The Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame, or WPHF, announces its presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Ray Konkol in recognition for his outstanding contributions and dedication to the polka music industry throughout Wisconsin.
The event takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday at Romy’s Nitingale in Black Creek. The WPHF will present the award in conjunction with a dance featuring the Mark Jiricovec Orchestra from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame is a nonprofit, Wisconsin-based corporation formed in 1995. It is dedicated to recognize and honor those individuals who have excelled in the performance, preservation and promotion of polka music in Wisconsin. The WPHF historically maintains these various ethnic backgrounds of the traditional music of Wisconsin for generations to come. The WPHF has inducted more than 175 individuals to date.
The admission for the dance costs $7. It is open to the public.
From more information, go to www.wisconsinpolkahalloffame.com.
About Ray Konkol
Born in Fancher, Konkol first remembers wanting to play the concertina after listening to “Whoopie John” on his grandparent’s old wind up Victrola.
Growing up, Konkol knew that there was no other music but the polka, due greatly to the richness of the German and Polish culture in which he was nurtured. He earned money doing farm work such as digging potatoes and working at the feed mill to purchase his first concertina. Konkol began playing in a three-piece band named Melody Aces, and then he joined the Jolly Musicians.
Konkol joined the Navy in 1951, serving on the aircraft carrier USS Randolph. While aboard ship, he played in shows for the crew, using the forward plane elevator as a stage. While in the Navy, he fittingly met his wife, Germaine, at a polka dance.
In 1958, Konkol purchased the Jolly Do-Boy” and recorded his first record as the Ray Konkol Recording Orchestra recording “Old Time Wisconsin Style” in 1961 and “Old Time Dance Party” in 1963. In 1967, Konkol began a 19-year stint playing concertina with Ray Dorschner’s “Rainbow Valley Dutchmen.”