Joe Rock – Deceased Category – Inducted 1997

      Joe Rock, drummer boy extraordinaire, rising as perhaps one of the finest big band recording orchestras on the East Coast, began his career in the music field in the late 1930’s, in the greater Waterbury area, as the drummer in the Herb Lukowski Orchestra. His love and…

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Ray Dorschner – Living Category – Inducted 1996

   Ray Dorschner was born in the tiny village of Ziattau, Wisconsin, one of seven children born to Theodore and Berta Dorschner. Theodore owned and operated a sawmill and woodworking business in Zittau and was an old-time fiddler. Dad and sons occasionally played for local parties and dances. Ray started…

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Bill Czupta – Deceased Category – Inducted 1996

    Bill Czupta was an acclaimed musician and formidable accordionist. He learned to play the accordion at an early age, and became a member of the group known as Bobby Sawicki and the New Englanders. Bill resided in Massachusetts, and in 1970 he joined The Golden Brass, which soon…

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Lawrence Welk – Deceased Category – Inducted 1994

    The late Lawrence Welk is no stranger to millions of people. Through his efforts the polka and the accordion have become two items that have always been identified with making people happy.   Welk was born to immigrant parents in March of 1903, in a farmhouse near Strasburg,…

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Tom Mrozinski – Deceased Category – Inducted 1993

    The late Tom Mrozinski of Minnesota, leader of The Mrozinski Brothers Aleatoric Ensemble, started his polka career at the age of 11, when he took up the clarinet and started to sit in with his dad’s band at age 12. It wasn’t long before other musicians noticed Tom’s…

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Jan Robak – Deceased Category – Inducted 1992

    Jan Robak was born in Poland on December 1, 1890, and passed away on September 8, 1967. He came to this country and Chicopee, Massachusetts with his violin at the age of ten. He started to play the violin in Poland and continued his study of violin and…

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Henry Jasiewicz – Deceased Category – Inducted 1991

    By age 12, Henry Jasiewicz discovered his love for music and was practicing with a muted trumpet in his basement, often while his parents were sleeping.  In the years that followed, he also spent as much time as possible learning the violin.  His musical career began in the…

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Kenny Bass – Deceased Category – Inducted 1989

  Kenny Bass (Peter Bastasic, Jr.) was considered one of the all time polka greats that made Cleveland the great polka center that it is.  Since 1948 he had hosted radio programs on local area stations including former WSRS, WJMO, WBKC, WELW, WLYT and currently on the Chardon station.  …

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Joseph F. Struzik – Deceased Category – Inducted 1988

    Joe was born on January 29, 1941, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  During his early childhood, his family moved to Blackstone, MA, where he was educated and graduated from the local High School.  He subsequently received his Bachelor’s Degree in History and Government from Boston College and a Masters…

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Jolly Jack Robel – Deceased Category – Inducted 1987

    John Michael Robel was born in Austria February 14, 1903.  His parents, John and Mary, were Austrian immigrants of Slovak descent, who settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  He took his first music lessons on a clarinet from Tommy Dorsey, Sr.  Later, John played with Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey in…

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Matt Hoyer – Deceased Category – Inducted 1987

    One of the best-loved American Slovenian performers on the button accordion was Matt Arko Hoyer, the “granddaddy” of the button accordion players and pioneer performer of Slovenian polka and waltz music.  Matt was born in Slovenia in 1891.  He came to the U.S. in 1911 and settled in…

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Pat Watters – Deceased Category – Inducted 1986

    The life of Pat Watters spanned a time period that included driving mules across Texas to jet trips to Europe. Music provided a living and a career for him and a brighter life for those he touched. Born in Dallas County, Texas in 1902, his childhood was spent…

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