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Dynamic accordionist Alex Meixner mixes an array of musical styles into traditional, exuberant Central European party music, letting die-hard polka fans to enjoy the evolution and letting hipsters discover all there is to love in the innately fun genre. Solo and with his band, he has performed at major venues and festivals around the world, as well as at uncountable accordion-centric events. His virtuosic yet quirky style has made him a sought-after collaborator (he worked alongside Jack Black in the 2017 Sundance pick The Polka King), spokesperson (Hormel and Ford have used his music), and educator. His recording "Polka FreakOut" with Brave Combo's Bubba Hernandez won him a GRAMMY nomination.
After finishing his degrees, including a Masters from Pennsylvania State University in trumpet performance, Meixner went on to collaborate successfully outside the polka world, collaborating with everyone from Tex-Mex alt rockers The Krayolas to avant garde accordionist and composer Guy Klucevsek. He explored rock and polka's intersections with Brave Combo. His duo album with Brave Combo alum Bubba Hernandez, "Polka Freak Out", was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2007.
Gary has been playing accordion from the age of 8 having been taught by his father Jimmy. A regular winner of competitions through the UK, Gary has been judging accordion competitions since 1982 and has adjudicated at many festivals around the world.
His accordion travels have included performances in the USA, Canada, Italy, France, Siberia, Korea, China, Russia, India, and the UAE.
He continues to perform around the globe and is a teacher both in private and on the internet via Skype.
Cooksie Kaserzon Kramer (A.T.C.L. L.T.C.L. A.B.C.A. L.B.C.A.) is originally from South Africa. Cooksie opened and ran the largest Music Studio in Johannesburg with three Accordion Orchestras, Junior, Intermediate and Advanced. Cooksie won the South African Accordion Championship and went to New York to represent South Africa and participate in the Coupe Mondiale in 1959 (check out her You-Tube Videos). She now resides in Kirkland, WA where she teaches Piano, Accordion and Organ. She is Leader and Conductor of the Northwest Accordionaires accordion orchestra. She is also the creator and President of the Eastside Jazz Club.
We look forward to your joining us
as we celebrate our 26th year.