Accordion is key


Through his company, Accordion Plus LLC, DALE WISE ’63 MME ’69 works to introduce the accordion to children.

Wise has built his love for the accordion into a career that includes performing for U.S. presidents and other leaders.

In many alphabetical lists, the accordion is the first musical instrument. It also tops the chart for DALE WISE ’63 MME ’69, who has a lifelong interest in teaching and playing the instrument. 

A former high school and junior high music teacher who gave accordion lessons while at Bradley, Dale has branched out. His events, CDs, website, and television show about the instrument have attracted audiences nationwide and overseas. His company, Accordion Plus LLC, established a philanthropic program called Accordions for Kids/U.S.A., to introduce children to the accordion. Students from 14 states have participated. 

“This program allows young people to test their interest in playing the accordion without charge,” explained Dale, who first picked up the instrument as an 11-year-old in his hometown of Ottawa. “So many things run in cycles, not the least of which is the accordion. It was very popular in the 1940s and 1950s and is now in the midst of a renaissance.” 

He has played for five U.S. presidents (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush) and performed at other events for politicians, international leaders, and celebrities. Dale produced and hosted The Accordion Show, which ran regularly on northern Virginia TV stations for three years in the 1980s and now airs periodically as Communicating Today. His concerts have featured guest artists from around the country and Canada. Dale’s website, Accordionplus.com, offers items for accordion enthusiasts. “Currently, I’m working on the music for a movie being made in Spain,” he remarked. 

He remembers ringing the campus carillon twice a day and performing with the band as a Bradley student. “My efforts at Bradley have greatly influenced my life and work in music, all stemming from a love for the accordion,” Dale said.

Dale and his wife, DeAnn, have five children and live near Fredericksburg, Virginia. 

– Bob Grimson ’81

Top broadcaster

DAVE SNELL ’76, Bradley’s assistant director of athletics communications, was named Illinois Broadcaster of the Year for 2012 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA). Dave also won the honor in 2001. He is serving as NSSA president in 2013–14. He has announced Bradley basketball games on WMBD-AM since 1979. Dave also received the John Sanders “Spirit of the Valley” Award in January at Carver Arena. The award recognizes his interest in the Missouri Valley Conference, work ethic, and sense of humor. Dave lives in Peoria.


Sacred calling

Faith and service are what motivate Sister JUDITH ANN DUVALL ’82 in her work and her life. As Major Superior for the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, she supervises and is chief administrator for the order. After beginning her nursing career in 1972, Sister Judith Ann has worked in several administrative roles for OSF. She now serves as chairperson of the three major OSF boards: OSF Healthcare System, OSF Healthcare Foundation, and OSF Saint Francis. She also is chairperson of OSF’s air medical program, OSF Aviation LLC. 

She started and coordinates the Ministry Development Program for key OSF leaders and managers. “It roots them in our heritage, so they recognize and understand the sacredness of their call … so they serve in our ministry with integrity, compassion, and competence in the service of human life,” she said of the program.  

Sister Judith Ann was honored last November at the 22nd annual tribute dinner for Easter Seals, where more than $1 million was raised for the agency’s programs in central Illinois. Also in 2012, she was honored by Pope Benedict XVI for her dedication to Catholic health care and the leadership of her religious community. 

Calling herself a “proud graduate of Bradley University,” she holds a master’s degree from St. John’s University in New York and lives in East Peoria.

– Bob Grimson ’81