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IPA Hall of Fame Biography



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, so he worked on a farm for two weeks which netted him $10 which was just enough to purchase that trumpet. Now he needed to take lessons, which were 75 cents. His family was often on a tight budget--and how many weren't--so after the necessities were taken care of, many of us didn't have too many 75 cents left over."


Consequently, Chet Dragon of Worthington, Massachusetts, only had a dozen of so formal trumpet lessons. However, his enthusiasm, hours of practice, and his love for polka music produced a product that the entire polka field can be proud of.


While attending Northampton High School, Chet's love of polka music was so strong that he tried to transform the high school dance band into a polka band much to the chagrin of the music director. After returning from the service, Chet was summoned to pick up his trumpet and appear with such greats as Ray Henry, Walt Solek, Joe Rock and Larry Chesky to name a few. During this time Chet was introduced to his lovely wife Mary Lou Osgood. It was with her encouragement that Chet decided to form his own band in 1966.


By 1993, Chet had recorded 8 polka albums on such prestigious labels as Bel-Aire and Starr. For some 55 years Chet was performing polkas from Chicago to New England, Canada, Hawaii, and on 10 cruise ships. While playing in Poland, the birthplace of his father, at the Hotel Victoria in Warsaw, Chet appeared on television. In addition, Chet and his wife Mary Lou had been broadcasting for 22 years in the Massachusetts area, and had been promoting trips all over the East Coast.


In August, 1993 Chet realized his lifelong dream of being inducted into the IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame during the IPA's 25th Anniversary at the Ramada O'Hare Hotel.