Ace Accordion Players Compete

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Accordions get their due as some of the world's top players face off in the final rounds of the Coupe Mondiale taking place outside Washington, D.C. The prestigious event features about 80 competitors from Europe, China and New Zealand as well as the U.S.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

There are still a few music snobs who might snicker when they hear an accordion.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: But this week in Alexandria, Virginia, accordions get their due as some of the world's top players face off in the final rounds of the Coupe Mondiale. That prestigious event features around 80 competitors from Europe, China, and New Zealand as well as the U.S.

MONTAGNE: Joan Grauman is the vice-president of the Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society. This year's American hopeful, a teenager from Washington State.

Ms. JOAN GRAUMAN (Vice President, Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society): Sammy Thomas(ph), who we've watched with amazement as he has improved through the years. At a very young age - he's 18-years-old - has become such a fine musician.

MONTAGNE: Joan Grauman says one of Sammy Thomas' stand-up pieces is the recording we're listening to now. It's a version of Astor Piazolla "Libertango." Thomas recorded it when he was just 16 years old.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: One good sign for American Sammy Thomas, he got a standing ovation in last night's competition. Winners will be announced tonight.

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