Mandan News

Legendary accordionists makes a return to Mandan

By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor

The legendary accordionist, Dick Contino, will be making his sixth appearance in Mandan, with a concert at the Mandan High School Auditorium on Aug. 23, at 7 p.m.

Born of Italian parentage on Jan. 17, 1930, the 84-year-old Contino has been playing since he was 17 years old. Having been taught by his father, he fell in love with the instrument, practicing many hours each day while striving for perfection.

Over the years, Contino has released a dozen albums, with the first in 1948. Selling over six million copies, he has found a number of hits, including “Lady of Spain,” “Granada” and “Tico Tico.”
His big break though was being featured on the Ed Sullivan Show, where he would be seen 44 times. With his various appearances, Contino has become one of the most famous accordionists in history.

It wouldn’t be until 2009 that Contino would make his first appearance in Mandan though. Bernie Hetzler, and her late husband Bob, of Mandan, had made the decision to call Contino after a friend of theirs found his number online.

Not fully expecting Contino to answer, the Hetzlers were surprised when Leigh Snowden, Contino’s wife, answered the phone.

After a bit of talking, Bob asked to speak to Contino, who was pleased to do so. With a connection forming between them, they ended up talking for over an hour.

The Hetzler’s would go on to hire Contino to perform in Mandan, and he has been coming back ever since.

Admission to the show is $12, and is available at the door. Tickets will also be available at Eckroth Music, The Shop at 131 Airport Road and Fried’s Family Restaurant.