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As the summer draws closer, it makes us unbelievably sad to realize that Michael and I will not be heading to KIOTAC for what would have been our 12 th year. He grew up at Kimberley and always said that Kimberley was wayyyy better than Christmas.

I can not begin to adequately express what KIOTAC did for all of the children. My son was blessed with bursaries and opportunities to compete and learn about a precious part of musical history that Kimberley provided. Moreso though, was the opportunity to have 100’s or maybe 1000’s of surrogate Kimberley “grandmas and grandpas” to learn from and build relationships with. In this day and age, young people don’t often get the chance to step back in time and see the old traditions which are sadly disappearing. They also don’t get enough opportunities to mingle with people of the older generation. KIOTAC provided this.

Once again, this is my heartfelt thank you to ALL of the hundreds of people who made KIOTAC happen for those 39 years, for providing this stellar environment for children.

If you want to have a little taste of some old time dance music…… Len Gadica will be in Calgary at the end of June. Michael asked Len to stay in town, for an extra day, to assist him in putting on, an old time dance.

If you want further details, check Michael’s website at www.michaelbridgemusic.com or call me, his mom, Lynn at 403-686-6496, if you want tickets to this old time dance.

MONDAY June 24 at 7 pm at Confederation Park 55+ Activity Centre in Calgary. Come to listen to the beautiful music or to kick up your heels and chat with old friends.

My family will never forget KIOTAC, or all of our wonderful friends whom we met there. God bless you all.

Lynn Bridge

We just got the sad news yesterday that KIOTAC will not be happening anymore. How disappointing! However, we wish to thank everyone involved for their many years of dedication & hard work, putting these events on every year. You did make a big difference in many lives, especially the kids! You made a huge impact in the music world by encouraging excellence in playing this wonderful instrument, the accordion! All the best to everyone!
Margaret & Lloyd Beler

I was sorry to hear that the accordion championships at Kimberley have come to an end. I wanted to let you know just how much joy and inspiration you and the committees have given to so many people.
I became aware of the event through my uncle, Ingolf Dahl, who competed many years and won many trophies in the Senior’s Category. You probably remember him – actually, he and I entered the Senior Duets in 1993. My husband and I attended several times, and our family and friends had such fun times and happy memories. It has been a wonderful chapter of my life.
You deserve huge recognition for all the time and dedication you and the committees have put into this endeavor over the years.
Thank you so much!
All the best,
Verna Purcell

I am so saddened to hear your news about the festival being cancelled.
Is there anything that could help … corporate donations? New people on the board or committess to relieve those who have “put in their time” and need some support?
Please let me know if resurrection may be a consideration for 2014. I live and work in Calgary (for now) but surely I could be of some assistance?
Sandra Sebree

We stumbled into Kimberly last year without any knowledge of your wonderful festival. What a surprise to park the car and hear the sound of the accordions echoing off the buildings and the mountains. We were actually just passing through stopping to get a bite to eat but spent the day enjoying the town, the people and the music instead. I’m sorry to hear the festival can no longer continue and I’m sure your community will miss the event.
You ran it for 39 years and that’s a good long run. I hope the memories will last you another 39 years.
Phil Cotterell

January 8th, 2013
It is certainly a heart felt, to hear of the closure. Our twenty years of attendance meeting new friends, our jam sessions, Platzl and Arena stage performances, in it’s final, excellent holiday memories. The high lite, Jay Micheals taking one of my PANcordions, I’d purchased from Walter Ostanek delivered to Kimberly for Joey Mikulin to entertain all Kimberley KIOTAC’s. All the entertainment – Walter Ostanek, Frankie Yankovic, Mexiner, and all others, to meet and be greeted by such talent. All of this KIOTAC put together by such a great leader – Bill Baerg and all his Executive Staff
Thank you
John and Bernice Bandura
Rocky Mountain House

I have enjoyed attending KIOTAC for the last 5 years. I met many new friends and was inspired by many of the performances. It was such a great opportunity for “accordion immersion” for a week. Thanks to all the volunteers for organizing this event for so many years. You created so many great opportunities to showcase the accordion. I have wonderful memories of my times in Kimberley.
June McNeil

We are so sorry to hear that KIOTAC is finished. It is the holiday of the year for us, and we will be so sad to not be able to go again. The music was always great, as were the people – very friendly.
Thanks for all the years of hard work that you put in – you were dedicated to the core!!
Cam and Adena Bauer

Kimberley won’t be the same without the summer accordions. I hope some still return and continue to jam.
Jim Webster

Hello to Jeany et al
I am so sorry to hear about this but fully understand. The years spent with all of you were the best summers I could have ever grown up living with getting to spend it with you.
Everyone take care and as Jeany has said, keep squeezing!
Kevin Sharp

So sad that it came to an end.
but I do have some happy memories
Wolfgang Redies

Let the memories stay strong and the friendships persist, from that amazing adventure known to us all as KIOTAC. A HUGE thank you to all the volunteers involved over the years and to the community of Kimberly for the warm welcome extended to accordion enthusiasts from around the world.
Personally, I will miss this annual festival very much, and I empathize with the KIOTAC committee for this most difficult decision.
May the days ahead still be full of (accordion) music and fellowship of (accordion) friends.
Bruce Bakker

This news did come as a total shock as i am planing my duet pieces. For the last six years my summer was planned around Kimberly and it will be greatly missed.
There will be no replacement for Kimberly ever, and i want to express my heartfelt Thank You to all the people that made this event possible for so many years.
Soooo Sad.
Herb Hinterberger

I am so sorry to hear that KIOTAC is unable to continue. For the last 7 years I have planned my summer holiday around playing and enjoying music in Kimberley during festival week. Friendly little Kimberley is well known for its great people, great concerts, fun dances, friendly competition, terrific adjudicators, and all the dedicated, friendly, hard working festival volunteers. As I am a retired elementary school teacher, I have especially enjoyed watching the progress of the children who competed each year. It is my sincerest wish that they, along with everyone else, will continue to play, practice, enjoy, and continue to raise the profile of the accordion. I’ll also be watching for some of these people to be our future stars in the entertainment business. Best wishes to all! Clara Anderson

Thank-you to everyone who helped make KIOTAC such a great experience. The hours that were put into it were amazing. We met so many wonderful people and shared a common love of the accordion and the music with them. I will continue to support the accordion and push The Vernon Accordion Club to keep the music going. In the mean time, everyone, keep on squeezin’ [:///:]
Nyla Hirsch

Everyone who has attended this event will miss it. Perhaps another town will embrace the accordion and host a new accordion festival.
Charlie Kapchinsky

I can’t believe it’s over….I’ve spent about 30 of my 49 years, competing, adjudicating, playing dances etc. in Kimberley.
I think back to the first years….they affected me to the core, meeting Bill Baerg for the first time and seeing the passion he had for the accordion…..I’ll never forget that! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers that made each year possible. Thanks to every person I ever played with or just sat and talked with!
Too many memories to put down….
A sincerely heartfelt thank you to Bill and Jeany!
Allan valberg

Friends of mine know that I called the annual trip we all made to Kimberley “THE ANNUAL MIGRATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES OF ACCORDION PLAYERS”
This indeed it was, as it gave so many of us and especially the young people the motivation to play this beautiful instrument, and to look forward to see our friends every year in Kimberley. I hope we can come up with an event that will bring us together every year like Kimberley has, for the sake to keep the Accordion alive and to see and visit with our fellow players and friends once again! My heartfelt thanks to Bill and Jeany, you touched many life’s and you certainly touched mine!
- Andre Graa

Brittany Love – I’m gunna miss it

Jordan Layton – So many good memories. I’m still going to go camping in kimberley in the second week of July!

Gordon Groening – Thanks to all for your hard work, it will always be missed, but always remembered…..Had great times and made great friends over the years……thanks again to all the volunteers for everything! Good times had by all…..

William Sturgeon – Lots of great memories at Kimberely. Once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Anthony Gall-Rini; lots of players who have become friends; all the players in the massed band; love the community of Kimberely; most of all – the friends made from KIOTAC – Jeanny, Bill, Bill, Donna, Edwin, Sis, Alan V. and countless others. Who new it would grow into the great festival it has become. This event will be missed. Very best wishes to all.

Karen Cordell – Wonderful jams in the campgrounds. Meeting you and watching you grow up! Many memories.

I’m so sorry to hear that this event as come to an end, but so grateful for the experience it’s given me. A big thanks to Jeany Irvin and Bill Baerg for their incredible efforts and ridiculous generosity put into this event the last 39 years. KIOTAC is the reason I play accordion today. When I was 6 years old, my family happened to be in Kimberley during the second week of July and since 1997 I haven’t missed a summer there, both competing and eventually providing a couple evening concerts at the end. I will miss this event greatly, and will never forget the opportunities it has provided and the memories it has given me!
- Alicia Baker

Beverley Stewart – Hi there. I too am very sad to think that KIOTAC has come to an end. The memories of our many years of playing for the evening dances and also as back up band for the Platzle are among my fondest memories. We met so many promising young players like yourself and were able to watch them mature and become outstanding musicians. Where now will there be such an opportunity for young accordionists. I can certainly understand why people like Bill Baerg and Jeanny Irvine could not carry on forever and as with most things needing loads of volunteers the work seems to be left to the few. Congratulations to both Bill and Jeanny for a job really well done!!! All the best to you Alicia and would love to hear what you’re doing now if you have the time. Bev Stewart, The Cottonpickers.

Rod Miller – It is with great sadness that I read about the end of KIOTAC today! It has provided me and many 1000’s of accordion and old time dance enthusiasts with many fun times and memories. Very Sad news Bill, it was a wonderful event and provided 1,000’s of people with many great memories! It will be missed!

Erick Erickson – So sad to hear. Lots of good memories from Kimberley.

Edwin Erickson – And many thanks to all those on both sides of the land of the living, for all the effort & hard work throughout the years. And a special thanks to Bill Baerg for having the fortitude to see it through all its phases of evolution! Thanks!

Pauline Plotts-Graham – What a shame really. Seems odd that it couldnt have been saved. Cost cutting can be hard but not impossible sometimes. I know it has been a big part of Erick Erickson and all the Ericksons lives. Sad for you all

Monika Schaefer – I feel honoured and grateful that I had the opportunity to be there the last two years (thank you Edwin!). And now so sad that the great KIOTAC has come to an end. What a shock. But thanks to all the organizers for keeping it going so many years!

Sterling Graham – Sorry to hear that, i knew a lot of people who went to it, over the years.

Danilo Terra – Thank you all for your efforts and your support over the years.

Ivie Wallden-Wheeler – How sad, Bill. I still remember the very 1st one.

Scott Heatcoat – WHAT?? Bill, this is very sad news to hear. My heart is deeply broken to have read such thing. KIOTAC will be greatly missed by hundreds all around the world but yet will live in our hearts forever.

This is definitely sad news but I’d like to compliment the Executive Committee for all of their hard work for the last 39 years. Kimberley has been an important part of my life since 1996 when I made my first trip there. I’m proud to have been a part of the festival for all of those years in varying capacities.
- Toby Hanson

Andre Graa – Ohh no….so sad, it has been the best event to attend for so many years! Thank you for all the memories…was looking forward to many more:-(

Cherie Patterson – I am so sorry to hear this. We only attended last year but it was such a positive experience that we had planned on attending again and again. Thank you for your past hard work and for the wonderful experience.

Joey Miskulin – A truly sad day, Bill. Thanks so much for all you and the committee have done during the past 39 years. Thanks, as well, for inviting me to perform at this glorious event three times. I just celebrated 50 years of recording and performing. During that time certain events stand out… Kimberley is one I won’t forget. Good luck and thanks again, Joey.

Izumi Harris – Hi Bill – I would like to thank you & all the committee members of Kiotac for all the wonderful experiences… We had a great time every time we were there. Thanks for all the supports you provided Naomi. Kiotac made practicing accordion a lot more exciting for Naomi. We will miss you all.

Gordon Groening – Thanks to all for your hard work, it will always be missed, but always remembered…..Had great times and made great friends over the years……thanks again to all the volunteers for everything! Good times had by all…..

Kari Sinclair McAndrew – It’s hard to put into words… sadness for the end, but oh so grateful for the opportunity to share a part of it with you Bill. Thanks for the memories.

Laurie Neubauer – Very sad to hear……and I hadn’t even made it to one…..but I heard from many how great it was! I love my squeeze!

Danilo Terra – Maybe one last campground or platzl jam is in order?

KIOTAC and friends:
Thank you to every hard-working hand, lead by visionaries Jeany and Bill that made the KIOTAC festival possible for an outstanding 39 years. The Second Week of July was not only a critical staple in my musical development, but it was the annual summertime Christmas of my childhood. It is because of (patient girls at) KIOTAC that I learned to dance, it is the reason that I strive to include as many styles as I can in my concerts, it is where I learned the different between playing and performing, it is where I got a foundation in stage presence, and it is, most importantly, the place where I learned to hear harmony, respond to it, and let loose and jam out! All of that was part of a safe environment which KIOTAC provided for young musicians. That is invaluable. Thank you.
- Michael Bridge

Lois Niemi – You really summed up the feelings of most who attend the events there.

Terri Cerutti – So true . We will all miss this great event.

Paul Bria – Very sad to see it come to and end. It was a pleasure to see you and so many young people blossom into such fine musician and adults. Have a great summer Michael.

Andre Graa – We made lifelong friends here…. I dont know what say…just want to cry…it meant so much to so many!

Angalea Thom – Wow I never thought this would happen……this is horrible. I have some great memories there.

Greg Meier – I had so much fun! Been a regular since 1991. Enjoyed the 2 summers I spent working the platzle from June till September. Enjoyed playing at the platzle. Really enjoyed playing @ Bauernhaus, and entertaining people such as Myron Floren, Edwin Erickson, Allan Valberg, Illmar Kiljus etc…..My parents came several times, My Grandma Meier came, and my son came. I used to bring my motorcycle up and ride it around town. I got to be close friends with the Beaudins, Tony, Ingrid, Dominicus, Brodie, Nils & Michelle & issabell & Josh, Andreas Felber, Togs-n-Toys Gerry and the new owners as well, Dave & Heather McFadden, Grubsteak, Marys kitchen, Lou Mellow, Larry & Kathleen Millhausen, Berta (the German lady with all the gnomes on the way up to the old hospital), Adie & Erica and kids,etc……….I WILL NEVER FORGET!!!