Mary Kasprzyk Tokarski
early-life musical training with Michael Fernino of Ansonia, Connecticut,
developed into a life-long love and study of music. When Julie began lessons,
Mary was offered the opportunity to begin as well . . . but thought not!
After a year passed, and Julie would repeatedly come home with an ice
cream cone for a good lesson, she reconsidered her position on musical
She progressed rapidly, and worked hard to catch up to Julie. Both studied
harmony and theory privately with Dr. Asher Zlotnik, then of Yale University
and New York City.
Performances were numerous, and competitions were a regular part of growing
up. By the time she reached early adulthood, Mary stacked up over 175
trophies and awards for State, Regional and National competitions. Her
first "concert" appearance was at the age of 12 with the Fernino
Quintet (which included Julie, too).
As a duo, Mary & Julie (pictured left with the late duo of Bill Palmer
and Bill Hughes) held the U.S. Duet Championship for over 12 years. Performances
"in concert" throughout the United States include solo appearances,
duet appearances with Julie, and many as a member of the Accordion Symphony
Society of New York, The Accordion Pops Orchestra, at the Latin Arts Festival
at Southern Connecticut State College, and many others. (Julie and Mary
pictured below with Elsie Bennett - center and Michael Fernino at a guest
artist appearance for the Bennett Music School in Brooklyn, NY.)
She's appeared in "Fiddler On The Roof", and in 2001, a world-premiere
of "Alcyone", (written by Thomas L. Read, based on an epic poem
by F.D. Reeve, and conducted by Professor Neely Bruce) at Wesleyan University
in Middletown, CT.
Mary represented the United States in the Coupe Mondiale (World Accordion
Championship) sponsored by the Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes
in Belgium (1971) and in France (1973).
began her teaching career when she was in high school, building her skills,
and helping young children build their self-esteem through music. Even
then, early childhood education was a priority of Mary's. After many years
as a private music educator, she developed her own system of working with
She subsequently attended Kindermusik courses at the University of Massachusetts
at Lowell, and at Princeton University, and has attended numerous seminars
on the psychology of teaching, technics for the "special needs"
learner, and lots of education-related topics. Mary also serves as a music
educator in the North Haven Department of Education Early Childhood Development
Program. (Mary and Julie pictured below right with their own early music
teacher Michael Fernino in 1957)
member of many music associations, Mary's held positions as President,
Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and many Committee Chairs over the
years. She currently holds memberships in the American Accordionists'
Association (where she serves on the Board of Directors), the Accordionists'
and Teachers Guild, International (where she also serves on the Board
of Directors), the Music Teachers National Association, the Connecticut
State Music Teachers Association, the New Haven Chapter of CSMTA, and
has been a member of the National Association of Female Executives, and
the Business and Professional Women's Association. As a member of the
Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary Club of North Haven, Mary
donates some of her time and talents back to the community!
Mary is the Director of Music Education at the Tokarski Music Center in
North Haven, CT and teaches "special needs" children at a local
elementary school. She is a respected adjudicator at local, national and
international music festivals and events, often presents workshops on
advanced student preparation and performance confidence, and along with
the members of The "K" Trio is instrumental in the presentation
of "How We Do It" - an in-depth workshop in ensemble performance
Along with her busy musical career, Mary enjoys bowling and needlework.