2016 Las Vegas International Accordion Convention

Henry performs at the 2016 Las Vegas International Accordion Convention. Photo by Heidi Petrikat.

August 8, 2016: Henry Doktorski performed during the opening night concert at the 17th annual Las Vegas International Accordion Convention in the Grand Ballroom of the Gold Coast Casino/Resort.

Henry said, “It was a real thrill to perform for the appreciative audience at the Las Vegas Accordion Convention. I played three pieces, Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Johannes Brahms, Celestina Polka by Pietro Deiro, and my own Theme and Variation on Richard Rodgers’ Edelweiss. My mother and father were in the audeince. Before my final number, I told the crowd, ‘If you enjoy the music I’m playing, you should thank my parents, who sometimes had to use firm measures to get me to practice when I was a boy.’ Then I asked Mom and Dad to stand up and the audience gave them a hearty ovation. After the concert, at least one person approached my parents and said, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Doktorski, I’m glad you made your son practice when he was a boy!’ This was my first appearance at the annual Las Vegas International Accordion Convention, and I’m sure it will not be my last. I am especially indebted to Paul Pasquale, the founder and organizer of this popular and well-attended event.”

I finally met one of my heroes: accordionist Joey Miskulin, who at the age of thirteen in 1962, joined the Frankie Yankovic polka band and toured and recorded with him all over the world. Today he plays jazz and composes music for Disney. I gave his son-in-law, Brian O'Boye, accordion lessons when he was in 8th grade nearly twenty years ago at the City Music Center at Duquesne University when I was on the faculty there. Joey played (and sang) in a quartet of accordion, tenor saxophone, upright bass and drums, for about an hour. His performance was the high point (and headliner) for the concert. I was thrilled to help “warm up” the crowd before his unforgettable performance.

With Bill Merlin Palmer—the son of the great classical accordionist and educator Willard A. Palmer (1917-1996), his wife Julie Palmer, and Joey Miskulin.

My mother, father and I met Count Guido Roberto Deiro—the son of the great Vaudeville accordionist Guido Deiro (1886-1950)—during an informal visit at a Las Vegas Denny’s restaurant.