Part #1 (National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame)
Frank Stanger Sweeps Polka Hall of Fame Awards
EUCLID, OH - Accordionist and bandleader Frank Stanger scored the first sweep at
the Polka Hall of Fame music awards by taking Album, Band, Music and New Song of
the Year awards for 2013. The 26th annual awards ceremony was presented by the National
Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday, November 30, 2013, at
Euclid Auditorium in Euclid, Ohio. Bandleaders Eddie Adamic, Jim Kozel and Frankie
Zeitz were inducted for their lifetime achievements in polka music. Former Senator
George V. Voinovich was honored for having served as the honorary chairman of the
Polka Hall of Fame at its founding in 1987. The gala stage show was the high point
of Cleveland's 50th Thanksgiving Polka Party Weekend.
The Downtown Marriott Hotel was the site of the three-day polka event which attracted
music-lovers from 27 states and six countries on Thanksgiving Thursday, Friday and
Saturday. Orchestras performed in three hotel locations, including the Grand Ballroom,
along with impromptu polka jam sessions. A highlight was the Polka Mass, celebrated
by Cleveland Bishop A. Edward Pevec and Fr. Frank Perkovich of Minnesota. Entertainers
included RFD-TV's Mollie B and Squeezebox, Canada's Polka King Walter Ostanek, Hall
of Famer Hank Thunander, the Chardon Polka Band, Polka Revolution, and orchestras
led by Eddie Rodick, Joey Tomsick, Wayne Tomsic, Fred Ziwich, Jeff Pecon, George
Staiduhar, Ed Klimczak, Don Wojtila, Dan Peters and Anthony Culkar.
The Awards Show showcased polka music across the four seasons and closed with a holiday
production number. Performers included three-time Grammy-winner Walter Ostanek; Linda
Lee Brown and Wild Bill; and Patty Candela and the young Polka Stars of Tomorrow.
The stage orchestra was led by Tom Mroczka with musicians from several states. The
master of ceremonies, WELW's Ray Somich, introduced guest presenters, such as Fox
8 sportscaster John Telich; Lili Brunec and Mojca Dela? from Radio Slovenia; John
Hasper, a polka webmaster from the Netherlands; Canadian performer Mary Lou Downs;
and His Excellency Dr. Božo Cerar, Ambassador of Slovenia, with Hon. Jure Žmauc,
Slovenian Consul General. The show was directed by Ray Somich II. The Awards Show
was supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant
from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
"I play polkas because I love the music and I love the people who love the music,"
said Eddie Adamic, the Detroit bandleader who was recognized for his 70-year career
as a polka bandleader and accordionist.
Barberton bandleader Frank Stanger took home four awards: Musician of the Year, Band
of Year and Recording of the Year for "All Keyed Up." His orchestra performed his
winning song, "The Punxsutawney Phil Polka." Recipients of annual awards were Kathy
Hlad for button accordionist; the Fairport Jammers for button accordion ensemble;
Thanksgiving Weekend Chairman Mark Habat for support and promotion; Dale Bucar for
vocalist; and the SNPJ Recreation Grounds in Kirtland, Ohio, for cultural heritage.
Three side musicians received awards: Mark Habat (Fred Ziwich and the International
Sound Machine), Brian Zupancic (Joe Novak Orchestra), and Jack Tankovich (Bob Kravos
and the Boys in the Band).
Polka Hall of Fame members voted in two all-time hits songs. "Kamnik Polka," recorded
by Andy Blumauer in Cleveland, became a hit in Slovenia. It was introduced by Vera
Marsic and performed by the Veseli Godci (Happy Musicians), a local Slovenian-style
band. "Hambone Polka," the theme song of the Eddie Habat Orchestra, was released
internationally on the Decca and Polydor labels in the 1950s. Mark Habat, son of
the late bandleader, presented the song, along with Klancnik and Friends, musicians
from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Seven names were added to the Polka Hall of Fame Trustees Honor Roll: polka TV hosts
Joe Gabrosek and Gene Kovack; the Mahoning Valley Button Box Club, an accordion ensemble;
musicians Bob McGuire, John Zipay and Joe Miklavic; and the Slovenian National Home
on East 80th Street in Cleveland. Miklavic recorded with Frank Yankovic, America's
Polka King, in the 1940s. McGuire is known for his tune, "Moon over Parma," the original
theme song for TV's "Drew Carey Show."
Radio personality Tony Petkovsek began the Thanksgiving Polka Party in 1963 and expanded
it into one of the country's largest polka music festivals and the longest-running.
He gave an award to Former Senator Voinovich for his long-time support of Cleveland-Style
"Polka music gets everyone happy," said Fred Zarzecki, an accordionist from Grand
Rapids, Michigan. "It doesn't matter what your nationality is. People come here from
all over the country for the Thanksgiving Polka Weekend because Cleveland-Style music
makes you feel like dancing."
"There's a fresh polka breeze sweeping through America and the Polka Hall of Fame
is carried along with it." said Joe Valencic, President of the Polka Hall of Fame
and producer of the Awards Show. "The Thanksgiving Polka Weekend and Awards Show
bring attention to upcoming Cleveland-Style polka talents as well as to bands that
are long-time crowd-pleasers."
The National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum was founded by musicians
and leaders of Slovenian and ethnic organizations to preserve and promote the style
of American dance music that emerged from the city's neighborhoods. The museum traces
the rise of Cleveland's home-grown sound to nationwide popularity with audio exhibits,
historic photographs and original instruments, including accordions belonging to
recording stars such as Frank Yankovic, Johnny Pecon and Johnny Vadnal. The archive
preserves 6,000 vintage recordings dating back a century. Each year, the organization's
nationwide membership nominates and votes for annual winners in several categories,
as well as for lifetime achievement.