Married for 37 years, three
children all of whom play the accordion and several other instruments and
Elaine now has two grandchildren.
Started the piano at the age of five and the accordion at
the age of seven with local teachers. During college years taught by the
late Eddie Harris. Started teaching in the sixties entering a band in the
Great Britain Championships in 1965. Married in 1968 and formed a music
school with Ronald in Colchester and Birmingham.
Have entered bands and orchestras in every United Kingdom
Championship ever since and winning a championship title on every occasion -
the only musical Director to have achieved this.
Students are entered in examinations gaining many
distinctions from Grade 1 to Diplomas. At Area and National Championships
students have held a title in nearly every age group and graded section -
playing stradella and Free Bass instruments.
Colchester Accordion Orchestra with Elaine as Musical
Director and Conductor was given the honoured use of the Colchester borough
crest in 1974 when the orchestra won a GOLD MEDAL in the WORLD BAND
CHAMPIONSHIPS in Kerkrade, Holland and went on to win further awards at the
Innsbruck Festival. The local Member of Parliament is a keen follower of the
orchestra and promotes the accordion at every opportunity.
The orchestra went on to win the prestigious National
Festival of Music of Youth title (the first accordion band to do so) at the
Royal Festival Hall and subsequently performed in the Proms at the Royal
Albert Hall. The Junior orchestra and the Tiny Tots band achieving the same
in the 1980's. This gained them many radio and television broadcasts all
promoting the accordion.
Elaine taught as a music teacher at a local secondary
school for eight years, introducing the accordion to the school and then
having a twenty piece band that regularly performed at school concerts. She
later taught accordion at a boys private school where a band was formed that
later won the UK Championships in the 1990's. Elaine saw a drop in the
accordion tuition and retrained and qualified as a nursery teacher,
subsequently opening her own school in 1992 and an annexe in 2004. A
flourishing Pre-school that has brought an upturn in the accordion as Elaine
now teaches accordion to children as young as 3 years old and currently has
a tiny tots band where there are 15 children all under the age of 9 years,
thus giving a full teaching programme.
Colchester Accordion Showband was formed in 1988 with
Elaine as M.D. The showband has been voted UK Accordion Entertainment
Champions no less than 10 times and also showband of the year many times.
The 22 accordionists with percussion, dancers and singers have toured the
U.S.A. three times with performances in Disney World (Florida), Disneyland
(Los Angeles), Colchester Conneticut, Colchester Vermont, Philadelphia (with
Douglas Ward and Stanley Darrow) Washington, San Francisco and Las Vegas.
The accordion band has also performed at Disney World Paris. Concerts have
also been given in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and Italy
The orchestra and showband have hosted and performed
joint concerts with many bands from Europe and groups from the U.S.A. and
Elaine has organised the East Anglia Area Festival for
over 30 years and the UK Championships eight times. Elaine has been a member
of the N.A.O. Board of Governors since 1967 and a past Chairperson. She was
awarded the National Merit Award in 2002 for devoted service to the
Accordion. She has also been a delegate at many Summer and Winter C.I.A.
meetings, organising one Winter Congress in Colchester.
Elaine has devoted her whole life to teaching and
promoting the accordion most of which would not have been possible without
the wonderful support of her family, the dedication and influence of her
husband, professional accordionist the late Ronald Beecham.