The 2008 Pedone - Ballarini Accordion Cruise Report


Dear friend,

We just returned from an accordion cruise seminar aboard Carnival Cruiselines' Ecstacy. The cruise was arranged by instructors Nick Ballarini, Mario Pedone, and Shelia Lee. On board were several members of our Houston Bay Area Accordion Club and their spouses as well as other participants from Sugarland, Dallas, Austin, and Victoria, B.C.

The cruise was a great success as everybody had a good time. Not surprising when you have three of the best accordion instructors on board (including our own Shelia Lee!).

The highlight of the trip was when (thanks to the initiative of Shelia and Mark Ropel) we played as a group during "Talent Hour" for over 1,000 spectators aboard the ship. We played two songs: "That's Amore", which was a big hit, but "Beer Barrel Polka" brought the house down! Nothing like being accompanied by a thousand singing and cheering spectators in the audience!

Mark also had a good time jamming with a group of pro guitar players in one of the lounges one evening. Talk about being at the right place at the right time!

Several videos of the event were recorded, including one by the ship's staff. Gaylynn's recording seems to have the best sound quality so I plan to post it on You Tube as soon as it is edited and I'll send you a link so you can watch it.

See you at our next meeting on Feb. 13, which will be a "Valentine Day" meeting with love songs and audience vocal participation. "That's Amore" will be our featured jam song - plus others.

See you then.


Joe Brikha

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Hi Nick,
Enclosed please find a few souvenir pictures from the accordion cruise on the Caribbean. It was a memorable vacation and a learning experience. Thanks for teaching me the technics and the finer points of playing the accordion. We all enjoyed to listen to your music. Also appreciate the difficult work of organizing this complex cruise and still keeping your humor. Well done! Hope to see you soon, perhaps on another cruise, Bob


For more photos, click here !