I thought it would be neat if folks here had a chance to tell stories about how, when, and why they decided to take up the concertina.
I guess I should start
I grew up in Berea, KY in the 1970's with a father on the music faculty. For those of you who don't know, Berea is a *hotbed* of English and Appalachian folk activity and tradition. Watching the Morris dancers (years before I was allowed to *be* one, but that's anohter story), there was always at least one concertina and one accordion around. I spent my high school and college years a huge fan of John Roberts and Tony Barrand, and always loved John's playing. I also spent my college summers at various Pinewoods dance weeks, again, lots of concertinas.
Concertinas were all around me while I was growing up.
Around me, that is, except at home. My dad being the band director and my mother with her own degree in music ed meant my parents could play anything -- except free reeds: concertinas, accordions, etc. I'm sure Freud would have a field day with my taking up the one instrument my parents DON'T play, lol, and there may be some forthought to that, yes. In spite of (or because of) this musical background, I never learned how to play any instrument, or learn how to sight-read.
I tried to learn concertina about 10 years ago and gave it up in my pursuit of a more stable (employed) life. Wish I hadn't given up.
Today, I am an addict! I hope that when new ph.d spouse gets a professor job somewhere, that there's a Morris team nearby! In the meantime, I'll work on Irish tunes and English and Irish folk song accompaniment.