Fred Hudy’s introduction to music was at the age of 10 when a representative of the Midwest Accordion School visited SS. Peter and Paul School on Chicago’s Southwest side. Practicing daily, he soon joined his first polka band with Richie Gomulka and Louie Jedlowski called “Little Louie and the Lucky Boys.” At the age of twelve he and this band took second place on the then famous Morris B. Sachs amateur hour. The band also made an appearance on WGN-TV in Chicago during a broadcast of the “Ron Terry Polka Party.”
During his childhood he performed for many affairs, including a parade in Chicago honoring President Eisenhower. After playing the accordion for over ten years, in 1960 he started his own band with musician Bill Gliwa called the Monumentals. At this time he moved to the drums.
Through the years the Monumentals performed hundreds of engagements in Illinois and the band traveled from Minnesota to New London in Connecticut, San Antonio in Texas and to Florida. They also recorded an album “Polka’s That Swing” on the Bel-Aire Record label.
Hudy shared the stage with a host of talented musicians, and performed for many benefits. He was also honored by the late Chicago polka promoter Joe Swartz back in 1977 for the Monumental’s contribution to the polka music industry.
Since its founding in 1968, he had a lifelong love affair with the International Polka Association (IPA). From bartending at Polonia Grove during the few first IPA conventions to his first office as Director to Membership Chairman his interest continued to grow. He was elected First Vice-President and played a major role in the acquisition of the building that housed the International Polka Association for many years. By 1993 he had served as the President of the IPA for a combined total of 10 years.
Fred Hudy earned a reputation for honesty, integrity, and true love for polkas. He was an accomplished musician, vocalist, composer, promoter and occasional disc jockey. He was supported by his parents Walter and Pauline Hudy, sister Maryann, his wife Karen, and children Cindy, Glenn, Kathy and Lori, along with son-in-law Tim and his two grandchildren, Marty and Joey.
In addition to his polka-related activities, Hudy was an avid bowler and served 15 years as secretary/treasurer of the Southwest Clubs Bowling League in Chicago.
He was inducted into the Polka Music Hall of Fame during the IPA’s 25th Anniversary at the Ramada O’Hare Hotel in 1993.
Fred Hudy died on August 31, 2013, at age 71, after a long illness.