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Lou Trebar

Article - #3 (By Alana Baranick)

Lou Trebar, a button-box accordionist, known for incorporating elements of Viennese waltzes and American jazz into traditional Slovenian polka music, died September, 18, 2008 at the Slovene Home for the Aged in Cleveland.

 

The 88-year-old lifelong Cleveland resident became known as the Waltz King in Slovenian circles as a teenager in the late 1930s for his work in adapting melodies from Johann Strauss waltzes for accordion and polka bands. He also added drums and bass to the traditional accordion and rhythm guitar of Slovenian music to give the Lou Trebar Orchestra a "big band" feel. He often used banjo and piano. He experimented with trumpet and trombone. He included saxophone or clarinet parts. "Over the years, it became a standard ensemble - a crossover between jazz ensemble and Slovenian folk music," Trebar's son Bob said. With likeminded accordionist Johnny Pecon, he formed the Johnny Pecon-Lou Trebar Orchestra around 1950. Trebar, who also served as the group's business manager, developed a comedy routine in which he and Pecon portrayed characters called Janez and Lojze. The act became a popular part of orchestra performances. The group recorded several albums, performed on television and radio and traveled across the country. The partnership between Trebar and Pecon ended with Pecon's death in 1975. Trebar, who was born Louis J. Trebar Jr., began playing accordion at age 7. He performed professionally at 13. He formed his first band at 16, while attending East Technical High School. During World War II, he served in an Army band that entertained soldiers recuperating at military hospitals in the states. After the war, he co-owned the Metropole bar, a polka nightclub, in Cleveland with Pecon and Frankie Yankovic for a couple of years. Trebar made enough money as a musician to support his family until the mid-1960s, when polka music became less mainstream. He ended up working as a payroll clerk for the city of Cleveland until he retired. He continued playing his button box and jamming with other musicians whenever he had the chance. He played with the Mis-Tre (Miskulin-Trebar) and Jeff Pecon orchestras. "It didn't take much to get him to put on the accordion and entertain anyone willing to listen," said fellow musician Frank Mullec. "At the Slovene Home for the Aged where he last lived, he would play for the oldsters at the drop of a hat." On Fridays, he made music with a large group of button-box players at the home. Trebar was inducted into the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame in 2000 and the International Polka Music Hall of Fame in 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lou Trebar

with his Accordian

 

 

 

POLKAS.NL

 

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

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