*Deceased in 2017*
As far back as Matt can remember, he had a love of polka music. When he was just a small boy, there were polkas playing the home form morning to night. No one in the family played a musical instrument, but Matt had a love for the accordion and was able to get his first accordion when in his teens. Through his life, he was covered just about every aspect of polka music.
Matt Wasielewski, musician, band leader, vocalist, song writer, composer, master or ceremonies, radio disc jockey, promoter and record distributor, started his polka career in 1957 when he formed his Polka Jets band. Seven years with the same musicians, his group was playing three to four jobs a week. Through the next few years, Matt added more musicians to the group which eventually developed into a six-piece band. Much in demand, the booking of some jobs were one to two years in advance. in 1968, they cut their first album.
The Polka Jets Orchestra won many awards through the years including four trophies for first place at the Battle of Bands, along with two second place trophies over six years at ldora Park Ballroom, a very popular polka spot in Youngstown, Ohio. They also played 11 consecutive festivals at this same ballroom. The band traveled to many states; entertained on a cruise to the Virgin Island; a trip to Disneyland in Florida and also a trip to Hawaii.
In 1982, Matt joined the Bud Hundenski Orchestra as vocalist and traveled with the band for seven years. He then regrouped the Polka Jets and performed for several more years before disbanding the group. He still occasionally does some jobs with bud Hundenski’s Corsiars. Between the two bands, Matt has performed in about 10 states and also in Canada. Matt recorded six albums with his Polka Jets and did the vocals on three albums with Bud. His band has made several TV appearances over the years. He was a guest vocalist on a recording with the New Tradition and then did another guest spot on their new recording.
Matt has been a emcee many times, including at some of the polka festivals: Seven Springs in Champion, Pennsylvania, and the Jimmy Sturr Christmas Show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He, along with his band, volunteered on many occasions to contribute their time to worthy causes such as Children’s Hospital, cancer benefits, and personal benefits for fellow musicians.
Matt is a member of the International Polka Association, United States Polka Association, Pennsylvania Polka Association and Polka Ambassadors Club. With his wife Vi, they have had a very popular radio show for the past five years. Matt’s Polka Party, on Saturday, noon to 2:00 p.m. over WWCS 540 AM stereo from Canonsburg, Pittsburgh which is received by an audience composed of listeners in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, western Maryland and northern West Virginia. He is also a record distributor for polka recordings; holds polka dances at several different halls in the Western Pennsylvania area; and is one of the most visible personalities at polka functions in that area.
Matt lives in Evans City, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, where he operated his own woodworking shop building for almost thirty years. He is now retired, but stays active in his shop, now as a hobby, with his polka show and polka promoting taking up most of his time.