Eddie Forman, musician, educator, composer, arranger and polka band leader of the Eddie Forman Orchestra, known to many as EFO, has been promoting polka music since 1968. Eddie was born on June 3, 1953 in Hadley, Massachusetts, His parents, both of Polish descent, exposed him to polka music at an early age. They were strong believers in keeping the Polish traditions and Polish music alive in the family. As a young boy, Eddie was inspired to play the accordion by watching Myron Floren on the Lawrence Welk show. At the age of 5, when he began taking accordion lessons from two local accordionists his accordion was bigger than he was.
Growing up with Happy Louie as his mentor, Eddie was inspired by his musicianship and professionalism. This encouraged Eddie to start up his own band, The Eddie Forman Orchestra in August of 1968 at the age of 15. Persistence and perseverance were Eddie’s driving force behind his success.
It is Eddie’s love for music and his Polish heritage that has kept him in the polka business for 38 years. His band has appeared at many prominent Polka Festivals and Polka Weekends. Eddie, along with his wife Carol, organizes bus tours taking their large following of dedicated fans to various polka venues. They have also organized seven Caribbean polka cruises.
Eddie has produced a total of fifteen recordings from his first album in 1973, “Tiger By The Tail,” to his 2006 recording, “Come Dancin'”.
From 1988 to 1996 Eddie also tried his hand as a Polka DJ on station WQZQ (91.9 FM) from Northampton for three hours every Saturday morning. He also fills in on the local Amherst, Massachusetts station WMUA.
Eddie has received numerous awards for his orchestra in recognition of promoting polka music and culture. In 1989 he was presented with a citation from the Governor of Mass. in honor of his dedication to the polka industry. In February of 2000 Eddie and the EFO received two awards, based on votes from the listening audience for the year 1999. The first, the 4th annual “WCUW Whammy Award” from radio station WCUW of Worcester, Mass., for the CD of the year and the second, the “WARE Song of the Year” from radio state WARE 1250 in Ware, Mass. The Eddie Forman Orchestra was also voted “The People’s Choice Award” in 2004 and 2005 at the Polka Spree by the Sea festival in Wildwood, N.J. Eddie received his greatest honor in April, 2006, when he was voted into the International Polka Hall of Fame.
On a personal note, Eddie graduated in 1976 from Westfield State College with a degree in music education. He has been a full-time music director at Hopkins Academy High School in Hadley, MA (his alma mater). He has more than 60% of the total school population involved in the music programs. Eddie has received prestigious awards for his contribution as a music educator. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Hopkins Academy. Eddie has acquainted his students to the Polish heritage as every year his marching band participates in the Pulaski Day Parade in Northampton, Mass., as well as having four former students play for their “band director” in the EFO.
In 1979, he married Carol (Adase) Forman from Roselle Park, N.J. Carol was involved in polkas also. She taught polka dance lessons and had a dance group in N.J. for eleven years, called the Polka Dolls. She is now an intricate part of the business.
The Eddie Forman Orchestra has one of the largest followings in the New England area. Eddie has been quoted as saying “It is people like you that have kept me playing for 38 years, and as long as you are here, so am I.” Eddie credits not only his musical talents, but his followers, his wife Carol, and the musicians in his orchestra for his success. He is known for his standard polkas with Polish lyrics. He has one of the hardest working bands giving the fans an abundance of music.
Eddie is one of the most dedicated, talented and ethical musicians in the polka field. He takes pride in his Polish heritage and in his ability to compose, perform and commit to a lifetime of polka music.