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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy 2012!

The year 2011 was a full one! A lot of life happened. I had loved ones pass on, friends gave birth to new beautiful bundles of life, and I myself felt a transformation. I had the opportunity to travel quite a bit, and share the ride with a loving partner. I was able to spend a lot of time with the accordion, and have it take me on a wild ride, sharing smiles along the way.

"Auld lang syne" is melancholic, but it feels right for what I have to reflect on.

Wishing you all the happiest of new years! Good health, love and happiness to you all! xo Natasha aka Accordion Girl

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 of 2011

A year end tradition for me, for several years now, has been listing my top 10 gigs of that year. It's nice to reflect on what the year brought me, what kind of events I was involved with, and who I met along the way. Music and performance feeds the soul, and connects you to others, in such a beautiful way. This year was a full one, full of gifts in many shapes, and with those gifts I leave 2011 breathing a lot clearer then any year prior to this one.  

10. This is Twisted Theatre


I took part in the December edition of "This is Twisted Theatre", which is a great new theatre company in Victoria, British Columbia. Made up of a handful of talented folk, I had a great time doing my own monologues and acting in shared skits.


9. Christmas at Craigdarroch


Singing and dancing around with kids, while playing my accordion, in a beautifully decorated heritage mansion at Christmas time! Lucky me :) Thank you for having me, Craigdarroch!


8. Enchanted Halloween


I loved this event. It was suitably named for it was quite an Enchanted world that was created at the Heritage Acres. I loved dropping into a storybook setting and playing for families all dressed up in Halloween costumes!


7. Moon Lantern Festival


ICA Victoria does such a great job with family and community events, utilizing lanterns and the outdoors. This event was at the end of the summer, right when it finally heated up! I remember all the guests were in great spirits, and the lantern displays were all a-glow.


6. The Great Giffoni Magic Show - The Big Time Out Festival


The Big Time Out Festival was crazy! Everyone there was having a good ol' time, stomping around in a huge dusty field, dancing to a mix of music I hadn't heard in a longggg time...

Two performances in one day, I met several handfuls of awesome people and ran into some friends there too. Performing a magic show, with The Great Giffoni, always leaves me with a good story to tell. A good time the Big Time Out was, AND what better response is there while driving out from the festival and through a road-block and informing the Police "I'm coming from a magic show, Officer. I've got a chicken and bunny in the backseat too"?


5. The Fall of the House of Usher


Who wouldn't enjoy the pleasure of dying, being dead in a coffin, coming back to life, giving birth, and then murdering your own twin - all in one night?

The cast and crew were a pleasure as well, and performing in a life-like "Haunted Mansion" (one of my favourite Disney rides) had us all doing a fantastically ghoulish job of this Poe tale.


4. YMCA-YWCA Annual Family Christmas Party


Performing for families and children is always a good time. This Christmas party at the YMCA-YWCA of Greater Victoria was a blast! What a fabulous little group of kids I met that day!


3. The Grand Canyon 


This was a fun photo shoot/performance. Apparently seeing one of the world's wonders isn't enough for some. I became a part of the attraction, and Mr. Stone had plenty of photographic company as tourists, and visitors all had their cameras aimed at me as well.

Holding over 20 pounds of bellows, keys, buttons and reeds while wearing high-heeled patent leather boots isn't easy... did I make it look easy? I was about 3 feet from the edge in this photo, and that fear simmered down the second I had some man chat me up about Weird Al.

No offence, Weird Al! I wish you well in your career! Being pigeonholed with the guy that sang "Eat it" while experiencing one of the most exhilarating landscapes isn't my idea of awesome. I forgave the man that had to tell me all about how he won Weird Al concert tickets, and continued on with my romance with the canyon.


2. The Time Jumpers






Have you ever had your mind blown? My visit to Nashville, Tennessee did just that. Seeing true musicianship, talent, and comradery on stage is something the regulars of The Station Inn get to experience weekly. Hands down the BEST intimate live venue music performance I have ever seen.

The Time Jumpers are made up of 11 members. Fiddle players, guitars, bass, slide, singers, and of course the ACCORDION all make up this band. When the three fiddle players played in unison - it felt like you had sliced into butter. That's the best way I can describe it, so I hope that makes sense! Everyone on stage was having just a great of a time as those off-stage watching.

My friend Bob, who lives in Nashville, introduced me to The Station Inn, along with the great accordion player Jeff Taylor, as well as Vince Gill and Ranger Doug. If I could live in Nashville, I WOULD BE THERE RIGHT NOW.


1. The Ziti Sisters 




With over 1200 shows performed while at Walt Disney World, it's tough to pick out the best ones. This job was truly magical, and I'll remember it forever. I was the first "Katia Ziti", and I had a wild ride being her over the year I was performing in "The Ziti Sisters".

I miss seeing the children every day at work, having them run up to me and hug my poofy dress and dance around with me. I also think about the children that weren't always feeling that well, and watched the show from a wheelchair - and I wish them good health. The biggest joy of the job was meeting all the children every day, but the best part would be seeing a child, who was not in good health, smile because of our performance.

It was challenging to live in a different country and culture, to feel so outside of the world you're now a part of and to keep your wits about you, but that experience alone is invaluable. We need to keep ourselves on the edge of our comfort zones, if it scares you you probably should do it! You'll only grow from it! And, if you get a chance - live completely out of your comfort zone for a year!

I often think about the regular park guests that frequented our show, the Italian employees that would wave at us from the gift shops, the restaurant owners and managers who loved to chat us up backstage, and how surreal it would get when you'd be waving 'hello' to Mickey Mouse or getting a hug from Pluto while walking backstage. Hopping on the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom and riding my favourite rides over and over again... Experiencing the best fireworks of my life (I'm ruined now when it comes to firework displays!), and so many quality musical, vocal, dance and comedic performances, but also getting to be a part of one!


That is the end of my Top 10 list. I'm looking forward to 2012, and seeing where saving the world with the accordion takes me next :)




Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Greetings, xo Accordion Girl


Thank you to everyone that follows my blog, and supports me as I "Save the world with the Accordion"! I hope this festive season brings you everything you hoped for!

Sending out a big hug and kiss to my friends and family, and wishing you all good health and love :)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a very festive winter Solstice!

xo Accordion Girl

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Hoppity Holidays!


Photo courtesy of Craigdarroch Castle
How have you been spending your time over the holidays?

Well, yesterday I spent it playing my accordion while singing and dancing around (hoppity dance party!!) with some fun kids at Craigdarroch Castle, who then all gave me big hugs and I even got a gift from one of them: a delicious candy cane that matched my striped stockings! Doesn't get any better than that, no?


I've been furiously baking as well, because I am attempting a homemade-thoughtful-and baked-with-love-Christmas. Things are going well, although my oven seems to run hotter then what is on the knob, allowing me to scorch the first batch of everything I bake. Yay!

I think I've watched almost every holiday movie as well, leaving the original "Christmas Carol" and "It's a wonderful life" to wait until Christmas Eve. I love Christmas music, and have all 6 "Santastic" albums on full rotation, along with the Vince Guaraldi Trio and Elvis Presley's Christmas albums.

Meanwhile, evening enjoyment is happening too. Christmas light gawking/driving through your neighbourhood slowly, checking out the trees in the Empress Hotel, and buck-a-shuck with friends. $1 oysters are good anytime of year though.

I guess I sound like a sap, "How interesting, this accordion chick is having a happy time. I want more posts with rants about Orlando, or how everyone spells accordion "accordian", or how drunk people suck when you're a musician". Well I'm sorry, I'm really glad to be back in my home town for Christmas, so I'm full of freaking joy. Plus, since fully realizing *just how* cynical Canadians can be, my return to this country has left me relaxed. I no longer have to be the whistle blower, the politically correct-corrector, the authority questioner, or the human rights activist; I can sit back and let the rest of this country do that while I play my accordion and have dance parties with little kids.

What have you been up to?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Accordion Girl Christmas Videos!!

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Merry Festivus!

Here is a selection of Accordion Girl videos from over the years (my, how I've grown and so many different accordions had been used! Where did I get all these squeeze boxes??), with the newest video addition "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer":




It was such a gorgeous day in Cocoa Beach! It was pretty special to have your toesies in the warm sand, and splashing through the Atlantic Ocean in December!!


I LOVE ELVIS!


Yikes :S


Yay!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

'Tis the season!


Today's performance was very special! I entertained a wonderful little audience at the YMCA-YWCA of Greater Victoria, for their Annual Family Christmas Party. Myself and many little smiling faces came together and sang festive songs, and the little ones listened as I read them a story... AND... what's a an Accordion Girl hang out without a HOPPITY DANCE PARTY! Ya!
A big THANK YOU to the YMCA-YWCA of Greater Victoria for having me, and to the little cuties who partied with me :)

 
Artwork by Silent James
For those who don't know, this is Silent James:

www.silentjames.com



Being back on the west coast of Canada has given me a reverse culture shock... still! Perspective is priceless, and everyone should spend at least a few months living outside of their home country. Something I am still adjusting to after my time living in Orlando FL is the sense of neighbourliness, and friendly human interaction. I think we could learn a lesson in comradery from our American neighbours. People are more friendly in the USA, in general, but especially down south. Things were very social backstage at Disney, and you would always say 'hello' to whoever you ran into.


'Tis the season to have your festive spirit tampered by disgruntled, cranky west coasters! C'mon people! Cheer UP! Hold the door for each other, be kind! There is much to be thankful for here. We're surrounded by the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the climate is actually LIVEABLE. We whine about the rain, and before you know it there are daffodils popping up and cherry blossoms dancing through the streets.

Enjoy this festive season, is the message I'm trying to get across... and to eat lots of gingerbread and marzipan, and have hoppity dance parties!



Monday, December 5, 2011

And what a weekend it was...

 

This past weekend kicked off the Christmas season for me. There was a magic show, with The Great Giffoni, I watched a performance of "The Nutcracker" which was an extremely wonderful feast for the eyes. I jumped over to a staff Christmas party, photographed an intimate wedding at a bed and breakfast, and then a fun night of performing in This is Twisted Theatre!

"This is Twisted Theatre is a new, forward thinking collaborative theatre company, here in Victoria BC! Fresh performances brought to you on the first Sunday of every month, This is Twisted Theatre guarantees a mix of locally written and produced comedic, dramatic, avant garde, but most of all entertaining theatre. The audience will have the pleasure of seeing a variety of mini plays, which carry on as a series on to the following months. This approach was created to allow young or developing playwrights the opportunity to incubate their ideas, and have an audience experience evolving story-lines from month to month!"

Find This is Twisted Theatre on Facebook and Twitter!

I got some personal enjoyment out of it by, once again, telling the world about how people can't spell ACCORDION... but also I had a great time with the cast, everyone was a pleasure to work with! Thank you for having me, This is Twisted Theatre!

What's up next: Entertaining children with holiday stories and sing-a-longs!


A few things I wanted to share:

I love the spirit in this song, and wanted to extend it to you, along with this list of "50 lessons I wish I had learned earlier". It's your life, follow your bliss :)

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