Editor's Log How to Grow Polka
By Gary E. McKee email@example.com
Polkadate April 2020. Alex Meixner has a mission in life. He takes the roots of polka music that has been planted and developed into a firm foundation and grows the music to keep it fresh and sprouting new branches all the while keeping the roots strong. One of the methods is interacting with the youth of today by presenting programs in the schools. One of his branches was strengthened recently by his third visit to the El Campo High School after a visit to the KULP studios spread the polka gospel with Clinto.
The Alex Meixner Band (AMB) winter tour passed through the Texas Czech Rice Belt in the latter part of February stopping at the New Taiton Hall for one of the best dances and fun in a long while. The next morning, having spent the night in El Campo, Alex and his sax player, Dr. Michael Fortunato showed up bright and early at radio station KULP of El Campo to be guests on Clinto’s Polka Time show. KULP has been in the polka music business since its founding in 1948 devoting a good portion of its broadcasting to supporting the polka music culture with not one, not two, but three polka shows, all led by musicians, Frank Milder, John Dujka, and Clinto Robinson.
Clinto, Alex, and Dr. Michael along with some music fans crammed into the control room for an hour-long show of music, laughter, and great polka-oriented conversation with Clinto and Alex. Clinto brought out his acoustic guitar to jam with Alex and Michael for over a half a dozen songs. The hour flew by.
After some Texas BBQ for lunch, the AMB traveled to the El Campo High School auditorium for a program with the El Campo High School Band. This is the third year that Alex has conducted a program in which selected members of the band perform polkas both with the AMB and by themselves (a ja sam) for the audience.
A highlight was when he brought the French horn section up front and he taught them to play A Ja Sam. The program went into overtime (last period) as many questions were asked of each musician and demonstrations were held individually by the AMB and band members. The interest generated by Alex with these budding musicians will help carry on the music in El Campo. Now if only more schools would recognize this valuable method.
AMB with El Campo High School musicians and teachers.