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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 brothers on banjo and sax. From then it developed into a nine-piece orchestra. This new career was interrupted by World War II when he had to serve a hitch for Uncle Sam as a B-24 pilot. Upon his discharge in 1945, Gene started teaching accordion. He opened a music studio and record store in Hartford, Connecticut. It was through this store that Gene became acquainted with Walter Dana of Dana Records.

Gene found himself making records with his own band, the Harmony Bells, which developed into one of the most versatile big bands of the post war years. His first hit was “Open The Door Polka.” The jobs started to come in. Bookings resulted in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and then later in Maryland, Canada, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a result, his record sales improves and his reputation grew. His rich baritone voice was heard on many a record singing in Polish and in English. He then began free lancing and started his own label, Dala, on which he cut six albums for himself. He did some records for Rex, Starr and even came to Chicago to record for Chicago Polkas.

Gene was the first out-of-towner to make it in the Chicago area in 1962. Until then only Frank Wojnarowski had ventured into the area ten years previously. Gene appeared at Polonia Grove for a “Wishing Well Dance” sponsored by the late Ed Zimmerly. This was inspired by his hit record “Wishing Well Waltz.” Gene is credited with breaking the ice as other out-of-town bands then started coming in.

All total, Gene cut 35 to 40 albums. His activities in the Polka field included that of a composer, vocalist, instrumentalist, recording artist, orchestra leader and record promoter.

Gene was inducted into the IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame in 1973; this year marks his 45th anniversary of being inducted.
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We are less than three weeks away from this fantastic annual event. Make sure you get your tickets today! ... See MoreSee Less

IPA Hall of Fame Benefit Dance - Ludlow, MA

March 10, 2018, 7:00pm - March 11, 2018, 6:00pm

Saturday, March 10 7PM - 11PM $15 admission Music featuring The Boys Sunday, March 11 2PM - 7PM $20 admission Featuring EFO, Dennis Polisky & Maestro's Men and a tribute to The Tones by Full Circle. Polish American Citizens Center (PACC) 355 East Street Ludlow, MA 01056

We're only three short weeks away from this fantastic event in Ludlow, Massachusetts. Make sure to get your tickets ASAP as this will surely be another sold-out event! ... See MoreSee Less

IPA Hall of Fame Benefit Dance - Ludlow, MA

March 10, 2018, 7:00pm - March 11, 2018, 6:00pm

Saturday, March 10 7PM - 11PM $15 admission Music featuring The Boys Sunday, March 11 2PM - 7PM $20 admission Featuring EFO, Dennis Polisky & Maestro's Men and a tribute to The Tones by Full Circle. Polish American Citizens Center (PACC) 355 East Street Ludlow, MA 01056

THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Ampol Aires, 30 years ago, with IPA Polka Hall of Famer Andy Day. ... See MoreSee Less

Happy Valentine's Day! ... See MoreSee Less

Did you know...it's National Pizza Day! ... See MoreSee Less

LAST CHANCE! Room reservations under the IPA block must be made by tomorrow. If you’d like to take a bus trip from Chicago to Wisconsin, you must contact Dave by tomorrow as well. We hope to see you there! ... See MoreSee Less

Schulenburg KC Hall
Saturday, January 27, 2018
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Schulenburg KC Hall Saturday, January 27, 2018

Ray Budzilek was the son of Frank and Lottie Budzilek, who were both born in Warsaw, Poland. He played polka music at about 8 years of age on a toy piano. He then switched to accordion and began playing at weddings.

He organized a musical aggregation in his late teens in his home town of Cleveland. It developed into a big band sound with a huge following. Ray’s vocals, his accordion, plus the band members’ versatility, soon earned the group a reputation as far as the Eastern seaboard. The out-of-town bookings soon outnumbered the Cleveland dates.

But, the Korean conflict interrupted the meteoric climb to success. Ray was called to duty and was severely injured while fighting with the Second Infantry Division. He sustained spinal injuries and returned to Cleveland in a wheelchair.

No longer able to play accordion, he learned to play the clarinet and sax, and put together another orchestra. Bookings poured in and a session with Capitol Records resulted. “Ice Cubes and Beer” launched Ray on his way. Next, two albums were cut for Epic. More records then followed for Roulette and other companies.

This year marks 45 years since Ray Budzilek was inducted into the IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame; he was inducted in 1973.
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Get your tickets now for this fantastic event. It's been a sellout nearly ever year. We hope to see you there! ... See MoreSee Less

IPA Hall of Fame Benefit Dance - Ludlow, MA

March 10, 2018, 7:00pm - March 11, 2018, 6:00pm

Saturday, March 10 7PM - 11PM $15 admission Music featuring The Boys Sunday, March 11 2PM - 7PM $20 admission Featuring EFO, Dennis Polisky & Maestro's Men and a tribute to The Tones by Full Circle. Polish American Citizens Center (PACC) 355 East Street Ludlow, MA 01056

ROOM RATES REDUCED! Days Inn & Suites has advised the pool and hot tub will be closed for renovation. As a result, they’ve reduced the room rates to $79 and $84. Current reservations have already been modified.
If you haven’t already booked your room, the deadline for the IPA room block is this coming Saturday.
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7th Annual IPA & Let's Polka USA Unity Dance
Sunday, April 8
Music by The IPA Tribute Band with John Gora
Admission: $10
Music: 2:00-6:00
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IPA & Let's Polka USA Unity Dance

April 8, 2018, 2:00pm - April 8, 2018, 6:00pm

7th Annual IPA & Let's Polka USA Unity Dance Sunday, April 8 Music by The IPA Tribute Band with John Gora Admission: $10 Music: 2:00-6:00

Mark your calendars for Sunday, April 8! ... See MoreSee Less

It is the last day of National Polka Month! Keep supporting live music and your favorite organizations, wherever you may be. ... See MoreSee Less

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