Foundation Activities

Foundation to Present Music at Saint Luke's Hospice House in 2015
The Board of Directors voted to provide occasional music at this beautiful new facility, located on Southwest Trafficway in Kansas City, for families and their loved ones in the facility.  Directors and their students will participate in presenting music in the lobby for all to enjoy.


Music & Merlot 2013 a Memorable Concert Celebrating the Famous Kansas City Pla-Mor Ballroom

 Vivant! in Action

A Vivant! team of eight professional musicians took the stage at Music & Merlot to cap off a fun evening of new music for the accordion on the Foundation's recent Music & Merlot concert on Saturday Evening, June 15, 2013.  The event celebrated the famous Kansas City Pla-Mor Ballroom after which Karen Fremar's recent composition for Vivant! was named.  Guests were given a "Dance Card" listing the program for the evening, that featured a big band dance theme.  The evening began with cocktails in the lobby with guests enjoying John Brungardt's display of antique accordions (Photos of reception and US Champion Don Lipovac and John Brungard viewing John's accordion display below.)

       Music & Merlot Cocktail Hour          Belva and Bev serving Merlot

 US Champion Don Lipovac with John Brungardt and his Antique Accordion Display
Visiting guests included the presidents of both national accordion organizations: Betty Jo Simon of Kansas, President of the Accordionists and Teachers Guild International (Photo L Below) and Linda Soley Reed of Connecticut, President of the American Accordionists' Association (Photo R Below).

ATG President Betty Jo Simon          AAA President Linda Soley Reed

The evening featured a release of Karen Fremar's new CD of her original works that include the accordion titled Night at the Pla-Mor.  The CD is available for purchase or download at, on iTunes, and also on many other international digital music sites by searching under "Fremar."   Karen performed several of the works from the CD on the concert with various professional musicians from Kansas City who assisted in recording her works.

  US Champion  & World Entertainment Champion - Karen Fremar

Below, pianist, Melody Stoth, is shown with accordionist, Julie Silfverberg, at the Fremar CD release table.  Mary Tokarski's CDs and Book were also available at the concert. 

Fremar's work, Fanphasia, opened the concert performed by Judy Johnson, flute; Jason Scheufler, guitar; Karen Fremar, accordion; Kevin Maret, vibes; and Brian Steever; drums.  Fanphasia was revised from the earlier version written in the 70s for the new CD.


The long awaited visit of accordion concert artist, Mary Tokarski, was applauded as Mary took the stage to perform a varied program of works including Ritual Fire Dance, Tea for Two, Midnight Fantasy by Gerov, and The Fox & the Hound  by Mucedola.  The audience demanded an encore before Tokarski showed photos and discussed her wonderful new educational book for children with Karen Malan-Uribe and Joan Geller Grauman: An Accordion! What is That?

          Mary Kasprzyk Tokarski, Two-Time US Champion

Karen Fremar wrote a new original work for world premiere titled Sapphire for Two Accordions and Hand Drums, which was dedicated to Mary Tokarski.  Mary and Karen, along with Janne Silfverberg on hand drums, then performed the world premiere.  A video of the story of the formation and progression of a sapphire to a royal jewel was shown on large video screen as the three performed the premiere.  The two US Champions had only met briefly before and were thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know one another and to perform together.  (Mary, Karen and Janne recorded the work in the studio the week after the concert.  That track may be released for download or on their CDs in the near future.  A video of the premiere of Sapphire is available on YouTube under Tokarski and Fremar on the Fremar Channel.

Tokarski and Fremar Performing World Premiere of Sapphire with Janne Silfverberg on Cajon

At intermission, the crowd enjoyed wine, coffee and appetizers prepared by Bev Sligar and Dee Sligar and their team including Hailey Sligar, Ehren Manz, Belva, Melody Stroth and other kind friends.  Several of the foundation sponsors were in attendance including Dr. Dean and Marlene Gettler (Photo L below with Julie Silfverberg) and Charla and Larry Manica (Photo R below.)


Following intermission a world premiere of Karen Fremar's new five-movement work, The Java House, was performed with video above the performers displaying various coffees as portrayed in the work.  Tango dancers Jessica and Jesus Tores-Sosa danced tango (pictured below) to the sultry tango movement, Dark and Vibrant.  The work was premiered by Judy Johnson, flute; Karen Fremar, accordion, Beth McCollum, cello; Melody Stroth, piano and Janne Silfverberg, cajon (pictured below).

          The Java House Gang

The Java Gang Performing  III. "The Last Drop"          Janne Silfverberg, cajon
Dancers - Jessica & Jesus Tores-Sosa          Our Motto: If you're not shaking, you need another cup.    

Vivant! concluded the concert with a set that featured big band swing and Latin works including Beginning to See the Light, A Whole Lotta Blues, Sway, and Our Love is Here to Stay (featuring Janne Silfverberg on Trombone).  The group also performed two numbers from Fremar's CD:  Night at the Pla-Mor (with video projection of photos of the famous Pla-Mor ballroom that featured many national dance bands of the 40s and 50s) and Fremar's hot new Salsa work: Vexation.  The group acknowleged the standing ovation with an encore of In the Mood.  Vivant! members included: Julie Silfverberg, accordion/keyboards; Karen Fremar, accordion/vocals; Melody Stroth, piano; Dee Sligar, Keytar bass/keyboards; Janne Silfverberg, Trombone/Latin Percussion; Brian Steever, Drums; and special guests~Jason Scheufler, guitar, and Kevin Maret, percussion.

           Jason Scheufler, guitar          Brian Steever, drums         Julie Silfverberg, accordion      


 Dee Sligar, bass      Kevin Maret, percussion          Melody Stroth, piano
Karen Fremar, accordion    Julie Silfverberg, accordion         Janne Silfverberg, trombone

(Photos Courtesy of Juha Silfverberg and Hailey Sligar)

Fremar Foundation presents Vivant! in Concert 
for the Kansas City Musical Club November 5th


Vivant! will present a full concert as the invited guest artists of the Kansas City Musical Club.  The popular Midwest ensemble will be joined by classical pianist Melody Stroth.  Vivant! (whose roster for the program will include musicians Julie Silfverberg, Karen Fremar, Dee Sligar, Brian Steever and Janne Silfverberg) will present a program of their own original works and arrangements that showcase the accordion.  The program will also include a demonstration of some early accordions and a brief discussion of the history and evolution of the instrument.  
Known in the community for its generous scholarship support of aspiring music majors, the Kansas City Musical Club has stimulated and encouraged the acquisition of a broader knowledge of music and musical literature in the community at large.  The Fremar Foundation for Accordion Arts is delighted to assist in sponsoring the program featuring the accordion for this venerable musical organization.
The concert is free and will be followed by a reception for the performers and guests. The event will be on November 5th (Monday) beginning at 12:00 p.m., Noon, at the First Lutheran Chruch, 6400 State Line Road, Mission Hills, KS 66208.  The public is invited to attend. For more information:  

Foundation Shares the Accordion with Kids at Applebutterfest


All the kids wanted to try the blue accordion on for size and see how it worked at our performance for the Applebutterfest in Louisburg this Fall!  Karen Fremar worked with them to show them the "ins and outs" of the accordion.  One little guy from Houston TX said that he didn't know anyone in Houston who played the accordion and that he was going to be the first to play it there!  He is putting an accordion on his list for Santa.  :)


Then this "gang of 4" musicians gave them an idea of how fun the accordion is to play in a group!


Fremar Foundation Presents "Music & Merlot" 2012
          "Celebrating the Accordion & Patriotisim"

(Concert Photos by Kelsi Sligar)

Kansas City's Vivant! performing premiere of new Fremar Work "Vexation"
(L-R) Karen Fremar, accordion, Janne Silfverberg, timbales, Julie Silfverberg,
accordion, David Sager, drums, Dee Sligar, bass keytar

Guest Artist Melody Stroth (piano) & Vivant! member Julie Silfverberg shown as
part of Vivant! ensemble and guests performing the premiere of Fremar's
"Grasping for the Wind" to honor Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans 
(with video presentation above by Debbie Gray).

Guest Artists The Frank Busso, Jr. Trio in Action
(Henry Tyszler, violin; Frank Busso, Jr., accordion, William Hones, bass)

Fremar Foundation Presents “Music & Merlot” 2012

Arriving at a lobby decorated in patriotic red, white and blue, Kansas Citians enjoyed a great evening of hors d’oeuvres, Merlot, and musical entertainment featuring the accordion at the Fremar Foundation for Accordion Arts “Music & Merlot” event on June 23, 2012. The foundation presented the Frank Busso Jr. Trio from Washington D.C. and Vivant! from Kansas City in a shared concert that has become a yearly event in Kansas City. Vivant was joined by classical pianist Melody Stroth of Overland Park, KS and electric violinist Ronda Adams of Parkville, MO to premiere two new works for the ensemble by Leawood, KS composer Karen Fremar.

The Busso Jr. Trio (all servicemen in the U.S. Air Force Strings) enchanted the audience with their elegant and tasteful musicianship, charming banter and stunningly precise ensemble playing. Their program comprised the first half of the concert and included a variety of works, including accordion standards such as “Two Guitars,” “Czardas” and the famous tango, “Jalousie;” while pairing them alongside Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5” and Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train.” These works and more were all splendidly arranged by the trio members, Henry Tyszler, Frank Busso, Jr. and William Hones, for violin, accordion and string bass. Opening their program with an exciting and captivating arrangement of "Granada" and concluding with their own energetic, toe-tapping version of the "Orange Blossom Special" (with amazingly realistic train effects), the trio captured the hearts of the Kansas Citians who filled the hall and stood in appreciation to demand an encore.

At intermission, the lobby, decorated in patriotic splendor, welcomed concert goers with wine and hot hors d’oeuvres and a display of various types of exquisite accordions from the private collection of Kansas City attorney, John Brungardt, and CDs for sale by the evening’s artists.

Vivant! (whose conservatory-trained members include Julie Silfverberg, accordion/keys, Karen Fremar, accordion/vocals/keys, Dee Sligar, bass keytar, Janne Silfverberg, trombone/Latin percussion, and David Sager, drums) took the stage after intermission to perform a varied program that included music to honor veterans of different wars, including an updated version with electronic effects of the World War II tune, “Bei Mir Bist Du Schone,” the ‘50s West Coast Swing tune, “Night Train,” for Korean War veterans, the updated R&B piece, “Grapevine,” for Vietnam War veterans, and “Music for Patriots,” an arrangement of traditional patriotic works.

Vivant! premiered two new compositions by Karen Fremar: “Grasping for the Wind,” to honor Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, and “Vexation.” The group was joined by Melody Stroth and Ronda Adams for the premieres that included video presentations to illustrate the music prepared by local music educator, Debbie Gray.

The Busso Jr. Trio then joined Vivant! as all guest artists performed together on the final number, “God Bless the U.S.A/Up Where We Belong,” a work arranged especially for the ten musicians on stage by Karen Fremar. After a standing ovation, the group launched into a rollicking version of “Kansas City,” with various group members soloing and Busso and Fremar punching out a final 12-bar duo riff as the group jammed together.

The Fremar Foundation’s board includes professional musicians, Dr. Karen Fremar, Chairman of the Board/President, Denise Sligar, Secretary/Treasurer, attorneys John Brungardt and Larry McMullen, and Julie (Gettler) Silfverberg, professional musician and music studio operator. The Fremar Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization that presents outstanding accordion artists in concert from around the nation and the world. The free public event was sponsored in part by Husch Blackwell, LLP; the Courtney S. Turner Trust--Daniel C. Weary and Bank of America, Trustees; and the H. R. Block Foundation, Inc. For more information visit

Our guests Henry Tyszler, violin, Frank Busso, Jr., accordion, & William Hones, string bass, performing in concert.

The Frank Busso, Jr. Trio in Action!

Vivant! performing their own Kansas City Sound

Photos of the 10 Musicians including The Frank Busso, Jr. Trio, Vivant! and Guest Artists Melody Stroth, piano (far left) and Ronda Adams, electric violin (far right) on Stage for Finale of "God Bless the USA/Up Where We Belong" with video by Debbie Gray.

(Above photo courtesy of Juha Silfverberg)
All Musicians performing finale "God Bless the U.S.A./Up Where We Belong"                   Karen Fremar thanking Frank Busso, Jr.

(Above Photo courtesy of Juha Silfverberg)



Music & Merlot 2012 Concert and Event          
Saturday Evening, June 23, 2012
Bragg Auditorium ~ All Souls Unitarian Church
(Near the Country Club Plaza)          
4501 Walnut Street
Kansas City, Missouri
Arrive early ~ Cocktails at 6:30 P.M.
Concert at 7 P.M.          

The 2012 event artists:

  • The Frank Busso, Jr. Trio (Accordionist, Violinist & Bassist who also perform as members of the Air Force Strings, Wash., D.C.)
  • Kansas City's Popular Ensemble Vivant!
    Julie Silfverberg, Accordion/Keys; Karen Fremar, Accordion/Keys; Dee Sligar, Keytar/Bass; Janne Silfverberg, Trombone/Congas; & David Sager, Drums. 
          ~ Special Musical Guests ~
  • Ronda Adams, Electric Violin/Viola & Melody Stroth, Piano 
  • New works by Karen Fremar