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The Polka Pals

Industry Observer with ARFCO Media

Road Trip!..

My good friend David Hoskin and I are off to Cashmere and Leavenworth this Saturday morning. We're headed up and over the Cascade Mountains via Snoqualmie Pass to Eastern Washington to see a few friends.

First stop, Cashmere. This picture perfect postcard little town of about 3,000 residents sits next to the Wenatchee River on Highway 2. We're here to visit our old friend, mentor, and former music teacher, Pat Thompson and his wife Laurel. I met Pat back in 1968/69 when he first started teaching in the music department at Green River Community College. 


We had a wonderful visit and of course a lot of great conversation about music and musicians. Don Gardner was there (another long time musician friend from back in the day) and it was fun to catch up about life and people we know over lunch at Country Boy’s BBQ. Awesome pulled pork sandwich by the way, and the BBQ'd beans were the best! 

Pat has a gig later in the afternoon so the plan is we'll all hook up later. So Dave and Don and I drive up to Leavenworth to catch some of the Accordion Festival. We're hoping to run into another old friend from Renton, accordionist John Giuliani.

At the park downtown Leavenworth, looking Northeast on Front Street.

Leavenworth is a beautiful little Bavarian themed town. One of my favorite seasonal events is taking the Christmas Train from Seattle. The town totally transforms itself to celebrate an old fashioned European Christmas including carolers, sleigh rides, Kris Kringle, sing alongs and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

At the park downtown Leavenworth, looking Southwest on Front Street.

We caught up with Don's wife Judy and friend Regina Mansfield at Front Street Park. We did run into our friend John Giuliani and listened to several accordion performers on the stage behind us.

Front Street Park in Leavenworth with David Hoskin, Regina Mansfield, Judy and Don Gardner at the Accordion Festival, June 21, 2014.

(L-R) David Hoskin, Regina Mansfield, and Judy and Don Gardner.

The Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration was a blast and it was fun to see so many beautiful accordions everywhere...

Accordions of every make and model from all over the world were here on display.

It's almost 4:00 pm and time for a beverage! We're off to King Ludwig's to see The Polka Pals!

Having some fun at King Ludwig's Restaurant with Pat Thompson and Don Gardner.

After a 37 year teaching career, Pat is enjoying retirement (if you can call it that). I don't think musicians ever really retire, they just change gigs. He's now busy playing in The Polka Pals with friends at King Ludwig's. He also performs regularly with a jazz combo, and gives his time and talents to many community events in Wenatchee, Cashmere, and Leavenworth. 

The Polka Pals at King Ludwig's Restaurant in Leavenworth WA.

The Polka Pals at King Ludwig's Restaurant... (L-R) Jim Remsen, Chuck Randall, Glenn Kelly, Pat Thompson, and Christian Shimer.

This group is quite the collection of talent. They all play several instruments and many styles of music from jazz to symphonic. They're arrangers, composers, and all have been very accomplished performers for many years. Today they're having a lot of fun playing some good old fashioned polka music.

Sunset in Leavenworth, June 21, 2014.

Well, as you can see the sun is dipping behind the mountains and casting long shadows. It's time for Dave and I to head back over the Cascades for home. What a great way to spend the first day of summer!

PS... I'll have to write more about this later, but I'd be remiss of my duties as a blogger if I didn't close with a big thank you to my former music teacher. I learned a lot from Pat at Green River Community College and he created a lot of opportunities for me to develop my musical skills as a composer, arranger, performer, and teacher. So thank you my friend for a wonderful day. And thank you to The Polka Pals. I really enjoyed our time together. 

Posted by

René Fabre

"Where there's conversation, there's opportunity."

Please Note - The views expressed herein reflect only the individual’s personal views and are not the views of the author’s employer.

The Blackberry Chronicles, a blog by Rene Fabre and his travels around the Greater Pacific Northwest and beyond. Connect w/ Rene Fabre on Google+. Rene Fabre on Twitter. Rene Fabre writes reviews on Yelp. Rene Fabre on Linkedin.com The Audiorium YouTube Channel by Rene Fabre. Facebook.com/renefabre Rene Fabre loves digital photography and here are his shares on Flickr. Rene Fabre is a musician and composer and shares some of his orginal music and recordings on Soundcloud. Rene Fabre shares his interests on Pinterest.
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

René you're a guy on the go!  I can't keep up with where you've been or where you're headed thank goodness for FB and AR.... They help a little :)  Never slow down my friend. 

Jun 25, 2014 06:50 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Hi John! Thanks! It has been a busy life lately! ;O)

Jun 25, 2014 06:55 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing your road trip and photographs. What an experience!

Jun 25, 2014 11:13 AM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-739-3843

Rene`, such a great "newsy" blogpost! I have loved Leavenworth from afar and have ALWAYS wanted to visit at Christmastime. What an adorable town! Like something out of Sound of Music! 

I have featured you in Travelers in the Rain!

Jun 25, 2014 02:53 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

@Gayle... I can so hear it now! :O)

The hills are alive with the sound of music 

With songs they have sung for a thousand years

The hills fill my heart with the sound of music

My heart wants to sing every song it hears


Jun 25, 2014 03:05 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Rne,I love the looks of this small town. I felt your excitement and the joy of seeing old friends.Music is the salve to the rough spots in life. It makes it all go away.

Jun 25, 2014 09:44 PM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Hi Debbie... This seems to be the year for old friends reconnecting... Spending the day in Leavenworth and Cashmere, well, the idea of moving to a small town is pretty appealing some days... Thanks!

Jun 26, 2014 03:01 AM
Tamra Lee Ulmer
Arizona Resource Realty - Payson, AZ
NRBA ~FORCE~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD!

Rene, I love the photos. Looks like such a spectacular place to visit! The weather looks fabulous too!

Jun 26, 2014 07:33 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Hi Tamra... Thanks. It is a really fun place to visit and a special day for it. The weather was awesome!

Jun 26, 2014 07:45 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Hi Rene, this was a very interesting post. I can hear the music already. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Surrounding us were numerous German/Belgian farm towns. After the fall harvest, each town celebrated with a Kermis - a 3-4 day celebration with lots of food, beer, and polka music and dancing. Fun, huh?!? Your photos reminded me of Bavaria.

Jun 26, 2014 11:42 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Thank you so much Jane... I grew up in a musicians household, an accordion player!!! Renton back in the day was a small town and growing up there were always seasons and causes to celebrate and that called for live music, dancing, food, and beverages! We grew up on every kind of music imaginable and polkas were just so fun for any one, any age to get out there on the dance floor! Thanks again for stopping by!

Jun 26, 2014 12:25 PM
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Rene, I'm sure you had a beautiful drive up to Levenworth and Cashmere. It's such a great time to make that trip. I enjoyed all the photos!

Jul 19, 2014 05:17 AM