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July 14, 2006
Accordion love

Music Circus audiences have had a rare privilege. In the orchestra pit for the extended run of “Fiddler on the Roof” (read the review) has been accordionist Elaine Lord, who recently did same for the Broadway revival starring Alfred Molina.

Few scores call for the accordion these days and, when it is needed, what you mostly hear is a synthesized keyboard simulating the sound.

Lord - who grew up in Sacramento and went to Sacramento High - has been playing accordion since she was a young child; she remembers taking lessons at the legendary Fran and Delores Studio in Carmichael.

At Sac High, classmate Lee Lunetta introduced her to his father, master percussionist Stan, who eventually gave Lord percussion lessons. Stan Lunetta is, of course, the percussionist for the Music Circus.

Lord says her journey to becoming a musician was fueled by an overwhelming love of music. "It was never a question in my mind," she says. "I wanted to continue it at a professional level and earn a living.”

Her jobs have included national tours of “Singing In the Rain,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” summer stock, and even performances at the Kennedy Center.

“Broadway was really the only venue I hadn’t conquered,” she says, laughing. But then, she heard about the revival of “Fiddler On the Roof."

“The magnitude of the accordian part in the ‘Fiddler” score is incomparable," she says. "It’s very challenging and very, very fulfilling to play.”

Lord says playing in a Broadway orchestra was an unbelievable experience made even more sweet with the attendance of her mother, Dani Lord, on opening night.

“It was just a dream come true to get to Broadway playing the accordion.”

-- Marcus Crowder

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