- Associated Press - Sunday, January 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - Melania Trump will bring a significant slice of Slovenia to Washington, D.C., next week. So will a couple of brothers from Washington County.

Frank and Darryl Valencic, and their button accordions, will perform Tuesday night at the Sister Cities International Inaugural Ball in the nation’s capital. They were invited by the Embassy of Slovenia, where the first lady in waiting was born 46 years ago.

It is a black-tie event - $250 per ticket - that will unfold at the Organization of American States building and draw diplomats, members of Congress and municipal leaders. And, perhaps, Melania.

“She’s been invited, but Secret Service won’t say anything. But there’s a good chance,” said Frank, co-owner of Tomsic Motor Co. on Racetrack Road, North Strabane Township, with Darryl.

Washington’s embassies get together for a gala every year, but in a presidential election year, this one will be different from most. It is one of many soirees planned for D.C. next week, leading up to Friday’s inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump.

The Valencics, who live in North Strabane, will play in a small program but mostly share their distinctive sounds while strolling through the crowd during the evening.

“It’s all about us playing with a traditional Slovenian flair to our music,” Frank said, adding they will wear traditional Slovenian clothing while playing the traditional Slovenian instrument.

They won’t be the only providers of sweet sounds. The Marine Corps Band and the group the Mood Swings also will perform during the long night, which was organized by the Slovenian Embassy and Sister Cities, a nonprofit diplomacy network.

Darryl and Frank aren’t entirely certain why they were selected for their initial national gig, but the duo probably earned the distinction, They have performed throughout this region and at numerous locations across the U.S.; they have links to numerous SNPJ social lodges; and they are, obviously, talented. Most recently, on Thanksgiving weekend, the brothers were judged Best Duo at the Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame event in Cleveland.

“Different consulates in the U.S. are familiar with us,” Frank said. “I’m sure that’s why the embassy called.”

Frank and Darryl are accomplished musicians partly because they have been playing the button accordion since they were about 10 - and partly because they are proud of their heritage. Their grandparents came from Slovenia, including James Tomsic, who after immigrating to the Canonsburg area launched the auto dealership in 1929. The brothers and their father, Frank, 85, are native Washington Countians.

Tomsic Motors operated in Canonsburg until 1972 before moving to its current locale. The company was a Chrysler dealership till 2009, when it was one of about 50 dealerships the carmaker cut loose in Pennsylvania. Tomsic also was selling used cars at the time, and continues to do that.

“We lost $2 million,” the younger Frank said. “It was fortunate we had the used car business.”

With his two sons, Frank and Eric, on the payroll, Tomsic Motor is a fourth-generation family business.

On Tuesday, Darryl and his brother will shift their focus away from high-model used cars to enhancing a high-end event with their musical dexterity. They will be on their feet from about 8 to 11 p.m., performing during a VIP reception, a general reception, dinner and a gala. Their fingers and wrists may scream out.

But they plan to have a restful overnight stay at the Slovenian Embassy, before embarking for home Wednesday afternoon - with a memory that will endure.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/2irGrOs

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Information from: Observer-Reporter, http://www.observer-reporter.com

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