The header picture shows the organizers of Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club when they originally met on June 26, 2010 to organize THMDC. The organizers felt it was important to highlight “Music” as well as “Dance”; therefore both words are in the club’s name. The purpose the club was organized was to help keep the heritage dances and their music going for future generations – not on life support, but going strong. To achieve that, we need musicians and dancers of all ages to embrace this music and dancing as part of who they are as individuals, as having certain heritages, as wanting to use the music and dancing to improve their physical and mental well-being. Thanks go out to each organizer and to each club member! Pictured, from left are: Lee Roy Petersen, John Roberts, Donna Roberts, Rosina Christensen, Karl Micklitz, Catherine (Cat) Radziejewski, Gwen Petersen, Arlyn Visentin, Joyce & Willie Bohuslav. Not pictured: Tom Visentin
We formed the Texas Heritage Music & Dance Club in late June, 2010. Our purpose is to help ensure that couples dancing and their music continue for future generations to enjoy as we do. We need YOUR help! As you know, so many who dance the heritage dances and enjoy the music that goes with that dancing, are getting up in years and are not able to dance as often as they used to, if at all. We need to help the younger folks embrace these dances and music that were brought to Texas by our forefathers. We are talking about polka dancing (Czech, German, Polish, Slavic), country-western, Cajun, western swing, big band, Latin, etc. What a great heritage they are! What a shame it would be to have it die out! Those dances need dancers, bands and halls, and by joining our club and by actually going to dances you can help them continue for future generations! You know how much fun it is, and it certainly is good for your health, both physically and mentally. SO, join our club and help us be sure we leave that heritage alive and well, not on life support! For a mere $12 per person per year you can help, and we’ll do our best to keep you informed through our web site. From time to time we’ll “spotlight” a dance where we encourage club members to join other club members. We also teach dancing to anyone who wants to learn. And, of course, we sponsor our own dances. So far we’ve sponsored two dances. If we get enough members we’d like to be able to sponsor two dances a year. For a membership form, click on “Membership” under the header picture of this web site, then on “Join”, and you’ll be able to print out a form to send in to us with your dues. For more information, you can call us at 936-894-2804. Together we can help ensure that the kind of dancing and music that we love will not only survive, but flourish!
This is a new style of polka dancing that should bring new life to polka dancing. It is a style of polka dancing that will be enjoyed by the young kids and couples in the future. It is a combination of steps in the “one-step”, “two-step” and “four-step” polka dance pattern, but with a lot of Latin style hip and arm action. It can be done in a small space and on any type of floor.
You can do this dance by yourself, with a partner or with a small group. Singles can finally get out on the dance floor and enjoy life. It is unique, in that each person can bring their own creativity to the dance according to their feel of the beat of the polka music. If you will watch people standing in front of a group of bands doing a jam session, some will be doing this style of dancing in front of the band without realizing that they can enjoy this style of dancing regularly at the center, corners or ends of the dance floor away from the regular polka dancers.
Gwen and Lee Roy H. Petersen of Plantersville, Texas created this style of polka dancing on their Caribbean cruise in April, 2011, due the lack of adequate floor space like a regular dance hall. They performed this dance on ship cruises and at every polka dance since, with a lot of attention and pleasure of the audience.
Click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxWqN1_cchE to watch Lee Roy do this new dance at a polka dance in Taiton, Tx
Also, click on http://www.funuc.com/?p=402 to see “the horniest man on the earth” illustrating this style of a dance.
So, give it a try the next time you go to a polka or country dance.
The sound of Accordion music is wonderful. If you are interested in buying a good used, refurbished accordion, please click on the “Other” caption and sub-caption “Want2Sell” and check out the accordions offered.
We danced at El Campo’s American Legion hall on Thursday, a dance we don’t often go to, although it does have a strong “regular” attendance. It’s a nice hall, with a good wood floor, and the band is on a stage not too much higher than the dance floor. Friendly people there. It wasn’t overcrowded, but usually a good number of folks were dancing without bumping into people (or being stepped on, etc.) This evening (7:30-10 PM) Charles & the Fabulous 4 played. Band members are friendly, too! It’s mostly country music with this band, but they do play a few of the Czech songs and polkas & waltzes of various genres. Some of the dancers bring various items (we noticed a large home-baked pie that really looked delicious), and for $1 you can buy 4 tickets for a chance to have your name drawn for a “door prize”. Hey, who could complain about 4 opportunities to win for only $1? A good deal, I’d say. We enjoyed dancing, visiting with friends, etc. Yes, it seemed we know almost everyone who was there. The last time we went to this dance, Lee Roy encountered a lady whom his sister-in-law had in their teens as “best friends”. Yes, even after all those years people come back into Lee Roy’s life – and actually recognized him! Remember, folks, this dance happens every Thursday (except they didn’t hold a dance on Holy Thursday). Try it out for yourself one of these days. You may turn into a “regular”.
Saturday we drove over to Rosenberg’s American Legion hall for their second-Saturday-of-the-month club dance, the Happy Cousins Dance Club, which is led by Jerry & Sharon Faldyn (thanks, Jerry & Sharon, for helping our dancing stay “alive and well”. You don’t have to be a member. Just walk in and pay a small admission. All are welcome. This dance happens from 8-11:30 PM each month on the second Saturday. Put it on your calendar. This month the music was by Lost Cause, led by Tim & Alicia Kulhanek. Tim formerly was with the Central Texas Sounds band, and shortly before they quit the music business, he formed Lost Cause, and it doesn’t sound like they are lost at all. It’s good music. Once again, it’s mostly country, but they definitely know how to play it all. Like with Martha of Charles & the Fabulous 4, it’s good to hear some of the songs with a good female vocalist.
We know there’s a dance going on at Sweet Home as I type this, featuring the aforementioned Charles & the Fabulous 4, but we needed to be at home today. There likely will be a big crowd there. It’s a much smaller venue, with a tile floor which can get sticky in humid weather, but this afternoon is a really beautiful day as you know (unless you’re on another planet!), so the floor should be okay for dancing today. Another problem at that hall is that they allow smoking, and it has sometimes been bothersome when we’ve been there. Almost always you can count on dances at this hall being on a Sunday afternoon from 3-7 PM. Another one to keep your eye on. Meantime, polka on (or whatever kind of dancing you prefer)! Looks like we may see you one more time before this next week is up and probably not again until sometime in May. Enjoy dancing somewhere!
You last heard from yours truly after we enjoyed the Sausage & Polka Fest at Hallettsville, the last weekend of March. The next weekend the pickin’s were slim, and we found nothing to interest us. Of course, that was Easter weekend. We hope the bunny found your house. This past weekend was another welcome three-fer weekend. We always like those. Friday night we made our way to Eagle Lake’s Community Center, where the offering for this first Friday of the month dance was Lost Cause, headed by Tim & Alicia Kulhanek. At this dance, dancers bring food to share smorgasbord style during intermission, and some dancers also bring items for the door prizes. I came across a Boston Butt pork roast that I really needed to use while I was defrosting one of our three freezers. Yes, I know. It’s hard to believe that we think we need THREE freezers – but that’s what we have. Anyway, I decided to cook this piece of pork in the crock pot and take some of it to the dance at Eagle Lake. I also bought some slider buns and took bunches of sliced onions as well as mayonnaise so that folks could fix their own pulled pork sliders. There were lots of compliments on it, so I guess it was a hit. We’re STILL eating on the pork that we didn’t take to the dance, although I’ve put the last of the leftovers in one of our freezers to share when granddaughters come to share my newest great-grandson with his great-grandparents. That was going to happen this week, but the baby (Parker is his name) had a doctor’s appointment that collided with his dad’s car problem, so baby’s mom (my youngest granddaughter) had to pitch in and take the baby’s dad to work, then take care of the doctor’s appointment (baby has almost doubled his birth weight in 2 months), then run errands while she was in Tomball. Well, it’ll happen later in the month or, more likely, in May. It was a nice crowd at Eagle Lake’s dance. We always like to see plenty of attendance at EVERY dance, don’t you?
The next day was the first Saturday in April, meaning it was time for the Sealy Lions Dance Club at the Sealy American Legion hall. I don’t know what happened with the band. I believe the New Texas Plainsmen were supposed to play, and maybe at least some of them did, under a different name. Eventually, I heard them say they are the Texas Wild Band. They did a decent job, some songs better than others. The vocals were good, especially the youngest musician in the group who appeared to be a teenager. A couple of old familiar songs they changed tempo on, which was an odd thing to us. I don’t remember which songs, but they were written as foxtrots and have always been heard as that (also known in Texas as two-step), and one of them they played as a polka, and the other one as a waltz. It worked okay, but at least for myself and Lee Roy, hearing it in a different tempo than we’ve always been accustomed to drew our attention more toward concentrating on the difference the change made. Because this dance is from 7:30-11 PM, we got home earlier than we do from other dances, and we like that. We were actually in bed at 1 AM!
Sunday we went into Houston to SPJST Lodge 88 where the Harris County Czech Heritage Society holds its spring fling, featuring a dinner for purchase, sausage wraps later, early music by the Kovanda Czech Band to entertain folks while they eat, later music (3-6 PM) by the Texas Legacy Czech Band. They also always have a person from the Czech Republic showing how she decorates eggs (very, very fancy) in the Czech mode, and displaying some of her work. A friend of ours (and club member), Mary Ann Manna, found a friend at that display, a Czech American with whom she could converse both in English and Czech. As it turns out, that man used to work with her deceased husband’s brother! It always amazes me how small our world is sometimes. Mary Ann was at her first social outing since her husband died in November, so it was especially good to see her. It also was especially good to see friend and club member Rose Wilshire enjoying dancing as much as always, brightening everyone’s day to see her having a good time even though she is still fighting valiantly against that old devil, cancer. I feel certain that Rose would welcome prayers for her during this difficult time – that she is making the most of! She’s definitely a special lady! There were other booths, and each year at this event (and usually also at Hallettsville) I get to see a very nice lady, Gloria, who sells Tupperware. I did that for 3 years in my late 20′s, perhaps a bit beyond, as a manager. I did not know Gloria at that time, but we enjoy interacting each time we see each other. She shared with me that she has successfully fought cancer during the past year. God is good!!! I was the successful bidder for only ONE item at their huge (yes, really HUGE!) silent auction this year. That’s always fun to mosey through, decide what you’d like to bid on, etc. One thing they have in that auction each year are quite a few (10 or so?) large, heavy, interesting rocks. I’m surely glad I don’t have to load those into and out of my car (and in one person’s case, in and out again!!!) I do think a few of those sold. Well, tell me. Where are we going to see you next??? Check out the schedule and decide on one or more where you’d like to spend some time.
What a fun weekend we had in Hallettsville for its annual Sausage & Polka Fest! It’s nice, for one thing, to be on site with our travel trailer so that we don’t have the going and coming to do each day. If we’re going to be in one place three or more nights (sometimes two), it’s worth it to take our travel trailer. It’s always good to reduce the travel time (and miles). This festival is held at the KC Hall in Hallettsville each spring at the end of March. It all starts on Friday at 5 PM and goes through Sunday at 8 PM. We were so happy to share table space with friends Karen & Glenn Boone from Bryan, new friends within about the past 2 years, and also with our friends from Clovis, NM, Frank & Susie Oborny, whom we’ve also known just over two years. They were there with three of their grandchildren, siblings Tristan, Cody and Rylee Oborny, who are avid dancers on the polka scene. These three range in age from 11 (or 12?), 6 and 4 – and, yes, they all know how to dance and know when it’s a polka, when it’s a waltz, and when it’s a foxtrot (often called two-step in Texas). All are very fond of the seven-step polka, too. They are really a hit with all the grown-up dancers. Maybe those folks will learn that their own grandchildren (and great-grands) are capable of learning how to dance – and how to love it.
Continuing with the polka fest, Friday night there was a fried fish dinner for sale. I heard it was delicious, but we had brought food from home for that night. Also, Lee Roy was feeling puny with allergies and wasn’t even interested in eating. Two bands battled it out on Friday night, the Czechaholics and the Moravians. Saaturday’s activities started at 3 PM with a polka Mass. We always like the polka Masses, but Lee Roy skipped it this year and came to the hall a bit later so he could rest up a little more. They also had a meal for sale this day, a dinner of sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut, bread, tea, and a kolache. In addition, there was chicken noodle soup and sausage wraps. Two very excellent bands battled this evening, the Dujka Brothers and the Jodie Mikula Orchestra. Our friend Karen Boone wanted to hear “In the Mood”, an always-popular piece that probably will still be popular 100 years from now, truly a song for the ages. The Dujkas gave us a fabulous rendition of that song. Karen was supremely happy! Others were, too, as evidenced by the large number of folks dancing to it. You can ALWAYS count on the Dujka Brothers! Sunday started at 11 with the Shiner Hobo Band for two hours. They set up on the dance floor so that the three bands that followed could utilize that time to set up on the stage. The first band to follow the Hobos was the Ennis Czech Boys, followed by the Red Ravens and then Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six. Sunday always is the day of the highest attendance. I heard that Saturday they had 1700. If true, then there must have been at least 2000 on Sunday. Sunday’s menu was the same as Saturday’s, except you could get fried chicken instead of sausage, or a combination of the two. Each day, there was a dessert booth set up also, and it definitely was popular. If you missed this festival, don’t miss it next year. Remember that it happens the last weekend of March unless Easter happens at a time to disrupt that. In that case, they move the dates to a weekend when Easter would not be occurring. Make note!
Plenty more dances are happening, so check your dance schedule right here on this web site and make your plans. We hope to see you at a dance soon!
We had our second club dance of this fiscal year on Sunday, March 18 at the Sealy American Legion Hall. In many ways it was a very successful dance. People seemed to be having a good time, we had a silent auction, so folks happily took home some treasured finds they found to bid on, and I personally heard SO MANY folks saying how wonderful the music was. That’s always great to hear. Of course, we had lots of door prizes. I even got one, and happened to be hungry at the time, so I grabbed a box of pastel-colored M&M’s, which hit the spot. As always, we had a 50-50 pot. We collected a total of $221, so the lucky winner, Lillie Spillars Svec (a newlywed), collected $111 and the club got to keep $110. Of course, she had a very happy smile on her face when she went up to the stage to collect her winnings! One couple joined our club as members, and we welcome them. That would be Cara & Rudy Mikulec. We see them dancing quite often. At least one couple who had joined last September was also there, and it was really nice to get to know them a little. That would be SuzAnn and Doug Orth from Katy. We had also seen them last Sunday at Needville’s Polka Festival at the KC Hall.
The band members had smiles on their faces, too, because they kept getting compliments from various folks who were really happy with the music they heard. That music came from Texas Legacy Czech Band, led by Bob Suttie. Three of the band members are also members of THMDC. None of them won a door prize, but Bob’s wife, Margie, and Mike Gest’s significant other, Rose Wilshire, both won door prizes. We actually had a pretty small crowd, so we did not cover all of our expenses, falling about $415 short. Usually we do cover our expenses, and sometimes we also make money, so it all evens out pretty well. Lots was going on that day, and it all came together to divide up the dancers and potential dancers at various places. For one, we know there was a private dance (by invitation) at Shelby. We, in fact, received an invitation to that dance but of course we needed to be at our own club dance. There also was a dance at Sweet Home. Also, it was the last day of spring break for many families, so many folks were either out “spring breaking” or taking care of grandkids and granddogs while their parents got away from it all. And, in Houston, it was the final day of the rodeo. The always-popular Garth Brooks was the entertainment for that day, and we personally know of two couples who were there instead of at our dance. But, all was good, and we always consider it a successful dance when it seems that folks are having a great time, and they definitely were. We so much appreciate all the wonderful help from club members to set up the silent auction, to remove all the extra tables and chairs from the dance floor (yes, it was FULL of tables and chairs, seemingly every table the hall owns, when we got there), folks who oversaw the silent auction, those who helped at the admissions table and with the 50-50 effort. Each person who helped was greatly needed and greatly appreciated. And, of course, we appreciate each person who came to the dance. One couple said when they saw that Texas Legacy Czech Band was playing, they decided they would definitely come to our dance; another couple came not to dance because they can no longer do that, but they sat up front near the band because they were so happy to be able to hear this band. And they had such a wonderful time and were so happy they were there. We are, too. We had planned to go dancing Saturday night at Houston’s SPJST #88 because Al Sulak’s Country Sounds (actually, a polka band) was playing there. I had been feeling quite energyless all week thanks to allergies, so I told Lee Roy I thought it would be unwise to dance Saturday night. I wanted to be sure I was as well as possible on Sunday. We heard from one of our dancers that the hall at Lodge 88 was only about 25% full. We were really sad to learn that, as that is one of our favorite bands. I’m sure the hall at Shelby was full on Sunday. I’ve observed that “when it’s free, they will come”. We hope you had a good weekend wherever you were. Don’t forget that our next dance, the third one this fiscal year, will be held on Saturday, June 16, at the Sealy American Legion Hall from 2-5:30 PM. Mark Halata & Texavia will be playing for our dancing and listening pleasure. Put it on your calendar now and plan to join us there! We’ll all have a great time together!
We went to two very nice dances over the weekend and missed one I would have liked to have gone to. That was the Night Session (led by club member Mike Gest) in Conroe, but Lee Roy had been working so hard on the yard last week that I knew he was too tired to even think about going. Since that included Friday, I didn’t even mention it to him. Mike told me there was a really good crowd at that dance, 120 total in attendance. Clearly those folks know that this band puts out good music. Mike is an outstanding musician and does all he can to be sure his bands put out music that is excellent. Be sure to keep your eyes out for places where you can hear them.
We went to Rosenberg for the monthly Happy Cousins dance, which is always welcoming to guests as well as to members. Their next dance will happen on April 14, always the second Saturday of the month. This month it was Charles & the Fabulous 4 playing for a nice crowd. We were so surprised to see our friends from Clovis, NM come into the hall for that dance. They had brought their 4 youngest grandchildren with them. Those are 4 children who really love to dance – and they ALL are wonderful dancers, too! Grandma Susie can take credit for that! BTW, she was born and reared in Wharton County at New Gulf. Grandpa Frank grew up in Nebraska and was around polka dancing all his life, as he is 100% Czech. Just Saturday morning I almost called them to see if they were going to make it to Hallettsville for the Polka & Sausage Fest, but thought I could do that one day this week. Now I don’t need to, as they are definitely planning to come to Hallettsville. Now, if God is willing for that to happen, it will. We spent the night in Rosenberg with a friend and enjoyed seeing her new apartment as well as the subdivision where she has purchased a home that is not yet built.
We got up late on Sunday morning, especially so since it was the day that the time sprang forward an hour. Don’t you just hate the time change this time of year? When we arrived at the KC Hall in Needville there were already lots of folks there, but fortunately we still were able to get a table right by the dance floor. I did hear a couple of complaints about the dinner they had for sale. Lee Roy decided to buy a bowl of chicken noodle soup since I was feeling puny from allergies, which fortunately don’t bother me very often – but they definitely were bothering me Sunday (and still today, on Monday!). I could hardly eat any of the soup – you know how it is when you really just don’t feel like eating. Lee Roy ate almost the entire bowl of soup, so that was good. Our friends from Clovis arrived at the hall shortly after the music started. I saw two of the children dancing, then the other two, so we found the grandparents and they all came and sat at our table where we had saved chairs for them. Later, Harold and Mary Lou Lawson moved to our table at the far end – both are having their health problems – and the children enjoyed watching him make origami birds which have parts that can move. They’ve enjoyed that previously. I must say, it’s an intriguing thing to see him folding the paper just so and ending up with something that can be played with. He learned that while he served our country in the Navy in WWII. The music for this dance was a battle dance with the Czechaholics and the Red Ravens. I enjoyed hearing the music and danced several times, but far fewer than normal. Well, one good thing is that Lee Roy had plenty of time to dance with quite a few of the singles, and for the most part I was quite happy to NOT be dancing. That’s certainly unusual! Joe Zetka, who now is a member of the Jodie Mikula Orchestra, filled in with the Red Ravens since long-time accordion player and emcee Kenneth Kristynik is no longer with them. John Dujka and friend Kim were there, and it’s always a pleasure to see them. Sunday, it was very special for the youngest of the grandchildren from Clovis. She (Rileigh) is absolutely the biggest fan of John Dujka. I think I actually saw him dancing with her again, as he did in Ennis when she was only 3. He’s such a nice guy, and definitely smart enough to take care of his fans, especially when they’re only 4 years old! Saturday night I took the older boy, Tristan, to meet several of the singles, and Gloria Hundl danced two or three times with him. Sunday I noticed late in the dance that Gloria had asked him to dance, and they were really going to town on a fast polka. Then I saw them dancing again later. Thanks, Gloria! (She’s a wonderful person, and according to Lee Roy an excellent dancer, so if you don’t already know Gloria, guys, you should make it a point to meet and dance with her.)
Don’t forget that our next club dance happens this coming Sunday, March 18, at the Sealy American Legion hall. Dance time is 2-5:30 PM, but the front doors will open at 1 PM. Club members get in free, of course, and non-members only pay $5 pp. What a good deal! In addition, we’ll have a silent auction which will include some homemade goodies and plants. Lee Roy is already getting some plants ready, a nice variety including flowers, tomato plants, blackberries, a baby Japanese yew tree, etc. The music will be provided by Texas Legacy Czech Band, an offshoot of the Bobby Jones Czech Band. Put it on your calendar for this coming Sunday. While you’re at it, put our next dance (our 3rd this fiscal year!) on your calendar also. That will be June 16, a Saturday. Same time and same place as our upcoming March 18 dance. Hope to see you there! I plan to be feeling my normal frisky self by Sunday – and at least several days before. After all, I need to be well enough to make a poppyseed cake for the silent auction, and my To-Die-For Pecan Candy also. Both are very popular with the bidders. Be sure to come Sunday!
We were so busy enjoying dancing and dancing friends that I got behind (again!) in my WORK! Club work, house work, taking care of all the mail, paying bills, etc. By the way, you do realize that “work” is a 4-letter word, don’t you? Appropriate, I’d say. Last week our social activities started on Thursday and went through Sunday. It was all good. Thursday evening we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the Schulenburg KC Hall, sponsored by many folks who also dance. We had smothered cutlets as the main dish, potatoes (which I also smothered with gravy), carrot salad (which I passed up, but Lee Roy enjoyed), squash casserole, bread (mine was a yeast roll, always yummy), tea and banana pudding (one of my faves). We had a nice evening socializing as well as enjoying the dinner. We even met some folks we needed to meet, and that was nice.
Friday was a busy day that started at the beauty shop, always on Friday unless we’re traveling or something. A long day, too, as it was time to touch up the roots which have turned dark over time. I’m sure no one enjoys seeing me with blonde hair that has dark roots. I certainly don’t! Lee Roy doesn’t complain about it. That’s a smart husband! We had to eat dinner early since we were going to the dance at the Eagle Lake Community Center. It was a fairly light crowd. Rabbs Creek Band played, but they were having trouble with their speaker system and it was nearly impossible to understand the vocals. I’m sure it must have been frustrating to the band even more than to the dancers. People bring food to put on a table smorgasbord style. Last month we took sausage in a nice sauce, which we had never done at a dance, and we were amazed to see a total of six sausage dishes! We all must have been on the same page. This month it was a totally different story, lots of desserts (which I’ll never complain about!). Fortunately, our food was not one of those many desserts. We took some chicken salad sandwiches which disappeared, so that was good. Someone suggested that the plethora of desserts was because it is Lent and lots of folks are not eating meat as their Lenten sacrifice. When it comes to food, I don’t make many sacrifices. Okay, let’s be really honest. I don’t make ANY sacrifices……although I certainly would benefit if I did. Yes, I know. It’s time to get serious about weight again. Next month this dance will revert to a later time in conjunction with Daylight Savings Time. Yes, “spring forward day” is this coming Sunday, March 11. Be sure to set your clocks forward an hour. It would be so much easier for everyone to just leave the time alone. Last year when I set my watch forward I ended up losing my watch stem, and Mrs. Cheapo didn’t want to buy another, so I went until the time to “fall back” in November and then my watch was once again at the right time. If I’m late this weekend it’ll be because my watch told me the wrong time. With the time change, the Eagle Lake dance will be from 8-11 PM on April 6 and into the fall. Next month the band will be Lost Cause. They do a good job.
Saturday I spent the entire day in the kitchen – about 8 hours’ worth – making a poppyseed cake and pecan candy for the live auction at our family reunion on Sunday PLUS broccoli salad & dressing and a cherry-cream cheese pie for people to eat. Usually the broccoli salad disappears, but this time I brought some home as well as most of the pie. It won’t be around too long, for sure. After fixing food for the reunion we once again had to eat early because we went to the Sealy American Legion hall for the monthly dance. A lot of dances were happening this weekend, so the attendance was not as great as we would hope for. Makes for easier dancing, but we definitely need to keep these clubs alive and well so that our dancing will continue. We DEFINITELY don’t want any fewer dances, and that means we ALL have to dance as often as we can! Lost Cause played at this dance. We enjoy them, and there always were plenty of dancers on the floor, so it seems all the dancers were happy with the music. Tim and Alicia Kulhanek lead this band. They have a nice repertoire which includes the Czech polkas and waltzes as well as country and some jitterbug.
We got to bed at a decent time (before 1 AM in this case), and it’s a good thing since we had to get up by 7:30 to get ready to go to New Bielau for our family reunion. It’s always nice to see these folks that we don’t usually see during the rest of the year. Everyone enjoys the socializing, eating food that someone ELSE has prepared, participating in the live auction, and Bingo. Lee Roy used to always call the live auction as well as Bingo, which always left him with a raspy voice, but he’s lucked out the last two years, so that is good. I’d like to hear from someone who went to Sunday’s dance at Hungerford. We always like to go to dances there. We’d also like to hear about the TPMM dance that was held also on Sunday at SPJST’s Flag Hall at Cyclone. If you were at one of these dances, shoot me an email about it. I’d appreciate it. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Easy to remember.
Now this coming week won’t be quite as busy, but we will have dances. Two dances I’m aware of happen at Rosenberg’s American Legion on Saturday from 8-11:30 PM and at Needville’s KC Hall on Sunday from 1-6:30. You’ll enjoy the music of Charles & the Fabulous 4 at Rosenberg, and at Needville it will be a polka fest featuring a battle dance with the Red Ravens and the Czechaholics. In the past they’ve offered a meal for sale, and I’m guessing it’ll be the same this year. Last year a group of us went after the dance to a restaurant just a little south of Needville and enjoyed a nice dinner. Maybe we’ll do that again this year. We’ll see. Meantime, I’m hoping to see you at one or both of these dances. Wherever you go, be sure to dance and be sure to enjoy!
Every year for probably 8 -10 years we’ve trekked to Corpus Christi on a Friday so we can be there for the beginning of their annual Czech Heritage Festival. It’s changed some over the years, but it’s still good, and worth the trip. They always have three bands for a battle dance, the Czechaholics, Red Ravens and the Leo Majek Orchestra, which is headquartered in Corpus Christi. When we started going there, each band played 4 hours for a total of 12 hours of dance time. After a couple of years, they reduced that to 3 hours each, a total of 9 hours. This year the hall opened at 10 AM, with dancing starting at 11 AM, and at 7 PM it ended. Also, they used to alternate halls, one year Sokol and the next year Moravian Hall. They now have it solely at Sokol Hall because it is larger and accommodates more dancers. In addition, there is a raffle (tickets drawn after the 3 PM grand march), meals, sausage wraps & BBQ buns for sale, kolaches for sale, two silent auctions and a country store, as well as various booths with hand-crafted items for sale. Each year we see a lot of the same folks there and now call some of them friends. We spend Friday night in Corpus Christi, but on Saturday night we drive up to Victoria so we can be closer to Shelby where we help host dance on Sunday.
We arrived at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall about 12:30 after making chicken salad and 40 chicken salad sandwiches as well as 15 or 18 pimiento cheese sandwiches. We had invited lots of folks who had previously invited us to dances, as well as other friends, and we wanted to treat our guests to a special day, so we brought lots of other food to go with the sandwiches. Ice Box Cookies had been in the freezer for about a week and a half; brownies I made Friday morning before we left for Corpus, and Thursday afternoon I had made two recipes of my delicious To-Die-For Pecan Candy. I also took a slow cooker along and fixed some Eckrich sausage with a tasty sauce, and of course we had chips, olives and pickles, and several friends brought a fruit tray, a veggie tray, Fritos, more pimiento cheese sandwiches, and sausage balls. So, yes, we definitely feasted. That doesn’t happen at every dance, for sure! Our music was by the Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5 band which hails from the Temple area. They’ve always played good music, but it seemed especially good on this day. Lots of folks got soaking wet because when people were arriving the skies opened up and really drenched lots of people. After the dance, a friend of ours (who will remain unnamed, but he drives a bright yellow Mustang) got his car stuck because with all the rain (which was intermittent) had made the ground soft. I think there had been several days of rain and it all came together to make the ground pretty soggy. But, with the help of several of the men, he managed to get his car unstuck. We found very soaked lawn when we got home, mostly from heavy rain on Sunday, I believe. No problem, and with sandy soil that we have, it doesn’t take to soak in. All in all, it was a good day and a good weekend.
We have another busy weekend coming up, including a family reunion, which is always fun. Don’t forget that the time to set your clocks forward is coming, not this weekend, but on March 11. Don’t forget to set your clocks so you won’t be late for any dances you may be planning to go to. And the Sunday after that is our next club dance. We hope you’ll join us! It’s at the Sealy American Legion hall on Sunday, March 18. Dancing is from 2-5:30, although the doors will open at 1 PM. Music will be by Texas Legacy Czech Band. They play a nice variety of music. We will have a silent auction and a 50-50 pot, which always adds some excitement to the day (especially for the winners!). Club members get in free, and for only $5 the public can also enjoy our dance. Memberships are available. For $15 pp you get a 15-month membership (March 18 2018 through June 30, 2019) which will include FIVE dances: March 18, June 16, and September 0f 2018 plus two more in the first half of 2019. Could you ask for a better deal???? In June you’ll dance to Mark Halata & Texavia, and in September it’ll be Lost Cause, led by Tim & Alicia Kulhanek. Be sure to put this dance (March 18) on your calendar. We’ll see you there.
Sorry to be a bit late with this week’s posting. Yes, it’s been a very busy week, mostly preparing for this next weekend, the very last weekend of February. Maybe now we’ll be able to look forward to better weather?
Saturday afternoon we went to Houston’s SPJST #88 for a special event – the annual dance at 88 to host Barefoot Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen. The addition of the Dujka Brothers this year made it even better. Everything about this dance was wonderful. Becky does the very best version of one of our favorite waltzes, “Waltz of the Angels”. She and her band do many other wonderful songs that are great to hear and even greater to dance to. It goes without saying that the Dujka Brothers (John & Mark) ALWAYS give a great performance! The dance was 5-10 PM, and it was so nice to be heading home earlier in the evening than we usually do. Because of the hours of the dance, the lodge had prepared some inexpensive – and delicious! – food for the attendees to purchase. Lee Roy and I each had a cheeseburger. They heated the patties and added the bun and cheese; then I was able to fix them like we like them with mayo, mustard, relish, sliced ripe tomatoes, pickle chips, onions and lettuce. Other food offered were burgers without the cheese (same price for cheese or not), sausage wraps, grilled cheese, and grilled cheese with a patty. What we had was quite tasty, and if/when they have another dance those hours we won’t hesitate to buy our dinner there. Two of our club members, Marie Kucera and Sandy Jones, shared our table with us, and it was nice to visit with them. Lee Roy, of course, included them in his dancing. They are pleasant ladies and it was nice to include them at our table.
Sunday we had been invited to a dance at Shelby’s Harmonie Hall. It was an afternoon dance, which always seem to be popular. The band was one of our favorites, Al Sulak’s Country Sounds. Of course, Al is Czech, so he sings plenty of Czech songs. Even though their name includes “Country”, it is a typical “polka” band, some country and plenty of Czech polkas and waltzes….and more. They usually go so quickly from one song to the next that it’s impossible to get back to your seat between dances. We definitely appreciate that! In fact, I had a few songs to request and it was hard to get to the stage because the next song had always begun! That’s a nice “problem” to have. Coincidentally, John Dujka and his friend Kim were invited to this dance, and since Al is John and Mark’s mentor (band leader) from when they were in 5th grade, Al invited John up to the stage to sing and play a few songs with the band. What a nice bonus for us!
Don’t forget that the Corpus Christi Czech Heritage Festival happens on Saturday, February 24. It’s an all-day event with 3 bands: The Czechaholics, Red Ravens, and the Leo Majek Band, which is from Corpus Christi. It’s always a nice event. If you can make it, this would be a good time to make a trip to Corpus Christi. Looking forward to next year, remember this happens each year on the last Saturday in February. Make a note on your calendar. One more note: We’ll have “spring forward” day on March 11, just over two weeks away, when you set your clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time. Yes, I agree that it would be better if they would leave the time alone, but it’s doubtful that will ever happen. We seemed to get along just fine without it when we were growing up, just like we seemed to do very well without all of the rules and regulations to keep us safe, etc. Ditto for the unlikely possibility of doing away with those! Uncle Sam always seems to think we need help with our personal lives! NOT!!!
How lucky and blessed are we??? Four dances in a weekend! Almost couldn’t get better! Friday night’s dance was a Valentine dance at the Schulenburg KC Hall. Thanks to all the hosts who sponsored the dance. We appreciate their doing that, and appreciate the invitation. The band was Lost Cause, led by Tim and Alicia Kulhanek. That band is fairly new, but they are talented and certainly have a busy schedule. You may recall that Tim was formerly with Central Texas Sounds until they retired. Tim wasn’t ready to retire (of course!), so we are fortunate to have another good band that knows how to play a good variety of genres including polkas, waltzes, country and more. Tim is Czech, so definitely knows the Czech songs. Alicia has a wonderful singing voice, and she’s good with a trumpet, too. We enjoyed the company of many friends on Friday evening, and even shared the company of some of them at other dances we enjoyed over the weekend. The only negative of the night was sporadic fog and rain on the way home. We’ve had to deal with much, much heavier fog in the past, so we are grateful that the fog and rain were not any worse.
We had two dances on Saturday, the first one by invitation at the Burton Roadhouse. It was billed as a Mardi Gras dance, and the hosts provided colorful beads and table decorations that were definitely oriented to Mardi Gras, as well as some additional decor on the doorways. They had hired the ever-popular Charles & the Fabulous 4, and naturally everyone enjoyed the music. This band has gotten to be really good, and we are happy to dance to their music. Once again, we knew so many of the dancers and enjoyed dancing with several of them during the afternoon. This facility serves pizzas and hamburgers, but an untimely accident happened that morning, a small fire that caused two cans of Pam to explode, spraying Pam onto the food, so the food that had been planned was NOT available to us. The owner immediately made plans to buy some chopped BBQ from Nathan’s BBQ in Burton, so we were treated to an almost impromptu meal of BBQ sandwiches and delicious potato salad (very similar to the potato salad I make at home). Our hosts requested that we help out the owner of the Roadhouse with donations to at least cover the expense of the unexpected food. We definitely had no problem doing that. After all, this lady is in business to provide a living for herself and her family, not to buy food to donate to people. We were happy to eat there because we had been planning to stop at Subway or a burger joint on the way to Rosenberg, where we had planned to dance that evening. A cold front arrived while we were enjoying the music and dancing, and it was 44 degrees and raining when we left to go to Rosenberg.
It was the monthly dance at the Rosenberg American Legion, sponsored by the Happy Cousins Dance Club, of which we are members. The clubs are always happy to welcome non-members, too. Unfortunately, the weather had deteriorated so much that it was a very light crowd. We definitely had a good time, and it looked like everyone else was enjoying the music of Texas Sound Check and socializing with friends, but dances with such light attendance are hard for clubs since they always have to pay the band and pay rent for the hall. Remember that when you are planning your activities. You are definitely needed at as many dances as you can make. Without enough dancers on a regular basis, our dancing could well go the way of the dinosaurs. Let’s not let that happen! A note to band leader Bennie Okruhlik: Thank you, Bennie, for remembering that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the song “Who the Hell is Johnny?” What a great beat it has, and it’s up-tempo - so wonderful for dancing – and the lyrics are truly enjoyable. On the way home, more spotty fog and rain, but we made it home almost in the same time it usually takes. Another thank you: Thank you, God, for keeping us safe! We know You are always with us.
After a good night’s rest in our own bed – always the best – we drove off about noon on Sunday to Shelby’s Harmonie Hall for another Valentine dance that was sponsored by some generous hosts. What a crowd they had, and even after intermission, very few people had left for home. We enjoyed the excellent music of Night Session, a band formed by and led by club member Mike Gest. We heard lots of comments about how good the music was. Mike has been in a band since he was about 10 years old. He happily spends lots of his time working on music to be sure that all of the instruments are playing music that will result in the best-sounding songs. He also spends time practicing his Czech pronunciation. Sunday’s version of Night Session was 5 musicians. They offer various versions of the band, ranging from 2 to 6 musicians. They even have access to larger numbers of musicians if someone wants that. “Who is this Mike Gest?”, you might ask. Some dancers know him as the leader of Moonglow Orchestra. He also plays regularly with Mark Halata & Texavia, and also with Texas Legacy Czech Band. And he’s a nice guy. What else could you want? If you’re planning a dance, don’t forget to contact Mike. You won’t regret it. We certainly want to thank all the hosts of this dance for their generosity and hospitality. I didn’t see a single person who didn’t seem to be enjoying the dance. Job well done!
Now, let’s all do our part to keep our dancing alive and well, not only for our own enjoyment and benefit (yes, it’s not only fun, but very good for you physically and mentally), but also for future generations. When you can, bring along some friends (young or old – it all works) and introduce them to the dancing and music that we enjoy so much. Promise? Thanks! See you soon.
P.S. Note to my friend from his Gwen Friend: Missed you Sunday, but it was certainly nice to see and chat with your sister. We hear you were spending some time recently in Las Vegas. I’m guessing you were there for dancing? Know you had fun!
Our weekend dancing started on Thursday in The Woodlands. It was at the South County Community Center, for a “seniors” dance. The 3-piece version of the Night Session, led by club member Mike Gest, played for us. They always play a wide variety of music – country, polkas, waltzes, Latin, jitterbug, Cajun and pops. Several of my favorites were on the “menu” that night, including “New York, New York” and “Tulips From Amsterdam”, which is probably my fave of all time. The dance was scheduled for 6-9 PM (you get home at a decent time!), but at the beginning we were treated to some hula lessons by a dance teacher, her assistant teacher, and some teens (whom we perceived to be her students). They demonstrated (and invited dancers to participate) various hula moves including palm trees, ocean, rain and more. The teens also offered healthy smoothies to the dancers both before and after the demo. In addition, when we arrived, they were offering plastic leis of various colors. They also had a variety of cookies and miniature pecan pies available for us to eat (they were yummy), and lemonade. We were expecting none of that! After the hula lessons and demo, the music we had expected started, and we enjoyed a nice evening of dancing including a mixer. This group usually meets monthly, but they announced that next month they would not be able to have the dance there because the facility is used for voting and the primary elections will be going on. I’m guessing they will be holding early voting at that time as well as voting on the second Tuesday of March. Yes, you should make a note to yourself to be sure to vote in the primary election of the party of your choice.
Friday we enjoyed dancing at the first Friday of the month dance at the Eagle Lake Community Center, where Tim Kulhanek’s Lost Cause was playing. It was a smaller than usual crowd, but we all were happy to be there. The music was quite good, mostly country, but definitely including some Czech music. They also take requests. You may not know that Tim Kulhanek used to play with Central Texas Sounds, plus he is Czech, so definitely he knows the music! His wife, Alicia, not only plays the trumpet in this band, but she helps with most of the songs, and frequently is the lead vocalist. You should have plenty of opportunities to hear and dance to this band. We think you’ll like it. We have hired this band to play for THMDC on September 29, a Saturday afternoon. Be sure to put it on your calendar. (I hope you already have our two previous dances on your calendar: Sunday, March 18, 2-5:30 PM, with Texas Legacy Czech Band, and Saturday, June 16, 2-5:30 PM, with Mark Halata & Texavia. All three of these dances will be at the Sealy American Legion hall. We want you there!)
Saturday wound up our dancing for this past weekend, when we renewed our membership in the Lions Sealy Dance Club at the Sealy American Legion hall. They have dances lined up for the rest of the year with bands you’ll like, always on the first Saturday night of the month. Next month you’ll still have an opportunity to join this club (or to come as a guest), and to hear the aforementioned Lost Cause. Remember, this dance is 7:30-11 PM. This month the band was the very popular Charles & the Fabulous 4. It was a good crowd, and many of the dancers stayed until the end, which is always good.
We wound up our weekend at home so we could watch the Super Bowl. I know I should have been rooting for the Patriots, as they are always an excellent team, with excellent coaching, BUT I was definitely ready for some other team to win that contest this year. I’ve always been a football fan, but I don’t get to see many games since we’re usually dancing when it’s happening – college and pro. I had my hopes up last year when the Falcons were trouncing the Patriots, but as usual the Patriots came through and defeated the Falcons in overtime. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles played a terrific game (excellent running backs who have a way of continuing to rack up yardage even when tackled by multiple opponents at a time!) and came out the winner. Which team did you root for? It’ll be interesting next year to see if the Patriots return for the umpteenth time. Well, if they do, as long as they got there honestly, that’s okay. I’m always in favor of teams who play as good sportsmen getting where they want to be, and I’m always hoping the games will have a healthy team vs. another healthy team. It seems a miscarriage of justice, in a way, for a key player (or several) to be out, with that being the cause for a particular team not to win. Honest and healthy is the best! And while we’re talking about football, let’s hope the NFL will decide to issue a “banned for life” order against players who deliberately try to injure opponent players, like has happened at least two years to our beloved J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans. And while I’m at it, I could always hope that the NFL will fire players who choose to display unpatriotic behavior!!! Yes, I’m talking about not standing for our national anthem. Well, that’s all of my soap box you have to endure for now! :-) Where and when will we see you on the dance floor?