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28th Annual Polka Hall of Fame Awards Show

Polka Hall of Fame Honors Eddie Bucar and Dave Wolnik at Music Awards Show Gala, Saturday, November 28 2015 Key Center Marriott in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. World Accordion Champion Denis Novato headlines the 28th annual Polka Hall of Fame Awards Show with Cleveland musicians Eddie Bucar and Dave Wolnik to be inducted, Saturday, November 28, 2015. The Awards Show gala is the high point of the three-day Thanksgiving Polka Party Weekend hosted by the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 26, 27 and 28, in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

28th Annual Polka Hall of FameThe late Dave Wolnik was a drummer who appeared with 84 different orchestras and countless recordings in his 50-year career. The late Eddie Bucar, was a long-time polka radio broadcaster and bass-player. They were voted in for their lifetime achievements by the Polka Hall of Fame membership and announced at a preview meeting on October 15. Winners will be announced in nine categories, including Polka Band, Musician, and Album of the Year. Six achievers will be added to the Trustees Honor Roll: three Cleveland bandleaders and accordionists, Johnny Pastirik, Milan Racanovic and Marty Sintic; polka radio personality Patty Sluga; Cleveland saxophonist Joe Samsa; and Eddie Liszewski, the late Pittsburgh-area accordionist who led Eddie and the Slovenes. Two songs by musicians from Slovenia were announced as All-Time Hits. The exhilarating “Trumpet Echo Polka (Na Golici),” written by Slavko Avsenik and Vilko Ovsenik, is one of the world’s best-known polka compositions. “The Quiet Valley (V dolini tihi)” is a folksy waltz by Lojze Slak that became popular with accordionists in Slovenian communities internationally.

The Awards Show rolls out the barrel and the red carpet at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 28, in the Marriott Grand Ballroom, 127 Public Square in Cleveland. The theme, “A Century of Cleveland-Style Polka,” salutes the late bandleaders Frankie Yankovic and Johnny Pecon on their 100th birthdays with musical acts reflecting the polka trends since 1915. Entertainers include, among others, Joey Miskulin of the cowboy combo Riders in the Sky and Wisconsin’s Jeff Winard, plus Jeff Pecon and Bob Yankovic in tributes to their fathers. Denis Novato, the Slovenian accordionist from Italy, takes center stage as the world-renowned champion of the diatonic accordion known as the button box.

The All-Star Polka Big Band is under the direction of Tom Mroczka. Enjoy three days of music and dancing with top Cleveland-Style and Slovenian polka bands and performers from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada. Performers include Canada’s Grammy-winning Polka King Walter Ostanek, Dick Tady, Eddie Rodick, Del Sinchak, Hank Thunander, the Frank Stanger Orchestra (Polka Band of the Year), and Patty C and the Guys (Button Box Band of the Year). Music is Thursday from 3:00 to midnight; Friday from 1:00 p.m. to midnight; and Saturday evening after the 4:30 p.m. Polka Mass with Fr. Frank Perkovich and the Joey Tomsick Orchestra. Dance admission Thursday and Friday is $15 per person and $10 on Saturday, including free indoor parking. 18 and under free. Awards Show tickets are $20 each. Save with a Saturday Polka Pass – the Awards Show and the Saturday dance are only $25 per person. For dance and show tickets, call the Polka Hall of Fame, (216) 261-FAME, toll-free (866) 66-POLKA, or polkashop@aol.com. Reserve rooms at the Downtown Marriott Hotel through Kollander Travel at a special rate of $105 per room-night, including free parking, (216) 692-1000, toll-free (800) 800-5981, or kwt@kollander.com. The Thanksgiving Polka Weekend was begun by polka radio deejay Tony Petkovsek in 1963. Petkovsek and musicians and leaders of Slovenian and ethnic organizations founded the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum in 1987.

The Cleveland style of polka has roots in Slovenian folk music with influences from country and western, jazz, pop tunes, and other nationality sounds. The lively style of American dance music was especially popular in the years following World War II when artists like America’s Polka King Frank Yankovic scored million-selling hits. Polka music is enjoying a revival in cities across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic. The museum features audio exhibits, photos and original instruments tracing the Cleveland-style polka from its origins in the city’s Slovenian neighborhoods in the 1890s to national renown. The Polka Hall of Fame gallery pays tribute to significant musicians and individuals, as voted each year by the membership. The archive preserves 5,000 Slovenian and Cleveland-style recordings, dating back a century. The Polka Hall of Fame is located at 605 East 222nd Street in Euclid, Ohio, in the historic former Euclid City Hall. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 to 4:00. Admission is free. For details, contact (216) 261-FAME or www.polkafame.com.


Article By: Phil H.


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Remembering Tony Petkovsek 1941 – 2019

The National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum mourns the passing of Chairman Emeritus and co-founder Tony Petkovsek. Tony brought new life to the Cleveland-Style Polka. Just when polka music seemed played out, young Tony arrived on the scene in 1961 with a daily radio show that revived America’s good-time sound. He inspired new and classic bands to record albums. His polka tours brought attention to Slovenia and took the happy music around the world. Tony’s Thanksgiving polka weekends still attract a thousand fans. His music events and causes made him an important community leader.