TLCB Celebrates 10 Years

By Theresa Parker

There are the usual reasons for the split-up of a band – personality clashes, day job demands, family obligations, retirement, poor health, even the death of the band leader. But no one was prepared for the news coming from the polka world in June 2007 when it was announced that Bobby Jones, the charismatic leader of his namesake band, was missing. Tire tracks and the license plate from his car were found on the banks of the rain swollen Brazos River in Wharton. It was hard news to accept, especially for those musicians who had shared the stage with Bobby in one of the most popular bands around.

                Some of the members of the Bobby Jones Czech Band were in a state of shock and couldn’t continue playing for a while. Bob Suttie, who had been with the band since 1989, decided to continue the legacy.

                “I guess I’m just not ready to quit playing this music!” Bob said in the September 2007 issue of Texas Polka News. “I wrote the song ‘Polka Time in Texas’ 15 years ago, because that is what I saw when I looked out at the crowds dancing to the Bobby Jones Czech Band. I had been in the band less than two years. But from the beginning I could see that ‘When it’s polka time in Texas, the world is a brighter place, that beautiful Czech music puts a smile on every face.’”  

He went on: “The shock of this whole situation has continued to take its toll, but I am committed to continuing this fine tradition. I feel I have a legacy to cherish, and to pass on to my children. So I have started a band called the Texas Legacy Czech Band.” Bob also thought it was important to honor the more than 30 bookings the Bobby Jones Band had for the rest of 2007.

                In the October 2007 issue of the paper, Editor John Rivard reported that “Bob Suttie and the Texas Legacy Czech Band brought new life to the New Taiton Dance Hall on Sunday, Aug. 26, playing for a good crowd eager to hear the new band. It was a fun dance!”

The article continued: “Suttie is still putting together the new band. On this day he had Cary Oswald (accordion), Mike Gest (tuba, bass), Donnie Wavra (sax), and Jimmy Ryza (drums), while Bob played trumpet, sax, and trombone. The music was good. The band played a great variety, and also closed with a group singalong of You Are My Sunshine, followed by a march around the hall to When the Saints Go Marching In. We were also pleased to see Bob working the hall during the band break, thanking people for coming.”

The Legacy Continues
Other members of the TLCB in the beginning included Delores Rivera and Gene Janis. Bobby Jones alum Joe Zetka Jr. returned to play with the band and continues as accordionist when he’s not playing with the Jodie Mikula Orchestra. Other mainstay members now are Bob Suttie (accordion, trumpet, sax, trombone), Mike Gest (tuba, bass), Jimmy Heinsohn (trumpet, steel guitar), and Darrell Pavlas (drums).

                Bob said the years have flown by. “We’ve recorded three CDs, appeared five times at Wurstfest, and performed at the National Polka Festival and on the Mollie B Polka Party TV show. We continued the tradition of playing every year at the Christmas parties in Shelby and New Taiton, and the military tribute in Rosenberg each May,” he recalled.

                And the best thing about the gigs – the people. “I sure appreciate the people who come out to dance to our music and listen to us. Through the years, we’ve seen a lot of same people at our yearly dances. It’s especially gratifying when they talk about how good the music and dancing are,” Bob said.

                Bob invites everyone to the Taiton Community Center on Sunday, July 30, to help the band celebrate its 10th year anniversary from 2-6 pm. Freddie Vacek will be serving pork steak, sausage, Texas toast, potatoes, veggie, and dessert cobbler, all for $7 a plate.  

Come dance and party with us! Guest appearances by former TLCB band members. Bring your instruments for the jam session. All those 21 and under will get in free and will eat free!

Dance Hall Preservation Art Contest Winners Announced

Fourteen Fayette County students accepted Texas Dance Hall Preservation’s challenge to create art depicting the county’s rich dance hall history. “They were all amazing entries,” TDHP President Deb Fleming said. “It was great to see dance hall history come alive through the eyes of these young, talented artists.”
      First place went to Allyson Hoffman, a junior at Fayetteville High School, for her colored pencil drawing of Sengelmann Hall. Second place went to Hector Aguilar, a sophomore at Round Top Carmine (RTC) High School, for his drawing of antique cars outside a dance hall. Third place went to Justin Hickman, a senior at RTC, for his drawing of a band playing at the Chicken Ranch Dance Hall layered on top of a Fayette County Record newspaper. Alyssa Hayden, a RTC junior, received honorable mention for her 3D representation of Sengelmann
Hall.
      The art was displayed at the TDHP fundraiser on Nov. 12. Each contestant received a signed print of Cat Spring Agricultural Hall by Fayetteville artist Pat Johnson, and a Polka On! goodie bag from Texas Polka News and polkabeat.com. The four winners also received cash prizes and a Polka On! tote bag, along with a one-year subscription to the Texas Polka News.
      The winners shared why they entered the contest and their future plans.

ALLYSON HOFFMANN, First Place
I decided to enter the contest so that I could grow as an artist. I wanted to do Sengelmann Hall because of the detail in the architecture. I have been to many Fayette Co. dance halls, like the
SPJST hall in Fayetteville, Swiss Alp, and a few others. I think it’s important to preserve
the dance halls because it’s a part of our Texas history. Buildings like these are no longer constructed. I plan on pursuing a career in art.

HECTOR AGUILAR, Second Place
I am new to Fayette County, so the art competition seemed like a good way to learn about the history of the area. I have never been to a dance hall in Fayette County, but after researching
them I want to go and hear some good music! Preservation of the dance halls is very important because it is the same as preserving the culture and the heritage of the people here.

JUSTIN HICKMAN, Third Place
I entered the competition because I love living in Fayette County and the dance halls are a big part of growing up here. I have been to just about every dance hall in Fayette County. I really enjoy dancing and listening to good Texas country music. Maintaining the dance halls in Fayette County is important because it is a major piece of the culture and history of this area. I would like to attend TSTC after high school to become a diesel mechanic.

ALYSSA HAYDEN, Honorable Mention
I entered the dance hall competition because I admire antiques and history. This gave me a chance to express my appreciation on a larger scale. My piece allowed me to create a representation of Sengelmann Hall without using conventional drawing tools. I have been to Zapp Hall, RoundTop Rifle Hall, Carmine Hall, and the Round Up Hall! Preservation of the dance halls is important because it gives people a glimpse at how things used to be. My goal is to major in International Business and Marketing.

Stuff Your Stockings with Music!

There’s nothing better than to take down that stocking on Christmas morning to find it filled with chocolate, gift cards, AND MUSIC! Your favorite bands have new recordings just in time for holiday giving.

SqueezeBox by Request
SqueezeBox Band

Mollie B and Ted Lange have recorded a collection of 15 songs most requested by fans at their performances. And it’s a great lineup of music. Mozart’s Polka features accordion and sax and Mollie said it’s an arrangement like no other, done “SqueezeBox style.”

North Shore Polka features Ted on Polish vocals. “When performed live, it gets the crowd going,” Ted said. Rock and Roll Waltz is a classic waltz originally performed by Kay Starr, featuring Mollie's vocal talents on this fan favorite. Schneider Polka is a Six Fat Dutchmen number performed on two trumpets and sax, plus accordion, bass, and drums. A Ja Sam, a Czech song from the old country, is performed the Texas way, including dueling saxes, an accordion solo with a Tejano flair, guitar fills, and “even the ‘whoo, whoo, whoo’ influenced by our Texas friends,” Mollie said.

Crazy, a lighter ballad sung by Mollie with unique accordion and piano work by Ted, is performed in a jazz ballad style. El Rio Drive is a Verne Meisner number with a SqueezeBox twist including "soft-shoe" and Latin sections. Waltz of the Angels, is one of the band's most requested waltzes. My Heart Skips A Beat is a Buck Owens number played with a groovin’ Cajun beat.

Beer Mug Polka is one of the standards SqueezeBox plays to get the crowd going. Edelweiss is a vocal/piano ballad, sung in English and German. You will hear Mollie's classical training in this song. Red Apples Polka is the band’s version of a hoolerie – Dutchmen-style song featuring the clarinet. Polish Boyfriend Polka is one of Mollie's signature songs. The Rose, is a ballad featuring Mollie. Barbara Polka, is a traditional Czech number featuring the button box.

This new CD is the third recording for the band. Freshly Squeezed (2009) contains 20 songs including 14 polkas, 2 waltzes, and 4 fox trots/two-steps with vocals in English, German, Polish, and Czech. Squeeze Me (2007) contains 16 songs including 8 polkas, 2 waltzes, and 6 fox-trots/two-steps/slow songs with vocals in English, German, Polish, and Czech.

Order yours today!

Little Fishermen Orchestra featuring Mollie B

In addition to the By Request CD, Mollie B has released two other CDs - Little Fishermen Orchestra featuring Mollie B has 25 songs performed in Dutchmen and Big Band style, and Mollie B Live with Kenny, Tony, and Dana has 14 songs performed live on the Mollie B Polka Party, taped in Ennis earlier this year.

The Little Fishermen CD tracks: It’s a Small World, Midnight Waltz, Sweet Nearness of You, Elmdale Waltz, Aunt Ella’s Polka, Waltz Medley (Four in the Morning/Tennessee Waltz), Rainbow Valley Polka, Homecoming Waltz, Paper Roses, Matilda Polka, Edelweiss, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Silk Skirt Waltz, Red Raven Polka, Invisible Tears, Fritzie Polka, Snow Waltz, Stranger on the Shore, Ellen Polka, Foundling Waltz, Please Release Me, Innocence Waltz, Yellow Rose of Texas, Little Fishermen’s Waltz, and Sauerkraut Polka.

Order yours today!

Mollie B Live

Mollie B Live features Mollie on vocals, trumpet, sax, and keyboard; Kenny Brandt on sax; Tony Sabo on accordion, midi bass; and Dana Lindblad on drums. Tracks: Beer Barrel Polka, Praha Polka, Tick-Tock Polka, Slap Happy Polka, Pennsylvania Polka, Rock Around the Clock, Mozart's Polka, Save the Last Dance for Me, I Fall to Pieces, Kramer's Polka, Marie Augie's Polka, Memories of Vienna, and Quick Stop Polka. Order yours today!

Mollie is also offering a special discount to Texas Polka News and polkabeat.com fans. on her Christmas Special DVDs/CDs. She has four DVD/CD packs available. When you buy 3 packs TPN/polkabeat fans get a $5 discount; $10 when you buy 4. Shop now and be sure to type in TPN in the PayPal message section. Mollie will send you the discount via PayPal. 

Cajun Baby
Chris Rybak, Hallettsville

This CD has the classics and original tunes to make you feel like you’re at a Cajun polka party. In addition to Cajun standbys like Jole Blon, Jambalaya, and Diggy Liggy Lo, the CD features three original tunes – Cajun Baby’s Cookin’ Tonight, written by Daniel Klapuch (who co-penned Moon Over Moravia), Going to Hallettsville, written by Daniel and Chris, and Love that Chicken From Popeyes, written by Chris. Inspiration came for the latter tune after Chris and his band performed for a party at the Popeyes headquarters in New Orleans. In addition to Chris on accordion, keyboard, and vocals, the CD features Bonnie Riley on fiddle, Jonathan Statsky on rubboard and vocals, Marvin Kremling on maracas and vocals, Ronnie Hermes on guitar and vocals, and Edita Rybak on vocals. Available in the Polka On! Store or send $18 (includes shipping) to Chris Rybak 603 N Texana, Hallettsville, TX 77964.

Polka Time in Texas
The Moravians, Ennis

This CD features six polkas, six waltzes (including a beautiful rendition of Waltz of the Angels), the classic Spanish Eyes, and two country tunes, including Take Me Home Country Roads (John Denver is smiling). The band was started in 2009, and this is the group’s second CD. Current band members consist of seven college students, five being proud Fightin’ Texas Aggies (Whoop!). The band enjoys taking trips to play in new places and looks forward to spreading the joy of polka music for many years to come. Band members: Matthew Matous (accordion, trumpet, sax, vocals), Chris Trojacek (accordion, guitar, trumpet, sax, vocals), Adam Rejcek, drums, vocals, Josh Goodwin, tuba, bass, Zachary Matous (keyboard, bass) Phillip Cryer (sax, guitar, vocals), Tyler Prasifka (trumpet, vocals). The band's first CD, Czech Spirit Will Live On, is also available at the band website and the Polka On! Store

Cheers to 10 Years!
Ennis Czech Boys

This CD is pure polka and waltz music, featuring 11 polkas, including Long Road to Praha, Gypsy, Music, Music, and Peanuts, and five waltzes such as the beautiful Dreamland Waltz and Owl Waltz. In the liner notes, ECB says, “It seems like yesterday we went from three guys in a garage to now eight guys having the opportunity to perform at some of the best events for the greatest people you’ll find anywhere.” Band members: Chris Trojacek (vocals, tenor sax, trumpet), Corey Mikula (drums), Frank Vrla III (tenor sax, guitar, trumpet) Jared Prachyl (bass, vocals), Jerry Petter (accordion), Michael Trojacek (alto/tenor sax, vocals), Trey Sylvester (keyboard, vocals), and Zeke Martinez (rhythm guitar). Available in the Polka On! Store or send $18 (includes shipping) to Trey Sylvester 2392 Intrepid Dr., Buda, TX 78610.

Let’s Have a Party! 30th Anniversary
Dujka Brothers

This CD is non-stop polka party fun! John and Mark have selected 20 great tunes to celebrate their 30 years in the polka party business. The CD features 11 polkas, including Church Picnic Polka, written by Donnie Hons, If I Were a Bird, Tick-Tock, Seven Step, and Hey Baby Que Paso, written by Augie Meyers; five waltzes, including the beautiful Katherine’s Waltz, written by Jason Keepers, Westphalia, and a waltz medley with Looking for my Sweetheart and At the Spring; three country tunes – Dark Lighted Barrooms, The Chair, and Make the World Go Away; and the fun Santa Bring Me a Tuba, written by Daniel Klapuch. Available in the Polka On! Store or send $19 (includes shipping) to John Dujka 3384 Success Dr Brenham, TX 77833.

Czech, Please!
Czech Melody Masters, Austin

If you love brass in your polka, then this is the CD for you. The band has always strived to emulate the classic brass band sound of such beloved Texas bands as the Bacova Ceska Kapela, Adolph Pavlas, and the Joe Patek and Lee Roy Matocha Orchestras. The CD features eight polkas, including Prune Dumplings, Wooden Heart, and No Beer Today; and eight waltzes, including My Darling, Rosalinda, and Waiting in the Woods. The Red and White Waltz is the arrangement as originally recorded by Baca's Ceska Kapela from their first recording session in 1929 at Okeh Records in San Antonio. The band is anchored by original members Dennis Svatek (lead trumpet, lead vocals and music arranger), Dave Bedrich (trumpet and vocals) and Thomas Durnin (stand up bass). The sound is rounded out with Frances Barton on accordion, Rob Schmidt on drums, and their newest member, Dennis’ son, Stephen Svatek on baritone and guitar (when he’s not playing with the UT marching band). Czech out the band’s website – czechpolka.com – where you’ll find the world's longest running polka podcast, since 1998!Dennis uploads new shows every two weeks, plus you’ll find 68 archived shows, for over 176 hours of free music! CD available in the Polka On! Store or send $18 (includes shipping) to Dennis Svatek 2100 Mildred Dr. Taylor, TX 76574.

Polka Roots and Scoot the Boots
Off the Grid, Austin

This is the group’s first CD providing a mixture of cover tunes with some originals written by bandleader Joe Klaus. Tunes include Paint It Black (yes, Rolling Stones), which Joe converted to a polka after sitting with a rock band from Austin; Polka Medley, with some of the group’s favorite German and Czech tunes; Cortina, named after Lake Cortina in Northern Italy, which Joe was inspired by the beauty of the lake surrounded by the Italian Alps while on a boat ride; Paula's Cuckoo Waltz, an original tune written for Paula Kager from the Kuckucknest German Store in Fredericksburg; No Beer Today, no explanation needed; Baumerwald, features Joey Schwab on baritone; In Heaven There Is No Beer- sung in English, German, and Spanish, with some Polish la-las thrown in; Ooh La La, an adaptation of a Rocking Sidney Zydeco tune; and Swingtown, a polka version of the Steve Miller rock tune, a OTG favorite and one of their most requested tunes. Available in the Polka On! Store or send $18 (includes shipping) to Mike Campasso 8100 Manassas Dr. Austin, TX 78745.

Your Connection to Great Polka Music

Expand your music search to polkaconnection.com where you’ll find simply the best collection of fine polka music from around the world. Owner and musician Chuck Stastny has been collecting this fine polka music for 25 years, 10 years on the web. His catalog now features 2,500 different CDs and DVDs for sale, and the website has over 34,000 song samples. "We've provided all the best high-quality polka classics, along with the newest artists for your listening pleasure," said Chuck, who has been loving the music since age 0. “Grandpa played the button box and mom played piano accordion.” He invites you to browse the catalog of more than 2,500 titles, listen to samples, and buy online and pay no domestic shipping.

 

 

Texas Polka News Launches Subscription Drive

By Theresa Cernoch Parker, Publisher & Bohemian Princess

Texas Polka News will mark its 30th anniversary in 2018. To celebrate, we’re launching a drive to reach 3,000 subscribers. Sure, we want more people reading The News, but we also want to give back to say thanks for supporting the newspaper, polka, and Texas music/ethnic heritage.

Here’s how it works: For every new subscription or renewal from now through January 2018, TPN will donate $5 of the subscription price to a dance club or music/heritage organization of your choice. Not only will your group benefit from the donated subscription money, $3,000 in prizes will be awarded in two categories in June 2018.

Category one awards $1,000 to the organization that turned in the most subscriptions/
renewals; $500 to second place.

Category two awards $500 to the dance club (50 members or less) that turned in the most subscriptions/renewals; $250 for second place; $500 to the dance club (51 members
or more); $250 for second place.

Examples of dance clubs are Polka Lovers Klub of America, Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club, Swiss Alp Dance Club, Cajun French Music Association, Sealy Dance Club, Wallis Dance Club, DaCosta Western Dance Club, and German/Czech/Polish performance groups, such as high
school clubs, Wawel Polish dance group, Keine Kunst dance group.

Examples of organizations are Polka Lovers Club of Texas Museum, Texas Polka Music Museum, and other heritage museums, Texas Czech Heritage & Cultural Center, PolkaWorks, Texas Folklife, Texas Dance Hall Preservation, South Texas Czech Heritage Society, German-
Texan Heritage Society, Bluebonnet Opry and other oprys, and libraries.

We will be distributing campaign flyers and order forms to groups through September. Flyers and forms can also be downloaded from TexasPolkaNews.com.

Questions? Contact Theresa Parker at 281-836-6362 or theresa@polkabeat.com.

 

 

TPN to Sponsor Salute to Hofner, Czech Polka at Pearl

Join Texas Polka News in saluting the music of Adolph Hofner in the centennial of his birth on Wed., Aug. 17, and kicking up our heels at a Czech polka dance on Wed., Aug. 24. Both are part of the Summer Dance Hall Series at the Pearl Stable in San Antonio, held from 6-9 pm.

The Hofner salute will feature music by The New Pearl Wranglers, led by David Bedrich of Austin. (David also plays for Czech Melody Masters and The Swingsters.) Adolph's daughter,
Kathy Hofner Fielding, will be there, and maybe join the band for a tune or two.

The polka dance on the 24th will feature the music of Mark Halata & Texavia. Texavia played
at the Pearl Stable last year and everyone had a ball.

LIFE AT THE PEARL
When the San Antonio Brewery closed in 2001, the brewery grounds were repurposed using the majestic brew building as a focal point, into the “community” of Pearl. Boasting 324 apartments, 15 restaurants, 13 retailers, and 18 resident businesses, as well as a twice-weekly Farmers Market, Pearl has formed an exciting neighborhood on the upper San Antonio River just north of downtown known as Museum Reach. The newest addition is Hotel Emma, which
opened last fall in the Brewhouse.

 

Encore Time: Schroeder Hall Reopens!

By Gary E. McKee

Schroeder Hall, the legendary South Central Texas dance hall, built in the late 1800s, has reopened its doors after a brief respite and will be featuring Chris Rybak, on Saturday, July 16. Schroeder, still owned by Doug Guller, Austin-based restaurant and dancehall owner, has a new manager, Corrine Abbott. Corrine is a native of El Campo, and has a degree in food and beverage management from the University of Houston. She has brought her Wharton County roots to Schroeder and is presently booking polka bands to perform on a regular basis. In between polkas, the hall will be appealing to different genres of Texas music - contemporary country, Red-Dirt Country, indie rock and nationally recognized touring acts.

          On November 19th, all cattle trails and roads will lead to the hall as Schroederfest will commence a day-long celebration of BBQ cookoffs, adult beverages (full bar), vendors, singing in the courtyard with Jon Stork, and culminating with The Charlie Daniels Band that evening.

          As the cooler months come around, Marty Haggard and Kevin Fowler will perform on the same stage that has seen a variety of legends. Bob Wills, Adolph Hofner, George and Tammy, Jimmy Heap, Roy Clark, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Larry Joe Taylor, and Robert Earl Keen top the long list of music heroes.

          Chris, the Accordion Cowboy, is a natural fit for this venue as it resides in the early Spanish ranching grants that date back to the late 1700s. Cattle were driven from this area to Louisiana to feed the Spanish forces fighting the British during the American Revolution.

          As the cattle industry evolved and German/Czech immigrants migrated south, many of them found work on the Tex/Mex ranches and brought their music with them. They began jamming with their Mexican co-workers (Nortiño music) and the blending of the two musical cultures produced a unique sound (Tejano). The accordion-driven Tejano music was absorbed by Tex/Mex/Czech musicians such as Santiago Jimenez, Johnny Rodriguez, and Adolph Hofner.

          Chris' influences have been a combination of Myron Floren and the Jimenez brothers – Flaco and Santiago – with a strong Hank Williams flavor.

          This Slavic/Hispanic sound will be channeled by Chris in this old hall (now air-conditioned) that has its roots in a community that was once named Germantown. During World War I, the name was changed to a little less Teutonic-sounding name, Schroeder, which was in honor of a resident killed fighting the Germans in Europe.

          Visit schroederhall.com for the soon-to-be weekly dance and event schedule at one of the last vestiges of Texas rambling dancehalls. Also appearing in July are Jake Worthington on the 9th; George Navarro on the 23rd; and Jarrod Birmingham on the 30th.

          Schroeder Hall is roughly between Goliad and Victoria and has a self-contained RV park across the road for those travelers who wish to stay the night and explore this history-filled area of Texas.

 

It's a Free For All!

Accordion Wrestling
By Gary E. McKee

The Hot Peppers: (L-R) Bill Seim, Bob Ascott, Rambie Briggs, Rollie Revering at the 2014 Free-For-All./CTAA photo

The Central Texas Accordion Association will host its 15th annual Accordion Free-For-All, Tuesday, June 7, at 7 pm. The program is being held in the Lamar Senior Activity Center on 2874 Shoal Crest Ave, Austin.

          The crowd-pleasing program features 10 to 12 accordionists who are given approximately 10 minutes each to showcase their skills, as well as one or two accordion bands. This year's event will feature special guest Chris Rybak, the Accordion Cowboy. All genres of music, such as country and western, big band, polkas, and European styles will possibly be performed. Some accordionists perform solo and some have a rhythmic backing musician.

          "We also have had yodelers, singers, concertinas, diatonic accordions, and piano accordions, says CTAAA President Rollie Revering. "Musicians of various talent levels play while still keeping close to a professional level. And of course, a jester of some kind to bring a few laughs.

         The CTAA, 40 members strong, meets monthly at Casa Chapala Mexican Restaurant for programs and jams. The Association was a sponsor of the Texas Folklife's Big Squeeze Contest promoting youth accordion skills and is a chapter of the National Accordion Association.

          Remember June is National Accordion Month so come on down to see what all this squeezing is about.