It all began with a gift to Meredith Pangrace from her husband. The small accordion, intended as a ‘gag’ gift, incredibly, became an enormously important factor that would take Meredith’s life down a different path. It was, in fact, the spark that led to Meredith’s decision to choose to save a fellow musician’s life by giving her the ‘gift of life’.
Initially, Meredith Pangrace didn’t intend to become a musician. Instead, as a natural outgrowth of her close-knit family’s ownership of a print shop, she became a graphic designer. A creative child, she took piano lessons, and was able to read music. As an adult, Meredith applied her knowledge of the piano to the little instrument and began to learn the piano accordion from YouTube videos. When she decided to take it to the next level, Meredith set out to join a band.
In March of 2011, Meredith auditioned for a band that was seeking an accordionist. Because she was accustomed to using sheet music, and finding none at the audition, she fumbled. In spite of it, Maura Rogers, Singer/Songwriter and Bandleader, gave Meredith a chance to join her band. Meredith had no idea that Maura was very ill and was on an organ donation list awaiting a kidney. Maura had no inkling that Meredith would be a match as a donor. But, by December of 2011, the two had become friends, and because of a sense of kinship, the knowledge was shared with all band members. Meredith knew that she wanted to be tested as a donor and was found to be the best match for the donation of her kidney to Maura Rogers.
In the post-surgery and recovery aftermath, Maura and Meredith began to perform under the name, “The Bean Sisters”, after a friend bestowed that name on them, mirthfully, on social media. In 2012, the Alternative Folk Rock group, Maura Rogers and The Bellows, went back to work and released their first self-produced album, “A Good Heart Will Break”, (2012). They followed with “In Light” (2015), and also, with their latest release to date, “Live at the Beachland Ballroom” (2016).
Together, Meredith Pangrace and Maura Rogers have become a living example of organ donation and the power it has to sustain life. “Music played such a big role in this story,” Meredith said. “Music was the reason this all happened, and now the music we make is influenced by it. Going through that has put us on a deeper level of music and of friendship.” Moving forward, they also prove that women musicians can collaborate on all levels, to make music and to change lives by founding and sponsoring causes, nationally and internationally that benefit humanity.
Always optimistic, Meredith Pangrace continues to grow as an accordionist as she performs with Maura Rogers and The Bellows. She was featured as a ‘pin up’ cover girl, on the 2018 Edition of “Accordion Babes Calendar”.
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