Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

November 26, 2012

Musician to celebrate Thurber’s Italian heritage in special event


Mineral Wells Index

— STEPHENVILLE — Accordionist, pianist and bandleader Nick Ballarini will perform an accordion concert featuring the music of Italy on Dec. 1 at the W. K. Gordon Center in Thurber.

The free concert will begin with Italian food and refreshments at 6 p.m. at the museum.

Italians constituted the largest element of Thurber’s immigrant population, bringing with them a rich cultural history and leaving their mark on the community. Many ethnic groups formed their own bands and they were all highly rated. According to historian Mary Jane Gentry, however, the Italian band was considered the best and even traveled to Dallas to play at the Texas State Fair.

Ballarini is one of the most versatile musicians in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. After serving his country as a U.S. Navy musician, he continued his musical career and is a favorite in accordion clubs around the country. As well as playing at weddings, corporate events and jazz festivals as a pianist and bandleader, he also performs on the accordion at Irish-, French-, Italian- and German-themed events. His repertoire ranges from classical to pop to the many ethnic styles associated with the accordion.

The Gordon Center is located at Exit 367 on Interstate 20 at the Thurber ghost town midway between Fort Worth and Abilene. A part of Tarleton State University, the facility is a museum and research center devoted to the Texas industrial past.

The W.K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas is open to the public on Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (254) 968-1886.