Billy Belina – Living Category – Inducted 2004

  Billy Belina has spent a major part of his life playing and promoting polka music. Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1947, Billy has his parents to thank for much of his success in the polka industry. In his early years, Billy often joined his parents on the two-hour…

Continue reading

Jackie Libera – Living Category – Inducted 2003

    Jackie Libera of Charlton, Massachusetts is a musician, former bandleader, deejay, arranger, vocalist, recorded many albums, and a featured performer with various bands.   To say that John “Jackie” Libera has been involved with polka music virtually all his life is an understatement.   Jackie began his polka…

Continue reading

Hank Haller – Living Category – Inducted 2003

    Hank Haller of Westlake, Ohio, is a musician, vocalist, bandleader, deejay, has made numerous recordings and leads a traveling band.   Mention Hank Haller and visions of oompah music and “lederhosen” [short leather pants], come to mind.  But Haller is more.  He is a very prolific recording artist…

Continue reading

Wally Maduzia – Living Category – Inducted 2002

  Born January 25, 1942, Wally Maduzia was the eldest of three sons born to Walter & Jean Maduzia of Chicago, IL.  While in grammar school, Wally showed an interest in music.  His parents noticed his dedication and perseverance as he practiced the harmonica in his bedroom closet routinely.  …

Continue reading

Don Lucki – Living Category – Inducted 2002

    Don Lucki was born July 18, 1933 to Michael and Janet Lucki.  Don’s polka career started as a teenager with the original Li’l Wally Orchestra.  The ensemble consisted of Li’l Wally on the drums & vocals, Eddie Noga on clarinet & alto sax, Casey Siewierski on concertina &…

Continue reading

Johnny Karas – Living Category – Inducted 2001

  Johnny Karas, lead vocalist and tenor saxophone for the Jimmy Sturr Band, has regaled audiences with his virtuosity for over forty years.  His intensity, versatility and creativity on the tenor sax have resulted in most observers describing him as one of, if not the best saxophonist ever in the…

Continue reading

Eddie Skinger – Living Category – Inducted 2001

*Deceased in 2015* The gifted Eddie Skinger has always been clear about his commitment to his vocation.  Over the past 62 years, he has become an accomplished and respected vocalist, musician, arranger and composer.  His talent and ability shine through his music and can easily be considered as one of…

Continue reading

Richie Tokarz – Living Category – Inducted 2000

  Uniquely, making his name as a sideman, Richie Tokarz is well known particularly in the Polish sector of polka music. Through the years he has demonstrated his talents playing the accordion, trumpet and singing with top polka bands. Also, his efforts as a musical writer have always scored high…

Continue reading

Al Piatkowski – Living Category – Inducted 2000

    Polka music has been a part of Al Piatkowski’s life as long as he could remember.  Born in Syracuse, NY on January 17, 1959, Al grew up listening to the Sunday polka programs.  His parents, Mike and Gloria, would attend the local polka dances and bring home the…

Continue reading

Keith G. Stras – Living Category – Inducted 1999

    Keith Stras was born in Chicago, on October 9, 1961. At an early age, Stras seemed to be interested in entertaining people. His late Uncle Ned Locke, a 25 year veteran of Chicagoland television and radio, was responsible for Stras being bitten by the limelight bug. Ned, a…

Continue reading

Joey Miskulin – Living Category – Inducted 1999

    Joey Miskulin is one of Cleveland-Style Polkas’ greatest pillars of musical talent. Plying his many skills in a myriad of ways. Joey has enhanced the quality of Cleveland-style music far and wide.   In his most memorable role, Joey, the child prodigy discovered by Chicago’s Roman Possedi, became…

Continue reading

Frank Liszka – Living Category – Inducted 1998

    Polka music speaks to the soul of Frank Liszka like no other music. Since the early 1960s going to local dances, Frank discovered his lifelong ambition, to become a polka musician. Following the examples of his polka heroes, Marion Lush, Li’l Wally, and Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr., Frank set…

Continue reading

Joseph (Joe) P. Fedorchak – Living Category – Inducted 1997

  *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…

Continue reading

Jerry Darlak – Living Category – Inducted 1997

    Jerry M. Darlak has devoted his whole life to the promotion of polka music. In his many years as a working musician, he has performed and recorded with the nation’s most prestigious polka orchestras. His love of polka music is indisputable. He continued this tradition with his own…

Continue reading

Chet Gulinski – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1997

    The First Chet Gulinski Show was broadcast at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, November 5, 1955. Since that time, many thousand Chet Gulinski Shows were broadcast. Approaching its 43rd anniversary, The Chet Gulinski Show was broadcast Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and at 11 a.m. over WNDZ (750AM), a 5,000-watt station…

Continue reading

Carl Rohwetter – Living Category – Inducted 1996

    Carl Rohwetter was born March 1, 1930, the son of John and Elizabeth Rohwetter in Marion Township, County of Saginaw, Michigan. His father played the button accordion, as so many did in the farming area. Carl along with his brothers, John and Francis were always entertained with Polka…

Continue reading