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.

 

 

SqueezeBox Farewell Tour Includes Texas

By Theresa Parker

I think I speak for all Texans in wishing Ted and Mollie the best and know that they will be successful in whatever direction life leads them.  Photo by Mark Hiebert .

I think I speak for all Texans in wishing Ted and Mollie the best and know that they will be successful in whatever direction life leads them. Photo by Mark Hiebert.

Mollie B and Ted Lange will waltz across Texas one last time as the band SqueezeBox Jan. 15-18. They start with a dance in Hallettsville on Jan. 15, then visit the snowbirds at the Mission Bell RV Resort in South Texas on the 16th. They head north to Granger on the 17th, then end their tour in Houston on the 18th.

The tour will be bittersweet for the band and their fans. Mollie and Ted announced in August that they will no longer be performing together after the Southern Tour ends Feb.1 in Holiday, Florida. They have taken on one engagement in Georgia after February, but as of now, that is the only performance they are doing together. 

SqueezeBox began in the late 1990s as the Bratwurst Boys, which was a spin-off band consisting of members of the Grammy-nominated Toledo Polkamotion. In 2005, band members were Ted Lange on accordion/bass and vocals, Dave Burner on drums and vocals and Ted’s mother, Betty Lange, on second accordion.

Mollie Busta added her talents in 2006, and in 2007, they changed the name to SqueezeBox. “It has been quite a journey,” Mollie says. “Starting with 10 gigs a year and building up to 100-plus gigs in 20-plus states each year has been exciting and rewarding.”

Ted agrees. “We have met some of the greatest people all over the U.S., and it has provided us with many great memories!”  

He says the band’s success was a musician’s dream. “I’m still in awe when I look at what we have achieved. I’ve also been blessed to work with other great musicians who have performed with us through the years, and of course, my wife, Mollie, who is one of the hardest working and most talented people I know,” he adds.  

SqueezeBox did not fit the mold of the average polka band, which can make it a little harder to be accepted,” Mollie says. “That was NOT the case in Texas. We were not only accepted, we were embraced. Texans sure know how to make a Northern girl feel loved.” 

At the present moment, it is not clear exactly what will happen to Squeezebox . Mollie intends to keep the Mollie B Polka Party going on RFD-TV and will resume performing again. “I just don’t know with who, when or where, but hopefully I will have performances in Texas again,” Mollie says. No word yet on Polka Party taping locales for the future.

Ted says it’s time for a break. “We’ve been working at a break-neck pace for the past four-plus years, and that takes its toll physically and mentally when you’re running your own business, and trying to balance that with family time and everything else that life throws your way,” he says. “I intend to take several months off to reorganize and work on some other projects. Beyond that, I know that I will be performing in some capacity.” 

Ted has not ruled out a return for SqueezeBox. “Maybe after some time off we’ll be prepared to pursue our performing careers together again, but I also have not ruled out forming a new band or bands and moving forward from where SqueezeBox left off.”  

Mollie says she’s taking things a day at a time. “The uncertainty of the future is a little uneasy, but I keep reminding myself, God’s got this,” she says. “I wish continued success for all polka bands and for Ted. And to all you polka fans, keep the support coming for the polka music and bring your friends out to dances. Polkas are alive and well in Texas. Keep them that way!”

When it's wintertime in Texas, it's time for polka tours!

There are some great polka acts from up North and across the pond coming to Texas in January and February ready for warmer climes, smiling polka lovers and good ol' Texas hospitality. Mark your calendar to see these great performances.

Moravian Eleven.jpg

Moravska Jedenactka
One of the most popular dechovkas (brass bands) of Moravia
January 10-19

Friday, January 10
West: Knights of Columbus Hall Dinner/Dance, 6 PM

Saturday, January 11
Ennis: KJT Hall Dinner/Dance, 6:15 PM

Sunday, January 12
Austin: Gethsemene Lutheran Church Dinner/Concert, 1 PM

Monday, January 13
Denton: Voertman Concert Hall Concert @ University of North Texas, 8 PM

Tuesday, January 14
Caldwell: Caldwell Civic Center Dinner/Concert, 5:30 PM

Wednesday, January 15 (New listing added since poster was created)
San Antonio: with Conjunto Puro Corazon at La Tuna Grill, 7 PM

Thursday, January 16
La Grange: Fayette County Fair Pavilion Dinner/Dance 5 PM

Friday, January 17
Houston: Czech Center Museum Concert/Dinner/Dance, 6:30 PM

Sunday, January 19
Dallas: Sokol Hall Dinner/Dance, 12:30 PM

See the poster for more details.

 

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Squeezebox Band with Mollie B and Ted Lange
January 16-19

Thursday, January 16
Pharr: Tropic Star RV Resort, 7 PM

Friday, January 17
Mission: Mission Bell Resort, 7 PM

Saturday, January 18
Granger: Church Rec Center, 6 PM

Sunday, January 19
Houston: SPJST Lodge 88, 3 PM

 

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Barefoot Becky and the Ivanhoe Dutchmen
February 16-23

Sunday, February 16
New Braunfels: Eagles Hall, 3 PM

Monday, February 17
Mission: Mission Bell Resort, 7 PM

Tuesday, February 18
Harlingen, Sunshine RV Resort, 7 PM

Thursday, February 20
Mission: Riverside Club, 2 PM

Friday, February 21
Pharr: South Park, 7 PM

Saturday, February 22
Houston: SPJST Lodge 88, 8 PM

Sunday, February 23
Elgin: SPJST Lodge 18, 3 PM

 

Moravians Take Midwest by Polka Storm

By Theresa Cernoch Parker The Moravians are still abuzz about their summer tour in Wisconsin and Iowa with the SqueezeBox Band and Jim Busta Band. The guys had a great time and it proved to be a love/love experience between the band and polka crowds. Thanks to all polkabeat fans who sent donations to help pay for expenses. Donations came in not only from all over Texas, but also California, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Ohio, Florida, Montana and Minnesota!

A local polka fan with Matthew Matous, Jerry Petter, Kaleb Trojacek, Matt Zajic, Zachary Matous and Joshua "TubaTex" Goodwin.

Polkabeat visited with Moravian Matt Matous about the trip. See more photos.

What was your favorite venue? We enjoyed every event that we played at. There wasn't a single place that didn't accept us with wide open arms. As far as our favorite place, one night we played at a restaurant/bar called The Mint in Protivin, Iowa. Earlier in the day we played a street performance outside of the Billy Clock Museum in Spilleville, Iowa. Both of these performances were solo performances by The Moravians, however both Mollie B and Jim Busta sat in with us. These performances were scheduled literally two days before we played there and the turnout was phenomenal. They were small Czech communities and it felt as if we had not left Ennis, Texas. Everyone was friendly and accepted us as if we were from Iowa our entire lives.

What were the crowds like? The crowds reminded me of traditional Texas crowds. There were diehard polka lovers, however there was not as much youth at the dances. Everyone was cheerful and they gladly talked to us. Everyone definitely knew their local polka music and it was very neat to bring our experiences and describe our local bands and styles of music.

Was the tour what you expected? Name three things you learned. I can’t even begin to describe how much we learned on this trip. Narrowing it down to three specific things is rather difficult. However I believe the most important thing that we learned is that there is a lot more to polka music than just Texas. There are numerous styles and numerous ways to go about doing things. Some things that are acceptable in Texas and are most common, such as wearing jeans and boots to events, are not common in other areas.

We learned how to adapt to different environments in order to perform to the best of our abilities. Mollie also taught us how to interact with crowds and people. I can’t think of anyone better than her at being friendly with people.

We also improved astronomically musically. We became better musicians throughout the entire trip. We grew closer together as a band and family and owe an enormous amount of thanks to not only Ted and Mollie, but also to Mollie’s entire family and to the entire Jim Busta Band. Their guidance and friendship made our tour greater than we could have ever expected.

We didn't quite know what to expect, but we were never disappointed with anything we did nor with anyone we met. Mollie went above and beyond to make sure that we had fun. On an off day she even took us tubing down the Upper Iowa River. This trip was a once in a lifetime experience and we made great friends that we hope to keep for the remainder of our lives.

What surprised you the most? The shear amount of generosity that was given to us. People took care of us, and taking care of seven boys is no easy task. We had excellent hospitality, and as I said not a single person that we met was rude or even a bit mean to us. We received nothing but praise, and I know that if I personally ever get the chance to go back I would do so in a heartbeat.

Final thought I also want to extend great thanks to you Theresa, and everyone at polkabeat for helping us with this trip. We had an enormous amount of donations that came in from all across the nation. In all honesty if it wasn't for your efforts, we would not have been able to make this trip financially.

Support Your Local Moravians

The Moravians: Top row from left to right: Kaleb Trojacek (Ennis High School, Accordion/Saxophone), Matt Zajic (Ennis High School, Saxophone), Adam Rejcek (Texas A&M University, Drums), Matt Matous (Texas A&M University, Trumpet), and Josh Goodwin (Navarro College, Bass). Bottom from left to right: Chris Trojacek (Ennis High School, Trumpet/Guitar), and Zachary Matous (Ennis High School, Keyboard).Texas’ newest polka band – The Moravians – is getting ready to embark on a tour with the SqueezeBox Band and the Jim Busta Band. They’ll be performing in Wisconsin and Iowa July 5-13, and could use our help in paying for travel expenses. Here are two ways you can support this group of awesome young musicians: 1. Purchase their debut CD “Czech Spirit Will Live On.” 2. Send them a donation. The CD is $15 plus $3 shipping and handling. Make checks payable to Joshua Goodwin or Matt Matous and send to: The Moravians PO Box 458 Ennis, TX 75120

The guys will keep track of who all contributes by July 1 and polkabeat will send the supporters some Polka On! goodies as a thank you.

So how did this come about? “When Ted (Lange) and I were at the National Polka Festival in Ennis, we saw The Moravians perform at Sokol Hall for the live radio show. Ted watched The Moravians as he stood at the edge of the stage, and there I had a short conversation with him about the boys doing a tour with us,” Mollie B said.

“I sat down with the guys and discussed ways to make their band better and ways to fulfill their ‘dreams.’ The future of polka music rests in young bands like this. Ted and I are always trying to think of ways to get young bands to form, get a solid beginning and spread the idea of forming bands to other young musicians,” she said.

Mollie added that she just knows people will love The Moravians. “Not only are they a good young band, they are nice, young Texas gentlemen! And to top it off, they are a perfect age to be gone for 10-14 days – in between high school and college, no major job conflicts. It’s almost kind of like summer camp, but BETTER!”

Tour Schedule July 5 The Altrusa Polka Fest at Romy’s Nightingale in Black Creek, Wisconsin. The Moravians will open for SqueezeBox and play during the breaks.

July 6 Cresco Polka Fest, Cresco, Iowa. Bands: SqueezeBox, Jim Busta Band & The Moravians.

July 7 Polka Fest in Arcadia, Iowa. Bands: SqueezeBox, Jim Busta Band & The Moravians.

July 9 Winneshiek County Fair, Decorah, Iowa. The Moravians will join the Jim Busta Band for a few songs.

July 10 & 11 Still lining something up.

July 12 Performance at Walcott Coliseum in Walcott, Iowa. Bands: SqueezeBox, Jim Busta Band & The Moravians.

July 13 Street Performance in Clutier, Iowa (a Czech community). The Moravians will open for SqueezeBox and play during the breaks.

Polka News: Final Mollie B Lineup

Thursday, February 21: Music from 1:00 - 10:00PM1:00 Squeezebox (OH) with Abby Broeniman (WI) 1:30 Squeezebox with Jim Busta (MN) 2:15 Matt Hodek & the Dakota Dutchmen (ND) 4:00 Die Kurtzbuam (GA) 5:00 Karl & the Country Dutchmen (WI) 6:00 Squeezebox (OH) 6:45 Chris Rybak (TX) 8:00 Czech & Then Some (TX) 9:00 Max Baca & The Texmaniacs (TX) GRAMMY WINNER

Friday, February 22: Music from 1:00 - 9:00PM 1:00 Shiner Hobo Band (TX) 2:00 The Red Ravens (TX) 3:30 Das Ist Lustig (TX) 4:30 Texas Tribute Band (TX) 5:30 TubaMeisters (TX) 6:15 Eurofest (TX) 7:15 Texas Sound Czech Band (TX) 8:15 Jerry Haisler & Melody 5 (TX)

Saturday, February 23: Music from 1:00 - 10:00PM 1:00 Polka Nuts (CO) 2:30 Polka Nuts w/ Mollie B 3:00 The Moravians (TX) 4:00 Texas Dutchmen (TX) 5:00 The Bohemian Knights (OK) 6:00 Jodie Mikula Orchestra (TX) 7:00 David Farias & the Farias Brothers (TX) GRAMMY WINNER 8:00 Ennis Czech Boys (TX) 9:00 Brave Combo (TX) GRAMMY WINNER

Sunday, February 24: Music from 1:00 - 9:00PM 1:00 Squeezebox with John Gora (Ontario, Canada) GRAMMY NOMINEE 1:50 Squeezebox with Al Piatkowski (NY) GRAMMY WINNER 2:15 The Royal Klobasneks (TX) 3:15 Conjunto Kidz (TX) 4:00 Kenny Brandt (WI) 5:30 Walburg Boys (TX) 6:30 Yesey G & Her Stars (TX) 7:15 Alpenfest (TX) 8:15 Czech Harvesters (TX)

Polka News: Mollie B Taping Lineup UPDATE

mollie_b_tix_example_1Here's the latest from Mollie B:Taping for the Mollie B Polka Party on RFD-TV will be held February 21-24 at the Sokol Hall in Ennis. Each day is filled with bands from 1 to 9 PM. It's shaping up to be a great 4-day polka party with a variety of bands.

Thursday, February 21 Squeezebox with Mollie B, Matt Hodek and the Dakota Dutchmen, Karl Hartwich and The Country Dutchmen, Chris Rybak Band, Czech and Then Some Special feature: SqueezeBox has young guest vocalist from Wisconsin joining them: Abby Broeniman. She sings regualarly with Dorf Kappelle . One of the songs she will sing with Squeezebox is “Forever & Ever” which was a hit off of Dorf Kappelle’s recording.

Friday, February 22 Squeezebox with Mollie B, Shiner Hobo Band, Red Ravens, Texas Tribute Band, Das Ist Lustig, Eurofest, TubaMeisters, Texas Sound Check, Jerry Haisler & Melody 5

Saturday, February 23 Polka Nuts, Texas Dutchmen, Milo Shedek & the Bohemian Knights, Jodie Mikula Orchestra, Ennis Czech Boys, Brave Combo Special feature: SqueezeBox will be joined by Jim Busta of the Jim Busta Band.

Sunday, February 24 Squeezebox, Kenny Brandt Band, Conjunto Kids, The Royal Klobasneks, Yesey G and Her Stars, Alpenfest, The Moravians Dance lessons from 10-11:30 AM, led by Valina and Ross of Das Ist Lustig. Advanced tickets are $15/day and $20 at the door. $50 for a 4 day pass.  Buy tickets. Special feature: SqueezeBox will be joined by Grammy-nominated John Gora of Canada. New to Sunday's lineup: The Walburg Boys

Polka News: Jazzy Polka, Mardi Gras Polka, Mollie B Polka

Jazzy Polka: Jazz musician with polka roots, Ben Pokluda, will bring his band Jazz Forever, to SPJST Lodge 88 on Sunday, January 27, from 1 to 6 p.m. Big band dress code applies (sigh). Ben is originally from Flatonia and has studied trumpet with a Rice University professor. His group fuses traditional New Orleans Ragtime with Big Band music. Maybe he'll even slip in a polka or two!!! Mardi Gras Polka: It only makes sense that happy music such as polka should be part of Mardi Gras madness. Two performances in Texas on Fat Tuesday (February 12) give you the chance to have your polka and swing to it to! In Dallas, Brave Combo will perform at the Meyerson Symphony Center with the Dallas Wind Symphony at 8 PM. Buy tickets! In New Braunfels, Alex Meixner Band will perform at the Brauntex Theatre at 8 PM. Buy tickets!

Mollie B Polka: Mollie B and Ted said their Squeezebox Texas Tour was GREAT!!! In fact, they say Texas would be a great place to live. Well, yeah! Come on down! After Mollie and Ted get back from their cruise, they'll be taping Mollie B's Polka Party in Ennis from February 21-24. Eight bands each day from 1 to 9 PM. Red Ravens have just been added to the lineup, which includes Squeezebox with Mollie B, Czech and Then Some, Kenny Brandt Band, Matt Hodek and the Dakota Dutchmen, Jerry Haisler & Melody 5, Ennis Czech Boys, Jodie Mikula Orchestra, Jim Busta Band, Das Ist Lustig, Texas Tribute Band, Chris Rybak Band, Shiner Hobo Band, Alpenfest, Texas Dutchmen and The Royal Klobasneks. Valina and Ross of Das Ist Lustig will provide dance lessons on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 11:30 AM. Valina says dancers will learn some fun social folk dances that will be part of the live taping. Cool! Tickets to Mollie B's Polka Party are $15 a day ($20 at the door) or get a 4-day pass for $50. Buy tickets!

Polka News: Mollie B Loves Texas, Larry the Cable Guy Loves Polka, Gene Loves His Work and Bob Loves Fruitcake

Mollie B Loves Texas: Mollie B and the Squeezebox Band are touring Texas in January. They start at the KJT Hall in Ennis on Wednesday, Jan. 16 then head south to Mission for a dance on Thursday, Jan. 17 at Riverside Club and Friday, Jan. 18 at Mission Bell Resort. On Saturday, Jan. 19, they'll be at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Rec Center in Granger and wrap up the tour at SPJST Lodge 88 in Houston on Sunday, Jan. 20. Check their schedule page for details. Larry the Cable Guy Loves Polka: Chris Rybak and his band were asked to play for a special party hosted by Larry the Cable Guy. Can't say what it was for until next March. Sigh! Chris and Edita said Larry was a lot of fun and would like for them to join him for a party in Tennessee soon. I, of course, being THE polka reporter for Texas, will need to accompany the Rybaks to cover the story! Check out Chris' Facebook page for more photos.

Gene Loves His Work: Gene Hackemack at the Tomball German Christmas Market asks, "You mean I also get paid for this?" See more photos and videos from the market, which saw record crowds last weekend.

Bob Loves Fruitcake: Bob Suttie and the Texas Legacy Czech Band is playing for the annual Christmas party at the Taiton Community Center. Besides lots of great music and dancing, there will be chicken noodle soup, by Freddy Vacek and a large dessert table on which almost everyone who comes brings a dessert. Bob will once again bring some fruitcake. He thought he was the last person on earth who likes fruitcake and thought he'd probably get to bring most of it home from past parties. WRONG! "There are other people on earth who laugh at fruitcake jokes, but still secretly like it," Bob said. "I've never brought ANY FRUITCAKE HOME from the Taiton Christmas party. So, for all you (secret) fruitcake lovers, I'll bring fruitcake again this year." You're a wild man Bob!

Polka News: Best of German Fest, CZ Sub, Have a Blue (Room) Christmas, Mollie B in Texas

Best of German Fest: The Tomball German Christmas Market is this weekend Friday-Sunday. Great place to do some unique Christmas shopping, have some German food and beer and of course POLKA! Three stages will feature all kinds of music genres: German and Czech, Cajun, Bluegrass, Country, Christmas just to name a few. Check out the performance schedule. Three contests this year: Best Dressed Christmas Character at 8:30 PM Friday, Chicken Dance Contest at 3:45 PM Saturday and Best Dressed German at 8:15 PM Sunday. CZ Sub: Garrett Neubauer will join the Czechaholics on accordion this Saturday at Lodge 88 subbing for Mark Hermes, who will be performing his other job as manager of the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center. The Center is having its Christmas Open House during the day and its annual fundraising gala that night honoring the Rudy Kurtz, Frank Kubin and John Rejcek Orchestras. Music by David Slovak, Andy Mikula and Mike Marek.

Have a Blue (Room) Christmas: Have you bought your tickets yet to the Blue Room Party at SPJST Lodge 88 in Houston? It's quite possibly the best deal in town for a holiday celebration. For $25, you get a steak dinner, dance with music by the Ennis Czech Boys AND open bar. Don't let the name fool you. No sadness here! The name comes from when members and their guests could be served liquor in the Blue Room "lounge." And of course the Blue Room is next to the Red Room, which is the dining room. Give the lodge a call at 713-869-5767 to reserve your tickets. Deadline is December 10.

Mollie B in Texas: Yay! The Squeezebox Band will be in Texas in January, which is National Polka Month. Schedule so far is Thursday, January 17 at Riverside Club in Mission and Sunday, January 20 at the SPJST Lodge 88 in Houston. Still working on bookings for Friday and Saturday.

Polka News: Wurst Report, Polka Jack, La Grange Daytripping, Czech Cultural Weekend

Wurst Report: Alex Meixner and his three-ring circus are psyched and ready to polka their brains out at Wurstfest. Alex tells polkabeat about the special musicians who will be joining him this year. “For the opening weekend only (Fri-Sat-Sun) I will have a special guest with the band—Michael Bridge. He is a 19-year-old Canadian National Champion Accordionist and a very energetic and virtuoso performer. Great kid too. Also, for the whole run (the Meixner band appears Friday through Thursday, Nov. 2-8), the horn man in the band will be Hank Guzevich, the leader of the four-time Grammy nominated Polka Family Band. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest trumpet players ever to play in an American polka band and will be featured on trumpet, sax, clarinet, guitar and vocals. As always, Michael Kramar from Sacramento, California, will be on accordion, button box, trumpet, baritone horn, bass, banjo, guitar and vocals, and Ed Klancnik from Nashville will be supplying the big beat of the band. We’re all looking forward to entertaining our Texas fans!” Mollie B and Ted Lange are also looking forward to entertaining Texas fans. Joining them with their Squeezebox band this year are Dana Lindblad on drums, Al Piatowski on accordion and special guest Jim Busta (Mollie’s dad) on concertina. Squeezebox will be performing Nov. 2-4, then Mollie B and Ted head to Branson to prepare for their Christmas special, Nov. 10-12. Check out Wurstfest’s full line up of bands and times.

Great story in the San Antonio Express about the Opas who keep the Wurstfest running smoothly each year.

More Dancers at Mollie B Christmas Special: Mollie B tells polkabeat that this year’s Christmas Special will feature a few more dancers, including a talented four-year-old who goes by the name “Polka Jack.” Also new this year, is a children’s chorus that Mollie says is sure to bring smiles to the audience. “I am happy to say all those performing in the special are active polka performers and dancers,” she says.

“Just like last year, the 2012 special includes plenty of songs to sing along, as well as to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Santa is also making a trip from the North Pole again, still tootin’ on his tuba.” Read more about the lineup of performers. RFD-TV reports that 17 buses are coming in for the show from Iowa, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Tickets are still available for the Sunday, Nov. 11 show at 2 PM and Monday, Nov. 12 show at 7:30 PM. Call 417-332-2344 for more info.

Great story about Mollie and Ted in the Sentinel Tribune of Bowling Green, Ohio.

Daytripping in La Grange: The Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center was wonderfully represented on television show The Daytripper, an informational travel series that airs on KLRN Austin. Congratulations to the center and its very own stars Janis Hrncir and Bea Patek, who were interviewed for the piece. BTW: the background music is by the Czechaholics band. The show debuted Oct. 25, and can be seen online. Czech it out!

Czech Cultural Weekend at TCHCC: Hear a lecture on what Christmas is like in Czech Republic and Slovakia, make your own tree ornaments and learn the art of egg decorating from Daniela Sipkova Mahoney, who will also be signing her latest book on the subject. All takes place this weekend Nov. 2-4 at the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center. Find out more.