Middlesbrough based accordionist/vocalist STEVE ROXTON impressed some 600 French devotees of the instrument at the 1st “Festval d’Accordeon, held in Avranches Normandy, with his performances on each night of the event. The weekend of the 14th and 15th March attracted well over 1,000 visitors to the Salle Victor Hugo, keen to listen and dance to the elite of the French accordion scene.The festival featuring both current and former world ,and European champions which included JEAN DAUVIN, JEAN-MARC TORCHY,JOCELYNE DANIEL & MICHEL LEMENAGER, was headed by non other than the legendary king of “bal musette” himself, ANDRE VERCHUREN, whose record sales top 70 million. At 88 years of age he gave anoutstanding concert on the final night, as he sang and played his hits to an audience many of whom had gathered around the stage see this remarkable performer. Halfway through his performance the organiser Daniel Dolley invited Steve on to the stage to be introduced to the master himself.
Steve who has followed Andre Vercheren’s career and studied French Bal Musette for many years, was overjoyed at this opportunity to meet his idol. “Whilst we were shaking hands the microphone was thrust in front of me to say something” said Steve, “For everyone in life special moments arrive, and for me this is one of them” he said, (In French of course) They then went on to play three well known musette pieces together, to the delight of the assembled crowd.
Steve’s rise to prominence in France was brought about through a chance meeting with ex world and european champion Jean Dauvin. During a twinning association event in St Helier Jersey with the Normandy town of Avranches, Steve was booked to play French accordion music and during his performance he was suddenly surprised to hear the sound of another accordion behind him duetting perfectly with him. Steve and his wife Margaret, ran”Les Amis de l’Accordeon de Jersey, at that time, and immediatly booked this player for a concert the following month. Since that time Jean and Steve have appeared at venues and festivals both in the UK and France and have recorded a CD together “Entente Accordiale”. Asked during a conversation with Andre Vercheren how he had obtained such a high degree of technique with French musette music confessed to having listened to Andre’s LP’s at half speed to capture the intricasies of his style. During the meal after the concert Steve was formally dubbed “The English Verchuren”
After some 21 years in Jersey Steve and his wife Margaret are now back home in the North East where he presents his one man show which covers Irish, Scottish, German Bier Keller, Country & Rock’n Roll along with Old time sing-alongs and great ballads