Festhalle 2024 Performers
Festhalle Schedule (PDF) - Click Here
(Competition and Performance Schedule)
With a performance history spanning more than 29 years and having released 15 CDs, Pearl Django endures as one of the most highly regarded Hot Club style groups working today. Although the band’s roots are firmly in the music made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, its extensive repertoire includes traditional jazz classics and original compositions. Pearl Django has performed at festivals, dances, and nightspots throughout the U.S. and abroad. They have played at the prestigious Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois sur Seine and have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The band’s signature style is marked by pristine and dexterous string work, colors of Bal Musette, the steady pulse of rhythm guitar and an unmistakable swing that delights audiences of all musical sensibilities. Throughout the years, Pearl Django has cultivated a devoted and enthusiastic following and they continue to play to packed houses wherever they perform.
Received the Earshot, Golden Ear Award for "Northwest Acoustic Jazz Ensemble of the Year" 2018
Voted favorite area jazz band 2003, by Seattle Weekly readers!
“Pearl Django: The gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt done to perfection!”—Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times
Tim Lerch & Jim Char, Guitar; Michael Gray, Violin;
David Lange, Accordion; Rick Leppanen, Bass
Gary Blair and Robyn Hyland Duo
Gary Blair has been playing accordion from the age of 8 having been taught by his father Jimmy. A regular winner of competitions through the UK, Gary has been judging accordion competitions since 1982 and has adjudicated at many festivals around the world.
His accordion travels have included performances in the USA, Canada, Italy, France, Siberia, Korea, China, Russia, India, and the UAE.
Gary Blair and Robin Hyland have been performing together for a number of years now. The duo started when Robin contacted Gary for lessons. It didn't take Gary long to realize Robin had a gift for playing 2nd Accordion and invited him to join the Gary Blair Ceilidh band as 2nd Accordion player.
Among their performances are Carrefour Mondial De l'Accordéon (Quebec 2017), The Eastbourne Accordion festival (England), Faroe Islands accordion festival, Karlsson's music festival Sweden and at PIF Castelfidardo, Italy.
In 2024, they will again be performing at the Eastbourne Accordion festival and at Carrefour Mondial de l'Accordéon.
Toby Hanson and Lyle Schaefer Duo
(Verne and Steve Meisner Tribute)
Lyle Schaefer and Toby Hanson are each accomplished bandleaders and accordionists in their own right. Lyle started his professional career in the early 1970s, playing in restaurants and for various private establishments. Toby started much the same way twenty years later. Each of them has worked hard to hone their craft and bring out the fun and excitement inherent in every polka. Equally adept at either lead or second, Toby and Lyle switch off effortlessly to create a whirling flurry of notes, reminiscent of the finest accordion duos in the Cleveland-style tradition going all the way back to Yankovic and Pecon. Die-hard polka fans and newcomers alike will both love the polka stylings of Lyle and Toby.
The Northwest Accordionaires
Photo taken for the “World Accordion Tango Festival” in Victoria Canada.
The Northwest Accordionaires is an Accordion Orchestra comprised of 14 Accordions, plus Drums, Tuba, Bass, Vocals and Strings as well as other Orchestral Instruments depending on the requirements of the music from the era that is being performed. The Orchestra has performed in and around Seattle as well as Victoria, BC.
The members come from varied backgrounds, ranging from Engineers to Teachers.
Rehearsals are held on the Eastside. It has been in existence for 16 years. All the arrangements from Folk to popular Broadway tunes as well as Classical, are original and are penned by the Founder, Leader and Conductor Cooksie Kaserzon Kramer (A.T.C.L. L.T.C.L. A.B.C.A. L.B.C.A.). Originally from South Africa, she opened and ran the largest Music Studio in Johannesburg with three Accordion Orchestras, Junior, Intermediate and Advanced. Cooksie won the South African Accordion Championship and went to New York to represent South Africa and participate in the Coupe Mondiale in 1959 (check out her You-Tube Videos). She now resides in Kirkland, WA where she teaches Piano, Accordion and Organ. She is also the creator and President of the Eastside Jazz Club.
“We are very excited to be back on the stage in Leavenworth for LIAC”.
The Spokane Ensemble
The Spokane Accordion Ensemble is a unique blend of players with a common love of music and the accordion. We really enjoy being together – rehearsals are serious but fun, too. The Ensemble had its beginning many years ago in the fifties, founded by Ilmar Kuljus, and started out as a group of accordion teachers and their advanced students. Its members are a dedicated group – several travel up to two to three hours each way to attend weekly rehearsals. The Ensemble enjoys entertaining for a wide variety of audiences and their repertoire ranges from Bach to old standards, Broadway melodies, Movie themes, Pops Music, Americana, and yes – a couple of polkas! Our conductor for this performance is Beverley Fess from Canada.