"Betty Jo's musicianship is outstanding."
Betty Jo Simon
Betty Jo Simon brings endless enthusiasm to the stage for any occasion. A vivacious performer who enjoys intimate concert settings where she can talk with her audience, Betty Jo has a wide repertoire from which to choose. Her favorite? "Around the World with the MIDI Accordion."
She enjoys performing classical music the most, but she loves the schmaltzy stuff too and still likes to play as a strolling musician.
Her musical aptitude and love for the accordion appeared early. As a high school student, she became the first accordionist to win the instrumental division of the Youth Talent Auditions of the Topeka Civic Symphony. Betty Jo earned a Bachelor of Music in Accordion Performance from the University of Missouri--Kansas City (UMKC), where she played the world premiere of Paul Creston's Fantasy for Accordion and Orchestra with the UMKC Civic Orchestra.
She participated in USO tours to Greenland, Newfoundland, Labrador and Germany, and did a two-year stint with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. Betty Jo now performs as a soloist throughout the United States and internationally. In 2000 she appeared on a Chinese satellite TV musical variety program aired on Chinese New Year and went on to give concerts in Beijing and Shanghai. In 2007 she won the Maddalena Belfiore Entertainment Competition for Female Accordionist and currently leads a German polka band called The Alpen Spielers. In August 2009 she performed as soloist with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra at three different venues, one being the opening concert of the 64th Annual Coupe Mondiale (World Championship Accordion Competition).
Betty Jo Simon and the 2011 UMKC Accordion Orchestra
Betty Jo has been using electronic MIDI accordions since her stint in the 1970's with Fred Waring and now enjoys the variety of effects using the Roland FR X7 Accordion.
She strives to project a positive image of the accordion through her concerts and hope to encourage others to take up the instrument by demonstrating its versatility using MIDI technology.
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