From Joan Smolka


THE LATEST inductees to the Michigan State Polka Music Hall of Fame with past honorees and board members Oct. 4 at the Owosso ZCBJ Hall included (front row, from left): Ken Dowling, Gary Mueller, Jim Stasa and Michael Lakomowski plus (second row, from left) Sharon Dowling, Bonnie Weber, Susie Mueller, Mary Stasa, Millie Okopal, along with John and Joan Smolka.

Also, (third row, from left): Andy Nester, Mike Heins, Willie Schaeff, Tommy Reder, Libor Vitu and Jana Vitu plus (back row) Stanley Kowalski, Marty Sovis, Marty Gazarek, Bob Shaw, Tom Komon and Mayor Ben Frederick. Missing from the picture were Don and Dee Theile and Steve Drzewski on stage. (Courtesy Photo by Nicole Rogers)

The Michigan State Polka Music Hall of Fame held its annual Induction on Sunday, Oct. 4, at the beautiful ZCBJ Hall of Owosso. It was raining outside but the crowd on the inside was very festive.

Being honored were James Stasa of Swartz Creek, Michael Lakomowski of Jackson, Ken Dowling of Howell and Gary Mueller of Linwood. The purpose of the Polka Hall of Fame is to honor the musicians for the many years of giving of their time to entertain people in the polka field.

President John P. Smolka opened the festivities with a welcome and introduced the honorees. There was a moment of silence for Leo Balcer, Issy and Frances Nowak, Martha Hopp, Elenore Mageria and Kenny Marks. Inductees and committee member who passed away since our 2014 Induction. A blessing was presented by the president and then the banquet of a roast pork dinner was served.

After the tables were cleared the Induction started. President John Smolka asked Jana Vitu and daughter Yvette to usher Jim Stasa, wife Mary and their family to the podium. Dave Stasa read his father’s biography. President Smolka presented Jim with his plaque. Mayor Ben Frederick presented the Congressional Proclamation, and told them the Michigan Special Tribute was being sent to their home. Bob Shaw presented Jim with copies of his biographies. Jim then thanked everyone for coming and the committee for the great honor.

Then Michael Lakomowski and his family were ushered up. Mikey Lakomowski read his father’s biography. Michael was then presented his Plaque of Honor by President John Smolka and Bob Shaw, vice president. Mayor Frederick presented the Congressional Proclimation. And Bob Shaw presented him with his biographies. Michael than gave his speech of thanks. Gary and Susie Mueller and family were ushered to the podium. Ruby Katterman read Gary’s biography. Gary was then presented his Plaque of Honor by President Smolka and Congressional Award by Mayor Frederick and biographies by Bob Shaw. Gary gave his words of thanks to everyone.

Ken and Sharon Dowling were ushered to the front. Michael Masten read Ken’s biography. President John Smolka presented Ken with the Hall of Fame plaque. Mayor Frederick presented the Congressional Proclamation, and Bob Shaw his biographies. Ken gave his words of thanks.

Photographs were then taken of the honorees and the past Hall of Fame members present. After the pictures were taken the music started for dancing. The Martin Brother Plus and the Steve Drzewski Polka Band provided the music. The dance floor filled for the rest of the afternoon.

‘Hall of Fame’ Induction was last modified: October 19th, 2015 by Karen Elford