Bill Czerniak

World Concertina Congress - WCC

Bill Czerniak
Hall of Fame – 2001

Bill Czerniak

Bill Czerniak (1946 – 2002) was born to Martha and Joe Czerniak in Duluth, Minnesota. At the age of six, Bill began taking concertina lessons from his father. Within a couple of years, Bill was making appearances with his dad and brother at local talent shows, wedding receptions, and parties. In addition, Bill and his younger brother Greg made numerous appearances on a local Polka television show. By age twelve, he had joined his dad’s band, “The Polka Dots”, performing throughout the Midwest.

Bill recorded his first long play album with his dad and brother entitled, “Twin Concertinas,” in 1965. In the summer of 1967, Bill joined Joe Tomaszewski’s Northeasterners polka band. In 1971, Bill played concertina with the Mrozinski Brothers and continued to prolifically produce original tunes, including “Polka Forever,” “For Your Smile Polka,” “Soft Rain Waltz,” and numerous others.

At the urging of Tom Mrozinski, Bill and his wife Mary Lou formed their own band, “Polka Soul,” in 1974. This gave Bill more opportunity to express his unique concertina style, and develop his creative talents. Right from the start “Polka Soul” was in high demand for major polka festivals in the Minnesota area and across the nation.

In 1986, Bill and Mary Lou formed the Bill Czerniak Concertina Band. This group featured two concertinas, piano, and drums. It emphasized Bill’s unique playing style. In 1989, Bill formed Polka Soul Records and the group recorded the highly successful “Mr. Concertina” album.

Bill Czerniak distinguished himself in many aspects of the polka industry, as a performer, music composer, music arranger, bandleader, promoter, innovator, tour leader, International Polka Association Director, and record producer.

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