In 1997, a family from Milwaukie, Oregon was vacationing in Western Canada when an unplanned detour landed them in a little Bavarian-style village called Kimberley, BC - nestled in the Kootenay Rockies. There they stumbled upon the Kimberley International Old-Time Accordion Competition (KIOTAC). The children were enchanted by people dancing and singing in the "Platzl," dressed in Bavarian garb and attracting huge crowds.
Alicia Baker (all of 6 years old), and her sister, Emily, were treated to free accordion lessons and they completed the first-year beginner's book in three days. This feat was made a bit easier since their parents were choir directors who surrounded the kids with music from birth, including piano lessons very early on.
But the accordion? They'd only heard that instrument on re-runs of the Lawrence Welk Show. But something about it drew young Alicia like a moth to a flame.
Upon returning home, Alicia begged her parents to buy her an accordion - which they did and the rest, as they say, is history.
Alicia practiced her little fingers to the bone, and returned to KIOTAC winning the Happy Hans award in 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012. In addition, she won the privilege of representing the USA at the 2009 Roland International V-Accordion Competition in Rome.
Along with competitive events, Alicia has performed solo accordion concerts at many notable festivals. These include the American Accordionists Association Convention, Cotati Accordion Festival, the Accordionists and Teachers Guild International Festival, Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration, and the NAMM show. In 2011, she was privileged to join the Corvallis symphony as soloist for Nikolai Chaikin's Accordion Concerto in B-flat Major.
When not practicing or performing her craft, she studied at Oregon State University, earning a triple degree in Music Education, Piano Performance, and Vocal Performance. Her skill so impressed the Roland Corporation they hired her as an accordion product specialist, where she hopes to continue spreading the joy of accordion music and increase the popularity of this wonderful instrument.
On Tuesday August 12, Alicia will perform with China's Jianan Tian, a world-class accordionist and winner of 28 international competitions. This special concert will be held at Milwaukie Lutheran Church at 2810 SE Lake Road. Tickets for the 7:00 pm show are $15 for adults, student/youth $10. For more information and to purchase tickets contact John and Sandy Baker at 503-654-3790.