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Bob Lind, Published July 15 2012

Lind: Polka music memories live on in Walsh County

Clem Petrick, Portland, N.D., well remembers the polka bands and dances at Lankin, N.D., as have others who have written Neighbors recently.

Clem grew up in Pisek, Lankin’s neighboring town in Walsh County, so, he writes, “I have a lot of good memories of dances at Lankin, Bechyne, Conway, Fordville, Pisek, Veseleyville, Bachelors Grove (near McCanna), Churchs Ferry. Also the Happy Hollow Pavilion north of Lankin from 1920 to 1925.”

Clem ticks off the polka bands originating in Lankin (and there were lots of them): those of Edward Ruzek (1912-1958), the Rose Brothers (1927-1942) Stan Rose (1950s-1960s), Vern Malafa, Al Wencel, Bill Brodima, Bill Matevcek, Georgia Hodney, Bill Dvorak, Herb Dvorak, Happy John and the Dutchmen Hay Shakers.

Other towns had bands, too. The Bennie Lawton and Jim Peterka bands were from Pisek and the George Barta band was from Veseleyville.

Well-known regional bands also played in Pisek. Whoopee John and the Six Fat Dutchmen were there in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

So thanks to Clem, there’s a bit of polka music history out of Walsh County.

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