Klarinet Archive - Posting 000136.txt from 1997/09
From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.edu>
Subj: Re: Welk, polkas, etc.
Date: Wed, 3 Sep 1997 13:30:06 -0400
> From: MX%"klarinet@-----.58
> Subj: Re: Welk, polkas, etc.
> Dear Jim,
> As a young performer trying to be as flexible as possible to find work, would
> you have any suggestions for me as to how I would go about finding work in
> polka bands?
> I live in Pittsburgh and there are probably a few out there, since I grew up
> with my dad listening to polkas on an AM station while in the car; and my mom
> played accordion, so I heard "Beer Barrle Polka" quite often. Also, do you
> have any suggestions on recordings to which I can listen to gain a better
> understanding of that genre?
> Thank you so much :)
Susan, I am jumping in on this one because in the years that
I was playing with polka bands (may every one of those years
be forgotten!), I never once played with a band that had women
in it. I never thought about the matter because most guys were
simply sexist in those days, but I wonder if the situation
has changed. If the kind of sexism that I remember still
exists, there may be an impediment for you. But I'm simply
not current in that arena any longer. And certainly, in
Pittsburgh there are a lot of Americans of Polish descent so
there must be polka bands.
And while I am throwing opinions, I should mention that as
much as I detested polkas as being music without any value
whatsoever (except for the great clarinet parts), I disliked
obereks even more. An oberek was a dance in 3/4 time with
the strong beat on 2; i.e., one, TWO, three, etc. If you
play one of those a night it is 5 too many, and you have
to play 5,000 of them a night!
I think it is better if you go into mud wrestling rather than
polka band playing.
> In a message dated 97-09-03 10:29:12 EDT, you write:
> << Re: Dan Leeson's comments about polka music. Priceless!! I spent about
> 12 years playing in a 5-6 piece polka band, with jobs every weekend.
> This experience (1) made me some of the best steady money of my career,
> and (2) really helped my technique. Sort of like a violinist playing
> barn dances. And the friendships I made then are still strong today
> (You hear that, Don Blasick? Let's get a polka band from Hell going!).
> Sorry all this is so late. I've been out of town.
> Jim Lytthans "Welk and Polkas Forever!" >>
Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
Rosanne Leeson, Los Altos, California