B.C. Accordion Orchestra pumping out surprises

The Victoria-based orchestra is holding its annual concert in the Alix Goolden Hall

World-class accordionist Jelena Milojevic leads the B.C. Accordion Orchestra at the Alix Goolden Hall.

If you’re thinking polkas, you’re thinking wrong.

There will always be a time and a place for the Central European genre of music so closely associated with the accordion.

But it’s the wrong association to make to the B.C. Accordion Orchestra, says conductor Aleksandar Milojevic.

“Our shows are a lot of fun and our musicians are some of the best in the world, it’s something people who haven’t seen us won’t realize.”

The Victoria-based orchestra, which draws on musicians from the Island and beyond, is holding its annual concert in the Alix Goolden Hall on Thursday (May 31). The performance is full of surprises as it moves through the classical, tango, jazz, ethnic and pop genres, the latter being the only type of music to start with a ‘P.’

“We have returning members of our audience, who know what to expect, which means they don’t know what to expect, except for great music,” Milojevic said.

A former player himself, Milojevic will lead a dozen accordions through the various arrangements.

Thursday is also the accordion society’s campaign kickoff for the Coupe Mondiale in August 2013, when the world’s biggest accordion event comes to Victoria.

“It’s going to be a major event, bringing hundreds of the world’s top accordionists and thousands of spectators to Victoria.”

It’s the first time the Coupe Mondiale, the most prestigious accordion competition of international scope which takes place each year, will come to Canada. Last year it was in China and this year it’s set for Italy. Milojevic is hard at work netting major sponsors for the event, and is in meetings with the ministry of community, sport and cultural development in planning for the event.

Even sooner, however, is the Victoria Accordion Festival from July 19 to 22. Also an international event, though not to the same scale as the Coupe Mondiale, the accordion festival  showcases a series of popular bands that feature an accordion.

For those who have not experienced the range of what a group of accordions can accomplish in concert, tomorrow night’s show is for you.