Walter Procanyn – Deceased Category – Inducted 2021

New York City …. “Hi Polka Cuzzins!” Walt Procanyn is an accordionist and bandleader who currently resides in Woodside, the Queens section of the big apple. Walt is well known throughout the big band and polka circle as a maverick and innovator. He has revolutionized the polka industry by incorporating…

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Roger T. Lichwala – Deceased Category – Inducted 2019

Roger T. Lichwala was born on September 27, 1945, in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.  As a result of his exposure to polka music in his local Polish community, he began playing drums at the age of 14.  Roger first gained national recognition while playing with the Happy Louie & Julia polka…

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Marge Machay – Deceased Category – Inducted 2017

  Since 1968, Marge Machay and her predeceased husband Chuck, owned and operated Polonia Ballroom and Grove.  A Chicago landmark, its name was changed to Polonia Banquets in the 1980’s as renovations were made to broaden the business and better accommodate its patrons.  For almost a half century, Marge leveraged…

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Chester Budny – Deceased Category – Inducted 2015

  Born on May 20, 1921 in the “Old Polish” Fleet Avenue neighborhood of Cleveland, OH, Chester Budny became one of the city’s great southside musicians of the 1940s and 1950s. At the young age of 4, he displayed a keen interest in music and was given a violin at…

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Cliff Hermel – Deceased Category – Inducted 2014

      Musician and ballroom owner  Cliff Hermel was born March 18, 1918 in Mankato, Minnesota.  He graduated from high school in 1934 and entered the wholesale business with his father A.H. Hermel.  He was on the road in that business for 17 years, all the while though being…

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Jan Cyman – Deceased Category – Inducted 2013

    In his youth, Jan Cyman was an avid boy scout in his home-town of Buffalo, New York. He also was first music chair at his high school.   The year was 1965, Buffalo, New York. Fifteen-year-old Jan Cyman played the trumpet in school. A couple of good friends,…

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Paul Wendinger – Deceased Category – Inducted August 2012

    When one hears “Wendinger,” it is difficult to think of Peter without Paul. “Peter and Paul,” the concertina playing duo, had been a household name in the polka industry for over 47 years. Their partnership began as children playing with their tractors, pretending to be farmers. As they…

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Johnny Krizancic – Deceased Category – Inducted 2011

    Johnny Krizancic was born March 31, 1929, and at the age of eight years old he started his musical career with the area tamburitzans. After serving in the Air Force and attending college, he married Martha Dzurinda and performed with many musicians. In 1960, Johnny and his wife…

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Eddie Habat – Deceased Category – Inducted 2009

    Eddie Habat was born in Cleveland, Ohio on September 16, 1926, the youngest child of John and Anna Habat. He had two brothers, John and Herman, and two sisters, Betty and Anna. When Eddie was eighteen months old, his mother was tragically killed in an auto accident. His…

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Gary Seibert – Deceased Category – Inducted 2006

    Gary Seibert, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, started playing the accordion at the age of 8. By the age of 12 he started his own two-piece band, resulting in over 60 years of musicianship.   Throughout his school, Gary would play at the local canteen, parties, and of course,…

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Thomas Karas – Deceased Category – Inducted 2004

    Thomas Anthony (Tommy) Karas was born March 28, 1946 in Buffalo, New York. He was the eldest of four children born to Anthony J. and Carrie M. (Bieniek) Karas. Both sets of grandparents were Polish immigrants. His father was a steel worker at Bethlehem Steel and his mother…

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Roger Bright – Deceased Category – Inducted 2003

    Roger Bright of New Glarus, Wisconsin, was a musician, bandleader, recording artist, deejay and performer.   Roger Bright was born February 12, 1937, and died August 28, 2001, at Boulder Colorado Community Hospital from a heart attack he suffered while performing at a polka festival in Boulder.  …

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