...last update 22 August 2013.
The Lachut Brothers of North Tonawanda, NY
Lachut Brothers on the Dom Polski Parade Float in the 1960s
As a young boy, I watched the Lachut Brothers' Orchestra on stage as they played for those Polish weddings that started with a breakfast and continued into the evening with the dinner, dancing, and plenty of Polish polka music. Little did I realize that just over a dozen years later, as a member and officer of Dom Polski in North Tonawanda, I would reunite with the Lachut Brothers and they would help to revive my involvement in polka music. Although the entire band did their part to put me back on the polka road, it was Stan "Stas" Lachut who truly caused me to drag my accordion out of the closet and onto the front-line of places like Litwin's Blue Room, Sikora Post, Dom Polski, Uncle Louie's on Buffalo's East Side, The Silver Dollar in Medina, NY, and even the Missouri State fair.
Stan Lachut was a master of the sax and clarinet on stage with his brothers, but off-stage he made the accordion sing with a combination of accentuated keyboard work and dynamic bass runs that made him a one-man-band, accompanied by the ever-present washboard player. He instilled me to pick up the accordion again and realize that, like riding a bicycle, you never forget what you've learn or what is in your heart. Stas and I would often share the "stage" of Litwin's Blue Room on Oliver Street with music that could be called "Polish Honky Tonk." Everyone would sing, call out songs and ignore the clock.
1947 was the start of The Lachut Brothers and they performed for over 20 years on stage throughout the Western New York and North Tonawanda area. These four brothers played polkas from the heart and were a hit no matter where their music was heard.
Steve, Chet, Stan and John were the "house" band at Dom Polski in North Tonawanda for years and maintained a steady stage presence at events throughout the entire Western New York area. Steve was on accordion, Chet played drums and violin, Stan played sax and Clarinet, and John was on trumpet.
In a recent telephone interview, Stas Lachut remembered the beginning. "I started after I got out of the service, in 1947, just me and my brother." "We played weddings, parties, almost everything." "I think we played every fire hall in Cheektowaga," related Lachut. "We played that old style and one of our biggest fans was Stan "Stas" Jasinski who had the radio show for years."
Chet Wesolowski on washboard and Stan Lachut on accordion atop the 50th anniversary float of the Sacred Heart Club of Medina, NY. Sadly, we lost Chet Wesolowski on September 15, 2005. He and Stan Lachut were a team and Chet took the washboard to new musical heights with each performance. He knew how to enjoy the music and the friendship.
Those of us that had the good fortune to know and hear The Lachut Brothers still have their music in our hearts and memories. Sadly, as this column was being written, accordionist Steve Lachut passed away on May 28. I last saw Steve several years ago at a polka festival. Even after the Lachut Brothers band retired, Steve frequented polka festivals throughout New York State. I wish Steve could have seen this column.
To all the Lachut Brothers, thanks for those wonderful evenings and thanks for doing their part to promote Polish polka music.