The International Polka Band / Blog

Info Part 6 - About our Concert Venues

(*) Most of South Florida's Oktoberfests and Fall Festivals - http://www.funtober.com/oktoberfest/florida (*) Terminal Tunes Program - http://www.broward.org/AIRPORT/TERMINALS/Pages/TerminalTunes.aspx (*) Public Libraries and Museums of Fine Arts sponsored Music Concert Series - http://www.broward.org/Library/EventsClasses/Pages/ProgramsMG.aspx (*) South Florida Casinos and Ballrooms - http://www.southflorida.com/gambling (*) Sam Adams sponsored events http://thisisoctoberfest.com

Info Part 5 - About the Extended Group

In the extended version of our band you'll also get to enjoy one or more of the following performers: (*) Our Story-teller is a native German speaker and interpreter – Andrea Romero. (*) Our singers/dancers Carolyn Redford and Lu White. Their grace and beauty brings a lot of excitement to the band’s performance. They are also recognized composers and performers of their own music. (*) Singer and accordion player - Larry Roberts, (*) Singer and "every instrument under the sun" player - Larry Kendzora, (*) Clarinet and flute player - Marty Fried, (*) Saxophone player - Nestor Zurita, (*) Guitar and Cimbalom player - Gyorgy Lakatos, (*) Upright bass player - Dave Wilkinson, (*) Percussion player – Leo Rivillas, (*) Drummers - Eloy Oliveros and Luis Macias

Info Part 4 - About the Musicians

(*) Zoltan Grof is our lead trumpet player. He comes from Budapest, Hungary where he studied music and than joined the top recording studios in the country. Since coming to Florida Zoltan Grof has been recognized as an inventive and in-demand jazz improviser. (*) Les Blachut is our keyboard player who also doubles on the vibraphone, steel-pan, accordion and hand percussion. He comes from Katowice, Poland. After leaving his country he traveled in Europe to find his way to Boston, MA where he graduated from Berklee College of Music. Since coming to South Florida he continues his musical endeavor also as a jazz improviser, a music teacher and a church music director. (*) Juan Natividad is our bass player who also doubles on trumpet and sings. He comes from Barcelona, Spain. After traveling around the world playing music on cruise ships he settled in South Florida where he worked with top dance bands and led his own 14-piece orchestra. He is well-known and respected in the South Florida community of artists.

Info Part 3 - About the Band

The International Polka Band has been around for a while but only in recent years it became noticed and invited to perform music in around South Florida more often. The basic band consists of trumpet, keyboard, bass and drums but can expanded to include one or more of singers/dancers, a storyteller and other instruments such as: saxophone, clarinet, accordion, guitar, flute, trombone, alphorn, vibraphone and a steel-pan. The music includes all types of Polka or similar music: German, Austrian, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Russian, Italian, French, Irish and Spanish. The band’s unique name reflects the variety of music and the versatility of musicians. Since some of the band members come from the area known as the Oberschlessen or Gorny Slask, they all decided to wear black, white and red-colored uniforms common to that native people of that land.

Info Part 2 - About the Polka

The Polka is a type of music usually associated with the Oktoberfest festivities. The origins of the music are attributed either to Poland where the word Polka means a “Polish woman” or to the Czech word Polka which means “a half step” as in reference to the quick step dancing. The first composition of Polka music can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century. Although at the beginning the music was popular only in countries of Eastern Europe and Germany, soon it set out to conquer the world. By the 1850 Polka became one of the most popular ballroom dances in America. It was referred to as “Polka-mania” because of its evolving and influencing other styles of American music. In recent years there’s been resurgence of the original Polka due to the growing popularity of the Oktoberfest and other traditional customs as more and more descendants of the European immigrants find renewed interest in their roots.

Info Part 1 - About the Oktoberfest

The Oktoberfest is a two-week festival held each year in Munich, Germany during late September and early October. It is an important part of the Bavarian culture. Bavaria is a region in the mountains of Alp. The Bavarian Oktoberfest that is traditionally known there as Theresienwiese has been continually held since the year 1810. The Bavarian Oktoberfest may see an attendance of over six million people that consists mostly of the foreign tourists. It has inspired numerous similar events around the world, many of which were founded by German immigrants or their descendants. The Oktoberfest is celebrated with serving of the traditional German food and beer. The music entertainment at the Oktoberfest is as much important as the food. Singing together Schlager songs or participating in simple call and response beer-toasts is a vital part of the Oktoberfest.