Shirley Johnson ( www.Vjeverica.com ) has been singing, dancing, and performing music since she was 10 years old, when she started performing with Croatian groups in Pittsburgh, PA, since this is her heritage. She is comfortable performing as a soloist, often strolling while playing and singing Italian or French music, or in bands playing Celtic, Gypsy Jazz, Balkan, Polka/German, Klezmer, etc. music. Shirley’s musical career has taken her many places: playing the accordion at Czechoslovakian festivals, sing with the Duke University Chorale at Carnegie Hall in NYC and Disney World, and tour in Northern Spain. From 1992 to 1994, living in Rome, Italy, Shirley sang with the “Coro Misto” of “L’Accademia della Filarmonica, ” performing throughout Rome, including St. Peter’s Basilica, Italian radio and TV, and at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II’s “Papal Concert to Commemorate the Holocaust.”
Currently she lives in Austin, TX, and performs professional with “The Oom-Pahs” (Polka) and with “Julie Slim and RendezVous” (French Jazz). Shirley’s 3rd CD, “Dancing Angels,” features several of Austin’s finest musicians. She teaches accordion privately and is co-producer of the “Not Just OOM-PAH!” Accordion Concert and Workshop.
Megumi (Meg) Hada began studying the piano accordion in 2012 after she met Shelia Lee in her Pasadena, (near Houston) TX accordion shop. Meg studied with Shelia and also Mario Pedone . Receiving a scholarship to attend the 2015 Silver Fall Accordion Camp in Oregon opened the door to the accordion world and was a turning point for her. After being inspired by many accomplished accordionists and instructors at Silver Falls, she started attending many accordion events such as NAA, AAA, ATG Cotati and Las Vegas International Convention.
Meg specializes in playing tango music and is also an accomplished tango dancer. Currently she studies under Stas Venglevski and Mary Tokarski.
Meg is an organizer of the Houston Accordion Orchestra Retreat. She also promotes accordion concerts and workshops in Houston.
In November, 2021 she began composing for the accordion, having been inspired by an online workshop, “Introduction to Composing for Accordion” by Guy Klucevsek. She has released 4 books of her compositions in various style, including waltzes, tangos, marches and more introspective pieces based on classical music models. Each books is accompanied by a CD recording of the pieces by Stas Venglevski. You can hear full length recordings and purchase individual compositions on sheetmusicplus.com .
YouTube link Elegy (from Book 1, Voyage)
YouTube link Silhouette (from Book 2, One Thousand Messages)
Vimeo link Dance with your Shadow (from Book 3, Bamboo Pathway)
YouTube link Silver Moon (from Book 4, The Moon)
Laura Niland (Co-Administrator) is an accomplished accordionist of Jazz & European International Music. She is the President of the San Antonio Accordion Association and has ties to many Accordion Clubs and Associations throughout the US. Laura was the Concert & Convention Coordinator for the 2016 National Accordion Association. Convention. She is a retired mathematics educator of 34 years.
Laura is co-producer of the “Not Just OOM-PAH!” Accordion Concert and Workshop. www.NotJustOompah.org