Two in Accord: Worthing accordionist performs in memory of musical partner to raise funds for NSPCC South East


Bill Perkins passed away suddenly at the end of November 2019 and Shirley Verenne pays tribute to him by playing 100 pieces of music from memory, a Captain Tom 100 challenge.

The duo were formed in 1993 following a Shirley ad placed in the Worthing Herald. Bill thought he was going to “give it a try” and Two in Accord continued to perform in venues in the south.

Shirley, of Heene Terrace, said: “I am 84 years old and have enjoyed playing the accordion for many years for many events and fundraising for the NSPCC by hosting local music nights every year.

Shirley Verenne and Bill Perkins as Two in Accord in 2018. Photo: Derek Martin DM18110641a

Shirley Verenne and Bill Perkins as Two in Accord in 2018. Photo: Derek Martin DM18110641a

“I will solo 100 pieces of music in remembrance of Bill and our duet music, citing one of many compliments over 26 years,” You and Bill have brought so much happiness and joy to the world with your wonderful playing ” from English Martyrs Church, and “We hope you can keep playing solo and bring fun to people.” I will try to do that from now on, because we all need music to soothe our troubled lives. ”

She also wanted to take the Captain Tom 100 challenge to honor Captain Sir Thomas Moore’s great effort for NHS Charities Together.

Shirely explained, “The family suggested on what would have been their 101st birthday at the end of April that anyone can do something 100 times, in their memory, to raise money for the chosen charity.

“My effort is to help children and their families through this worthy charity. The NSPCC and Childline are inundated with thousands of calls from worried and anxious children every month.

“I have supported the NSPCC for 35 years and have chosen to play 100 pieces of music, mostly from memory, on my accordion. The music consisted of Continental, Scottish and Irish accordion arrangements. It was very difficult following the year of pandemic worries and not having played my game as usual.

Shirley started playing at age 12 when her father bought her an accordion and took over the hobby in his 50s.

She took lessons with Keith Harling in Eastbourne, who wrote the finalist entry for the UK Eurovision Song Contest which was beaten by Sandie Shaw’s Puppet on a String in 1967.

After studying music theory and playing, she gradually established a 14-piece accordion orchestra, called the Shirley Accordionists. Bill was part of this group and after the other members retired, he and Shirley continued as a duo.

She said: “We performed for the opening concert of Remembrance for the Royal British Legion at the Pier Pavilion, Worthing, and gave many other local concerts to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Hospital.

“Bill and I also played for Flag Day at Croydon Shopping Center for three hours, raising over £ 2,300 for the Royal Marsden. We also auditioned to play for all of the WIs in Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Kent, and performed every year for the Royal Navy’s annual celebration of Robert Burns’ birthday.

“I always like to play my solos. It makes me very happy to be able to play again.

Two in Accord has also performed their music as a duet at weddings, church lunchtime concerts, parties and events at the English Martyrs Church, where they have also practiced all these years.

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