• Featured Artist

Sweetheart Banquet


First off ‘Thanks’ to the Austin Acoustical Cafe for the chance to play for you fine folks, when asked to write something about myself I thought I should tell you my life story since no-one knows anything about me. Even though nothing much has ever happened to me, at 67, it would take much too long and you still wouldn’t know anything. So, I’ll tell you about my first gig. This would have been in 1966. At the time I was a 10 year old accordion player, I don’t mean to brag (well…maybe a little)but, at the time I was probably the hottest 10 yr. old pre-teen accordion player in northwest Houston. As such I was invited to be a roving minstrel at the Park Temple Baptist Church “Sweetheart Banquet.” For the uninitiated, at a Baptist sweetheart banquet young folks stare across the table at each other while the preacher keeps an eye on each one of them for the next two hours, looking for those on the edge of some un-Baptist behavior. Dinner is served, along with punch, with or without sherbet and strawberry shortcake, while I, complete with beret, stroll through the streets of Paris, recreated in the fellowship hall, playing “Love is Blue” and other such popular tunes of the time. After two hours of strolling with an accordion bigger than me I sat down up front for the grand finale. My hottest licks, my show stopper. I reached back and dug deep and ripped out a rousing rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” They were stunned to silence, moved beyond anything I had ever seen before. I thanked my host and collected my pay (strawberry short-cake) and headed home…. some 50 years later I’ve got my second gig. I have been working own a new set list, but if you see me with an accordion don’t forget to ask…


-- Mark Abrahams

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