Louis Metro Polka Club 1984-2009
The St Louis Metro Polka
Club, a not for profit organization chartered
to promote polka music and polka dancing had it’s humble
beginnings in 1984.
The logo actually came into existence before the club was formed. Stan
Novak designed the logo to be stitched in Royal Blue on a white vest in
early 1984. He and his wife Bernice would travel to various
polka events throughout the country and would wear the vests to
identify themselves to friends and out-of-towners. The vests
sported their name, and people were drawn to them by the clever logo
imbedding not only the G clef, but where they typically danced
– Missouri and Illinois – and what they enjoyed
Stan and eight other individuals decided to form an official Polka Club
with the State of Missouri and become a non- profit
organization. They solicited for members and had 95 by the
time the club was incorporated March 19th, 1984.
The first meeting was in September of 1984. The by-laws were
written and approved in October of that year. The by-laws
detailed the responsibilities of each of the nine officers, mandated
the use of Roberts Rules of Order, provided audit responsibilities,
dissolution information and established the officer’s two
The initial board of
first public dance was held at Polish Hall on December 15th, 1984 with
the Remede Band playing music from 8-12PM; tickets were $3.
- President - Shirley Schultz
- Vice-President - Eleanor Kania
- Recording Secretary - Betty Peek
- Treasurer - Stan Novak
- Corresponding Secretary - Bernice Novak
- Sergeant-At-Arms - Leroy Schultz
- Director-At-Large - Joe Kania
- Director-Constitution - Jeannie Knopik
- Director-Social - Ray Knopik
The officers were extremely proud of their efforts to bring people
together through the love of polka music. At the end of the first year
147 people had joined the club. Today twenty five years
later, 43 of those charter members continue to be members of the club.
In a span of 10 years, the club membership reached over 800 members
coming from twenty states, Canada and even as far away as Australia.
In September 1987 the following simple prayer began to be recited
before our business meetings and was adopted as the special prayer for
the club. Its origins are from the Prayer of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Let us be large in
thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with
fault-finding and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all
pretense and meet each other, face to face, without
self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in
judgment and always be generous.
Let us take time for all
things; make us to grow calm, serene, and
Teach us to put in
action our better impulses, to be straight forward
Grant that we may
realize it is the little things of life that create
difficulties; that in the big things of life we are as one.
And let us not forget to be kind. Amen.
Fun and Interesting Club
Dues were initially $10, but dropped to $5 in 1985. Dues rose
to $6 in 1997. Dance admission increased to $6 in 2008.
The first out of town band that played for the club was Don Lipovac on
October 25, 1985.
The first Christmas Party had recorded music.
In 1997 members participated in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
World’s Largest Polka Band.
A typewriter was purchased in March 1987, a computer in 1992, and a new
computer operating system in 2001.
Banners – (5’x5’ embroidered -1993 and 2
vinyl all weather- 1995)
The club couldn’t have been as successful without the people
who volunteered their time. In addition to the members who
have served as officers, we should recognize the efforts of those who
have worked the door, served on the nominating committee, helped with
the Christmas party, helped plan festivals, audited the books, helped
with food, or sold raffle tickets.
As they say, music makes the world go ‘round and with the
many talented musical artists around the local area our selection of
polka bands has been plentiful for our local events. St Louis
Metro Polka club has been very fortunate to have had great local bands
throughout our 25 years and are proud to list some of them –
The Alley Kats, Danny Krausz, Die Spitzbuam, Dynamic Combo, Button Box
Club, Herb Eberle Band, Heritage Band, St. Louis Czech Express, Joey
James Orchestra, Jay Jay Polka Lovers, Joey Favuzza, Trio Freddi, Larry
Hallar's Two Star Final, The Remede Band, Tune Twisters, and Polka Connection.
In addition, we’ve had a few notable musicians who joined the
club including Polka Grammy winners Walter Ostanek and Jimmy Sturr,
America’s Polka King - Frankie Yankovic, and prominent polka
musicians Dick Pillar, Jan Lewin, Roger Bright, and Marv Herzog.
Donations and Support
The club has donated to the following organizations in our effort to
support polka music with our name recognition. These include
Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, International Polka
Association (IPA) Hall of Fame and Museum, Memorial Hospital, Jerry
Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, Public Broadcast System (PBS),
Polish National Alliance (PNA) Lodge #1134, Salvation Army, Polka Radio
programming (DJ’s Herb Eberle, Anthony Kaminski, Joe
& Debby Wondolowski and Al Dreas); and a variety of ethnic
youth dance groups (D’Froeliche Schuhplattler’s,
Croatian Jr Tamburitzans, Czech Besada dancers,
Polish Hall Youth group,
Ed Warhol made the raffle ticket barrels, raffle spinner and flyer
holders for Polish Hall. Shirley and Frank Langenhorst made the lighted
state board that was present at our festivals and made a float which
was decorated with the club banners on the sides. The float
has appeared in many events showcasing polka dancing and our
club. Clarence Schaffer made the club a beautiful photo album for
display at our 20th and 25th anniversary dances. Evelyn Vets has
provided home made healthy food for our monthly dances and theme
dances. We applaud her and her helpers for providing this
wonderful and tasty service.
On a few occasions several of our members performed at Tesson Heights
Retirement Home, St. Clair County Genealogical Society, Strassenfest,
and Eye on St Louis as well as other places. A few members danced to
Frank Yankovic tunes behind the scenes while off camera during a pledge
drive staffing phones for PBS KETC, although not a formal performance
there was applause, along with the great fun.
Polka dance lessons have been given on and off since the
club’s existence. Within the past 10 years Shirley Schultz
and Michael Bergmire have shouldered the lion’s share of the
formal dance instruction; however, they do not stand alone as many of
our members willingly volunteer to assist. In addition to the standard
polka, and hop polka dance lessons, instruction has also been given in
the waltz, schottische, oberek and a number of line dances.
To provide wider exposure members voted on a motion in April 1998 to
have a website. Operational January 9th 1999, Claire Andracsek has
served as the webmaster since its inception. Updated monthly, the site
◘ Membership applications ◘ Directions to Polish Hall ◘ Internet web
cast sites ◘ Special events ◘ Event and fun photos ◘ Dance Schedules ◘
Radio Programming ◘ Gift ideas ◘ Instructional polka dance videos ◘
Local band information ◘ Links to Polka related web sites ◘
On several occasions, our club joined forces with the Springfield Polka
Lovers Klub of America in sponsoring dances; profits were split between
the two clubs.
· March 1993 Roger Bright & Downtown Sounds of
· March 1994 Mark Janson & the Brass Express and
Gordon Hartman Band
· March 1997 Kenny Brandt & Take 5 ·
March 1998 Steve Meisner & Force of Habit Additionally proceeds
were split with the Polish American War Veterans when we hired Gennie O
& The Next Step in March of 1999.
Members That Have Served as Officers The board of directors is elected
by the membership to act in the best interest of the club. Those in
bold print have served 10 years or more and have attained free lifetime
membership in the club. The work that goes on behind the scenes to make
this club function has a great deal to do with the dedication and
commitment that each of these officers has made to the club.
The Polka Music
It began with monthly dances. As our membership grew, occasional
special events were added. Festivals began as 2 day events in 1988 and
grew to 16 years of Thanksgiving weekend 3-day festivals. The club is
now having fun sponsoring theme dances where you dress up –
or down for the event. First established in 1996, the Hawaiian S.H.I.R.T. Dance
has become the Clubs most popular theme dance. S.H.I.R.T. is an acronym
for “Selling is Hard for Individual Raffle
Tickets”. The raffle tickets that were “hard to
sell” were initially sold in order to add to the profits of
the 3-day festivals. A cherished few sold the tickets, so it was
decided to have a theme dance instead which provided a greater
opportunity for profit making and required less effort. The Polka Stampede
– a country western theme followed in the spring of 2001. The Harvest Festival
a fall event in 2006 was short lived because dressing in fall colors
didn’t yield good photos. It was replaced in 2007 by the
newest theme event the
Contrast Dance which is held in November; dancers dress in
their most contrasting attire – mixing colors, patterns and
different styles of clothing. It is quite an amazing site to see just
how far some of our members will go to be
Thanksgiving Weekend 3-Day Festivals
The Dance Committee Chairperson (or persons) was responsible for the
festivals, in coordination with the Polka Club Board of Directors. The
complicated orchestration of hiring the bands, making hotel
arrangements, advertising, scheduling, and designing and printing
flyers and tickets rested on the shoulders of Eleanor Kania from 1990
through 1997, Fran Janik and Ron Andracsek in 1998, and Ron and Claire
Andracsek executed the chairperson position for the event until 2005.
Lil and Chester Kopec were the door keepers for the first year, the following 15 years Fran
Janik and her team of faithful volunteers monitored
the doors at the festival, took in money and applied wrist bands to
patrons. The festivals were lots of fun, but lots of work and were
discontinued after consecutive years of low attendance, and negative
profits. 1994 the festival achieved it's highest attendance of 600 Friday, 900 Saturday and 350 Sunday
. Six of town bands were hired for the club’s 10th
|1990 Marriott/Polish Hall
Jay Jay Polka Lovers
1991 Marriott/Polish Hall
Vern and Steve Meisner
Chicago Milwaukee Avenue
Jay Jay Polka Lovers
|1994 Henry the Eighth*
Chicago Milwaukee Avenue
1995 Regal Riverfront
1996 Regal Riverfront
1997 Regal Riverfront
Verne & Steve Meisner
Becky's Ivanhoe Dutchmen
|1998 Regal Riverfront
Joe Polach Czech Express
Pat Zoromski Boys from Polonia
Good Times Band
1999 Regal Riverfront
2000 Regal Riverfront
2001 Adams Mark
Don Lipovac (vice R. Bright)
Jerry Tarka's Midwest Sounds
Pat Zoromski Boys from Polonia
2005 Marriott/Hilton Pavilion
Back to St. Louis Metro Polka Club Home Page
Modified 04 May 2009.