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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Jimmy Weber – Living Category – Inducted 2006

    The first time Jimmy went to Fiedor’s Grove to see and hear Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones along with Little Ronnie and the Carousels, Jimmy’s interest in polkas began. Starting to play the sax at age twelve, in 1970 at the age of fourteen, he found himself playing polkas with…

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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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Larry Walk – Living Category – Inducted 1994

  George Lesnansky, a business promotion student at Youngstown University had an idea for a new image in polka programming which he felt was needed to update the image of polka radio shows. In May of 1964, the radio career of Larry “Polka’ Walk was born. An idea and determination…

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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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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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Joe Wojkiewicz – Living Category – Inducted 1985

  Joe Wojkiewicz was born in Hafa Park, Wisconsin.  By the time he entered school, he was already performing on stage.  As his desire grew to perform, so did his talents.  He became interested in the polka music field as his father had a band.   Joe got started with…

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Gene Wisniewski – Living Category – Inducted 1973

    Gene Wisniewski, was the son of Polish immigrants who settled in Connecticut where his dad, a tailor, worked in the weaving Mills in Manchester.  At the age of 15, with three months of instruction on the accordion, he played his first jobs at weddings and taverns with his…

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Bernie Witkowski – Living Category – Inducted 1971

  Bernie Witkowski – Bernie Wyte – was born in New York, a fourth generation of clarinet players.  His talent didn’t stop with playing the clarinet; he also plays sax, accordion, flute, drums and organ, writes the words and music to songs, introduces new dances and finds time to conduct…

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Frank Wojnarowski – Living Category – Inducted 1970

    Frank Wojnarowski, a resident of Fairfield, Connecticut, was born in Sanok, Poland.  He started the Frank Wojnarowski Orchestra thirty years ago; his instrument was the violin.  His sister Eleanore was the original vocalist in the band.  Their first break, a recording session with Dana Records, came in 1947…

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Li’l Wally Jagiello – Living Category – Inducted 1969

  Li’l Wally has been one of the most important and influential polka musicians in America. He was responsible for creating the Chicago-style polka, a slower, more danceable, more improvisational sound, whose core appeal lay with Polish-Americans. Wally was a cottage industry unto himself, recording at an often frantic pace…

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