FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Date: August 28, 2002

                        Contact: Terri Noel, 206-6150


Sangamon Auditorium receives gift from local musician

SPRINGFIELD -- Local musician Roy Bertelli was among those honored recently at the annual volunteer recognition program hosted by the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Sangamon Auditorium. Bertelli was recognized for making a donation that will be used to purchase 225 tailor-made blazers to be worn by ushers at auditorium events.

            Bertelli’s donation will benefit the more than 500 volunteer ushers who serve at more than 100 events each year and who are identifiable by the red jackets they wear. Usher jackets currently in use are some 20 years old and shop-worn; thanks to the generosity of Bertelli and his long-time friendship with Bob Oseland, these jackets will be retired.  Oseland is president of the Sangamon Auditorium Volunteer Association.

            Widely known as “Mr. Accordion,” Bertelli has been a professional musician for most of his 92 years. He was first introduced to the accordion in 1927, when he was a senior in high school, and purchased his first instrument from a catalog for $8. Since in those days just one lesson could cost as much as a half-day’s pay, Bertelli took only a few lessons before teaching himself to play. By the 1950s he had more than 100 students of his own each week.

            His career includes performances in local clubs, concerts, and conventions as well as performances with Lawrence Welk. Also a talented arranger and composer, Bertelli has written some 5,000 arrangements for the accordion and organ and has made more than 70 tapes containing over 1,800 songs. 

            A life-long resident of Springfield, Bertelli is also well known as the owner of the mausoleum at Oak Ridge Cemetery dedicated to the accordion.