By Jill Lloyd, Special to The Mountain Enterprise
Bryan J. Olgin of Gorman, who bills himself as "The Strollin’ Old-Time Rock ‘n’ Rollin’ Accordionist" has been selected to appear at the First Annual Orange County Accordion Festival. He has played the instrument since he was 8 years old.
He also found time to run a dry cleaning business for 40 years that specialized in cleaning fancy, beaded costumes for entertainers like Tony Orlando and Stevie Nicks. Olgin says he also does his best to "live green," creating his own electricity on his Gorman property. He even finds time to run his own popcorn-making company, Hawaiian Bryan, using a family recipe passed down over generations.
"I basically learned to play by ear," he says. "It’s good because I can duplicate just about anything, but it’s bad technically, since I don’t really read music. But as long as I can bring smiles to people’s faces, I think I’m doing fine."
The accordion he uses—a smallish piano accordion called a muzette—sounds "wetter" than larger accordions, he says. It enables him to entertain people with audience-friendly material.
"It’s got a funkier, more Zydeco-sound than the big button accordions that a lot of people play," he said. "I just fell in love with it…I grew up in the ’60s and that’s the music I like: The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Grass Roots, things like that.
"I always like to walk through the audience, and it just blows people away…It’s a lot different than watching someone on a stage."
"The Big Squeeze," the First Orange County Accordion Festival on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is held with the Orange County Market Place, a weekend swap meet at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. Olgin will stroll and play throughout the grounds from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then perform on stage at 3:15 p.m.
More than 30 other accordionists and musicians will come together for this event. All activities including entrance to the swap meet are included in the price of Market Place admission, which is $2, or free with a canned food item to help the Orange County Food Bank. Children 12 and under are free. A complete schedule for "The Big Squeeze" is available at the website www.ocmarketplace.com.
This is part of the October 02, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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