Polka Palooza filled the Encore with dancing and laughter on Friday, March 6, as students and community members gathered to enjoy traditional Polish-American polka music from Norm Dombrowski and The Happy Notes.
The event showcased polka as a unique, lively musical genre. Centertainment Productions brought the group to campus.
“Polka is good for the soul,” said May Her, web and digital media development major. “Family and friends should all dance to polka.”
When he was looking to form a polka group in the ’50s, Dombrowski’s motivation was to create music that would get audiences up and dancing. He formed Norm Dombrowski and The Happy Notes in the ’60s with former members Jerry Halkowski, Ron Gruna and Mary Stencil.
In the ’70s, Dombrowski was the only original member left in the group. After getting married and having children, Dombrowski encouraged his children to participate, transforming the band into a family affair.
The band agreed that modern polka is about food or drinking. This ideal was expressed several times, especially as the band engaged it’s audience with favorites like “The Chicken Dance.”
The band played saxophone, trumpet, piano, guitar and percussive instruments. The band invited audience members to dance.
“I had a lot of fun dancing with my best friends to polka,” said Mariah Pfundheller, special education major.
The colorful attire worn by the band emphasized uniqueness. The songs performed featured lyrics of Polish and German origins.
“I really enjoy any music that I can dance to,” said Iris Carufel, communication major. “This was great. I wish more students would have participated.”