2018 Joe Jozwiak Award Winner – Norb Ciesla




Many years ago, the late Joseph Jozwiak, a director of the IPA, made a suggestion that an award be bestowed upon an individual or group of Individuals who have made a significant contribution or endeavor to enhance the promotion of polka music. After much discussion, the International Polka Association (IPA) voted to honor those worthy individuals with the establishment of the Special Achievement Award. To pay tribute to Joe Jozwiak, following his passing, this award was renamed the Joe Jozwiak Special Achievement Award. The award is given to recognize polka personalities who might not otherwise be acknowledged for their dauntless contributions. Nominees can include DJs, polka writers, promoters, ballroom operators, etc.; bands and musicians are excluded.

We would like to congratulate this year’s recipient of the Joe Jozwiak Special Achievement Award, Norb Ciesla.

If you are at a polka dance and a guy with a video camera tells you he is a priest – you are probably talking to Norb Ciesla (aka Father Norb) from Orland Park, IL, President of the Let’s Polka USA. Club. Norb is married to Lorraine, his wife for over 57 years.

Polka music is a passion for Norb. It is not unusual for a dance you are at today, to be on YouTube that night for your viewing and listening pleasure. Today Norb has posted over 10,300 videos and will exceed 5,000,000 hits by the end of January.

Words from Norb Ciesla: “It has been a great honor to follow the footsteps of founder Mike and continue to share that great polka music with old and new friends across the world.The internet has given me a chance to share the fun we have with family and friends at our dances while enjoying music from excellent polka musicians that play for our club. I really try to capture the fun and joy that polka music brings to people’s lives. It is very hard to be sad when a great polka is playing. You just want to get up and dance. Nothing makes me happier than seeing some of our senior members dancing with some of our younger members and carrying the polka joy forward into the next generation. You know you are at a polka dance because there are no iPhones – instead the kids are interacting, dancing and having fun. It is a great honor to receive the Joe Jozwiak award. I extend my thank you to the IPA, the great bands we get to listen to, the great friends and families I have met over the years throughout the United States. I also would like to thank “Polka Hall of Famer”, Richie Gomulka and his wife for the privilege of being on the Polka Jammer Internet Show as a guest. Best wishes to everyone for 2018!”

Norb was presented the Joe Jozwiak Special Achievement Award at the IPA Chicago Festival of Polka Bands. Congratulations to Norb, and thank you for your contributions to polka music.

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