41st Annual South Texas Polka & Sausage Fest
Polka lovers from all over the country will once again flock to the Hallettsville KC Hall March 20-22 for the South Texas Polka & Sausage Festival. Sausage is in the name, but there’s a smorgasbord of great Texas food! The Hallettsville KC Hall, on US 77 South, will be the site of much food, fun, fellowship, music, and with a touch of religion for the weekend. The Knights of Columbus Council #2433 has been preparing for weeks to show folks how the Hallettsville people can throw a party.
Friday, March 20, the fun and food kicks off at 5 pm with a fish fry and a double dance with The Czechaholics and The Moravians playing for your dancing pleasure.
Saturday’s events start at 3 pm with a Polka Mass. This Mass is special as it is performed in the KC Hall. This means that the pageantry of the ceremony with the Knights of Columbus in full uniform during the service will be showcased in the center of the floor. The hymns will be accompanied by the Psalm Sunday Polka Boys, a variety of polka musicians giving the universal ceremony a Central Texas musical twist.
Immediately following the Mass, a sausage supper with all the trimmings will be served. The KCs will give you a few minutes to digest the sumptuous meal before another double dance with The Dujka Brothers and The Jodie Mikula Orchestra swapping off musical sets as you work off that extra kolache that you had with supper.
Sunday morning kicks off at10:30 am with a meal of sausage and fried chicken with all the trimmings including chicken noodle soup. For a dinner theatre experience everyone’s favorite conglomerate of polka musicians, The Shiner Hobos, will be playing for your dining and dancing pleasure, followed up by a triple dance featuring the Red Ravens, Ennis Czech Boys, and Mark Halata & Texavia playing their hearts out for their fans. At 4:30 that afternoon is the Polka Jam Session where over 30 musicians join together on stage for a joyous sound that will cover all of South Texas.
RV spaces are available at the KC Hall and the Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce has other lodging information for the area.
HALL OF FAME
The festival, now in its 41st year, has become such a tradition (2,000+ attendees last year) that a Hall of Fame has been founded for prominent supporters and musicians. This year’s inductees will be Lee Roy Matocha's Orchestra, for former musical contributions, Jodie Mikula Orchestra, for present musical contributions, and Gary E. McKee, editor and photo journalist for Texas Polka News and polkabeat.com, for his support and promotion of polka. The induction ceremonies will be held at 2 pm Sunday.
2020 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
LEE ROY MATOCHA'S ORCHESTRA
Lee Roy Matocha, polka bandleader, promoter, and broadcaster, was born in Plum, Texas, on August 2, 1932. He was the son of Louis and Emilie (Zbranek) Matocha. Lee Roy showed an early interest in his father’s accordion, and at the age of 14, he started playing the instrument with his uncle’s group, the Zbranek’s Accordion Band. He made his professional debut at a New Year’s Eve dance at the Prairie View Hermann Sons School.
In 1952 Lee Roy Matocha joined the Lee Ilse Orchestra of La Grange and remained with that outfit for 12 years. During this time the band recorded three 78 rpm records. Lee Roy formed his own group, Lee Roy Matocha's Orchestra, in 1964 with Harold Ilse, Ivan Fajkus, and Charlie Rainosek. They were based in Fayetteville.
They performed in cities and small towns across Texas and in 1970 acquired a band bus that they named the “Golden Eagle.” During his career, Lee Roy, who was nicknamed the “Fayetteville Flash,” produced a prolific output of recordings that included 18 45-rpms, 13 LPs, six 8-tracks, seven cassettes, and one video.
In the early 1960s Lee Roy also began a broadcasting career that would span almost 40 years. He was a tireless promoter of polka music and its Czech heritage as the host of the Lee Roy Matocha Czech Hour and the Polka Show. He initially began recording a program for KVLG in La Grange, but over the years his output grew to 12 polka shows on six radio stations. He taped his broadcasts at his home in Fayette County for stations such as KCTI in Gonzales and KMIL in Cameron as well as KVLG in LaGrange.
The South and Central Texas towns of Brenham, El Campo, Columbus, Kenedy, and Karnes City also heard Lee Roy's broadcasts, which featured both his own performances and selections from his extensive collection of 78-rpm records of the 1930s and 1940s. Lee Roy spoke both English and Czech on his programs.
Lee Roy retired from performing in 1998, and he and the band played their farewell dance on Dec. 31, 1998, at the Ellinger Community Center in Fayette County. He continued, however, with his regular radio broadcasts.
Lee Roy was a two-time winner of the Texas Polka Music Lifetime Achievement Award—first in 1992 for dedication and longevity in promoting polka music on the airwaves and then again in 1993 for performing Czech music in Texas. Lee Roy had married Doris Emily Malota on April 17, 1955. They had five children. He died at his home in Fayetteville on July 12, 2003 and was buried in Fayetteville Catholic Cemetery.
By John Rivard, Texas Polka News,
The Texas Polka News acknowledges all the former musicians who helped Lee Roy Matocha make the legendary sound that he was famous for.
JODIE MIKULA ORCHESTRA
The award-winning Jodie Mikula Orchestra (JMO) has been causing dancers to do their thing since its inception in 1967. The band performs at venues across the great state of Texas as well as several dances, festivals, and special celebrations throughout the country, including Westfest, Ennis Czech Music Fest, National Polka Festival in Ennis, and Wurstfest.
Jodie organized the orchestra in 1967 as a family band. Jodie’s three sons, Ken, Nick, and Andy, were part of the original band and are still performing today. Jodie Mikula passed away in 1989. The greatest tribute his family can offer to their beloved is to continue his love of Czech music. His family knew the music must go on.
It is one of the few family bands in Texas. The current band also includes husband and wife, Mike and Janice Marek (Janice is Lee Roy Matocha's daughter), and Joe Zetka.
JMO has been acknowledged with awards from the Texas Polka Music Association (TPMA) for:
• 1990 Posthumous Award to a Pioneer Polka Band Leader with a Lifetime of Dedication to Polka Dance Music was presented to JMO on behalf of the accomplishments of Jodie Mikula
• 1991 Band of the Year Best Vocal Duo/Trio – Ken and Nick Mikula; Album of the Year – Hot Favorites
• 1993 Song of the Year – The Klobase Polka, an original composition by the band; New Album of the Year – Jodie Mikula Orchestra Presents The Klobase Polka; Best Vocals Band
In June 1996, JMO performed at the First Annual Lawrence Welk Polka Festival in Branson, MO. There was a band competition judged by some of the original Lawrence Welk performers. The band tied for first place and performed with Myron Floren in the Lawrence Welk show.
Over the years, JMO has hosted polka cruises to various Caribbean ports. They have traveled throughout the United States playing in festivals, dances, and special celebrations.
Since most of the band members play several instruments, this gives the JMO versatility in performing different styles of music. The band is of Czech descent and plays mainly polkas and waltzes but also adds country, rock-n-roll, and more.
JMO, now in its 53rd year, appreciates all the support given by their loyal fans. The band strives to bring the best of polka music for your listening and dancing enjoyment.
GARY E. MCKEE
Gary E. McKee, a Fayette County native and lifelong pursuant of live music, brought his 50 years of photography and journalism experience to the polkabeat. com website and later the Texas Polka News publication.
Gary has spent nearly six decades haunting the dance halls of Central Texas and learning the music business. Since the inception of Theresa Cernoch Parker’s website, polkabeat.com in 2010, and her acquisition of the Texas Polka News in 2014, Gary has been instrumental in helping her grow the awareness of polka and waltz music along with all live, fun music in Central Texas to keep the music alive.
Gary has developed a staff of photographers to capture the smiling faces and joyous youngsters that dancing produces to entice newcomers to visit a live music venue.
He has also endeavored to broaden the musical horizons of the subscribers by posting many varied styles of music to the Polkabeat FaceBook page.
Gary is also involved in documenting orchestras and dancing events of the past before they are forgotten. He wishes that his parents were still around to see the love of music that they allowed to be instilled in him has enabled others to enjoy themselves. Polka On!
POLKA HALL OF FAME
Band of the past: Joe Patek Orchestra Current band: Dujka Brothers Polka & festival supporters: Alfred & Ann Schwartz and Alfonse & Betty Schwartz, who have traveled 260 miles from San Angelo to Hallettsville to attend the festival for years
Band of the past: Vrazel's Polka Band Current band: Red Ravens Polka & festival supporter: Theresa Cernoch Parker, publisher, TPN
Band of the past: Wence Shimek Orchestra
Current band: Fritz Hodde & The Fabulous 6
Polka & festival supporters: Pavliska Brothers, Bobby and Henry, along with Henry's widow, Linda, who were instrumental in starting the festival