The Michigan Beat
By Ryan Krygier
I am pleased to now be a writer in The Post Eagle newspaper. This is my first column in The Post Eagle and look forward to many years of writing for the readers of this newspaper. I hope that you will enjoy what is, right now, going to be a monthly column.
I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan and will be writing about polka events / Polish-related events that happen anywhere in the mid-west of the United States. Please email any information to me that you think you would like to see in this column. I can be contacted by email at rollingreporter@hotmail or write to me at 258 Thornridge CT. NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504.
In this column, I will also be writing about things in my area and the state of Michigan. Michigan has quite a few events that go on that are Polish and polka related. Just in Grand Rapids, MI there are fourteen Polish halls.
Each year in October, Grand Rapids, MI hosts Pulaski Days. There are also places in Michigan that host polka dances on a regular basis. A few of these place are on the west side of our state and you will also be reading about places on the east side of the state of Michigan that host polka dances each month.
A few polka clubs that you will be reading about in this column will be “The Warren Polka Boosters” and “The Polka Booster Club of America”. I’m sure that there are others that I need to know about, so please let me know.
You will also be reading about Sacred Heart of Jesus School and parish in Grand Rapids, MI in this column. This is the grade school that I work at that is rich in its Polish Heritage. We celebrate Dyngus Day and other things that you will be reading about. I just went to midnight Mass for Christmas at this parish which is very uplifting. The choir, directed by Dr. Barnard Stanko, is wonderful. At midnight Mass there were both adults and grade school children in the choir singing both English and Polish songs. There is also a choir at Sacred Heart of Jesus School (all children who attend the school) that sing in both English and in Polish. This is all directed by the above person mentioned.
Grand Rapids, MI also has a connection to the national polka music front and a few polka radio shows. How many people have ever heard of Debra Watkoski? Debra recorded “Never Ending Love” with Jimmy Webb & The Sounds. She lives here in Grand Rapids, MI and I know her well. Also “The Molly B. Christmas Show” has a Grand Rapids and a Michigan connection. There are several people in that show that are from Grand Rapids and Michigan. West Michigan polka radio shows are “The Polka Pops”, “The Polka Melodies” and “The Polka Carousel”; all can be found on the internet.
Finally for this month’s column, a note about America’s Concertina King, Jersey Polka Richie. I have become a personal friend of Jersey Polka Richie; he comes to play here every fall. He will be playing in Vero Beach, FL on Feb. 3rd at the Polish / American Club and on Feb. 10th at the Polish Club in Holiday, Florida. For more details call (954) 956-9141.
I hope that you have enjoyed my first column.