We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the local history of the area than to attend the Fall Polka Show at Silver Wings Ballroom in Brenham on Thursday, October 18th.
In the mid-1800s Polish immigrants began to arrive in Texas. The primary areas of settlement were Panna Maria (southeast of San Antonio), Brenham, Bremond, and Chappell Hill to name a few. They brought their Catholic religion, culture, and music to the new world. Their Polish music, which is string-instrument based, has been handed down orally from generation to generation.
If you haven’t had the chance to see the Czechaholics, you don’t want to miss this high energy, authentic group of musicians. Acccoring to their own website, “When you’re looking for a Czech Polka band in the South Central Texas area, one name stands out above the rest. “The Czechaholics”!!!! Their reputation for excellence, professionalism and pure entertainment make them the number one choice in bands. The Czechaholics have entertained hundreds of thousands of people in the state of Texas, since their debut. “The Czechaholics” was formed in November of 2002. They began with five musicians, minimal equipment and small crowds. As of today, The Czechaholics still have five highly talented musicians, and are now one of the top drawing Czech Polka bands in all venues they play. Today, The Czechaholics include, Mark Hermes – Piano & Button Accordion, Vocals, Brian Svetlik – Drums, Lead & Harmony Vocals, James Marek– Bass Guitar, Button Accordion, Lead & Harmony Vocals, Brian Klekar – Tenor, Alto & Soprano Saxophones, Button Accordion, Keyboards, Lead & Harmony Vocals, Mayo Walker – Keyboard, Rhythm/Lead Guitar, Tenor Sax & Fiddle.Having been influenced by other leading Czech polka bands, such as The Red Ravens, The Dujka
Brothers, LeeRoy Matocha Orch. and The Vrazels’ Polka Band. The Czechaholics have formed their own unique, more contemporary, style of music to spark interest in the imaginative youth as well as to gratify the traditional sound for the elder generations. So, if you’re planning a Church Picnic, a Polka Festival, Wedding, Family Reunion, or just a dance on a Saturday night…… The Czechaholics are the band that will gladly entertain you for many years to come”
Brian Marshall’s fiddle whips up a dance crowd with its distinct sound. What is constant in Polish music is the presence of a fiddle (or two or three) in Polish polkas. Brian commented, “All Poles play a fiddle, but some shouldn’t.”
Tradition dictated that a fiddler was hired for entertainment at functions and it was up to the fiddler to provide accompaniment.
Brian’s father was a guitar player in a band in the 1950s and ’60s that played mostly Country & Western music, but would bust into Polish music when the crowd was right.
His grandfather, Ed Marshall, was a fiddler in the 1940s and ’50s, but was equally well known for his stage presence as a Druszba (emcee) at Polish weddings and public events.
It’s a Family Tradition
In the tradition of a family band, Brian’s two teenaged sons, Jakub and Michal, have been performing with their father for years on clarinet and fiddle. At the Polish Festival in Bremond (June 26-27, 2015), Brian’s cousin, Ronnie Kasowski played guitar, and his son Jake, was thumping the bass fiddle. On drums was Chuck Bolin, who is married to a cousin, so it was truly a family band. Thank you Brian Marszalek (Marshall) for posting and sharing information on your heritage.
Brian has performed all over the U.S. including the Lincoln Center in New York, National Folk Festivals in Maine and Massachusetts, the Festival of Americana fiddle tunes in Washington, to name a just a few. He is now signed with Arhoolie Records, a music label that specializes in American masters of roots music.
Alfred Vrazel has been on the road performing polka for over fifty years. The Polka Beat wrote the best interview featuring Alfred and his wife Bernice, you can read it here.
Silver Wings Ballroom, Brenham, Texas October 18, 2018
Doors Open 5:30 pm
Show Starts 7:30 pm
$7 per person
Proceeds benefit Hospice Brazos Valley