Polka Family In Fontana – May 17-18
On the weekend of May 17 the Polka Family Band played to a packed house at the Sons of Italy Hall in Fontana, California. Hank Guzevich, leader of the band, grew up in Southern California, where he made his polka debut in 1978. Promoter Gene Swick opened up the dance with a trip down memory lane recalling the first dance that he was at with Polka Family in Chino, California in 1980. After that “back to the future” moment, Hank and the guys kicked it into gear and tore the house down. The future was NOW!
Hank moved to Pennsylvania long ago, but he has plenty of family in Southern California and, I think, most of them showed up over the two day event. As usual, Hank delivered his signature Polish-Mexican masala of polkas and obereks that had the place rocking. At any point you’d see Polish polka and Nortena cumbia stylings on the dance floor at the same time. Tom Haller did a couple of drum solos that got everyone on their feet. Greg Dolecki did the clarinet polka and a couple of other clarinet featured pieces that got standing applause. Nick Desebastiano impressed us all with his accordion and Josh Szymczake had us flying around the room with his fiddle playing. We had just seen Jack Beachly in February when DynaBrass played in Fontana – he always does a fantastic job on keyboard and concertina.
We had plenty of celebrations during the event. Ed & Carolyn Dulude and Bob & Joann Page celebrated wedding anniversaries, 50 and 48 respectively. Marla Carney and Mary Saber celebrated birthdays. And, most auspiciously, we celebrated Antonio Jordan’s graduation from high school – Antonio has been coming to these dances since he was a wee one.
We had kids galore. It was truly a family weekend. The celebrations provided plenty of cake frosting that was smeared on the grateful faces of the kids. Life, indeed, is good.