Bohemian Princess Diary
You know the saying, "Not a dry eye in the house." That describes the Polka Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the South Texas Polka & Sausage Festival in Hallettsville. It was emotional for several reasons. The KCs honored the Vrazels Polka Band as the Band of the Past. Seeing Anton and Alfred Vrazel, and former members like Albert Heselmeyer and David Trojacek, brought back lots of memories for the crowd. Cindy Vrazel Strmiska represented her late husband, Thomas, who had been a member of the band. As the Ennis Czech Boys began playing If I Were a Bird the tears flowed for Cindy and all of us.
"What a feeling it was to look into the faces of the crowd and realize all the lives that the band touched over their many years, and feel the emotional connection with them," Cindy wrote in an article in the April 18th edition of Vestnik.
The emotional trend continued as the Red Ravens were inducted into the hall as Band of the Present. Although he had retired from the band earlier this year, Kenneth Kristynik, served as spokesman for the group. With his voice cracking, he thanked all the fans who have supported the band over the years - 50 to be exact. The band was formed in 1968, and this year mark's the golden anniversary.
Past members of the band also shared the Raven spotlight, including Shannon Hermes, who represented his dad, Jodie, one of the original founders. Jodie passed away on April 16. We will remember Jodie in the June issue, and Gary is working on a 50th anniversary story about the Red Ravens, including the release of a new CD!
So, back to Hallettsville. ECB played Red Raven Polka in honor of the Red Ravens band. That gave me a few minutes to gain my composure, but by the time it was my turn to be inducted as Outstanding Polka Supporter, I was an emotional wreck!
I made it through my speech with just a couple of pauses for tears. I thanked my husband, John, who may not have been born into the polka scene, but has adapted quite well. I would not be able to do the things I do for polka without his love, support, and encouragement.
I thanked Gary for his support. His talents for writing, photography, and the love of Texas music and history are what keep our readers saying, "I can't wait to get the next issue. I read it cover to cover."
And, I thanked my dad, Bill, for instilling my love of polka. That's where the voice really cracked. I requested that ECB play A Ja Sam in honor of my dad. It was one of his faves. I have good memories of hearing him sing the song with his dad (John) and brother (Erwin) at Cernoch family reunions and Dubina picnics. I was so glad to have Uncle Erwin and Aunt Anna there to share this special moment. Aunt Anna led everyone in the singing of the song. She, like John, did not grow up with polka, but you couldn't find a bigger supporter 50 years after marrying my uncle!
Thank you Roger Janak and all the KCs for choosing me for the hall of fame, and for making the induction ceremony a day I will never forget.
Till next month, Polka On!