Posted by Will Rose
September 30, 2019
One of the things Milwaukee is best known for is its summer festivals. Among them Summerfest is the biggest, actually boasting the title of the world’s largest music festival. Fixed along the beautiful Lake Michigan, the Summerfest grounds host a slew of other great events year-round.
Oktoberfest is a beer-soaked sausage-stuffed extravaganza, featuring tons of live music.
Milwaukee has a rich and diverse European heritage, and polka music holds a special place in the city.
So, in preparation for Oktoberfest, and in the spirit of Milwaukee here are some great Polka acts for may want to book for your own shindig, show, or shuffle.
Don’t forget your lederhosen!
Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame Inductee Jeff Winard brings beer garden entertainment at its best! Solo, or band, acoustic or amplified, Jeff busts out all the beer-drinking favorites.
Wherever you need great polka music delivered, Jeff and his band will arrive on the spot and bring the house down.
Don’t hesitate to “Roll Out the Barrel” with live polka music by Jeff Winard, available for all types of events, whenever you need him.
The Tom Brusky Band is one of the Midwest’s premier polka-variety bands. A third-generation Milwaukee polka musician carrying on the traditions of the city’s great bands, Tom brings greatness to his musical performance.
Sure to rile up a beer hall crowd with all the polka favorites, they boast a repertoire of over three hundred polkas and waltzes. An established brand in the polka music circuit, they are regularly hired for polka festivals and Oktoberfests. They’ve also entertained crowds from ten to a thousand —- from next door neighbors to United States presidents.
Tom will tailor the size, volume, and repertoire of his band to perfectly suit any occasion, and will work with you to bring the absolute best in polka music.
The four-time WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) award-winning SQUEEZETTES (Best Polka Artist-2017, 2015, 2013, 2012) are noted as one of the state’s most unique attractions. Their repertoire includes traditional polkas and waltzes, blended with pop hits from the 1950’s through the 80’s, along with tunes you never thought you’d hear played on the accordion.
Where else but Milwaukee would you find such a high-energy band fronted by ex-burlesque chanteuse-turned-old-school torch singer, Chanel le Meaux; with colorful little ladies, Pamela (Big Surprise) Scesniak and Linda (Tiny Bubbles) Mueller squeezing big beautiful Baldoni accordions; Mike Chaltry on “free-range” tuba; Mike (Animal) Eells on vocals and pickle bucket? If you’re looking for a good time, call the Squeezettes!
Mike Schneider started playing the accordion at the age of six after hearing America’s Polka King Frankie Yankovic performing live for the first time at a parish festival in Milwaukee, WI. Mike’s father, Paul, planted the seeds of polka early on, pulling his accordion out of the closet from time to time to entertain his only son. So, if you were wondering how a six-year-old boy can go from accordion player to an acclaimed Wisconsin polka band leader, now you know!
The Mike Schneider Band has been entertaining audiences throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio since 1996. Since that time, Mike and his band have been nominated for 17 polka awards from five different organizations. In 2009, they took home the Band of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame after eight nominations in the category since 1998. Mike also holds the honor of being one of the youngest people ever inducted into the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame at the age of 18 in 1997.
A surefire hit for your next party, don’t hesitate to reach out to polka great Mike Schneider for your next event.
Playing music since he was 9 years old, beginning on organ and piano, Scott is featured on midi accordion and vocals, and also leads the band. When he began playing accordion in the 1970’s he immediately caught the ear of many top polka bands, including Frankie Yankovic. Scott traveled with Yankovic and was featured on his Grammy-nominated album “One More Time.” Scott is married to band manager Pam; they met in 1981 at a polka dance and were married in 1982.
Pam, band manager and promoter, also plays maracas, tambourine, and other percussion instruments, including her famous “LITTLE FIDDLE!” She vocalizes with the group, as well as designs the unique musical program for each performance with Scott. An avid polka and ballroom dancer, she has taught polka dancing for many years. She also hosts a weekly radio segment on WJYI AM 1340 Milwaukee called “WHERE THE BANDS ARE” heard on the half-hour every Saturday morning for the last 27 years.
For larger venues the band also features drums, banjo, and guitar.
Whatever type of celebration you are planning, these five bands will bring the rich Milwaukee heritage, and exceptional musicality to your event.
With five great options above, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your next polka party.