In 1999 Julie Luck, Neil Sanders and Ian Watson formed a club at Morley College called ‘Accordions at Morley’. This club eventually grew to become London Accordion Orchestra, with over 60 members across two orchestras.
Although the orchestras are no longer based at Morley, there are still close ties between the two organisations. LAO occasionally hold workshop days in the Emma Conns Hall and Julie Luck is the tutor for the accordion classes. Several members of the orchestra began their musical journey with the accordion at these Morley classes.
At the start of the lockdown in March we wanted to keep our players connected and focused on something creative. We decided to form the Global Accordion Project Orchestra (GAPO) not only to give our players a performance opportunity but also to connect them with accordionists from all over the world. Within hours of announcing the new venture, we had 140 players in 16 countries sign up.
We chose to perform ‘Peace’ by our conductor, Ian Watson. A collaborative performance, recorded by close to 100 accordionists from all over the world; UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Ukraine, USA, Mexico and New Zealand.
Whilst we are now used to seeing many orchestras and ensembles ‘performing’ in this virtual way, the GAPO video, premiered on the 8th April, was amongst the first to be shown.