It was 1960 when it all started for Virginia Seretny on a small community radio station WILI in Williamantic, Conn. As a result of an association with a friend named Homer who was employed as a newscaster and Sunday morning DJ at the station who enjoyed polka music and featured it during his program. During this time the owner of the station purchased another station in nearby Putnam, Conn., and he offered the job to Homer, but he was concerned about the continuation of polkas on WILI. This is when he approached Virginia and asked her to take over the program. Well, she did, and the month sfter her induction into the Polka Music Hall of Fame celebrated 33 years of “Polkatime” on WILI.
Virginia started with a huge collection of about ten records, and soon found out she needed more. She first borrowed many from friends, and later wrote to record companies and various polka artists. When the late Papa Joe Chesky learned her theme for her show was “Whoopie, Shoopie Polka,” he personally brought her a box of records down to the studio. She was one of the first to introduce the Chicago style of polkas, never before heard in Eastern Connecticut. After a few years she was persuaded by one of the engineers to “run her own board’ and this accomplishment earned her another program over sister station WINY on Saturdays, which lasted for nine years. She was also the hostess of many remotes from her area which featured lived popular orchestras and interviews which polka fans and band leaders.
She also was very active in attending local senior homes and children’s hospitals with various local polka bands and organized a fund raising dance for the benefit of the late Frankie Gee Family. She was rewarded a lifetime membership in the Polish Club in Jewett City, Conn. Also, she was honored during her 9th, 12th, 20th, 25th and 30th Anniversary of Polka Broadcasting by fans and local organizations.
In 1962 she convinced a local band leader to make the trip to Chicago to learn more about the activities that she was reading about in “The Polka Guide” magazine. After 21-1/2 hours on the road she and the five musicians arrived in Chicago. Thus, she met and made memorable friendships that continued for years. She became involved during the formative years of the IPA, served as second vice-president for eight years and a director for twelve. In some areas she was known as “Mrs. IPA.’
Virginia was born in Brooklyn, NY, on October 4, and moved to Connecticut in 1934. She met and married Joseph Seretny in May, 1949, and they were the proud parents of four children. She held a position for twenty-seven years prior to her induction with the Parking Violations Division of the Willimantic Police Department. On Saturday, August 7, 1993, she became the second woman to be inducted into the Living Category of IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame. She has passed away since then .