Hall of Fame – 2000
Jerry M. Darlak (1946-2010) of Buffalo, New York was born in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of seven, he began drum lessons and at the age of 12, he began his career as a polka musician. Within two years he was performing three nights a week with his own band, The Lucky Stars. He led this five-piece polka band throughout high school.
Inspired by the great polka legend Li’l Wally Jagiello, Jerry took interest in the concertina and began lessons on that instrument at age 11. The charisma generated by Li’l Wally had a profound effect on Jerry, like his musical hero, he soon made playing drums and concertina the center of his life.
Jerry played with Marion Lush and Eddie Blazonczyk for over 20 years. In 1987, Jerry moved to Buffalo, New York, and joined one of Buffalo’s most respected polka groups, led by “Big Steve” Krzeminski. In 1995, Jerry started the Buffalo Touch.
Jerry recorded over 600 songs on nearly 60 albums and has among his numerous awards two Grammys. He performed across the continental United States and Hawaii, Canada, Poland, Germany, and Austria.