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Monday, August 29, 2016


Ray Corse will play his accordion and 
sing during the Sept. 6 Golden Afternoons
program at the Deane Center in Wellsboro.
Ray Corse, 68, of Sullivan Township has been playing the accordion for 63 years.
Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 1 p.m., he will play and sing during the Golden Afternoons program at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro. Refreshments will be provided. The program is free and open to those 55 years of age and older.

As a five-year-old, Corse began taking accordion lessons from Leonard Kello in Susquehanna, the Susquehanna County town where he grew up. He took his last lesson when he was 14. “Mr. Kello was a stickler for using both hands, not just the right as many people do today,” he said.

Some of the songs he will perform Sept. 6 are from the 1800s like "When You and I Were Young Maggie," first published in 1866. The majority will be from 1900 to the 1970s. On his playlist are polkas, country and rock and roll songs, such as “The House of the Rising Sun," “Proud Mary,” “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” “Tear In My Beer,” “Love Letters in the Sand,” “Crazy” and “Grandma’s Feather Bed,” a tune released by John Denver in 1974.

“I take requests,” Corse said. “If I can whistle or hum a tune, I can usually play it. Everything I play is by ear.”

What is the hardest song for him to do? “‘The Auctioneer Song’ is tough to sing because it's a real tongue twister,” he said. “The hardest to play on the accordion is any rock tune.“ As an example, he cited “Hotel California.” “It’s difficult because of the rhythm.”

When he was in the military, Corse was accordionist for various bands and played in Vietnam, Italy, Texas and Mississippi. After moving to Tioga County in September 1972, he performed with several local bands. The last one was The Kards in 1997. Currently, he is playing bass and singing with a group called "Senior Moments." "I am the youngest. We play at personal care homes and nursing homes like Country Terrace, The Green Home and Broad Acres in Wellsboro. We also do private parties," he said.

"When I perform solo, I mostly play at the Wellsboro, Mansfield and Millerton senior centers and sometimes at the senior centers at Elkland, Westfield and Gillett," said Corse. "Several week ago, I played and sang at the Appleridge Senior Living Community in Horseheads, N.Y."

For information about Golden Afternoons, call the Deane Center at 570-724-6220.

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