Mitchell Man "Pumps" Life Back Into Accordions
by Phil McIlrath, KDLT News
February 14, 2013 10:14 PM
It used to be a staple of many big bands and orchestras of the past, now the accordion and players of the instrument have diminished in large numbers.
But one Mitchell man's love for this musical instrument is keeping it from falling silent altogether. In fact, he breathing new life into its bellows.
Veryl Hohn is not your typical repair man. Some turn wrenches on cars, some refrigerators, or TV sets, Veryl gets "pumped" on overhauling stomach Steinways, also known as, accordions.
"I had an uncle that played, and I just loved to sit and watch him play,"said Hohn.
But, it was another famous South Dakotan from Roslyn that Veryl watched on TV that really fueled his passion for the accordion.
"Myron Floren...He was the guy,!"said Hohn. "He played the hard stuff. A lot of people just play the easy stuff."
But life's bumps in the road, unlike accordion music, didn't always come so easy for this wizard of the "one man band."
Veryl's been playing the accordion since he was a young child, but it was a situation 20 years ago with his family farm that got him thinking, 'I love to play the accordion, but what else can I do with it to make some money?'
"When the 1980s came along we had to quit,"said Hohn "Interest got so high, that we couldn't pay it."
And at an age when many are thinking about retirement plans, Veryl started repairing accordions full time.
Today, the popularity of the accordion has diminished, other repair men have either quit, or moved on. As far as players go, he couldn't even get his son to keep the "squeeze box" on his shoulders.
"When they get to be teenagers, you're a nerd if you play the accordion,"said Hohn.
But from Veryl's eyes, his relationship with this instrument from the old world is far from its swan song.
"What are you gonna do if you retire?",said Hohn. "It's kind of a hobby, If you use a hobby to make a living....it probably doesn't get any better than that!"
Ten tinkering fingers and a tune in the ticker, all to keep the music from fading.
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