Dr. John Check
Hall of Fame – 1981
Dr. John Check (1921-2013) from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was born near Rosholt, Wisconsin. When he was 14, he had saved a total of $15 from picking cucumbers on his father’s farm and used this money to purchase his first single-reed concertina. Within several days he had learned to play several simple melodies. Buying additional concertina music from the Vitak-Elsnic Company, he learned to play these new selections with the usual pattern of reading numbers instead of notes. It became obvious to him that playing the concertina by numbers was not an adequate approach to becoming versatile on the instrument. Without the aid of an instructor, he mastered reading musical notes and transferring these to the music he had in his possession. John taught music theory and psychology at several colleges and universities.
He was the concertina playing leader of the Wisconsin Dutchman Band for many years and has literally exposed hundreds of students and other people to the versatility of the concertina.
Dr. Check wrote more than 100 polkas, waltzes and schottisches for the concertina.
He appeared on weekly TV shows on WJRT-TV and WLUK-TV for eight years.
In 1986, Dr. Check was voted Wisconsin Polka King. Among his most popular compositions are Two Eddies Polka, Salt and Pepper Polka, Thoughts of Home Waltz, and the Concertina Hall of Fame Polka.