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Saturday

Jul 13, 2024

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Polka Booster In Sacramento, CA

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Stefan Kochishan and Grandson

On Sunday, May 4 we had two really great options: Polka Power California was performing for the Polka Booster Club at the Eagle’s Hall in Sacramento and the Gruber Family Band was performing at the Maifest in Oakland at the Naturfreunde. And there was a Maifest going on at the Sacramento Turn Verein, which was strong on German spring rites (Maypole dance) and less so on dancing.

We flipped a coin and went to the Sacramento Polka Boosters. Joe Bajuk filled in for Danny Fitterer. Joe plays monthly at the Sonoma Moose, but we have not been able to attend because of conflicts with bands that we promote in Southern California. Joe plays Slovenian and Cleveland-style Slovenian with huge variety. Joe is a prolific songwriter with several CDs to his credit and a couple of Emmy nominations. But Joe rarely plays his own music. Why? Joe says that he worked on them so long that he’s sick of them. So we have to wait for Danny Fitterer to return if we want to hear Joe’s tunes.

When the band started playing, the house was nearly empty. Where was everyone? Over the next hour they trickled in and by the second hour the place was jumping. Maybe it was spring malaise with the beautiful weather beckoning everyone outdoors. Joe has played with the Polka Power band for several decades, so they kicked it into high gear from the start. Joe and Donna Seibert Clay grabbed their button accordions and treated us to several duets. Then Donna returned to her saxophone and, together with Stefan Kochishan, did a vocal duet of Maricka Moja that pulled at our heart strings.

In between sets, John Sinsel performed solo on his accordion. John, who was once a polka regular, has been absent from the polka scene for quite awhile, having focused on his work as a professor of Administration of Justice. Now that retirement is within reach, John has returned and we’ll thankfully see and hear a lot more from him.