Vincent Joseph Cirelli


Age 91, revered accordion craftsman, loving father, trusted friend to many, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, September 29, 2012. Vincent, the son of Italian immigrants, born on December 21, 1920, grew up in the North Beach area of San Francisco. There he began learning the art of accordion building, developing skills as a young boy that he perfected throughout his lifetime. His talent, coupled with a warm hearted, sincere demeanor, garnered him the respect and adoration of many who crossed his path. Upon serving honorably in the U.S Coast Guard, Vincent returned home after World War II. He traveled around the country for two years playing one of his specially made accordions on a train tour sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. In 1946 Vincent opened his accordion business in San Francisco where he began growing his business into a distinguished hub for musicians in the Bay Area and throughout the United States. He had an enduring career for nearly 65 years doing what he loved, and more importantly, surrounded by those he loved.

He is survived by his loving children, Diane Marie Smith and Vincent Felice Cirelli; grandchildren Sheri Ann Carter, Vincent Joseph Cirelli, and Vincent George Smith; great-grandchildren; Alyssa Ann Cirelli, Victoria Marie Carter, and Caden Carmello Carter. He is preceded in death by his loving wife of 49 years, Ann Victoria Pirolo, parents Felice and Carmella Cirelli, and his sister Alice Vorhis. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

By Gwyn Lister

For five wonderful days Xavier de La Prade,  Frank Divita, and I enjoyed wonderful accordion music at the 2012 Las Vegas Accordion Convention.  There may have been others from the San Francisco Accordion Club and the Accordion Club of the Redwoods but with over 250 people attending I am not sure who else was there from home.

Everyday started with workshops each hour. They included “Bellow Shake Techniques”, “Improvising and Adding Flair to Oktoberfest Music”, “ A Simple Approach to the Accordion” and many more. The Orchestra practiced every afternoon for two hours under the direction of Professor Joan Cochran Sommers and gave a concert on the last night of the Convention.  There were about forty players in the orchestra, the music was set out ahead of the convention, and we had a wonderful time playing the eight selections. At every lunch  and dinner  (the food was outstanding) we were treated to professional  performances from : Dick Contino, Jeff Lisenby, The Accordion Kings, Stas Venglevski, Peter Soave, Amy Jo Sawyer, Gordon Kohl, Mary Tokarski, and so many more. These musicians were also the Session leaders. We finished up our day in “Club Concerto” listening to our fellow participate entertain us.

The Theme this year was “Mardi Gras” and costume night was great fun – next year the Convention will be the end of October – so watch for the Halloween costumes. The convention was held at the Gold Coast Hotel in Las Vegas and will be there again next year. The hotel is very comfortable but there is no time to gamble.  If you have not been to this venue it is worth your time to hear so many great accordion players and be with nice people, who play the accordion. For information contact: Paul Pasquali @ Phone:  801-485-5840 or email: www.