Alan Bridgeford

Squeeze box helps Bothell man to see the world around him

When asking musicians what instrument they play, the accordion isn't high on the list of likely answers.

When asking musicians what instrument they play, the accordion isn’t high on the list of likely answers.

But if you ask Bothell resident Alan Bridgeford it is a huge part of his life.

The 24-year-old has been rocking the squeezebox for more than a decade after playing a toy accordion while he practiced piano.

“I got interested in playing the accordion since I was 12-years-old,” he said.

His repertoire includes polka, waltz, Christmas and kids songs, as well as traditional hymns.

Sitting in his family’s living room on a recent morning, Bridgeford let loose with versions of “On Top of Spaghetti” and “The Skater’s Waltz.”

The fingers on his left hand pounded away at the rhythm buttons while his right glazed over the keyboard providing grooving melodies.

Bridgeford opened a regional Special Olympics swim match on April 17 by playing the national anthem.

While he doesn’t swim, Bridgeford does compete in track events and recently won a gold medal.

All this is made even more remarkable because Bridgeford is blind.

But it doesn’t seem to slow him down as he heads down to the Seattle Center to jam at the playground for families and kids, or at the Northshore Senior Day Center or at Edmonds Senior Center.

He’s taking lessons currently, and will be playing at the Sorenson Carnival at Sorenson Early Childhood Center on June 7 and hopes to eventually open a game at Safeco or Quest Field.

Bridgeford also takes booking requests, and his mother can be reached at swimerskier@comcast.net or at 206-719-2887.

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