Tilden students treated to special concert by accordion player Petar Maric

Item photo by Shea Singley Petar Maric poses for a fun photo with the students after the assembly.
Item photo by Shea Singley Petar Maric played many familiar songs for the students.

Fourth graders at Tilden Elementary Center were treated to a special musical program by one of the best world wide on Feb. 27. Petar Maric took the time to perform a selection of pieces on the electronic accordion and answer questions from the students.

“We are very fortunate that we are going to have a presentation this morning that not many people get to see,” said Leslie Kerchner, music teacher at Tilden Elementary Center. “I also understand that this is Mr. Maric’s first visit to the United States.”

Maric, who turned 24 the day after the performance, is from Serbia and enjoys traveling and sharing his talent with others.

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“It is my pleasure to be in front of you,” said Maric as he took the stage and addressed the students. “I make music and you make silence,” he politely told the students.

As Maric sat at the chair in the center of the stage, the students looked on in silence and paid close attention as he began to play a classical piece that he added a familiar tune, “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic,” into that many recognized. From that first piece, the students were introduced to a different type of accordion than they may have seen before. With the electronic accordion, Maric was able to play all sorts of sounds including other instruments and beats that made it possible for him to play a song as it would be heard if a band was playing it.

Between pieces, Maric gave the students a brief history of the accordion which was created in Germany in 1822 based on an instrument that was popular, and still visible, in China. He also held a question and answer session with the students during the performance.

“First of all, you need to be born for this and have talent for it,” Maric answered one student’s question on how he was so good at playing. “Then it’s a lot of work. You need to work a lot.”

Maric has been playing the accordion since he was five years old and discovered the instrument while at a friend’s birthday party in kindergarten. When he saw the instrument fall out of a box, he was instantly interested and he “liked the sound.” After that he began practicing for hours a day and even won a world competition with both the accordion and the electronic accordion. He explained that with those competitions you can only win once and that those that know him have joked about what he could possibly place next and find success with.

“I have a really good family and whatever I do they stand behind me,” said Maric when a student asked about the support he receives from the family.

When Maric took a brief break from playing to speak with the students and asked if they had questions, hands shot up throughout the audience as the students were very interested. There were even a few requests which led to Maric playing “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the theme from the video game Mario Kart.

“It’s just practicing. Your fingers are mechanical,” he explained as to how he was able to play at that level as well as how he was able to memorize music. “In my opinion the best way for is to visualize.”

Maric admitted that he is well known in the accordion playing world and hopes that the new electronic version of the instrument will open more doors. He has also visited numerous countries and places due to his music and enjoys traveling very much.

“It is very good, I meet a lot of people,” he said. He added that he enjoys learning about the culture and traditions of those places as well. Maric tends to return to the same places and is looking forward to coming back to the United States.

During the last few pieces of the morning program, students clapped a long with the extremely fast music that Maric was playing and stared in awe as his fingers flew over the buttons with no mistakes. When asked if he ever makes a mistake, Maric responded, “Of course. If you don’t practice you make mistakes.” After ending with “Flight of the Bubblebee,” the students applauded loudly for Maric and showed him just how much they enjoyed listening to him play.

“I would like to thank you a lot,” he said at the end of the program. “Today you were a fantastic public for me. I really hope to see you again.”

He prompted the audience to give themselves an applause for being wonderful throughout the program.

“It really has been a pleasure and thank you so much,” said Kerchner. Though it was not typical for this type of performance, she asked the students to give a big “Woo-Hoo” which they did almost immediately.

Just as the students were beginning to be dismissed, Maric asked if it would be possible to take a big group photo with the students. During this time he also had a chance to talk with a few of the students while everyone got into place. They took a formal type of picture and then one with all of their hands up in the air as if on a roller coaster.

Based on the reactions of both the students and the teachers, the performance is one that will not be forgotten at Tilden and will surely be talked about for the rest of the school year.

To see videos of Maric’s performance visit www.tout.com/hamburgitem.

Follow The Item on Twitter @hamburgitem.

About the Author

Shea Singley

Shea Singley is the editor of The Hamburg Area Item. She grew up in Berks County and spent three years at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where she double majored in Creative Writing and English before transferring to Kutztown University where she majored in Professional Writing. Shea graduated from Kutztown University in 2012 and during that time completed an internship in the publication department of a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. She joined Berks-Mont Newspapers in March of 2013 and had enjoyed getting the chance to explore the Hamburg area and meet the readers. Reach the author at ssingley@berksmontnews.com or follow Shea on Twitter: @hamburgitem.