• Paul Wendinger – Deceased Category – Inducted August 2012

      When one hears “Wendinger,” it is difficult to think of Peter without Paul. “Peter and Paul,” the concertina playing duo, had been a household name in the polka industry for over 47 years. Their partnership began as children playing with their tractors, pretending to be farmers. As they became…

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  • Jimmy Weber – Living Category – Inducted 2006

      The first time Jimmy went to Fiedor’s Grove to see and hear Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones along with Little Ronnie and the Carousels, Jimmy’s interest in polkas began. Starting to play the sax at age twelve, in 1970 at the age of fourteen, he found himself playing polkas with his…

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  • Henry “Will” Wilczynski – Inducted 2000

    Henry “Will” Wilczynski has dedicated 53 years to music as an arranger, composer, teacher and musician. He has written and arranged for some of the greatest polka bands and shows of all time including: Jimmy Sturr (Jimmy’s 10 Grammy award recordings and Christmas shows), Myron Floren, Walt Solek, Dick Pillar,…

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  • Matt Wasielewski – Living Category – Inducted 1998

      As far back as Matt can remember, he had a love of polka music. When he was just a small boy, there were polkas playing the home form morning to night. No one in the family played a musical instrument, but Matt had a love for the accordion and…

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  • Sylvester “Shep” Wolan – Deceased Category – Inducted 1995

      Sylvester Wolan was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on March 8, 1904. During his youth he studied violin and trumpet with his father, but was also under the tutelage of professors and symphony musicians where he learned not only to play but compose. In 1918 he started to teach and…

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  • Larry Walk – Living Category – Inducted 1994

    George Lesnansky, a business promotion student at Youngstown University had an idea for a new image in polka programming which he felt was needed to update the image of polka radio shows. In May of 1964, the radio career of Larry “Polka’ Walk was born. An idea and determination and…

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  • Lawrence Welk – Deceased Category – Inducted 1994

      The late Lawrence Welk is no stranger to millions of people. Through his efforts the polka and the accordion have become two items that have always been identified with making people happy.   Welk was born to immigrant parents in March of 1903, in a farmhouse near Strasburg, North…

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  • Pat Watters – Deceased Category – Inducted 1986

      The life of Pat Watters spanned a time period that included driving mules across Texas to jet trips to Europe. Music provided a living and a career for him and a brighter life for those he touched. Born in Dallas County, Texas in 1902, his childhood was spent in…

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  • Joe Wojkiewicz – Living Category – Inducted 1985

      Joe Wojkiewicz was born in Hafa Park, Wisconsin.  By the time he entered school, he was already performing on stage.  As his desire grew to perform, so did his talents.  He became interested in the polka music field as his father had a band.   Joe got started with…

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  • “Whoopee John” Wilfahrt – Deceased  Category – Inducted 1976

      John Anthony Wilfahrt, better known as “Whoopee John” Wilfahrt, was born in 1893 on a farm near New Ulm, Minnesota.  His grandparents, Joseph Wilfahrt and Franzeska Hauser, migrated to America in March, 1867, with three of their children and settled on  a farm in Sigel Township, a few miles…

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  • Gene Wisniewski – Living Category – Inducted 1973

      Gene Wisniewski, was the son of Polish immigrants who settled in Connecticut where his dad, a tailor, worked in the weaving Mills in Manchester.  At the age of 15, with three months of instruction on the accordion, he played his first jobs at weddings and taverns with his two…

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  • Bernie Witkowski – Living Category – Inducted 1971

      Bernie Witkowski – Bernie Wyte – was born in New York, a fourth generation of clarinet players.  His talent didn’t stop with playing the clarinet; he also plays sax, accordion, flute, drums and organ, writes the words and music to songs, introduces new dances and finds time to conduct…

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  • Frank Wojnarowski – Living Category – Inducted 1970

      Frank Wojnarowski, a resident of Fairfield, Connecticut, was born in Sanok, Poland.  He started the Frank Wojnarowski Orchestra thirty years ago; his instrument was the violin.  His sister Eleanore was the original vocalist in the band.  Their first break, a recording session with Dana Records, came in 1947 –…

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