The Fayetteville Observer

Published on: 2005-11-10

Wise is on an accordion mission

By Lisa Snedeker
Assistant features editor


Contributed photo
The accordionist has played tunes for several U.S. presidents as well as other celebrities and politicians.

The musician will share some favorite tunes from around the world, hymns and sing-a-longs with Fayetteville residents today during two free performances at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

Wise is scheduled to play for the PrimeTimers at 11 a.m. He will have a public performance in the chapel at 6:30 p.m. A reception in the gathering hall will follow the evening show. The public is invited.

On Saturday, Wise will give a free Veterans Day performance at 4 p.m. that will include patriotic and service tunes at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville.

The accordion is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, according to Wise, who is trying to build on the instrument's following.

"I'm on a mission," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Burr Hill, Va. "I have so many things to do to advance further interest in the accordion."

Music is cyclical, said Wise, who has been playing the accordion for more than half a century. "If something is good, it will resurface," he said.

Wise took up the accordion because his parents were involved in music.

"I started playing guitar for a few weeks and then one day, I fell in love with the accordion," he said.

"The accordion is easy to learn but difficult to perfect. I have been working on perfection for a lifetime."

The traditional instrument has opened many doors for Wise that otherwise might have remained closed.

+"Living outside of D.C., I have played for a lot of folks on Capitol Hill, including five presidents," he said.

Al Hartness of Fayetteville tracked down Wise through Wise's company, Accordion Plus, LLC, when Hartness needed an accordion repaired. The pair struck up a friendship and Hartness helped arrange Wise's visit to the museum.

Wise not only sells and repairs accordions through Accordion Plus, LLC, he develops and designs new products.

But what Wise enjoys most is teaching others the nuances of the instrument typically associated with Americana musical genres.

Wise started a program called "Accordions for Kids/U.S.A/USA" to further his mission.

"We provide everything that is needed for a child to gauge their interest in the accordion because they are the lifeblood of the future," he said.

Copyright 2004 The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer

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