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1st Public Concert Performance Of The Midi Concertina

Rob Howard

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The following event takes place in Stockport, England (submitted by Rob Howard):-


Stockport Accordion Club Newsletter – Special Edition February 2006

President: Johnny Coleclough Vice Presidents: John Nixon & Walter Perrie SAC meets every Tuesday at the St John Ambulance Brigade HQ, Edgeley Road, Cheadle Heath, Stockport (Junctions 1 or 2, M60). MDs: Peter Whiteley (SAC Band, 7 to 8.30 pm) & Brian Jenkins (SAC Orchestra, 9 to 10.30 pm).


World Premiere Performance of the MIDI Concertina!!!


John Nixon takes the concertina into the 21st Century!!


Stockport AC Makes History!


On Tuesday February 28th we are holding a special Club Night concert, at which our Vice President John Nixon will demonstrate the extensive possibilities of a concertina with MIDI facilities. Using a concertina made in 1859 by the great Charles Wheatstone himself, this is truly an historic meeting of original and modern technology! The midified concertina can faithfully reproduce a mind-boggling variety of instrumental sounds.

John has this to say: “I purchased an old Wheatstone English Concertina from a friend of Jack Emblow and although the instrument would play, it was only suitable as a ‘prop’ for actors to use on T.V. I removed all the reeds and the BBC used it in a number of programmes that I performed in.

It remained in my studio decorating a wall until I met Roy Whiteley who had been ‘revitalizing’ some old instruments and he offered to rebuild my instrument and incorporate a ‘midi’ conversion.

The initial idea was to have an outlet from midi to connect to my 5-octave Yamaha keyboard but I asked him to consider the inclusion of a miniature unit, if available, inside the concertina. He found a unit from France and that was fitted to make a very neat self-contained conversion to Midi.

The Wheatstone was made in 1859 and I am certain that Charles Wheatstone would have approved of this development had he been around to see it.

I now have a choice of 48-instrument sounds with a choice of reverb effects and vibrato on/off etc., all on board the one small treble English Concertina.

This will be the 1st appearance of a midified Concertina in an accordion club, and almost certainly the first concert type performance of this new type of instrument anywhere.”

John Nixon is amongst the greatest concertina players around, and has worked with the likes of Jack Emblow, Frank Marocco, Harry Hussey, George Martin, Michel Legrande, Paul McCartney, Marcel Azzolla, Barbara Streisland and Henry Mancini. We are privileged to have John as our Vice President and as our friend.

So, on February 28th at SAC, we are making history in more ways than one. The concert begins at 8pm, and we are at the St John Ambulance Brigade HQ, Edgeley Road, Cheadle Heath. Admission is £4. Support players are welcome – bring your instruments.


Rob Howard (0161 480 8858); email: robaccord5@hotmail.com

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Sorry but you are not the first. There was a chap at Whitby Folk Week about 3 years ago played a midi english at the Folk Church service.....


... although this new midi concertina sounds like a more "comprehensive" beast from the description.

Edited by Peter Brook
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The instrument that you saw at Whitby was a prototype MIDI concertina being played by Bill Whaley to accompany his singing partner Dave Fletcher. And that would have been about 3 years ago when they played for the Folk Festival service.


That prototype instrument has now developed into the S-Wave Instruments E64 English MIDI Concertina with the result that the 'Purple People Pleaser', as it became known, has been retired and Bill is now playing a production instrument. This instrument has been mentioned in a number of threads in this forum but if you wish to know more then please visit the S-Wave Instruments website at http://www.s-wave.co.uk.


If you wish to know more about Bill and Dave then their website can be found at http://www.whaleyfletcher.co.uk.


Oh yes, I'm not claiming that this was the first MIDI concertina either, as I have heard tales of one or two previous attempts to MIDI-fy concertinas, although I don't know if these ever made it on to a stage.


Dean Onyon

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