Former Goondiwindi woman helping keep lost art alive

It's party time this weekend at Maclagan.
It's party time this weekend at Maclagan.

A former Goondiwindi girl is doing her bit to keep accordion traditions alive.

Joan van Kuijck is part of a group who love to dance, sing and celebrate.

As she says, not many people know that the tiny rural township of Maclagan, 80 km north-west of Toowoomba, holds the only accordion festival in Australia.

The local committee is busy preparing and setting up for the 17th festival which will be held on Saturday October 12 at the Maclagan Memorial Hall.

Twelve members of the Sydney accordion ensemble will be performing at the afternoon concert and again at the evening dance.

This orchestra group, known as 'Accordions Alfresco', has toured Austria, Germany, New Zealand and China, and shared the fun of playing and listening to the accordion with people all across Australia.

The Maclagan Squeezebox Festival is a major event on the annual southern Queensland musical calendar. Accordion players from 'all over' come to perform and there are visitors in the audience from every state in Australia.

Returning this year will be Mark Schuster, who has been involved with the festival since the very beginning. Mark has spent half a lifetime journeying the country discovering the once extensive cultural traditions of the accordion, zither and fiddle music brought to Australia by the early German immigrants.

Many new accordion players have confirmed their attendance including a group from a U3A class at Bundaberg, who will also perform at the afternoon concert, after the official opening by Qld LNP leader, Ms Deb Frecklington.

On Saturday, experienced accordion players will take the stage to provide the dance music, and all other instruments will join in the massive 'jam session' to provide variety, artistic colour and instrumental combination for the accordionists on stage.

Players should ring Joan on 0427170857 to register their interest, and visitors and spectators with general enquiries should ring Sherryl on (07) 4692 1265. More info on Facebook and at www.maclagansqueezeboxfestival.org