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.
Satuday was the last dance for the Pearl City Dance Club’s dance year, so we headed down there for the dance at Turner Hall in Pearl City, just west of Yoakum on Hwy. 111. The Donnie Wavra Orchestra had been hired for this dance, so of course it was a good one. We heard only good comments about this band, which is to be expected as they all are seasoned musicians with natural talent and good leadership. It was a fairly light crowd, but we enjoyed the dance (naturally), as well as the company of Tony Mucka and Marilyn Hajek. They are nice people and they love to dance. They were out on the dance floor for almost every song, as we were. This club’s new dance year begins in August, and the first dance of their new dance year will be on September 7 with the Red Ravens. That will be another good dance, so now is the time to put it on your calendar. That will be the Saturday after Labor Day.
We spent the night in Yoakum with friends Gery & Jody Maneth – more really nice folks – and got up ready for more dancing. This time we had planned to go to a place we had never been, Ammannsville. It’s a very tiny place, a wide spot in the road on FM 1383, just east of Hwy. 77 (the section between Schulenburg and La Grange). They have a pretty church there, one of the painted churches, and Father’s Day Sunday is when they always have their church picnic. Garcious, were we ever surprised! I can’t imagine what the actual count of attendees was, but am certain it was in the thousands! The only bad thing about the day was the heat, but we knew it would be that way. After all, this is mid-June and we are in Texas. Officially I don’t think it was even 100 degrees, but the sun was shining brightly, and it was humid. You get the picture. They had all the usual activities/offerings of a church picnic. At the country store we bought a container of tiny esperanza plants. They get to be fairly large shrubs, and they love to produce their beautiful profusion of bright yellow flowers. We’ll see how happy they are at our place. We saw many friends there including club members Norman Smoot (the first person we saw), Willie & Joyce Bohuslav, William Pavlas (though we missed seeing Michelle), and Dennis Sumbera and Betty Tidwell. Mostly we danced, but we also shared a delicious dinner of fried chicken, sausage, sauerkraut, red potatoes, green beans, canned peaches and dessert (I couldn’t resist the very chocolatey frosted cake). Tea, also, of course. After dancing in the pavilion awhile to the Czechaholics, we found a table that was right in line for the cool, refreshing air of a very large water-cooled fan that they had taken out of the hall and put outside near the pavilion. That was a welcome relief, for sure! We didn’t dance as frequently as we usually do, but definitely enjoyed the dancing we did - and the Czechaholics did a very good job. We did go purchase some grape sno-cones, and they really hit the spot – SO refreshing! We enjoyed them so much that a bit later we got two more, along with bottles of ice cold water. We enjoyed those while the Ennis Czech Boys were playing. That’s another good band. We’ve NEVER NOT enjoyed that band. Good musicians, go-getters, and nice young men – definitely a plus for the music and dancing that we love so much! OF COURSE we enjoyed dancing to this band! Because of the heat, though, and since we had been gone from mid-day on Saturday, we left before the “Boys” were finished playing, and did get home before dark. Yes, it was a very nice Father’s Day. Remember where to go next year on Father’s Day (always the third Sunday of June). But do try to get there early!
I’ve just gotten information that Fredericksburg is planning a fundraiser for West to help those folks recover from their tragic explosion two months ago. The date will be August 10, and the music and dancing will go on from 1 PM until midnight. Mark your calendars and be there if you can. The folks in West will appreciate it. Bands have not yet been booked, but it will be at Pat’s Hall. I’ll fill you in on more details as I get them.
It’s that time of year, and my first obligation on Saturday was to drive to Texas A&M for my granddaughter’s high school graduation. When I found out what day that was happening I was horrified that I would have to miss the annual Kolache-Klobase Fest at East Bernard, which is a “must do”. Fortunately, it was scheduled for 9 AM, which means I was able to make it to East Bernard without missing TOO MUCH of the festival. Lee Roy went on ahead of me. After all, why should we BOTH have to miss out on some of it? After driving two hours from A&M to East Bernard I arrived at 1:30. As soon as I exited my car I heard the wonderful voice of Al Sulak from the pavilion where he and his band were playing. The music was so appealing that I had to polka on over there to greet the musicians (and other folks). As always, they sounded wonderful. Playing in the band were Robert Herridge on accordion (and fiddle, harmonica and more) and Craig Schmidt (on steel guitar). I couldn’t hang around for long, though, as Lee Roy didn’t even know I had arrived. I totally missed hearing Texas Sound Check. Lee Roy said they played very well, and apparently he didn’t miss out on dancing to too many songs. Club members who were at our table when I got there were John & Donna Roberts, Walt & Eileen Harfmann and Norman Smoot (wearing his colorful suspenders). We also saw club members Mike & Debbie Logue and Mary Lou Svatek. For a change, the hall was really quite cool (much better than being hot!), and we enjoyed dancing to the music of Czech and Then Some, the Dujka Brothers and the Red Ravens. Excellent music from all of them, for sure. At 3 PM they had their traditional tribute to our military veterans, with “Uncle Sam” carrying the American flag, accompanied by one of our current members of the armed forces. That’s always nice. We left a little early so we could be sure to find a restaurant in the daylight in Pattison (near Brookshire). We had been there only once before, and from a different direction. We did find the restaurant and all four in our party enjoyed seafood. That restaurant, Repka’s, has a wide variety of food on their menu, and we could have enjoyed alligator, calamari, frog legs, steaks, chicken, etc. You get the idea. Next time you’re in the “neighborhood” you should try it. I do recommend looking it up first on the internet, where you can also get directions (which you’ll definitely need).
The next morning we awoke to a nice rain – not too hard, but just right. That’s always welcome, especially these days. We started our trek to Elgin in the rain (no complaints, God), but before too long it cleared up, so we didn’t have to get the soles of our dancing shoes wet (which certainly would have made it harder to move around the dance floor). The Elgin SPJST Lodge #18 has frequent dances, mostly polka, and mostly on Sunday afternoons from 3-7 PM. It also has a good wood parquet floor and friendly folks. We saw more of our club members there - LaVerne Dancak, Wayne & Melba Luker, Walt & Eileen Harfmann, Patsy Polasek, and of course ourselves. The band did a great job. Of course! It was Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six. It was a pleasure also to see former table mates from the Jodie Mikula cruise last October, George & Marie Pavelka, who are Diane Hodde’s parents. Diane is married to Fritz’ son, Scott, and their son Brandon is the third generation of Hoddes in that band. It was wonderful also to see and hear Fritz’s 14-year-old granddaughters, Megan Hodde and her cousin Bralyn doing a great job of playing trumpets. Megan is Scott & Diane’s daughter. It was a fun dance, and the socializing was fun, too. It’s always a good time when Patsy is there. She came with her brother Robert. After a quick meal at Southside BBQ we headed home, happy to have had a great weekend of dancing. Will we see you at a dance soon? Hope so!
Saturday was a good way to start June. We had been trying to get to SPJST #88 in Houston ALL YEAR to enjoy the wonderful music of the Moonglow Orchestra. They are really good, and they usually draw a ballroom that’s full to overflowing. This band is led by our club member Mike Gest, and he does an excellent job. Unfortunately not a lot of folks were there to enjoy the music, perhaps half of what the hall will hold. Of course, it is graduation time, wedding and anniversary time, etc. Maybe that would explain the much-lighter-than-usual crowd. It seemed that everyone was having a good time, and that is always to be expected with Moonglow. We know we did! We sat behind a full table that was celebrating a birthday and had lots of goodies to share among themselves. They were friendly folks, too. When you can, go enjoy this band’s music. This night they were in extra-special form, too, wearing hats and shades for a couple of songs; one was wearing a hard hat for several songs; during one song, a musician was “sweeping” the stage with a long-handled broom while wearing a baseball cap, etc. They were definitely performing in more ways than with their musical instruments! You can hear them at the lodge on July 6.
Sunday found us back at SPJST #88 for the lodge’s annual Homecoming. It’s a day when members get a free dinner (not a free lunch – a free dinner!), and for others they sold dinners for only $8. It was delicious food – sausage, barbecued chicken, potatoes, cole slaw (2 kinds), homemade bread, two peach halves, and tea. Desserts were sold for $1 each, and later the Youth Club sold homemade ice cream for $1 a bowl. All of that was wonderful, and to make it even more wonderful a nice couple from Pearland, Rosie Haas and Claude Dale, came and sat at our table, and told us they recognized us from RFD-TV on the Mollie B Polka Party. Later friends B.R. Kunze and Nita Holloway sat with us. We all had a great time visiting as well as dancing. For this dance the hall was perhaps 2/3 full for the music of the Ennis Czech Boys. I heard so many folks talking about how good they are, and I have to agree with that. They bring an energy with them that not all polka bands can match, and they’re all nice young men to boot! BTW, there is going to be an Ennis Czech Baby (due July 8)! It’ll be the first for Mom-to-be Catherine Wick Sylvester and hubby Trey. They were married almost two years ago in Weimar. Several club members were at this dance, including Mike & Debbie Logue, Mike Gest and Rose Wilshire, Arlyn & Tom Visentin, and Bob & Margie Bubenik Suttie and their sons Robbie and Charlie. Arlyn, Tom, Mike Gest and Bob all played in the lodge orchestra ahead of the ECB dance. As always, we enjoyed the lodge orchestra’s performance as well as the choral group’s singing ahead of the polka dance. We saw club member Denae Bronikowski there along with her grandparents Dorothy and A.J. Fabrygel, and her aunt and cousins Cameron and Brianna (whom we hope will become club members, too, as they really like to dance!). Now you know how we started our month of June. What did you do to start yours? I hope you danced, for sure!
Ennis is always a good place to go! Memorial Day weekend was no exception. It was the 47th annual National Polka Festival. What a great job they do to put together an exceptional festival! This event always starts on the Friday evening before Memorial Day and continues through Sunday (with time out for a little sleep, of course!). Despite having a recent tornado, all events went on as scheduled, even though they had to reroute the parade downtown – and I assume they had to relocate vendor booths. Fritz Hodde & the Fabulous Six played on Friday night at the KC Hall. We are thrilled to report that club members Mike & Debbie Logue came in second in the polka contest. They rode in the parade on Saturday morning and enjoyed the benefit of complimentary admission to all the halls for the duration of the festival as well as complimentary dinners. You can see how wonderfully they were dressed in their Czech outfits, but it was their dancing that won them second place. Congratulations to Mike & Debbie!!! By the way, this year’s parade marshal was none other than Mollie B, host of the Mollie B Polka Party show on RFD-TV and musician extraordinaire with Squeezebox Band from Ohio. If you know anything about Mollie you know what a great gal she is, as well as a terrific musician. She and husband Ted Lange (leader of Squeezebox) brought a few instruments with them and played along with several bands for a few songs now and then. They definitely add an extra dimension to the music. It was wonderful! And, guess what? The festival has booked Squeezebox Band for next year. Don’t miss it!
As always, it’s such a joy to see old friends at these events, and to meet new ones. We were especially thrilled to visit with Michelle Barak, club member and a former Miss Texas Czech-Slovak. She is currently enrolled in college in Ohio and spent this past semester studying in Austria. (I’m jealous!!!) It was a treat also to see and visit with her parents, Alan and Marquita. I hope I have that name exactly right. It’s been a few years since we met that lovely lady, but it surely was good to spend a little time with her. Speaking of the queen title, the newly-crowned Miss Texas Czech-Slovak and her “little sister” were there, as was the current Miss Czech-Slovak USA, who is from Kansas, along with her dad. See what I mean about the great job the board of this festival does? They’ve thought to invite so many who might not be there otherwise.
Many popular bands played at this event. There are three halls going at the same time on Saturday and Sunday. If you don’t want to drive from hall to hall to hear certain bands, there is a free shuttle that runs every 15 minutes between the three halls and the downtown area. It’s really convenient. The music was absolutely terrific. I don’t think anyone could have wanted any better. Among other bands, we had the pleasure of dancing to the music of Mark Halata & Texavia on Saturday. Club member Mike Gest was playing with them – and that’s always a pleasure for us. He’s a very nice guy as well as a wonderful musician. They’ll be playing for our club dance in Schulenburg on June 30. Be sure to make plans to come to that! Other bands were Jak Se Do, Jerry Haisler & the Melody 5, the Czechaholics, the Jim Bochnicek Orchestra (from Nebraska), the Ennis Czech Boys, Brave Combo, the Jodie Mikula Orchestra, the Holub Polka Band, the Moravians, the Dujka Brothers and Czech and Then Some. What a terrific lineup! Besides the music and dancing in the halls (and eating delicious food), there is a street dance both Saturday and Sunday, arts & crafts, a polka Mass on Sunday morning as well as a live radio broadcast (with polka party, music & dancing), PLUS a kolache eating contest, a horseshoe tournament, and 5K and 10K polka runs and a 1 mile fun run/walk – something for everyone! If you weren’t lucky enough to be there, try to make plans to do it next year.
Plenty of other dances, church picnics, etc., were happening over the weekend, including picnics at Shiner and Hallettsville. We hope you made at least one of them, or another dance. Let us know where you were. We’d like to hear from you. You can email us at email@example.com. Do it now so you don’t forget. And make plans now for your June dancing. There will be lots to choose from.
Congratulations to Clara Sulak and Frank Bayer on their upcoming marriage. These next-door neighbors will say their vows on May 25 and they’ve invited many dancing friends to help them celebrate – music by Al Sulak’s Country Sounds. We regretted to tell them we would not be able to help them celebrate, but we’ve asked them to be sure to dance at least one for us!
Since we missed out on dancing completely over Mother’s Day weekend, it was really good to get back to dancing over this past weekend – as well as the dancing we did on Thursday at the Bluebonnet Opry in Brenham. Saturday evening was the club dance at the Wallis American Legion, as every month on the third Saturday, and of course they always welcome the public. This month Al Sulak’s Country Sounds provided the musical entertainment. They’re always very good, but this month they were a little off. It was an anomaly, definitely not their usual thing. Most of the music was good, some was quite good, but one song in particular (that seemed to go on forever, to everyone’s chagrin) was exceptionally difficult to hear, much less to dance to. I think everyone was glad when that song was over! But, not to worry. This is an excellent band, and Saturday night’s songs that were not so great were definitely an exception to what you can normally expect. Even so, we enjoyed the evening – and it’s always wonderful to hear Al’s outstanding singing as well as Marie’s. Two “hidden gems” that don’t need to be so “hidden”. We were lucky here, too, and won the very best door prize – about a quart of Brazos berries (similar to dewberries, but larger)! YUM! Sharon and Jerry Faldyn had brought them as their door prize donation, and they were SO SWEET to bring us some more frozen ones on Sunday! Many thanks to Sharon and Jerry!
Thanks to friends Donna & John Roberts for inviting us to spend the night with them so that we’d be able to go to the Sunday dance at the Rosenberg American Legion without having SO MANY miles to go home and back, etc. They even treated us to an exceptional breakfast at IHOP. The dance at Rosenberg was the annual “military tribute” dance where during the intermission they salute current and former members of each branch of the service. We thank each and every one of them for their service! God bless each one – and our country, too! We go to this dance each year, but noticed both last year and this year that the folks who went for the dance were many fewer than it used to be. Folks, let’s try to improve that next year on the third weekend of May. These veterans deserve a BIG tribute!!! This dance always features TWO bands. This year it was the Texas Legacy Czech Band (which has played this dance ever since we’ve been going to it), and the Texas Dutchmen. There were a lot of very good musicians on stage – and at least two of them played in both bands. Hey, two paychecks for one trip! Not bad! Now let’s get that audience increased next year. You’ll like this dance, folks!
These were the only two dances we got to make this past weekend, but we know of others that surely had excellent attendance – and excellent music! Star Hall in Seaton (another SPJST hall) had the Red Ravens on Saturday. They always draw a crowd. We had heard that this was going to be the last public dance at that hall. We hope not! How can we attract the younger generation without dances close by their homes if the halls don’t have public dances? Contact the hall and let them know we NEED for them to have dances that are open to the public! Another dance we know had to be a good one, and surely with good attendance, was the one at Elgin’s SPJST #18, where the Ennis Czech Boys were playing. They provide good music and are popular with the younger crowd as well as the more seasoned dancers. Keep your eyes on the schedule for dances where the “Boys” will be playing! Not only are they good musicians, but nice young men!
Thursday night was one of two polka programs that the Bluebonnet Opry in Brenham puts on each year. We missed out on the last one, in October 2012, since we were on a polka cruise with the Jodie Mikula Orchestra. Choices, choices!!! Still no information on how we can clone ourselves to enjoy ALL of it!!! What a joy it was to see so many friends who also came to enjoy this polka program. We were especially thrilled to see fellow club member LaVerne Dancak and her brother, Dee Lynn, there. We’ve never seen them there before. They may have been the guests who came the farthest – from Austin. Thanks, Dee Lynn, for bringing this program to LaVerne’s attention! So, this time Lee Roy had someone besides me to dance with. LaVerne is an excellent dancer! (You’ll be able to dance with her at our club dance on June 30 at Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg.) He also danced one with Craig Schmidt’s long time girlfriend, Connie Stelter. Craig, the steel guitar player (who also has a wonderful deep singing voice), announced that it was 8 years since he met Connie (at this same Opry), and in honor of that played a very beautiful waltz, the Gardenia Waltz. So, I encouraged Lee Roy to go dance that one with her, which he did, and they had a good time……and Craig thanked him over the microphone afterward. Other friends we saw there (who are not yet members of our club) were Bernard & Pearl Greener, Joe & Flo Mozisek, Tony & Evelyn Lister (he’s recovering from shoulder surgery), Sara Hufstetler and Jerome (whose last name is far too complicated to even attempt!), Ruben & Mary (?) Grassl (newlyweds), Wilbur Gaskamp, and Melvin & Tammy Hedt. Maybe even more. It was almost like old home week. Guest artists were Gene Hackemack, playing accordion along with Allison Crowson (who started this opry), Shane Lala (one of the Red Ravens), and a young band of German heritage who are from San Marcos, the Third Generation Band. They said they selected that name because they are the third generation in this German family who were born in the United States (specifically – Texas!). They are very talented and very nice, and they LOVE “our kind” of music. It’s good news for the future of polka in Texas! We had heard them in 2012 at Mollie B’s taping in Ennis. They are even better now and have a very bright future ahead of them as a band. They range in age from 11 (the drummer) to 18. The oldest girl plays piano accordion, the second girl plays a mean fiddle, and the older boy plays left-handed guitar. All sing vocals also – maybe even the drummer. If not now, he surely will in the future! They got a standing ovation from the crowd. I think they have some exposure on You Tube. Look for them. And while you’re at it, mark your calendar for the next Bluebonnet Opry, June 20. Guest artists will be Steven Murski from Brenham, Zac Clifton from East Bernard, and Terry Lynn Moore from Bastrop. It will be a regular show (not focusing on polka), but still enjoyable – and if you want to you can dance on the side(s) of the audience. We do.
What a NICE weekend we had, and got to three dances in two days. Could have done one more, but we opted to stay home on Friday. We’ll surely get back to Eagle Lake on the first Friday of the month before long. Saturday we were fortunate to have been invited to a dance at Shelby, courtesy of June & Bill Kilpatrick. We knew 5 of the 6 host couples, so it really did seem like old home week. This dance was the second or third time we’ve heard the Lawmen, and though it is a country band, they play excellent music, have excellent vocalists, and are such a friendly group. (You see, I do know how to be on the “good side” of former law officers!) They played 5 or 6 polkas and did them as excellently as if they were a polka band! We also enjoyed a good number of waltzes, including one I had requested, an oldie (and goodie) called “Four Walls”. For more info on this band, you can go to the web at www.TheLawmenCountryBand.net. Check them out – and make it a point to go dance to their music as soon as you can.
From Shelby we drove an hour to Sealy for their monthly club dance, which is always very welcoming to folks who are not members. This month’s band was The Kreneks, who did a satisfactory job. We met some folks there who had contacted us (thanks to Mickey Meyer) wanting us to help them learn to dance. As always, we are very happy to do that. They were a nice couple, Betty & Brad Williams from Brenham, and their efforts at learning to dance were good. They definitely didn’t get discouraged if they didn’t ”get it” immediately – but both Lee Roy and I were pleased with the progress they made. We hope to see them in a couple more weeks at the Wallis American Legion where Al Sulak’s Country Sounds will be the featured band. Who doesn’t like them? I don’t think I’ve ever found anyone who doesn’t. That dance will happen May 18.
We got home about 1 AM and were in bed by 1:20, BUT I couldn’t get to sleep for anything – finally did about 2:40. That wasn’t too good since we had the alarm set for 7 AM. I was definitely tired driving to Hostyn (only 4 miles south of La Grange), but when the music started my “tired” disappeared. It was the annual church picnic at Hostyn, and our first time there. I must say if you’re hungry, that’s the place to be. The plates (only $8 each) were overflowing with food – and it was quite good…..and later in the day they sold hamburgers that smelled delicious! I wasn’t hungry, but the smell of the burgers made me want one. I was good, though, and kept on dancing! The dancing was in an open pavilion, which usually is a less-than-wonderful situation – BUT we were SO LUCKY to have the beautiful and cool weather! It was so pleasant all day! No, I’m not dreaming. It really was, even though it was the first week of May…..Cinco de Mayo, in fact. The first band was Texas Sound Check. They did a great job, and Bennie Okruhlik, the band leader, did a super job of promoting polka where it will be happening in the near future, and promoted polkabeat.com. If you’re not familiar with that organization, you should be. Their founder, Theresa Parker, does more than her fair share of promoting polka. Check out her web site. Yes, the web address is the same as the name, except it has a “www.” in front of it, like www.polkabeat.com. Theresa and her husband, John, are 5-year members of our club. Her younger son, Alec Seegers, also belongs as a full-time student (read: for free). Back to the dance. The Czechaholics were the other band, and they played good music for the most part. Once in awhile they get carried away with “special effects” and get away from the flavor of the song, but most of the time their good musicianship shines.
Well, that was it for us for this past weekend. To all the mothers out there: Have a very happy Mother’s Day! See you soon!
Tonight Mark Halata confirmed that he could commit to playing for our third annual club dance!!!! (Actually, he called me this morning, but I didn’t hear from Verizon about a voice mail until tonight…..) Anyway, Mark’s band is wonderful, very good musicians. If you haven’t heard of Mark Halata & Texavia, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Mark, several years ago, was the Texas state accordion champion, and he plays the accordion for EVERY song! His band plays at Wurstfest in New Braunfels every year also. The date is Sunday, June 30, fro 2-6 PM, and the place is Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg. This year we’ll be charging non-members a small admission of $5, and we may also try to do a membership promotion. Donations of items for the silent auction will be appreciated. We plan to have a 50-50 drawing again. Last year the winner went home with $145. Not bad!
Please let your friends know to plan to come to our dance, and be sure to put it on YOUR calendar, too. Sengelmann is air-conditioned, so there should be no problem with the heat the end of June. We’ll get some flyers done for distribution, but mainly we need YOUR help to spread the good word to your friends and dancing acquaintances. More later!
This is just a little note following my post about our Hallettsville activities over the weekend. As I mentioned, there were two ladies at the festival on Sunday who are in the midst of producing a traveling exhibit about Texas Czechs and how they’ve carried on the traditions brought to America by their ancestors. The two ladies are Lori Najvar and Dawn Orsak, both of Austin (although Lori grew up in Hallettsville). I think any person who reads this post who is of Czech descent or involved with anyone of Czech descent (like your spouse, or possibly a coworker, etc.) or involved in any way with some of the Czech traditions that continue to this day in Texas (think polka music and dancing, kolache baking/eating, playing Taroky, etc.) will be interested in this project these ladies are doing. They have formed a tax-exempt organization, PolkaWorks, under whose umbrella they are producing this exhibit. You can go to their web site, www.polkaworks.org and find out more. Also, Lori (or Dawn?) has a very interesting blog, www.svacinaproject.blogspot.com, which tells us so much about her heritage and that of so many Czech Texans. Dawn can be found on Twitter ….@svacinaproject also. At this time, these ladies are seeking donations to help fund this project. All gifts are tax-exempt. Let’s do our part to help this exhibit get finished and “on the road” to various sites where it can be exhibited. By the way, if you are interested in looking up information about your ancestors, I can recommend two sites. First, Ancestry.com, and the other is The Moravian Connection.com. The second one probably does not have any spaces between the words, and possibly no capital letters. You can find it! Czech it out!