| Central Florida Accordion Club
Patricia "Pat" Salvato
| Pat was born in Ashtabula, Ohio. While in school, she took piano lessons and played the snare drums in
the band. Pat recalls "I wasn't exposed to polka music until I was 15 years old. At that time my aunt
and uncle from Cleveland brought me home for a vacation. While visiting, they took me to Frankie
Yankovic's bar and also to Harmony Ranch where I heard Ernie Benedict's Band. A friend of my Aunt
taught me to do the polka dance."
"I didn't know there were so many button box players in Cleveland. The Fairport Ensemble played once
a year at the Beef Roast in Ashtabula County and I would go out to see them play. They looked like
they were having so much fun."
Pat was employed by the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company as a customer service representative.
She received a call from a woman reporting a problem with the area light at the Fairport Slovenian Club.
"I said to her 'Slovenian Club! My mother is 100% Slovenian'. I asked her 'do they play Polka Music?'
and she told me the button box group plays there." Pat was invited to hear them play and joined the
club that same night. She followed the Fairport Ensemble everywhere they went.
Pat and her sister decided to play the button box and the Fairport group told them where to buy the
accordion and even lined up a teacher for them. It was 1986 and they began lessons with Maryann
Gricar. Pat recalls "After our first lesson, we were driving out of ManyAnn's driveway, my sister
thought to herself, 'what did I let her talk me into this time?'. But the real reason she took lessons
was she didn't want to miss out on the any of the fun. She told me this about 3 years ago. We also
took lessons from Joey Tomsick and Ron Likovic."
They started to play at the Fairport Slovenian Club in 1987. In 1989, they formed the Fairport
Polkateers and played for festivals and private parties.
In 1995 on a bus trip to the Catskill Mountains to play for a polka weekend, they met Linda Hochevar
and Denny Bucar. This chance meeting led to the formation of a new group, the "Magic Buttons" based
out of Cleveland, Ohio. Pat played with the Magic Buttons until April of 2004. "We played many places
and have three recordings produced. The third recording has been nominated for the Grammys."
Pat moved to Florida in 1996 and would go to Ohio for 5 months and play different jobs all summer.
She decided to quit the band and stay in Florida all year round. She found the CFAC through the
calender section of the Orlando Sentinel in June 2004.
"I also want to mention I have won three First Place trophies from California, winning them in three
different divisions. I have two First Place trophies from Florida.
I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be playing for an audience or ever going into a
recording studio. The Magic Buttons also hosted two Caribbean Cruises and played on the cruise ship.
The last cruise we took was in March 2004.
I have made many lasting friendships all over the United States and a lot of wonderful memories".