Accordions…better for the soul than you might know

Most of you probably didn’t know that today is the 154th anniversary of the first accordion patent.  Nary a one of you even cares.  But I do.  I have one.   And today I was chaperoned to the WHO Radio Studio in Des Moines to join 12 other accordion aficionados to celebrate this important day. See the video clip here!  For those of you who don’t know me I am the eighth player..right after the woman in the red shirt and just before the woman who was truly good!

You locals know of Van and Bonnie’s morning show on WHO.   They thought it would be a fun idea to invite anyone within earshot of their 50,000 watt signal to come to the studio at 6:30 a.m. on January 13th to commemorate this day.  A gracious friend picked me up at 5:30 a.m. in 4 below weather. 

At the studio we joined with 12 others who were nuts enough to get out on a sub-zero Tuesday.  One woman drove in 90 miles from Audubon.  Another from north of Marshalltown.   One of our mix included former gubernatorial candidate Ed Fallon.  There was a lawyer from Urbandale, a 15 year old kid from West Des Moines, and a man who said he owned 20 accordions.  Yes 20. 

Upon further questioning he said that he and his wife had added a 15 X 30 addition to their home to house all of their instruments.  It was a hoot.  Each one of us went to the microphone, stated our name, where we were from, and did some other brief bantering.  Then, we each played briefly into the microphone for thousands of people to hear and enjoy.

The thing I like about the accordion is that it is the great equalizer.  It brings a smile to both young and old.  There is no doubt in my mind but that thousands of people commuting to work on this bitter morning wore visible smiles as they heard this glorious instrument being played. 

We must be clear on this. I don’t really know how to play mine. My dad gave it to me when I was about 10 or so.  His dad bought it new for him as a teenager and he never really learned how to play it.  I think he always felt a little guilty for not becoming more proficient at it, for even back in the early 40’s these things cost hundreds of dollars.

Well, I always liked the thing.  Dad taught me the three cords and the one song he knew.  In the ensuing 35 years I have gone on to learn an additional two chords.  Fortunately, I can play the piano so the vertical piano part is no problem…it’s all those buttons on the other side that vex me.  Sadly this instrument remains in my office at church as it has been permanently exiled from our home.  

However, the good thing about this exile is that I play it more often than I did previously.  Last year I taught the younger children at our church some of the Westminster Shorter Catechism by putting the answers to simple accordion tunes I made up.  They still remember the answers!  And, I occasionally bring it out for Christmas carols.

Love ’em or hate ’em you have to admit that accordions make you smile.  And if you are hard of hearing this is you instrument of choice.  So keep the jokes coming.  I am immune.  The folks in my church are relentless…for thirteen years relentless.  I was even given a t-shirt that says “I Love Accordions.” So if you have a great accordionjoke please share it with us all.


…Other miscellanies

  • You may have noticed that the title of my blog has been changed again.  Who wants to get a wake up to a blog a few times a week that is titled someones brain problem?  Not me.  I was about ready to un-subscribe to my own blog.  So after much thought it has been changed to the eye popping title that it now is.


  • Sunday evening I wrote the posting that went out Monday morning.  Early Monday morning I decided to change a few things on it thinking that the automatic bulk emailing happened at 7:00 a.m.  Instead it sent it out at 6:54 a.m.  I revised a few things, including more comments on the movie Seven Pounds.  I also re-titled the posting “Why chimps can’t talk….”

I’m serious.  Let me hear your best accordion jokes!  Some of us can use a good laugh today.


6 thoughts on “Accordions…better for the soul than you might know”

  1. Actually Mike, when I heard on the 5 PM news about the morning event on Van and Bonnie with the accordion players. I wondered if you and “Old Faithful” were there. However, they went to break before the story and I had supper to fix for Bob. I have no jokes for you. When I was 6-8, I grew up in Storm Lake, IA. I have very fond memories of accordions and accordion players.I remember my mom telling me how much skill it took to play it, for some reason. I can’t remember if I briefly took lessons or if it was a popular pastime in Storm Lake during the late 1950s and early 60s. I never laughed at you playing it at Christmas, I laughed at all the jokes and Karla’s facial expressions. She is a hoot when you bring your “old friend” out to play! I think it’s great for you to have this fun break at the office. God bless you, I’ll be laughing all day over this and trying to figure out how to hear it on-line. Donna


  2. What do you call ten accordions at the bottom of a lake?? A good start :). Have a question the picture for your blog where is this taken from?


  3. Hi Mike,
    Well, I did forget about you and your accordian. Guess that might have been on purpose. I did find some jokes for you. Not sure what you have heard. So here it goes.
    What’s the difference between an accordian and a Macaw? One is loud, obnoxious and noisy, the other is a bird.

    What’s a definition of a gentlemen? Someone who knows how to play the accordian and doesn’t.

    When does an accordian player sound the best? When the tune is over.

    and lastly, What do you get when you toss an accordian off a tall building? Applause.

    Have a great day Mike
    God bless you. Kathy


  4. Have your sister ask my uncle Larry Sears (auctioneer) about his accordian. I don’t know its early history, but by the time I was a kid, it was in my grandparents’ attic and the cousins would sneak up there and play it until finally the buttons were pushed in too far and it quit working.



  5. What did people say when the ship loaded with accordions sank in the ocean?
    Well, it’s a start.

    What’s the difference between an accordion and a cat?
    Only the cost, they both make the same kinds of sounds when you squeeze them.

    The song most requested of accordionists?
    Can you play Far, Far Away.

    How do you make two accordionists play in time?
    Shoot one of them.

    What’s the difference between an accordion and a trampoline?
    You take your shoes off before you jump up and down on a trampoline.

    What do a true music lover and an accordionist have in common?
    Absolutely nothing.

    These were found at:

    I actually love the accordian and wish I owned one to be honest! But sadly I don’t…


  6. I am a parent of a fellow Davidson YS and have enjoyed reading your blog. Your unwaivering faith and optimism are inspiring (hey– “unwaivering faith” or “walking in the valley with a smile” seem like more appropriate blog titles). Thanks for your infectious good outlook. As per your request here are a few accordion jokes.

    What’s the range of an accordion?
    A: Twenty yards if you’ve got a good arm!

    Q: What’s the difference between an onion and an accordion?
    A: No-one cries when you chop up an accordion.

    Q: What’s the difference between an accordion player and a terrorist?
    A: Terrorists have sympathisers.

    Q: What’s the definition of perfect pitch?
    A: When an accordion is thrown down the toilet without it touching the sides.

    Q: What’s the difference between an accordion and a concertina?
    A: The accordion takes longer to burn.

    Q: How do you protect a valuable instrument?
    A: Hide it in an accordion case.

    Q. What’s the difference between an accordion and a macaw?
    A. One is loud, obnoxious and noisy; the other is a bird.

    Q. Why did the chicken cross the road?
    A. To get away from the accordion recital.

    Q. What is the best thing to play on an accordion ?
    A. A flame thrower.

    Q. What’s the difference between an accordion and a trampoline?
    A. You should take your shoes off before jumping on a trampoline.

    (Dana, thank you for your kind words, your good jokes [especially the one about terrorists and accordions], and your good blog title suggestions. I especially liked the “walking in the valley with a smile” suggestion! Mike Evans)


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