Henry “Will” Wilczynski – Inducted 2000

  Henry “Will” Wilczynski has dedicated 53 years to music as an arranger, composer, teacher and musician. He has written and arranged for some of the greatest polka bands and shows of all time including: Jimmy Sturr (Jimmy’s 10 Grammy award recordings and Christmas shows), Myron Floren, Walt Solek, Dick…

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Eddie Korosa – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1998

  Few can equal the contributions made by Eddie Korosa in popularizing polka music. Eddie has left his mark across the entertainment spectrum, inspiring new generations of polka lovers along the way.   Eddie Korosa was born in the Southwest side of Chicago in 1918; a first generation American of…

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Adam Nowicki – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1995

    Adam Nowicki, born on February 6, 1921 in Conshohocken, PA was the oldest of five children. During the Depression the family moved to Trenton, NJ in 1926 with the hopes of finding work. As a student and parishioner of Holy Cross Church, he developed an early love for…

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Chet Dragon – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1993

    At the age of 12 Chet had a couple of neighbors that were musicians one played the clarinet, the other the accordion. Chet knew that if he purchased a trumpet he would be asked to join them. Chet’s family couldn’t afford to just purchase one for him outright,…

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Ernie Kucera – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1992

    With the unique sound of an accordion and the oom pah pah of the tuba, “Abie”, Nebraska’s Ernie Kucera and his band has been entertaining people with polka music for the past fifty years. Kucera first started playing drums in his brother’s band, The Kucera Accordion Band in…

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John Check – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1991

    John Check was born near Rosholt, Wisconsin.  When he was 14, he had saved a total of $15 from picking cucumbers on his father’s farm and used this money to purchase his first single reed concertina.  Within several days he had learned to play several simple melodies.  Buying…

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Joe Czerniak – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1989

    Joseph F. Czerniak of Duluth, Minnesota, was elected to the polka Music Hall of Fame in the Pioneer category.  Joe was inducted along with other inductees, on Saturday, August 5, during the annual International Polka Association Convention and Festival, at the Ramada O’Hare Hotel, in Chicago.   Joe…

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Johnny Menko – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1987

    Johnny Menko was born in Windsor Locks, Connecticut on June 13, 1915, and lived in Warehouse Point, Connecticut, during his earlier years.  At the age of nine, Johnny was already paying the violin with Polish records on a phonograph.   Johnny graduated from Enfield High School in Thompsonville,…

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Stanley J. Jasinski – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1985

    Stanley J. Jasinski, one of Buffalo’s most outstanding public figures in the field of broadcasting, was born August 25, 1915 in Detroit, Michigan.   While still in high school as an amateur actor and script writer, Stanley began his broadcasting career.  As opportunity would have it, one day…

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Charlie Hicks – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1984

 Charlie Hicks is a pioneer in the polka field from the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.  At eighteen years of age, he already displayed his musical talent by playing accordion.  In 1930 he formed a small dance band.  In 1937 he made his first recording for RCA Victor.  He then joined the…

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Eddie Oskierko – Pioneer Category – Inducted 1983

 There can be little doubt about Eddie Oskierko being a pioneer in radio and in the early formative years of polka music.  The history of his career can be summarized in one word:  “determination.”  When Ed started his radio career in October 1930, at station WJKS, he found that the…

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