Growing up just north of Buffalo), in a Polish family, polkas have always been a part of my life. At a young age I started taking accordion lessons from my Uncle who played accordion and had a music store. Later, in the 70's, I purchased my first concertina
The late 60's were spent with bands like the Dynatones, Krew Brothers, G-Notes, Dominoes, Modernaires, Goral Boys, Varitones and others. Place like Chopin's Clubrooms, the Polish Village, Dom Polski, the Warsaw Inn and the Strand Ballroom, Club 77 became regular evening hangouts.
It was a New Brass Dance in Syracuse, NY that brought us together and a year after we met, we were married. Moving and marrying Adele, my "Rosalinda," polkas became an even larger part of our lives. If were aren't at a dance, we were going to a dance or festival. Starting with the Polka News in Connecticut, regular columns in trade and Polish papers throughout the country have kept me busy since the early late 60's. And now polkas on the internet are filling those free hours.
I've had the good fortune to do the "liner notes" on a good number of polka albums and have also shot the cover photo for the Blazonczyk Polka Festival album.
The Concertina has become my main instrument . (for those concertina purists, I play the a Chemnitzer) Since 1984 we have sponsored a Concertina Jam session during the July Polka Fireworks festival at the Seven Springs Resort in Western Pennsylvania. Each year over 30 concertina players, many the top Polish boxmen in the country, "jam" into our room for an acoustic jam, playing tunes connected to our heritage. I'm proud to say, it's developed somewhat of a cult following where true concertina lovers gather to "play the instrument they love."
Currently the Polka Editor and an Associate Editor for the Polish American Journal Newspaper, I also write the " Polka Insider" column for that newspaper.
Any other free time is spent with old movies, old movie serials, the music of the 40's thru 60's, collecting "concertina playing figurines, antiques, nostalgia , and computers. My music interests range from the obvious polkas, to Al Jolson, to big bands, to Patsy Cline, to the Beach Boys ,to the Four Seasons. Having done a stint as as DeeJay, there is an adequate mix of music in my collection , ranging from the 20's to the 80's. My specialty, however, is the 40's through 60's.
I've been a Jolson fan since I was a kid and have assembled a nice collection of his recordings associated advertising items.
You might find Adele and me at an antique show, craft fair or flea market or the Johnson City Elks Lodge, # 2821 , or definitely at a polka dance.
June 2008 marked our 35th Wedding Anniversary and also the 25th Concertina Jam Session during the Polka Fireworks festival at the Seven Springs Resort.
In January of 1995 it was a true honor to be one of seven concertina players from the Western New York honored at the annual Buffalo Past & Present" dance. Also honored were Frank "Crazy Fingers" Stanczewski, Al "Tucker" Tucholski, Casey Kliszak, Richie Kurdziel, Dave "Scrubby" Seweryniak, and Stephanie Pietzak. A posthumous award was presented to Joseph Noworyta, Sr. concertina player and instructor. As a native Western New Yorker, being a part of this group of friends is something I'll treasure forever.
In September of 2004 I had the honor of being inducted into the World Concertina Congress Hall of Fame at the Induction ceremonies in Michigan. This is very special recognition for me, having my name associated with some of the legends that have played and promoted the Chemnitz style concertina. My sincere thanks the WCC for this honor.