer. Adding accordion to our lists of studies was suggested a year ago by a local accordionist, Elaine Andaloro, and we had people coming from all over to study and perform with Henry. He was a great teacher and performer."

For information about the 2006 Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, visit the Festivalís web site at http://www.fsaf.org/ or contact Jo Ryman Scott at:

      Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
      P.O. Box 80845
      Fairbanks, Alaska 99708

      Phone: (907) 474-8869
      E-mail: festival@alaska.net

Students' Comments

Beginning Button-Box
    This class has been great! The format has been easy going which is good for the rank beginner (me). I've been inspired to practice and the progress has been noted.

    This class is a long time coming! The instructor's style of teaching and personality is conducive to learning how to play the instrument. I didn't think I'd be already playing pieces by the first week, but viola--it happened!

    Henry plays well, has a great sense of humor and made it enjoyable.

    I have no background in any kind of music, and have no experience with music teachers. I do feel however that Henry has done a very good job as beginning accordion instructor. He is interesting, knowledgable and engaging.

    Phenomenal, wonderful, inspiring class! Great pace for the wee beginner like myself. The breakdown of elements to playing this lovely thing is perfect: the "C" row, the bass/chord rows, and then the piecing things together, enough of a challenge for decent practice without being an overwhelming taks.

    Not just a task: just fantastic!

    This accordion class has been thoroughly enjoyable. The instructor is knowledgable and teaches very well. The learning environment is fun and productive. Henry has been helpful and patient with the beginning students. This has truly been a great experience!

    Henry's ability to deal with a large class of varying skill levels (and a wide variety of instruments in different keys!) is excellent. This is a fun class and I hope Henry is able to return next year.

    Wonderful beginning to my "music career." I look forward to our daily classes. Henry is a great musician and has given me the desire to keep practicing. My only disappointment is the short time we have learning during the two weeks.

    I was reluctant to take up button-box because the button-box friends of mine totally rely on a cryptically stamped notation which severely limits what we can play as a group of mixed accordion and button-box players. I am very pleased that Henry teaches button-box by solfege syllables (do-re-mi) and not the traditional button-box tabulature notation. His method is better suited I think to improvising and playing by ear.

Beginning Piano-Accordion

    Excellent class! I'm amazed at how much progress we've made. Enjoyed the instructor's stories of accordion history and his playing.

    The class has been very enjoyable. The teaching is effective and fun. I never thought I'd progress as fast as I am.

Intermediate Piano-Accordion

    Having Henry Doktorski at FSAF is a real treat! The opportunity to study with such an accomplished musician who has a passion for this instrument is rare indeed.

    I took all three classes of Henry Doktorski, and I am impressed by how much I learned, as well as the remarkable progress of the three classes. Henry teaches well to all levels of learners' experiences and backgrounds. (I am a beginner in button-box, an intermediate in piano-accordion.) Some people in the beginning button-box class read music, some don't. He prepared by hand music that we all could use!

    Henry was firm in his expectations of behavior and held us to high standards of learning and practice. He was well prepared and at the same time open to surprise, avoiding the rigidity that can come with good solid plans.

To see more photos of the Fairbanks accordionists, Click Here.

For booking information and teaching inquiries
see Contact Henry Doktorski.


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