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Pat Barrera hadn’t been out to peer her favourite song shortly.

But if she sat at a desk on a contemporary Sunday to look at the fifty fifth Annual Chicago Competition of Polka Bands in Orland Park, the bands briefly introduced her again to a time when she would had been at the dance ground at Polonia Banquets, the “heartland” for polka purposes till it closed a few years in the past.

“After I listen a few of this song, I will be able to’t dance anymore but it surely hits my center,” Barrera stated. “I may just sit down right here and feel free and cry, as it brings again all of those recollections.”

Barrera, an established resident of Chicago’s Southwest Aspect, grew up in a Polish family. As a kid, her mom all the time performed a Polish radio channel on Sundays. And whilst Barrera can’t discuss Polish smartly nowadays, the traditions and the song caught along with her.

“Until nowadays, I may just sing you any tune you wish to have to listen to,” she stated.

Mary Ann and Robert Jakubielski dance together while Eddie Korosa Jr. and the Boys and Girl from Illinois play on Sunday, Jan. 14, during the Chicago Festival of Polka Bands.

As with many song genres, some kids inherited their oldsters’ polka pursuits whilst others didn’t, leaving the dance song now not relatively as fashionable because it as soon as was once — and with fewer puts to name house. However a polka dance nonetheless has some way of feeling like a circle of relatives reunion. In reality, “circle of relatives” was once the No. 1 phrase other folks used to explain the attraction of the Global Polka Affiliation’s gatherings.

“Whenever you meet someone, you won’t see them for an entire 12 months, however whilst you do see them it’s an enormous ‘How are you? What’s occurring?’” stated Carol Trzebiatowski, of Bridgeview. “We’re like circle of relatives.”

Trzebiatowski were given into polka greater than 60 years in the past by way of running for a disc jockey at a dance. She fell in love with the scene straight away.

She helped accumulate admission and test in visitors on the Jan. 14 pageant at Components by way of The Odyssey in Orland Park, which featured Eddie Korosa Jr. and the Boys and Woman from Illinois, Tony Blazonczyk & New Phaze, IPA Tribute Band, E-Z Tones, Polka Generations, and The Track Corporate, following a warm-up dance Saturday with Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push.

Along her on the desk was once Sally Rzeszutko, of Chicago, who has additionally been following polka for greater than six a long time after rising up on the venues the place her father performed as a polka drummer.

Eddie Korosa Jr. and the Boys and Girl from Illinois perform Sunday, Jan. 14, at the 55th Annual Chicago Festival of Polka Bands at Elements by The Odyssey in Orland Park.
- Original Credit: Daily Southtown

“We’re all buddies,” Rzeszutko stated. “We’ve identified every different for a very long time and love the song. I really like all song, however polka’s No. 1.”

Tony Blazonczyk, of Crest Hill, adopted within the footsteps of his father, Eddie, who was once a musician, band chief and file retailer proprietor, along with operating a recording studio.

“It was once simply within the blood,” Blazonczyk stated. “You grew up with it.”

However his connections to the sector of polka transcend blood. He caught with it on account of that feeling he will get appearing as a part of the neighborhood.

“It’s a circle of relatives,” Blazonczyk stated. “You come back to a dance and everyone is aware of everyone. … It’s satisfied song. The individuals are all the time excited after they’re right here.”

Tim Pryszcz, of Chicago Heights, and his mother, Catherine, hit the dance floor during the Chicago Festival of Polka Band. Catherine was singing during most of Eddie Korosa’s set.

Dan Mateja, of Orland Park, who’s the treasurer of the Global Polka Affiliation and leads the IPA Tribute Band on saxophone and clarinet, is amongst those that describe polka as circle of relatives, noting he has buddies he made in 17 states throughout the song.

“We’re very collegial,” Mateja stated. “Numerous polka individuals are extra like circle of relatives than buddies. We all know every different. We keep at every different’s properties after we commute to different states.”

Mateja’s oldsters have been first-generation Polish American citizens who all the time listened to polka at the radio. Round 8 years outdated, Mateja began going to occasions with them and not left the scene. At 15, he started enjoying song and located buddies and fellow musicians who shared his interest.

“I really like the song,” he stated. “It’s a part of my Polish heritage.”

Polka is a mode of dance song firstly credited to Bohemia all over the nineteenth century. However its reputation unfold throughout Europe after which The united states with quite a few kinds. Mateja stated Cleveland is regarded as the U.S. house base of Slovenian-style song, whilst Chicago and Buffalo are each identified for the Polish genre. Czech song is fashionable in Texas, whilst Wisconsin options German-Dutch polka.

“It’s a bit other in all places,” Mateja stated. “Most of the mainstay towns the place Polish and Eu immigrants got here to are living are nonetheless going robust — Chicago, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Cleveland, puts at the East Coast, as smartly.”

However Christy Krawisz, the IPA’s president for the previous 5 years — after a six-year stint on its board within the Nineteen Nineties earlier than rejoining it in 2010 — is aware of the paintings it takes to maintain the traditions. She were given into polka as a kid by way of going to dances to peer her father play accordion. She witnessed numerous occasions draw 500-600 other folks and loved seeing IPA’s Corridor of Reputation housed upstairs at Polonia.

Krawisz has additionally watched Polonia shut and together with it the Glendora Area in Chicago Ridge, which hosted occasions for greater than 3 a long time. The Corridor of Reputation is lately in garage. And but, polka endures as now not best an excellent type of leisure and excellent aerobic workout but in addition a solution to make lifelong connections, Krawisz stated.

Tony Blazonczyk & New Phaze perform Sunday, Jan. 14, during the 55th Annual Chicago Festival of Polka Bands at Elements by The Odyssey in Orland Park.

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“I fell in love with the song,” she stated. “I met my husband in polkas. … I met a large number of nice other folks within the trade. I imagine a large number of them brothers and sisters as a result of I’ve identified them my entire existence. It’s an attractive revel in. Everybody’s so sort, so pleasant, and all of us have the similar love for song.”

Components has been an excellent spouse as IPA’s newest house for an annual pageant designed to acknowledge January as Nationwide Polka Month, Krawisz stated. Numerous the individuals who used to wait the occasions in Chicago moved to the Orland, Palos and Tinley house. And band individuals hail from the likes of Orland Park, Mokena, Palos Park, Palos Hills and Crest Hill.

Although with an getting older following polka attendance incessantly fluctuates in accordance with the elements, Krawisz stated the yearly dance, all the time held the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hasn’t ever been canceled in 55 years.

“The individuals who come have a great time,” Krawisz stated. “The bands all the time make you are feeling such as you’re someone essential. It doesn’t subject if you happen to’re new or if you happen to’ve been right here for fifty years. The bands simply truly make it a amusing surroundings.”

Krawisz encourages others to provide polka a check out, although they may well be skeptical, and keep in mind that there are a selection of kinds. Numerous polka bands are even incorporating different genres into what they do — from nation to bluegrass to rock.

“Have an open thoughts,” she stated. “The song is truly excellent song.”

Invoice Jones is a contract reporter for the Day-to-day Southtown.


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