Janet Cutrer was born in 1941 in Spanish Fork, Utah, but moved with her parents at age seven to California (Compton; later to Lakewood) where she was introduced to the accordion at age eight. Gifted and excelling quickly (with teacher/composer genius LaVoy Halle), she soon became a top child and teen competition performer, winning titles and honors at Western States Accordion Festivals in the great 1950s heydays of the accordion in America.
A frequent TV, radio, and Miss Universe Pageant performer, stage performances heavily dotted her early/mid/late teen years. Whether it was KTTV's "Betty White Show," KCOP TV's "Chef Milani Show," KTLA TV's "Doye O'Dell C-5 Ranch" show, radio KLON or radio's "Squeekin Deakin" show, among numerous-including winning the audition in her mid-teens to be the weekly accordionist for Southern California's popular "Dick Sinclair's Polka Parade" TV show (though her parents declined the $400 weekly contract, comparable to what her father was making at the time); or whether it was for countless programs year after year in dozens of Los Angeles' sprawling suburban cities to receiving at age 22 a 10-year performing service award from Long Beach's Armed Services YMCA Center, Janet was always on the go performing and learning musically.
At 19 and with a Las Vegas offer under consideration, a new performance-direction occurred when Janet finally accepted her apprehensive parents' repeated requests to set aside her performing and accordion teaching and attend the religiously based Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Greeted at the bus station by campus leaders of BYU's nationally highly-regarded collegiate entertainment program (and taken under arm by Janie Thompson who with the famed Tony Bennett had been the lead singers in the Ike Carpenter big band), Janet soon found herself a major entertainer at Brigham Young University and prominent in the entire area for the next five years. For the university she toured the USA (1961), a one-month tour; the Far East (1962), U.S. Defense Department two-month tour; Europe (1963), U.S. Defense Department three-month tour; and a five-month around the world (1965) U.S. State Department tour.
Marrying Jay M. Todd in 1964 and settling in Salt Lake City, Janet continued during the next decade to perform for prominent events and conventions throughout the western U.S. and do audience warm-up for stars traveling through the Rockies (Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Johnny Mathis, Buck Owens, Bobby Vinton, among others). Performing hours diminished each year, however, as she turned attention to rearing her five children. For many years Janet did recording studio work when an accordion was needed, backgrounding films, videos, TV, CDs, and commercials, and continues doing so.
In the mid-1980s, serious health challenges put her performance career on hold, permanently it was thought. But after a strong health upswing occurred during the late 1990s, in 2002 Janet again put on her accordion to "see what might happen at this point in my life." Since then, she has been showcased at annual U.S. and Canadian venues emblematic of accordion excellence and musicianship, becoming established again as one of America's premier accordionists. From the American Accordion Association's Boston fete to Montana's Philipsburg Accordion Celebration; Texas' National Accordion Convention to Washington's Leavenworth Accordion Celebration; Las Vegas International Accordion Convention to Canada's Kimberley International "Old Time" Accordion Championships (winning in 2005 its jazz and World "Old Time" duet titles); the Florida Smash to California's Cotati Accordion Festival.
And so…Janet continues to date being her true musician self-a stage-show performer who loves also being a symphony pit instrumentalist, recording studio musician, polka band player, ensemblist, or jazz comboist, happily "playing again" at countless diversified settings.