Aptly named, The Internationals perform music from around the world.
Specializing in dance music from Europe - Germany, France, Switzerland,
Italy, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia
to name a few. The Internationals also perform all the standard dance music
from the United States, even including a little "rock and roll."
Bob, Steve, Jan, and Tom yodel and sing in several different languages. The
Internationals combine authentic European costumes and music with American
enthusiasm and energy to provide audiences with the best in Musical
Bandleader, Accordion, Vocals, Keyboard
Bass Guitar, Tuba, Vocals, Yodeling
Horns, Vocals, Yodeler, Keyboard, Aux. Percussion
Bobby has been the core of the band --
starting his playing career while still in high school. Stevie, on the other
hand, came along during Bobby's college years. By comparison, Jan is
practically a newcomer. And then there's the true "newbie" in the
group, Tom. So what follows is a (very) brief account of how this band got to
where it is today.
Bobby contacted a couple of his old high
school buddies, and the band was off and running. But they wanted a bass
player, so Bobby invited Stevie McGinnis to start sitting in. Bobby and
Stevie had met at college and became fast friends, so it was only natural that
they would want to keep playing together. It turns out that Steve, who was
known to most of us as a tuba player back then, was a pretty decent bass
fiddle player as well. (Stevie didn't play bass guitar at this point
because no one but those good-for-nothing long-haired freaks like the Beatles
included an electric bass in the band. Of course, everyone knew that
"rock-and-roll" wouldn't last and the Beatles were nothing but a
flash in the pan... but I digress.)
As the band started playing more often,
Stevie found himself driving from his home in the central valley on a regular
basis to play gigs with the group. And what do you know... Stevie can sing!
He quickly became the lead vocalist on many of the band's numbers. So it
wasn't long before Stevie was a permanent part of the newly named band, The
the beginning, the focus was on playing a variety of music genres and styles (hence
the name!). Naturally, they played all the European dance favorites --
polkas, waltzes, schottiches, etc. -- and also
mixed in traditional favorites from a variety of European countries. In
addition, they played a smattering of American jazz, blues, country and even
rock-n-roll classics. It wasn't uncommon to hear a polka followed by a
country western classic!
Over the years, The Internationals™ have
historically played primarily as a quartet. Early on, it was two accordions,
bass and drums. Later, it was accordion, trumpet, bass and drums. And then
for a spell, it was just a trio... you guessed it: accordion, bass and drums.
The trio configuration actually lasted
for a number of years. But after a while, the boys decided it was time to
bring a horn player back into the group.
Enter Jan Meere
Jan had been playing for many years in
his father's band. But as time went on, he started to venture out to other
bands now and then. As it turns out, the experience of playing with a number
of different bands helped him to develop into quite the versatile musician.
His travels eventually included an
occasional evening with The Internationals™, and it wasn't hard to figure out
that this combination sounded pretty good! And not only did this four-piece
combo sound good, but the addition of Jan expanded
the band's horizons, so to speak. With his ability to speak (and sing) in three
languages, and play (at least) 8 different instruments, the band found
itself capable of tackling music that would have been much more difficult
with only three members. So the band was back to a quartet, and sounding
better than ever.
Fast forward to 2012... and the introduction of the band's new percussionist, Tom Cassaza! Tom has been a long-time friend of the band,
even sitting in from time to time. As of January, 2012, Tom became the
full-time drummer for the group and -- once again -- we see a repertoire
expansion for The Internationals™. This is because Tom brings not only his
skills on the trap set to the band, but also his considerable skills as a
The boys quickly realized that Tom can
sing a number of songs that the band has never performed before, some of
which are in Genres that they have never tackled. This expands the band's
versatility in a couple ways; a fresh influx of new tunes, and a fourth voice
for the vocal harmonies. (Their a cappella
strains have never sounded better!)