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Lawrence Welk chose the wrong accordionist

lmschgo

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Jo-Ann Castle first appeared as a solo act, then later as an occasional duo with Myron Floren.
She had an effervescent style and personality, quite different from Myron's.

Rumor has it, Myron felt threatened by her accordion skills and stage presence, and told Lawrence in no uncertain terms, that Jo-Ann would not be a featured accordionist on the show.
Lawrence sided with his long-time friend and performer Myron and Jo-Ann became the rag-time piano player on the show.

An enjoyable video of Jo-Ann playing Get Happy, even if your not a fan of Lawrence Welk.
 
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Dingo40

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Very impressive: thanks for sharing, Imschgo !🙂👍
Yes, professional jealousy can be a curse, but it's likely the whole situation was much more complicated than that. See here:
 
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lmschgo

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Wow. Amazing! Certainly turned my head 😁
Amazing indeed.

With her solo accordion appearances on the LW Show curtailed, she was able to showcase her piano playing skills with equal zest.
It's too bad that she did not pursue (as far as I know) a solo accordion career outside the show, possibly because of contractual agreements or the comfort of a steady paycheck.

If she had, she could have easily matched, or even eclipsed, many of the professional solo accordionists at that time.
 
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Pipemajor

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On a slightly different tack, I notice that all the accordions of that era, even full sized ones , had very thin shoulder straps.
Surely it would have made uncomfortable playing after a short time.
 

Tom

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That's certainly is an amazing performance. We have discussed Ms. Castle in another thread, apparently her abilities overshadowed by a tough and difficult life. If she is reading this, Ms. Castle, I hope you have found peace.
 

Zevy

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Jo-Ann Castle first appeared as a solo act, then later as an occasional duo with Myron Floren.
She had an effervescent style and personality, quite different from Myron's.

Rumor has it, Myron felt threatened by her accordion skills and stage presence, and told Lawrence in no uncertain terms, that Jo-Ann would not be a featured accordionist on the show.
Lawrence sided with his long-time friend and performer Myron and Jo-Ann became the rag-time piano player on the show.

An enjoyable video of Jo-Ann playing Get Happy, even if your not a fan of Lawrence Welk.
She was a great accordionist. I think she actually plays a heavier accordion than Myron's Pancordion.
I never heard this rumor before; I'd rather not believe it.
Thanks for sharing.
 

Giovanni

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Very sad to read how she ended up ............so much Talent and personality..............a great pity
 

JeffJetton

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Rumor has it, Myron felt threatened by her accordion skills and stage presence, and told Lawrence in no uncertain terms, that Jo-Ann would not be a featured accordionist on the show.
Lawrence sided with his long-time friend and performer Myron and Jo-Ann became the rag-time piano player on the show.

I'd take that one with a good-sized pinch of salt. Everything I've heard/read about Myron Floren suggests that he was one of the nicest guys in show business.

Heck, for years he famously had special cards printed up, which he would keep on him to autograph and give to fans. (They show up on eBay quite often--I have one myself!) On the front was his photo, and on the back was the Optimist Creed, which he reportedly lived his life by. Part of it specifically asks you "to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own", so the behavior in that story seems a bit out-of-character!

I think it was simply a matter of Big Tiny Little--the original ragtime phenom in the band--leaving to start a career outside of the Welk Band. They needed someone to take his place, and Jo-Ann Castle was well up to the task.
 

craigd

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Astounding to read (here: JOANNCASTLE.COM) what went on behind the scenes on the Lawrence Welk show. That facade of what? For many it was charming family friendly uplifting music, or pure escapism. And for many others that falseness was stifling and nauseating.
 

Dingo40

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Jeff,
Thanks for the link to the Optimist Creed: uplifting and inspirational!🙂👍

Craig,
Don't knock the Lawrence Welk Show .🙂
I feel sympathy for Mr Welk: keeping a crowd of musicians up to the mark must be like herding cats!😄
 
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craigd

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Jeff,
Thanks for the link to the Optimist Creed: uplifting and inspirational!🙂👍

Craig,
Don't knock the Lawrence Welk Show .🙂
I feel sympathy for Mr Welk: keeping a crowd of musicians up to the mark must be like herding cats!😄
Fair enough Dingo. I admire their musicianship, but that show is almost the antithesis of the jazz that got me so deeply interested in music. So it's interesting to read that what those musicians got up to was even wilder and more "messed up" than Charlie Parker or Charles Mingus's personal lives.
 

Dingo40

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Boxplayer,
"I don't believe people are born evil but are largely products of their environment."
That may be true 99% of the time but how do you explain Hitler. Himler, Stalin, Beria, and Pol Pot, to name a few?
Maybe you're too young to have heard of these?🙂
 

ArtMustel

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I don't know if that rumor abut Floren-Welk-Castle is what really happened but Myron was the featured accordionist of the show and having another one didn't make much sense. Personally I think Jo Ann playing was as good or even better than Myron's but her complicated lifestyle conspired against her.
 
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