Turner Hall of Monroe
Monroe, Wisconsin

Squeezebox Night

The third Tuesday night of each month, with music
starting at 6 pm in the Ratskeller Restaurant (lower level).
A special Squeezebox Night menu is available starting at 5 pm.

Dates in 2024: February 20, March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, July 16,
August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19, December 17.

See a video link about Squeezebox Night at the bottom of the page.

Dust off that old accordion or button box that's been sitting in the attic for years and bring it to the Turner Hall's Ratskeller every third Tuesday evening of the month! Squeezebox Night, an informal monthly jam session, was introduced in May 2007 by Turner Hall's Swiss Heritage Series as part of an on-going schedule of programs and events that feature Swiss traditions and folk culture. Squeezebox Night founder and local accordionist Del Heins, along with John Waelti and others, will be on hand to lead and encourage the playing. Intended for all ability levels, from beginners to veterans, and all types of accordion-like instruments, the sessions offer people a chance to re-acquaint themselves with the instrument in a fun and non-threatening way, as well as offering longtime players a chance to come together and play.

Other instrumentalists are also invited to participate. Itís not at all unusual to see a guitar, banjo, bass player, trumpet, autoharp, or even an alphorn or two playing along as well. In addition to players, listeners are also invited to come and enjoy the toe-tapping music!

Squeezebox Players jammin' it up.

There was a time in Monroe's past when taking accordion lessons was as common as taking piano lessons. Rudy Burkhalter (1911 - 1994), an immigrant from Basel, Switzerland and the upper Midwest's foremost Swiss-American traditional musician, opened an accordion school in 1938 with his wife, Frances, teaching throughout south-central Wisconsin. Once a week, the two would travel to Monroe, New Glarus, Darlington, Dodgeville, Watertown, Beaver Dam, Richland Center, Reedsburg and Baraboo, advertising two months of free lessons as well as furnishing the accordion. Eventually teaching up to 500 students per week, with classes of 20 to 40 students, countless people in Green County learned to play the instrument. Two local Burkhalter students, Roger Bright and Betty Kneubuehl Vetterli, came to be well-known Swiss musicians in their own right. John Waelti, a Monroe accordionist who plays regularly around the area and throughout the state, also studied accordion with Burkhalter and is a regular at Squeezebox Night.

With that kind of history in Monroe and a renewed interest in accordion playing across the country, Squeezebox Night is a perfect fit for the Ratskeller and Turner Hall's Swiss Heritage Series.

A news video about Turner Hall's Squeezebox Night was the entry that earned Andy Choi, formerly an anchor at CBS affiliate WISC-TV Channel 3 in Madison, Wisconsin, a 2011 National Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in electronic journalism. The piece, which was filmed December 15, 2009 in Turner Hall's Ratskeller, was viewed by residents throughout south-central Wisconsin on WISC-TV on January 7, 2010. The awarding winning 4-minute video, which gives the viewer a good feel for Squeezebox Night, can be viewed here.