Skip to comments.Polka not overlooked at Grammys, still popular [...] at Masses and festivals
Posted on 02/18/2005 5:51:05 AM PST by Lilllabettt
Polka not overlooked at Grammys Music style still popular in Minnesota, elsewhere at Masses and festivals
by Joseph Young
Visitor Staff Writer
ST. CLOUD -- Is polka music popular among Minnesota Catholics? Is the pope Polish?
Polkas dot the central Minnesota landscape. Catholic masses celebrate polka Masses under God's cerulean roof and participate in more secular polka celebrations at open-air festivals and in ballrooms.
Those Polka "dots" seem to be growing larger -- and not only in Minnesota -- according to a person who should know, Eddie Blazonczyk Jr., band leader of Chicago-based Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones.
The Visitor interviewed Blazonczyk by telephone during breaks in a recording session Feb. 11. He left the next day for Los Angeles, site of the 2005 Grammy Awards. "Highways & Dancehalls," the Versatones' 56th recording, was nominated as Polka Album of the Year.
A recording by Brave Combo, one of the four other nominees, won the Grammy Feb. 13. Polka music and artists had competed in the Grammy Awards' folk category before they were given their own category in 1985.
"I've been to my share of polka Masses -- they are very popular during the time of year or in climates where they can be held outdoors," said Blazonczyk, a Catholic who spent four years as a seminarian before choosing music as his vocation.
"Some outdoor polka Masses I've been at were really big -- thousands of people out in a big field," said Blazonczyk, adding that he enjoys hearing his Polish-American style of music praising God.
The prominence of polka Masses is greatest in the Midwest and lower-Great Lakes regions, he said, where populations tend to have Polish and German ethnic backgrounds.
Those are also the areas where polka music and dancing are popular as recreational activities -- a popularity not only maintaining but gaining, Blazonczyk said.
"Polka's popularity is up and down. It depends on the area you're in. Some summer polka festivals I've been to are so big that they draw thousands and thousands of people -- young and old -- from four, five or six nearby states," he said.
Polka's popularity with youths is growing, Blazonczyk said, "because when they try it they discover what great dance music it is and how fun it is."
Joe Gill, who hosts a daily polka show on KASM radio in Albany, is doing his part to aid that discovery.
At places where polka is played, older generations still outnumber younger ones, who have access to a daunting array of musical genres, said Gill, 25, a member of Our Lady of Seven Dolors Parish in Albany.
"But I'm still fighting to get people of all ages involved, and I get excited when they do," he said.
Father Ronald Dockendorf, pastor of parishes in Greenwald and Meire Grove, said he became interested in polka as a boy growing up in Sauk Rapids, where he listened to KASM and took accordion lessons from Roger Blondell, a teacher at Sacred Heart School.
Father Dockendorf, who regularly plays accordion at nursing homes and retirement centers, also monitors the pulse of polka by occasionally dropping by ballrooms and other live polka-playing venues in Stearns County.
A time to dance the polka and a time to celebrate Mass.
For reasons I can't fathom, some people seem to think that if certain things are wonderful on their own, they'd be even better if combined and merged together.
It's not necessarily so. Like drinking beer and driving a car. Each enjoyable in its own way, but not meant to be mixed.
Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus.
It needs nothing to enhance it.
It needs nothing to enhance it.
You said it, accurately and completely. And this article is from the diocesan newspaper. Just what are they doing?
Go to this link to find out what is going on with Polka Masses, according to a priest in the diocese, including website music.
Wunnerful, wunnerful. Enjoy.
As the lead guitarist in a rather well known praise and worship team in a sizeable evangelical church in Raleigh, NC.........I can tell you'd just HATE our church.
The Polka Mass has a lot in common with the guitar mass in general and the Mariachi mass in particular. It is entertainment........not the holy sacrifice of the mass. Thus it is blasphemous as one is introducing worldly music into the mass - which has no need of any music to accomplish it sacrificial purpose.
For those who want to know the corelation between the Polka and Mariachi mass.......it is the element of secular music in general. In particular.....there are no Mariachi bands at mass in Central & South America (unless recently introduced by demented American missionaries).
The Mariachi band played after mass......not in the church, but in the village square - to accompany the fiesta!
Likewise the polka band played after mass in the beergarden, or village square....as entertainment.