Articles

Lou Trebar

Article - #1 (By Jeff Piorkowski)

 

 

 

 

April 6, 2000 .

Polka veteran Lou Trebar will be the man of the hour May 3 when the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame holds its spring fund-raiser. The Polka Hall, located at the Shore Cultural Center, 292 E. 222nd St. in Euclid, will hold its tribute in the midst of the original home of the Slovenian community, the Slovenian National Home, 6417 St. Clair Ave. in Cleveland. Approximately 15 bands and several additional polka musicians will be on hand at the event, which will also benefit the Slovenian Home. The event's main purpose is to serve as a tribute to the Johnny Pecon Orchestra, of which Trebar was a member for 25 years. The event has special meaning for a number of people, including polka radio show host Tony Petkovsek. "They were really amazing," Petkovsek said of the Pecon-Trebar musical collaboration and friendship. "It was 25 years ago when Johnny was in Euclid Hospital with cancer and five days before (his death) there was a celebration in his honor, on Feb. 23, 1975. Believe it or not, there were 3,000 people at Recher Hall (on Recher Avenue in Euclid) that day. Trebar threw that event in honor of Pecon." Another quarter-century anniversary taking place is that of the Pecon band that continued on in the wake of its founder's death — a band led by his sons Jeff and Johnny, Jr. It is a band with which Trebar sometimes plays. "Pecon (Sr.) and Trebar were one of the greats at the beginning of it all, along with Yankovic and Vadnal," Petkovsek said. "And Lou has his own inimitable style. He's known as 'The Waltz King' because he'll play everything from Strauss waltzes to polka stuff." Trebar, who lives on Neff Road, said he met Pecon in 1935 at the old Spelko's picnic grounds, which were located in Euclid along East 260th Street. "I knew of him at the time, Trebar said. "He was playing at the picnic. I was 15 years old." Shortly after, Trebar, an accordionist, put together a trio in which he also played banjo. When he was 16, he took over the band of Eddie Sims, a fighter and band leader who went on to fight Joe Louis. "We played together, but (Pecon) had his own band and I had mine before (World War II)," Trebar said. "He was a Navy Seabee and I was in the Army." After the war, Trebar, Pecon and Yankovic opened the Metropole bar at East 55th Street and St. Clair Avenue. "We had that for two years, then Johnny had the chance to go with Frank Yankovic and he did. That's when they recorded 'Just Because.' Johnny was with Yankovic for six months or a year and then he left and we got together. It was a partnership, he took care of the music and I did the booking." Both Pecon and Trebar are members of the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame, but the honor coming May 3 is still an honor to be treasured by Trebar. "I can't find words to express it," he said of his feelings about the event. "It's going to be a big thing at that hall. I was born and raised in that neighborhood, and so was John, in fact." Pecon, 85, was raised on the Lausche property near East 62nd Street. For Trebar, the May 3 celebration will also serve as a birthday party. He will turn 80 on May 1. The event will feature strolling musicians and a performance by the Pecon-Trebar band from 2-3 p.m. The tribute program will begin at 7:30 p.m., and will feature the likes of Fred Ziwich, Joe Fedorchak, Joey Tomsick, Force of Habat and Bobby Kravos. Buses bringing fans are expected from Canada, Pennsylvania and the Greater Youngstown area. Thinking about Pecon, Trebar said, "We were bosom buddies. He was the best friend I had in my life. It was a musical wedding."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lou Trebar

with his Button Box

 

 

 

POLKAS.NL

 

SLOVENIAN STYLE POLKAS - CLEVELAND STYLE POLKAS - BUTTON BOX MUSIC - SLOVENE TUNES - YUGOSLAV FOLK SONGS

         Articles

Click on NEXT for another article

 

Articles Home.
NEXT.
BACK.
Polkas Home.