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Central Florida Accordion Club
Featured Member for April, 2004

Robert "Bob" Murphy
 
"Bob began taking lessons on a 12 bass rental accordion at the age of nine, which he
had to discontinue because the school did not rent 120 bass accordions."
 
March, 2004
 
Bob’s first introduction to the piano accordion was at
the age of nine when an accordion salesman knocked on
the front door of the Murphy home in Darien,
Connecticut.  Bob began taking lessons on a 12 bass
rental accordion, which he had to discontinue because
the accordion school did not rent 120 bass accordions
and his parents could not afford to buy him one.
 
In 1977, Bob was stationed in the U.S. Coast Guard in
Wildwood, New Jersey.  After many years, he again
began lessons from Pedro Albani in the Atlantic City
area.   After playing just a few months, he was
invited to play Myron Floren’s arrangement of  “The
Little Skipper” on the local Wildwood-Cape May, N.J
television station.  This reinforced his desire to
become more advanced.
 
In 1978, Bob was transferred to Honolulu, Hawaii where he took lessons from Merlyne Berryman and the
late Wesley Anderson.  In Hawaii Bob purchased his 3-4 reed Petosa Accordion.  He learned many
Hawaiian Songs including “Hawaiian Sweetheart,” “The Hawaiian Wedding Song,” “Lovely Luawana Lady,”
and “Stranger on the Shore.”  

Bob was transferred to Miami, Florida in 1981, taking lessons from the late Ron Sweetz.  While there he
began doing good bass work with Bobby Vinton’s “Melody of Love.”  Bob married Arlene Grover in 1984 in
Orlando, Florida, where Ron’s accordion band, “The Escorts” played at their wedding reception.  After
moving to Orlando, Bob’s big break on the accordion came in meeting Joe Peltz.  Joe is an excellent
accordionist who taught Bob beautiful chord arrangements.  

Highlights of Bob’s years with the accordion would be playing in the San Francisco Accordion Festival in
1997 and performing in the McClellan Air Force Base Talent Show.  Bob and Arlene became very good
friends with Myron Floren’s sister, Valborg Floren Brewer.  Val is a noted accordionist herself and played
in 1999 at Bob’s retirement ceremony reception from the Coast Guard.

Returning to Florida, Bob resumed lessons with Joe Peltz.  It was his pleasure to work with Karen Adam
organizing the first big accordion event in Florida that Bob named the “Smash”.  He purchased a Pan Italia
Accordion and later added the MIDI.  It was a delight for Bob to be in San Diego, at the 99th birthday
party of Maestro Anthony Galla-Rini.

Today Bob is a proud member of the Central Florida Accordion Club.  While Bob is studying piano as well,
he says the accordion is still his favorite.  He recently played his MIDI at the Senior Valentines luncheon
at St. Joseph’s Church.  As a Substitute School Teacher in Orange County, he frequently plays music in
the schools and entertains the children.  At the CFAC Meeting on the Eve of St. Patrick’s Day 2004, Bob
entertained the crowd by playing his Petosa Accordion with a medley of Irish songs.

 

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