Euclid Bandleader Milan Racanovic to Be Honored at Polka Hall of Fame Music Awards Show
On Saturday, November 28, at the Cleveland Downtown Marriott Euclid bandleader Milan Racanovic will be added to the Polka Hall of Fame Trustees Honor Roll at the 28th annual Polka Hall of Fame Awards Show with Cleveland-area musicians Eddie Bucar and Dave Wolnik to be inducted, Saturday, November 28, 2015. World Accordion Champion Denis Novato headlines the Awards Show gala, the high point of the three-day Thanksgiving Polka Party Weekend hosted by the Euclid-based National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 26, 27 and 28, in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
The late Eddie Bucar (Willowick, OH), was a long-time polka radio broadcaster and bass-player. The late Dave Wolnik (Wickliffe, OH) was a drummer who appeared with 84 different orchestras and countless recordings in his 50-year career. They were voted in for their lifetime achievements by the Polka Hall of Fame membership and announced at a preview meeting on October 15. Winners will be announced in nine categories, including Polka Band, Musician, and Album of the Year.
Euclid accordionist and bandleader Milan Racanovic is among six achievers to be added to the Trustees Honor Roll for their contributions to polka music. The others are bandleaders and accordionists, Johnny Pastirik (North Olmsted, OH) and Marty Sintic (Eastlake, OH); polka radio personality Patty Sluga (Eastlake, OH); saxophonist Joe Samsa (Wickliffe, OH); and Eddie Liszewski (Creekside, PA), the late accordionist who led Eddie and the Slovenes.
At age 81, Milan Racanovic has proven he has staying power as a polka musician. He is one of the only Cleveland-Style Polka bandleaders from the 1950s who is still popular and performing today. With four albums to his credit and countless television appearances, the accordionist endeared himself to generations of polka-lovers and is still at it. His band performed old-time Slovenian favorites with his identifiable high-powered rhythm. He was a regular at area clubs and on TV’s Polka Varieties. He owns a unique squeezebox – a piano accordion with a diatonic sound which he calls a Putton Box. In 1965, Milan helped start the Polka Boosters, the well-known local music fan club.
Two songs by musicians from Slovenia were announced as All-Time Hits. The exhilarating “Trumpet Echo Polka (Na Golici),” written by Slavko Avsenik and Vilko Ovsenik, is one of the world’s best-known polka compositions. “The Quiet Valley (V dolini tihi)” is a folksy waltz by Lojze Slak that became popular with accordionists in Slovenian communities internationally.
The Awards Show rolls out the barrel and the red carpet at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 28, in the Marriott Grand Ballroom, 127 Public Square in Cleveland. The theme, “A Century of Cleveland-Style Polka,” salutes the late bandleaders (and Euclid residents) Frankie Yankovic and Johnny Pecon on their 100th birthdays with musical acts reflecting the polka trends since 1915. Entertainers include, among others, Joey Miskulin of the cowboy combo Riders in the Sky and Wisconsin’s Jeff Winard, plus Jeff Pecon and Bob Yankovic in tributes to their fathers. Denis Novato, the Slovenian accordionist from Italy, takes center stage as the world-renowned champion of the diatonic accordion known as the button box. The All-Star Polka Big Band is under the direction of Tom Mroczka.
Enjoy three days of music and dancing with top Cleveland-Style and Slovenian polka bands and performers from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada. Performers include Canada’s Grammy-winning Polka King Walter Ostanek, Dick Tady, Eddie Rodick, Del Sinchak, Hank Thunander, the Frank Stanger Orchestra (Polka Band of the Year), and Patty C and the Guys (Button Box Band of the Year). Music is Thursday from 3:00 to midnight; Friday from 1:00 p.m. to midnight; and Saturday evening after the 4:30 p.m. Polka Mass with Fr. Frank Perkovich and the Joey Tomsick Orchestra.
Dance admission Thursday and Friday is $15 per person and $10 on Saturday, including free indoor parking. 18 and under free. Awards Show tickets are $20 each. Save with a Saturday Polka Pass – the Awards Show and the Saturday dance are only $25 per person. For dance and show tickets, call the Polka Hall of Fame, (216) 261-FAME, toll-free (866) 66-POLKA, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reserve rooms at the Downtown Marriott Hotel through Euclid's Kollander Travel at a special rate of $105 per room-night, including free parking, (216) 692-1000, toll-free (800) 800-5981, or email@example.com.
The Thanksgiving Polka Weekend was begun by polka radio deejay Tony Petkovsek in 1963. Petkovsek and musicians and leaders of Slovenian and ethnic organizations founded the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum in 1987. The Cleveland style of polka has roots in Slovenian folk music with influences from country and western, jazz, pop tunes, and other nationality sounds. The lively style of American dance music was especially popular in the years following World War II when artists like America's Polka King Frank Yankovic scored million-selling hits. Polka music is enjoying a revival in cities across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic.
The Euclid museum features audio exhibits, photos and original instruments tracing the Cleveland-style polka from its origins in the city’s Slovenian neighborhoods in the 1890s to national renown. The Polka Hall of Fame gallery pays tribute to significant musicians and individuals, as voted each year by the membership. The archive preserves 5,000 Slovenian and Cleveland-style recordings, dating back a century.
The Polka Hall of Fame is located at 605 East 222nd Street in Euclid, Ohio, in the historic former Euclid City Hall. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 to 4:00. Admission is free. For details, contact (216) 261-FAME or www.polkafame.com.
Joe Valencic, President, National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
Joseph Valencic is President of the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum in the historic, old Euclid City Hall on East 222nd Street.