Shown following the 2019 Michigan State Polka Music Hall of Fame(HOF) induction ceremony at The Z Hall in Owosso, formerly known as the ZCBA, is (front row, from left) Millie Okapal and 2019 inductees Thomas Kopeck and Michael Fudalla. In the second row is (from left) Secretary-Treasurer Joan Smolka, Mary Stasa, Dee Theile, Libor Vitu, Bonnie Weber, Eddie Siwiec, Mary Ann Czbuko, Jana Vitu and Chester Czbuko. In the back row is (from left) Stan Saylor, Ken Dowling, Michael Masten, Willie Schaeff, Bennie Prill, Martin Gazarek, Norman Siess and State Representative Ben Frederick, who presented each inductee with a proclamation.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
Polka Hall of Fame Inducts New Members
It was a beautiful day on Sunday, Oct. 6 in Owosso for the induction of three musicians into the Michigan State Polka Music Hall of Fame (HOF). This year’s inductees include Michael Fudalla of Warren, Tom Kopeck of Farmington Hills and Fred Zarzecki of Grand Rapids. The ceremony took place at The Z Hall in Owosso, formerly the ZCBJ.
The banquet started with a blessing by President Ken Dowling, followed by a moment of silence for deceased inductees who have passed since 2017, John Smolka, Charles Chapko, Don Krysiak, Bobbi Williamson, Richard Kulas and Betty Shaw.
Jana Vitu ushered Michael Fudalla to the podium, John Fadulla read his brother’s biography, President Dowling presented Mike with his HOF plaque and congressional award, and Representative Ben Frederick presented a proclamation. Ron Nowaczyk presented Mike with a DVD of his music from the 1990s, and Mike gave his acceptance speech before being ushered back to his seat.
Thomas Kopeck was escorted by his daughter, Jennifer, and in addition to his awards from the Michigan State Polka Music HOF and Rep. Frederick, Thomas was also presented with several awards from dignitaries from the Farmington Hills area.
Due to health reasons, Fred Zarzecki was unable to attend, so Secretary-Treasurer Joan Smolka accepted his awards on his behalf, and she will deliver them as soon as Fred recovers from his seasonal illness. Fred thanks the committee and all who attended for his prestige award. He was so honored to be considered for this special award.
Hank and Mary Ann Haller sent their congratulations to the three honorees. Pictures of the honorees were taken and then a group picture of all the HOF lifetime members who were in attendance. “The Good Times Orchestra” provided beautiful music for the dancing and listening pleasure of everyone in attendance. Those who had not attended an event at the hall in the past year were pleasantly surprised to see the remodeling that has taken place.