*Deceased in 2012*
Respected as a staunch advocate of Slovenian and the Cleveland Style Polka Music, Joe has performed throughout the continental United States, Canada, Hawaii, Mexico and Alaska. He is recognized for his consistent and unselfish support for efforts toward the further enhancement and perpetuation of the Cleveland style polka movement. He has been instrumental in enlistment of other musicians into the Cleveland-style polka movement and has provided valuable support and assistance.
Joe began formal accordion music studies in 1944 at the age of nine. He continued his formal studies after honorable discharge from the armed forces in 1960. Also proficient of the button chromatic accordion, he has devoted more than fifty two years towards playing and promoting polka music.
Joe launched his career while still in elementary school when ha became a member of the “Polka Serenaders orchestra” in the late 1940s. In 1952, while still in high school, he joined the ‘Johnny Butchko Orchestra.’ As a member of this orchestra he participated in several recordings along with numerous appearances on live radio and Joe Fedorchak television programs during the 1950s and 1960s. He formed his own orchestra in 1963 after the retirement of Johnny Butchko. Has earned accreditation for the development of an unique tempo, rhythm and sound that has established his orchestra as one of the most consistently popular polka bands, based on the number of requests for his music on radio programs and also through resounding album sales in record shops. Currently the co-host on the very popular “Gene Fedorchak Polka Show” which is broadcast every Sunday on WKBN 570 in Youngstown, Ohio from 9:00 AM to 1 1:00 AM. This entertaining program is heard in portions of six states and Canada.
Contributions towards promulgation, promotion, and preservation of Slovenian heritage and the Cleveland-style polka music:
Joe has produced, arranged, and recorded four albums; ‘Polkas and Waltzes-Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,’ ‘Fedorchak – Second Time Around’, ‘Fedorchak, by Request,’ ‘Fedorchak – For That Old Gang of Mine’ and ‘The Best of Fedorchak’. Original compositions include, ‘Little Slugger’s Polka,’ ‘The Blue Lady Polka,’ ‘Helvak’s Waltz,’ ‘Jodie’s Waltz’ and ‘Grandpa John’s Polka.’ Their compositions have also been incorporated into other polka bands’ musical repertoire.
A charter, and diligent member of the Penn-Ohio Polka Pals organization, as well as a lifetime member of Cleveland-style Polka Hall of Fame, also being a member of SNPJ Lodge #643, Girard, Ohio and NARAS (The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), Chicago chapter.
Honors bestowed in recognition of contributions towards Slovenian and the Cleveland style polka movement:
Voted the ‘Ohio State Polka-Rama champs” in 1976, Honored as Man of the Year in 1987 by the Penn-Ohio Polka Pals Organization. Other honorees who have shared this prestigious award are John Kuzman, Frankie Yankovic, Johnny Vadnal, Lou Trebar, Walter Ostanek, Eddie Habat, Kenny Bass, Joey Miskulin, Del Sinchak, Jimmy Sturr, Johnny Krizancic, Norm Kobal, Eddie Vallus, Gary Rhamy and Dick Tady. Posthumous awards were bestowed for Johnny Pecon and Matt Hoyer.
Co-fest master for Slovene-fest Six which was celebrated at the SNPJ recreation center at Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, in July of 1990.
Winner of the Cleveland-style Polka Hall of Fame Band of the Year 1991.
Winner of the Cleveland-style Polka Hall of Fame Album of the Year 1994.
Other qualifying information:
A contributor on the ‘Penn Ohio Polka Pals Souvenir Edition’ album which was a finalist for the 1989 Grammy awards.
A contributor with two songs, on the Walter Ostanek Grammy Winning Album “Music & Friends” for the year 1995.
Incorporates all facets of Slovenian cultural heritage and the Cleveland-style polka music into his recordings and performances, vocals, piano key accordion and the chromatic button box.
Joe Fedorchak is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, of Slovak descent, born September 4, 1935.