Farmer’s Market musicians play for fun, not money

DUBUQUE – If you frequent the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, you’ve likely heard the music of an accordion and harmonica drifting down Iowa Street. But who are the men behind the instruments?

Jim Appel, of East Dubuque, is a rookie accordion player.

“I play the accordion probably five days a week,” he says.

He’s been playing at the Farmer’s Market for four years.

“What started me playing down here is I love, I don’t like to play for real snobby people in parties and bars, I like coming down here because there’s children. One of the biggest thrills is to have a child come and play the accordion,” he explains.

Appel loves to pull kids aside to play the accordion. He says he hopes that some of the kids who play, will learn to play themselves.

Shortly after Appel started playing at the Market, a harmonica player joined him. Ed Feldheim, of Chicago, Illinois, says his wife heard Appel at the Market one day and told him to come check it out.

“My wife was down one day and she heard Jim playing and she said, ‘Come on with me.’ So I followed her like I always do, I always follow orders. So I came over, I sat down and played a couple songs with Jim and he said, ‘You coming back next week?’ I said, ‘You sure you want me to?'”

Playing together for four years now, the two have extended their playing beyond Saturday mornings.

Appel says, “Now Ed and I, we go to different parties, we played for a 100 year old’s birthday party who was an accordion player. We don’t make it a business, we make it a pleasure.”

In fact, it’s the opposite of a business because they don’t keep a penny they earn on Saturday mornings.

“On an average Saturday we probably take in $85 to $90, and that goes to charity because I don’t need the money. Yeah, it’s just a fun thing,” Appel says.

It’s definitely a “fun thing” that people of all ages can enjoy.

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