Accordion record an awesome experience, islander says

  • Aug. 8, 2005 4:00 p.m.

By Alex Rinfret–Islander Bill Ronnenkamp squeezed his way into the record books this summer as part of the largest accordion band ever assembled.
Mr. Ronnenkamp, who lives in Tlell, was one of 644 accordion players who brought their instruments to the Kimberley ice arena for the record-smashing event on July 7.
The enormous accordion band played polkas and old favourites like ‘You are my Sunshine’, ‘The Happy Wanderer’ and ‘Home on the Range’ for 30 minutes straight, while fans in the audience clapped and stomped.
The experience was “awesome”, said Mr. Ronnenkamp, who has been teaching himself to play the instrument over the past 15 years or so.
“You’ve got to be a bit crazy to play the accordion,” he added. “We’re just one step higher than the bagpipe!”
You also have to be strong – Mr. Ronnenkamp’s old-fashioned accordion weighs approximately 40 pounds, although he told us that modern instruments are somewhat lighter.
Un fortunately, Mr. Ronnenkamp’s record stood for only a few weeks. He just found out this weekend that the Kimberley players were out-accordioned by more than 900 Newfies who got together at a music festival in St. John’s. Back to Kimberley next yearÂ…

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