Introducing the Ladies

The orchestra is divided into sections. Broadly speaking, the 1sts play the tune, the 2nds play harmony, the 3rds play counter-melody, the 4ths provide rhythmical chords and the basso delivers a baseline that underpins the orchestra. Some of the ladies switch between parts depending on the piece, and two ladies play basso, one in the first half, one in the second.
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Plays with the 3rds: : Annie

grew up in Shropshire, started playing the piano when she was 8 and later took up the viola and joined the school and County Youth orchestras, which is where her love of playing in instrumental groups started. She worked as an architect planner for many years during which time she moved to Wales. She has two children, both of whom were educated through the medium of Welsh, so she learnt the language and then started teaching it to adults – there are now many English people in Wales who try to speak the language and make exactly the same mistakes as she did! She only discovered the accordion in her later years and hasn't looked back since. She plays in Aderyn Prin Ceilidh Band and sings in Bangor Community Choir, but her real love is being part of an orchestra again.

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Plays with the 2nds: : Debi

saw the light and converted to accordion from piano about 11 years ago. She also plays recorders and flute; and has recently added English concertina to her repertoire. She plays for English and French dancing and particularly enjoys very early English music. Other instruments currently filling her house include a Wurlitzer pianola, a harmonium, a French hunting horn, a barrel piano and 4 accordions! She plays with the 2nds in the Orchestra.

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Plays with the 1sts: : Frances

Frances discovered her passion for the accordion quite late on in life, and has been making up for lost time ever since. As well as playing with the No 1 Ladies since 2011, she takes every opportunity that comes her way to play with other (like-minded) people.....workshops, orchestra days, informal group settings and duet playing.
When she isn't playing the accordion, she is teaching maths in a Further Education College. She has three (quite) grown up children.

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Plays 4ths first half, Basso after the interval: : Gill

Gill took up the accordion over 25 years ago and was drawn into the world of Morris dancing. Gill has played for dancing in the guard's van of a steam train, at the top of a Welsh mountain (with Jan Hurst) and in the sea on a hot summer's day. Gill loves playing with the No.1 Ladies Accordion Orchestra which has opened up a new world of wonderful musical arrangements for her. Gill also plays melodeon, having twice been to France to build her own instrument under the guidance of renown French melodeon player, singer and instrument maker Emmanuel Pariselle. When not trying to protect her accordion from splashing Morris dancers Gill relaxes with her fancy chickens with attitude. Their attitude is that they should be free to eat all the vegetables in the garden, Gill's attitude is that they should not. Mostly, the chickens are winning.

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Plays with the 4ths: ; Hannah

Hannah was going to learn the harp, but she heard the accordion and it was love-at-first-listen. Hannah has played the piano from the age of 7 and has dabbled in many instruments but nowadays is also a keen ukulele player, playing with a local group. She plays and sings at a folk club and does occasional benefit gigs with a banjo player. Her musical instruments seem to have gone down the evolutionary scale, the latest acquisitions being a kazoo and a shaky egg (soon to be fitted with an electric pick-up).
Hannah loves nature and wildlife and hails from lovely Hampshire.

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Plays with the 2nds: : Jacky

bought an accordion in a junk shop because she missed having a piano when she left home for Uni. She only started playing seriously when she discovered that a weekly folk session happened in her local pub. Jacky has moved on to a 96 bass, 4 voice Borsini and as well as playing with the 2nds in the No.1 LAO she also is part of a ceilidh band but 30 years on she still plays in those sessions in the Hunters Lodge.

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Plays Basso in first half, 2nds after the interval: : Jan

Jan has been singing, dancing or playing for as long as she can remember. From playing ukulele, aged 8, she progressed onto guitar and started singing in local folk clubs. She has morris danced with various teams in the Hertfordshire area which is when she started learning accordion. Jan now lives near Caernarfon in North Wales and plays and dances with Cadi Ha Morris of Bangor. She also plays for Twmpathology ceilidh band and occasionally sings with a capella harmony duo Elles Belles. Jan lives halfway up a mountain, (where there are no neighbours to annoy), with her partner Martin, cat Pepper, and mad lurcher Tigger.

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Plays with the 1sts: : Karen

Karen has been a professional actress for 41 years, starting out as an actor/musician, and subsequently working extensively in Repertory Theatre, Touring and TV. She has more recently worked with an audio drama company on a regular series which is a spin off from Dr Who in 1988! She grew up in London and lived there with her own family for many years, but recently moved to a small holding in Cornwall with her husband and a 'confusion' of guinea fowl. Karen picked up the accordion in 2013, with a background in classical piano and cello. She plays with the London Accordion Orchestra as well as the No. 1 Ladies. She is currently one of the Narrators for Reg Meuross in his tour of 'Stolen from God'.

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Plays with the 1sts: : Kate

Saw her first accordion at the age of 7 when her best friend at the time was given one for his birthday. She remembers sitting on the steps of the primary school with this wonderful instrument. Neither could play it properly, but the sounds it produced were entrancing and that never left her. She started playing the piano also at about 7, but couldn't compete with her supremely talented older brother, so just played for fun. Forays at the cello and flute followed, and she has sung in choirs for many years, but it took until 2012 for her to buy her first accordion and she hasn't looked back since. She owns a lovely 1950's Bellcordion straight tuned Italian/American accordion, but bought a beautiful Vignoni last year to have different musical options. She spends as much time as possible playing accordion with friends, in a trio, at sessions and now with the LAO. Two years ago she had an episode of Transient Global Amnesia while on a day trip on holiday in Croatia and apparently played several tunes on the host's very large and old accordion to a captive audience, but has no memory whatsoever of this! She lives on the Malvern Hills with her husband, 2 elderly cats and a much loved, but untidy scenic garden.

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Plays with the 2nds: : Melanie

Melanie Wright now lives in Devon, although grew up in Surreywhere she started lessons at the age of 9 along with her younger sister Michelle. We played duets together whilst working through our grades. At this time playing solos, duets and orchestral pieces. played for the ESAS under Graham Romani, then Tillingbourne AO, and London AO until I moved away. In between the various ochestras I also played with a small ensemble called Amici which was a delight. A friendly bunch of like-minded musicians. I currently play orchestral stuff with the Dorset AO in Bournemouth and with the Number One Ladies Accordion Orchestra where I play 2nds.

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Plays with the 3rds: ; Ruth

... started playing the piano at the age of 5. Her musical history includes playing flute and recorder in the Scratch and Gutter Barn Dance Band during the 1980s. Ruth has been playing accordion since 2007. This stems from a touring holiday in Italy when the itinerary included a visit to Castelfidardo near Ancona, the home to a great many accordion makers, on a mission to buy a melodeon for husband Mike. A few happy hours later we left Giustozzi'sworkshop with a six week wait for an order for a melodeon - and a large box containing a 72 bass piano accordion. (Tip: If you think that buying an accordion when on holiday is a good idea, make sure that the purchase is made at the end of your holiday ...!) While she still has the 2-reeded Giustozzi and plays it regularly, she usually plays a 72 bass 4-reeded Victoria accordion with the No. 1 Ladies Accordion Orchestra. As well as her involvement in the No 1 LAO, Ruth also plays accordion for French dance (mainly at Dansez Francais in Brighton) and for her local women's Morris side 'Cuckoo's Nest'. Ruth lives in Brighton with her family and a dog of mixed origin called Barney, and next to some very tolerant neighbours who have never complained - even once - about the sounds of accordion music coming through the walls.

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Plays with the 3rds: : Tina

Tina bought an ancient accordion from an Oxfam shop 20 years ago because she thought that it looked fun. That instrument turned out not to playable, but an idea was born. Since then, Tina has arrived in the No.1 LAO via morris dancing, traditional music bands, folk clubs and sessions, klezmer, music hall, ceildh calling, and folk festivals. It turns out that accordion playing opens up a world of possibility and it really is a lot of fun. Tina plays in the 3rds or 4ths providing underpinning oomph, pah pahs and occasional soaring twiddly bits.

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Plays with the 1sts: : Beryl

rebelled at the age of 10 and gave up learning piano for the accordion, much to the horror of her family. She played in bands in Birmingham as a child and throughout her teens and, following a lean period in her 20's, returned to the accordion when she met her husband who fortunately had a love of the instrument and encouraged her to return to playing. She joined an accordion band led by Pamela Deakin during the 80's and 90's and in later years an accordion group in Clevedon. It was whilst living in Watchet, Somerset that she encountered some members of the No 1 LAO at Halsway Manor and later had the pleasure of joining them.

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