Playing for over 40 years I am an exceptionally versatile and passionate accordionist. My repertoire is the result of meeting musicians and people from a wide variety of cultures and musical styles. I was fortunate to have been raised in 2 separate musical traditions. My grandparents came from Poland at the turn of the century and as a young child I was immersed in Polish culture and and traditional music. My professional career began at age 9. At age ten I was raised by 1930 vaudeville music performers when I traveled around New England performing in a group called the ‘Hog Hollow Hooters’. It is from them that I learned old American music along with the art of performance. Today my ever expanding repertoire encompasses music from a wide range of world and American traditions. I also play 1960’s surf rock, traditional ethnic, and my accordion compositions with my Portsmouth based group, the ‘Serfs.’
A NH Artist-in-Residence I present music education programs in schools on a regular basis. I am also a member of the NH State Council on the Arts Touring, Traditional, Arts-In-Healthcare, and Arts-in-Education rosters. When you stick to something and work hard, great things happen along the way and I had some real awesome gigs over the years.
… In May of 2000 I was nominated by Congressman John Sununu to represent New Hampshire in a performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in Washington DC.
… In July of 2000 I performed throughout Romania on a tour sponsored by the Smithsonian Folklife Center, the State Department, and the Governor Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
… I represented New Hampshire at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC in 1999, performed at the American and National folk festivals and was sent to Quebec City for its 400th anniversary as a musical ambassador for NH by Governor John Lynch.
Since 1987 I have volunteered a weekly 1950’s style ethnic radio show, “Polka Party,” on WUNH-FM. It is one of the most downloaded polka radio shows on iTunes and consistently brings in half of the radio station’s income.
I’m not shy to say that I always loved and respected the older generations. In 1990, I was sponsored by the Edgewood Center of Portsmouth and my radio show listeners to undertake a national tour, performing for 93 nursing homes in 15 states over a five-week period. I received a ‘Point of Light’ award for my efforts.
An avid swimmer, I raised over $17,000 for the Krempels Brain Injury Foundation in January of 2008 by being the first in winter to swim six miles from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to the Isles of Shoals. Since then I have completed 8 brutal winter swims and raised over $80,000 for local charities. Read more on my Annual Swims for Charity.
The NH Charitable Foundation awarded a grant to write, produce, and perform a play on my musical life and swimming adventures through the Harborlight Stage Theater Company entitled ‘Creekman… The Adventures of the Accordion Playing Merman.’
I released a number of solo recordings on my own Bellows Music label. My compositions and recordings have been featured in a number of feature films and television sound tracks.
Next page: Gary’s TV / Film / Music Credits!