NATIONAL CLEVELAND-STYLE POLKA HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM
Famous Accordions Exhibition Opens
with Polka Jam Session, March 21
For the first time, the accordions of legendary polka bandleaders are brought
together on display at the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum.
The new exhibition, “All-Star Accordions,” opens Wednesday, March 21, 2012, with
a polka jam session and reception. The exhibition celebrates the 25th anniversary of
the Polka Hall of Fame Awards Show with award-winning musicians performing in
person. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and admission is free.
The exhibition features the actual piano accordions played by Cleveland-style polka
greats, such as Johnny Pecon, Johnny Vadnal, Eddie Habat, Canada’s Polka King
Walter Ostanek, and Frank Yankovic, America’s Polka King, among others. Matt
Hoyer’s Mervar button box, featured on the first Cleveland-style recordings in the
1920s, is presented with the Petromilli chromatic accordion of his son, bandleader
Other accordions include rare Cleveland-made Mervar, Mikus and Shkorka diatonic
button boxes from the 1930s. Additional instruments include Kenny Bass’s 1968
Ampeg electric double bass and Eddie Korosa’s 1925 May Bell banjo. Bandleader
outfits and vintage photographs round out the exhibition, along with video music
shorts showing many of these accordions in action.
“These are the accordions that got the world dancing the polka,” said Joe Valencic, a
Polka Hall of Fame trustee and curator of the Museum. “Imagine bringing together
the guitars of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and John Lennon. That’s how important
these instruments have been to Cleveland-Style polka music.” Valencic will discuss
the accordions at the March 21st opening.
The National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum was founded in 1987
by musicians and leaders of Slovenian and ethnic organizations. The Cleveland Style
of polka music has roots in Slovenian folk songs with influences from country and
western, jazz and other nationality sounds. It is the world's only museum to
showcase Slovenian music.
“All-Star Accordions” is part of a series of Polka Hall of Fame festivities leading up to
the 25th Anniversary Awards Show on Saturday, November 24, 2012. A screening of
“Polka! The Movie” on January 15 was the Polka Hall of Fame’s first collaboration
with the Cleveland Museum of Art. Upcoming events include “Polkas on the Green”
in July in Hudson, Ohio, the Slovenian Sausage Festival in September, and the gala
Thanksgiving weekend Polka Party at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Cleveland,
now hosted by the Polka Hall of Fame.
The exhibition will be on view through the end of the year. The Polka Hall of Fame
and Museum is located at 605 East 222nd Street in Euclid, Ohio. Polka and Slovenian
music CDs are available in the museum store. Hours are Tuesday through Friday,
noon to 5:00, and Saturdays, 10:00 to 3:00. For more information, call (216)
261-FAME, toll-free (866) 66-POLKA, or check the website, www.polkafame.com.