Ken Nicol and Mary Drake are "Ken & Mary Turbo Accordions," an accordion duo out of central Ohio. They strive to dispel the stereotype that accordions are just for playing oompa or polka music. Quite the contrary, they perform a wide variety of music in their concerts, with one of our most popular concerts being "Milestones & Memories," a Welk style format show that includes many songs that one would see on the Lawrence Welk shows - including big band, dixieland, ragtime, waltzes, old standard song favorites, sing-along favorites, some ethnic tunes, and polkas - to name a few. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, they throw in some songs totally unexpected from them or their accordions! What makes their concerts so appealing includes their instrument combination and the high energy level of their performances. Ken performs on a 5-row,custom-built button accordion with the latest electronic sound enhancements. This allows his instrument to not only sound like an accordion, but also a myriad of other instruments as well, such as violins, harp, piano, organ, tuba, trumpets, trombones, and even steel drums for their island cruise numbers (which begin with the blast of a cruise ship horn) and Alp horns, a yodeler, and cow bells for their “trip to the Alps” songs. When paired with Mary's custom built piano accordion, they create an awesome sound and a very entertaining show. For even more spice and variety, they also include an Italian mandola and tenor banjo in their concerts and climax that portion of the concert with a breathtaking performance on the banjo. They believe concerts are much more entertaining when the audience is engaged in the programs – they’ll never just stand on stage and play at them. In addition to performing as a duo, Ken and Mary also perform as a 3 & 4 piece band by adding a trumpeter/vocalist and/or percussionist.
Ken’s music background has spanned over 50 years. He has played a number of instruments including the guitar, mandolin, Italian mandola, and the 3, 4, and 5-row button accordions. Through the years and up until several years ago, his main instrument was the Tenor Banjo. In fact, he was bestowed the title “Baron of the Banjo” by the International Polka King, Frankie Yankovic. Ken founded and directed the Restoration Rag/Jazz Band, which performed all over the Midwest for 35 years. Ken has also performed at the German Pavilion at Disney’s Epcot Center over 30 times and has performed for special celebrations for the country of Estonia in Boca Raton, Florida, arranged through Disney’s Department of Foreign Productions. Mary’s background has spanned nearly 40 years and includes performing at festivals, banquets, and parties.
Ken and Mary have performed from Quebec to south Florida and performed 214 events in six states in 2011, including numerous dances, banquets, parties, weddings, and corporate events, and they also have performed many concerts. Additionally, they have been featured on both radio and television programs. Ken and Mary have performed at numerous Oktoberfests/multicultural events and have authentic colorful German costuming for such occasions.
Mary Drake: Piano Accordion
Ken Nicol: 5-row Button Accordion, Banjo, Italian Mandola/Band Manager
The response from the public has been wonderful. When we get a standing ovation from the audience, it's a feeling hard to describe. There have been so many performances that were just great! We feel blessed to be able to touch the hearts of people.
What to Expect
Typical Gig Duration: 60 - 120 minutes
Fantastic stage performance! We have gold-plated hand-crafted Italian accordions with midi. We can sound like a 4-5 piece band for your black tie events or we can costume ourselves in authentic German attire for your ethnic events. Have own sound system to accomodate most needs or can stroll accoustic. Styles of music performed include jazz,swing,show,waltz,polkas etc. WILL TRAVEL. No job too big or too small.
2010: 150 gigs
2011: 200 gigs
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Available for Your
Anniversary Party, Awards Night, Birthday Party, Christmas Party, Concert Venue, Convention, Corporate Event, Cruise, Dinner Dance, Ethnic Celebration, Festival, Fundraiser, Grand Opening, Holiday Party, Hotel, Luncheon/Tea, Private Party, Restaurant, Reunion, Trade Show