The City is beginning to release details on this year’s Oktoberfest and that has got me thinking about polka music. I was raised in a small town about thirty minutes south of Dallas. A city called Ennis. You might have heard of it. It is/was a Czecholoslovakian enclave. The old timers still speak the language. I’ve missed the last two Polka Festivals, but I always plan to go next year. Polka is still alive there. A couple of years ago, a friend told me that the city sponsors a youth polka group in the schools. I thought she was talking about The Ennis Czech Boys, but it doesn’t appear to be, looking at their web site.
I love polka music even though it is the most seriously maligned music that exists. Why, I don’t know. I think people are afraid to admit that they like it. Sort of like ABBA. Well, I like it. Heck, I love it. I even enjoy the funny looks I get from people when I say that I like polka music.
What’s not to like? This video is of Polka Freak Out playing a song called Uzmi. Alex Meixner is a beast on the accordian and is worth checking out in other videos. I have yet to see them. They are always on in the evening at Polka Festival and we haven’t found a way to while away that much time after the parade. Maybe some day.
Music like this, which can really only be called polka rock, bridges the gap between this century and what the old folks listen to. (Don’t tell them, but I like that too). I took this snippet at one of the halls in 2007.
McKinney is not really a polka city. Of course, Ennis is setting a high bar on its claim to legitimate polka-loving, so my perspective is really skewed.
If McKinney were to sponsor a group equivalent to the Ennis Czech Boys (or whoever it is Ennis sponsors), it wouldn’t be a polka band. I got to thinking about it. (Warning: This is a completely random blog post, if you haven’t already snapped on that). If McKinney were to sponsor a youth group, what kind of music would they play? I’m ruling out an orchestra because that is in a class of its own and only appeals to a select group. So, rock? country? adult alternative? Then I snapped on it. Acapella. Admittedly, acapella is my absolute favorite kind of music. There is nothing in the world like human beings using the instrument that was given to them at birth, or, arguably, while in initial design.
The upside to acapella music is that it is extremely versatile and the kids who sing it can really enjoy it. There is no expense for instruments. There is no set up, they can perform any genre anywhere, inside or out.
It can be genteel. In this video Perpetuum Jazzile imitates the sounds of a thunderstorm. Really amazing.
Boys can do it.
Girls can do it.
You can make old standards new again. Personally, I think this song was meant for Tufts Beelzebubs. It’s never sounded better.
Even the 80’s music can sound good this way.
Amazingly, you can even do the newer stuff. This video is Tufts Beelzeubs doing a mashup of “Bringing Sexy Back” & “Buttons”. It’s obvious that they are having fun. So is the audience. This is my favorite video.
There is no cost other than finding someone who can pick voices that can harmonize successfully, train and chaperone McKinney’s youth. Picking kids from each of McKinney’s high schools would help heal the East/West divide we’ve, as a city, been generating over the past few years.
I would call them the McKinney Mascots. That’s probably not a great name but I like it.
I think it would be so neat. I can imagine our very own acappella group on the steps of MPAC and in the Courtroom theatre. Wouldn’t that be cool?