Accordion History of Rob and Cherie Patterson Part 1

Both of Rob’s parents play the accordion. In fact, they met each other through their participation with the Larry Pino Conservatory, which is also how Rob met Cherie!

Rob started to play just before his sixth birthday, and he initially drove his parents crazy with how often he was practicing. That soon wore off!

He moved through the progressive levels at the studio, and eventually entered the Junior Symphony, followed by the Senior Symphony and then Senior Ensemble. Rob said:

"The accordion was a large part of my life, and Thursdays were sacred – that was the night that the accordion orchestras met for rehearsal at Larry’s studio in Holladay."

Growing up, Rob’s parents would drop him off at his grandparents, who lived nearby, while they both went to work at the studio on Thursday evenings. When he was old enough to be in the orchestra, they would spend the evening at the studio.

Rob told me that there were several people that he looked at as role models in the orchestra while he was growing up, although he couldn’t remember all of their names anymore. Among those were advanced players like Yvonne Arndt, Garry & Mindy Garff, the Dahl sisters Evan & Annette, and Steve Mori. Rob also really enjoyed listening to Paul, especially with his electronic music, and he always wished that his dad would get him an Elkavox, but that never happened! Ironically, Cherie’s dad did buy her one, but she didn’t really want it. To this day, Cherie remains an accordion “purist”!

It was the accordion that fostered Rob’s love for classical music. In the Senior Symphony, they would always do a Symphonic work as they prepared for accordion competition at AFNA or AAA. He remembers initially finding it quite boring – especially since the part he received as a junior member of the Symphony had a lot of rests, but he still remembers one night, while sitting in rehearsal, just being in awe of the interaction of all the parts going on around him. If he remembers correctly, they were doing the 4
th movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony that year.

Rob taught himself to play the piano in his teen years, based on his many years of accordion lessons. The most difficult part, as one might imagine, was getting his left hand to play the keyboard, and then, the next difficult thing was getting an even touch, as touch really matters much more on the piano than on the accordion. A little more than 14 years ago, he was asked to learn the organ at church, and has been one of two or three organists in his congregation playing for Sacrament services every other week since then. He found that as an accordionist, playing the organ seemed more natural with touch not mattering at all, but it took him a little while to get comfortable playing the pedals with his feet!

He was excited when he was finally able to buy a Concerto. He had found the Concerto just through web searches, and reconnected with Paul once he realized who was making the instrument! He has also had the opportunity to be a small part of the development team for the newest model (DA300), and enjoys bringing his programming and musical skills together. He plays mostly for himself, but does participate in a band at work, and he has the opportunity every now and then to play at family events, especially on Christmas Eve while the kids sing and dance around the tree waiting for Santa to arrive!