June 11, 1997
News of Delaware County - An Independent Newspaper
Author - Joe DeFeo

When you think of the accordion, I see a young man in a red vest moving in and around restaurant tables playing "Lady of Spain." Or maybe you see a man or woman on a stage in a musical revue playing "The Beer Barrel Polka." Or perhaps you saw Myron Floren playing the intricate "Kitten on the Keys" with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. 

The accordion is an instrument which seems to have limited possibilities in terms of performance.  But there is a man in Broomall named Joseph Soprani who has made the instrument one for all occasions, to be played in many venues and for all kinds of occasions. 

Soprani has played in colleges and churches, in Broadway shows, and on major TV programs such as Ed Sullivan and Arthur Godfrey. He has performed for Presidents Eisenhower and Vice-President Nixon; for King Mohammed V of Morroco; the Queen of Cambodia, and the Emperor of Japan. And the Broomall musician also appeared in a number of Broadway shows including Cabaret, Irma La Douce, Zorba and Fiddler on the Roof. 

To demonstrate Soprani's musical adaptability is to say that he has done arrangements for the famous rock and roll band, Bon Jovi. Soprani has also worked with opera stars Robert Merrill and Luciano Pavarotti. He has done it all with his electronic accordion. 

He has played luncheons, parties, shows and conventions. He has entertained in 150 schools and colleges; 100 foreign cities, 12 countries, and 400 United States cities, in 38 different states.  That's a far cry from when he won 'The Horn & Hardart Amateur Show' many years ago.  He also won the 'Arthur Godfrey Talent' contest show. 

And, oh yes, while all of this was going on, and this will surprise you, Joseph Soprani was spending 25 years teaching music in the Philadelphia school system.  In addition, you may have seen him at the Stratford dining room of the Bellevue Stratford Hotel. 

To top off all of these kudos, Soprani considers his appearance at the Academy of Music one of his most memorable. He has the distinction of being the only accordionist in the history of the Philadelphia Orchestra to appear as a soloist under Eugene Ormandy's baton. 

I could go on with this litany of accomplishments, but I think we have established the fact that, in the talented hands of a Joseph Soprani, the accordion was not created only to play the "Too Fat Polka." 

One more distinction, please. According to the Neupauer Conservatory of Music, Joseph Soprani has made the most outstanding contribution for the advancement of the accordion. 

That about says it all. Delaware County and Broomall salutes you, Joe.

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