Before The Beatles took over the American music scene with their shaggy hair and guitar-driven British pop music in 1964, people tapped their feet to a different kind of instrument " one that's easily portable, always in tune and provides its own bass accompaniment: the accordion.
"Believe it or not, the accordion used to be the ultimate party instrument," said Jackie MaShore, former president of the Oklahoma Accordion Club and accordionist for Mountain Smoke, an eclectic bluegrass band.
But the once-popular squeezebox isn't on the endangered instrument list anymore. After decades of living in the shadow of the much-loved guitar, the accordion might be poised to make a comeback, and the Oklahoma Accordion Club is playing loud and clear to help spread the word.
On Sunday, the club will bring metro accordion players together for "The Big Squeeze," an all-accordion variety show at the University of Central Oklahoma Jazz Lab, 100 E. Fifth, in Edmond.
Along with local performers, "The Big Squeeze" will play host to a special musician from Springfield, Mo. Louise LeBrun began playing the accordion when she was 7 years old, learning the craft from the world's foremost concert accordionists, Anthony Galla-Rini.
After a three-decade hiatus from the instrument, LeBrun picked it up again in 2002. Now 87 years old, LeBrun puts on a show that would leave most teenagers out of breath.
"I stand up and get jiggy and dance around when I play," she said. "I remember one time after a performance, this young man came up to me and said, 'You play like a young girl.' I patted my heart and said, 'I am a young girl.'" "Lauren Parajon