Joe Rock, drummer boy extraordinaire, rising as perhaps one of the finest big band recording orchestras on the East Coast, began his career in the music field in the late 1930’s, in the greater Waterbury area, as the drummer in the Herb Lukowski Orchestra. His love and desire to excel in the field of polka music grew as time progressed. In the early 40’s due to the lack of progress within the present group, Joe had decided to form his own, big band delivery of Polka music combining the talents of Greater Waterbury musicians into a versatile performing group eventually becoming recognized as
Joe Rock and “The Ten Pebbles”. The popularity of the Big Band delivery grew greatly in the Naugatuck Valley Area and soon a regular weekend schedule was contracted for at the popular Wiggins Inn, in Tomaston which included a two-station, regular weekly broadcast over the combined facilities of radio stations WATR in Waterbury and WTOR in Torrington on Sunday afternoons from 5 until 5:30 PM. Following the conclusion of War, the popularity of the group excelled and Joe Rock recorded his first, Big Band delivery of Polka Music on Columbia Records. Soon to follow, was a contract to produce the big band delivery of Polka Music on Stella Records affording more exposure of the Joe Rock image throughout New York, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and of course New England.
Contributing significantly to the Joe Rock musical image were the talents of featured vocalist and accordionist, Johnny Dyno who rendered many original polka compositions to the groups’ recorded works along with the popular talents of arranger, Tony Pandy. In the years to follow, the Joe Rock Orchestra became prominent at ballrooms along the East Coast. Many engagements were played in establishments such as: the Starlight Ballroom in Port Washington, New York, The Polish Home in Irvington, New Jersey, The Polish Home in Hartford, Connecticut. The Polish Club in Hempstead, New York, The Ritz Ballroom in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
As time progressed the Joe Rock Orchestra recorded works grew to greater heights, with albums produced in association with fellow artists Stan Wolowic and the Polka Chips, Lou Prohut and Ted Maksymowicz on ABC Records in a stylish polka offering titled “The Big Fifteen.” The orchestra also produced an album for Gio records titled “Polkarama”.
The Big Band sound of the Joe Rock Orchestra ended in 1964, when at the age of 54, Joe Rock died of cancer.
A musical tribute to the Late Joe Rock Orchestra will be offered in the months to come, featuring the Orchestras’ most popular musical offerings through the years on Jody Records titled “The Magnificent Twelve,” re-released on cassette.