Photo by Tadd Myers
Builder: Marc Savoy
Marc Savoy is an American musician, and builder and player of the Cajun accordion. He has performed with Robert Bertrand, Dennis McGee, Rodney Balfa, Sady Courville, Dewey Balfa, D. L. Menard, and Michael Doucet, the latter of whom he plays with in the Savoy-Doucet Band. He also plays in the Savoy Family Band with his wife Ann and their sons Joel and Wilson. He hosts regular jam sessions and mini-festivals at the Savoy Music Center.
According to Marc:
At age twelve I got my first accordion, a Hohner from Sears for $27.50. By age fifteen I began thinking about how my little Hohner might be improved to sound more like the famed pre-war Monarch and Sterling accordions, which had such a gutsy, rich tone compared to my little Hohner.
In 1960 I built my first accordion using the pre-war accordion as a guide. I built something that looked like an accordion and first I was so proud of my job. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized how bad it was. So one day not too long after I completed it I lit a fire in the barbecue pit and burned it. I knew I could do a better job on the next one. So with a hand drill, an electric circular saw, and a lot of elbow grease and patience I built #2, which actually I was pretty satisfied with.
I was playing house dances around the area using my #2 accordion, and the word began to get around that I was playing an accordion that I had built myself. It was at one of these house dances that a man came up to see my accordion, and after looking it over for some time, asked me how much I would charge to build one for him. My first customer! Number three led to number four and......
By the fall of 1965 I had pretty much taken up my father's outdoor kitchen with my accordion building hobby. Accordion parts were scattered all over the place. Sawdust from the woodworking covered all the surfaces, so my father, who realized that I had developed a pretty good little business with accordions, told me one day, "Well, it looks like you want to be a musician and instrument maker, and since I would like to have my outdoor kitchen back, would you please re-establish yourself somewhere else?"
On November 19, 1966 I opened the doors to Savoy Music Center. Since that time nearly 1000 Acadian accordions have gone out to accordion players all over the world. Today, myself along with luthier Tina Pilione, continue to build Acadian accordions. Even after those many years of discovering "what makes it tick", we continue to make improvements as better materials are found and techniques refined.
P. O. Box 941,
Eunice, LA 70535.