I was previously on the IPA board from 1995-1997 as Director. I was elected again in 2010 as a director and was voted in as Financial Secretary at the 2014 convention.
My parents introduced me to polkas at a young age. I started playing accordion at the age of 6 years old. My first accordion was purchased by my grandma. I took accordion lessons from Chester Kordelewski who was the accordion player with the great Johnnie Bomba Orchestra. I took lessons from him for approximately 10 years.
At the age of 10, Ray “Melvin” Rzeszutko and I, who both attended St. Pete and Paul School, formed a two piece band called the Little Tones. After that I was the leader of CMA – Chicago’s Milwaukee Avenue and currently am the leader of Freeze Dried.
I have performed with and have filled in with many polka bands including Little Tones, Jimmy Mieszala’s Music Explosions, Chicago’s Milwaukee Avenue, Downtown Sound, Marion Lush, Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones, Polka Family, John Gora and Gorale, Polka Country Musicians, Scrubby and the Dynatones, Stas Bulanda’s Average Polka Band, Li’l Wally, Bruno Mikos, Bratwurst Brothers, Music Company, IPA Tribute Band and Freeze Dried. I play accordion, piano, concertina, clarinet, trumpet, sax, and bass.
I was born in Chicago, Illinois and moved to the suburb of Oak Lawn at the age of 13. I currently reside in Plainfield, Illinois, with my wife and two daughters, Katie and Hayley. I also have two older daughters, Holly and Tiffany.
I am the owner of Graphic Pallet and Transport, which will be celebrating its 20th year in 2015. I enjoy playing polka music and occasional trips to the casino, hence getting one of my many nicknames, “Johnny Casino.” I enjoy playing ice hockey and am a big fan of the Chicago Blackhawks! I also enjoy spending time with my wife and kids, partaking in my daughters’ sports activities and enjoy working with them to make a splash in the musical industry.
My goal is to help with the perseverance of polka music.