Hall of Fame – 2021
Theodore Kiewicz (Tadziu Kiewicz or Ted Tanna) has been a chemnitzer concertina musician for more than 60 years. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, he learned to play the concertina at a young age from his father and the great Jerry Kramarczyk (World Concertina Congress 1994 Hall of Fame), and soon after he began a musical career that included important contributions to many great polka bands such as the Chicago Polka Gents, 47th Street Concertina Club, Chet Lasik’s Concertina Jamboree, Dial-A-Tones, Jimmie Mieszala’s Music Explosion, Li’l Richard and His Polka All-Stars, Joe Walega’s Happy Hearts, and Chicago’s Milwaukee Avenue. Playing with these bands included hundreds of live performances at venues across the United States, radio and television broadcasts, and recordings that continue to be enjoyed today.
Kiewicz’s popularity and proficiency as a young concertina musician caught the eye of the Star Concertina Company who used him to record several radio and television advertisements. In the 1970s, Ted worked very closely with Star Concertina’s Wally Kadlubowski Jr, Pompilo Rosciani (Pompi), and Umberto Carroci, and the infamous concertina musician, Eddie Lash. Pompi would contact Ted any time that he finished building a new Star ‘box so that he could try it out before anyone else even had the chance to see it. This allowed Ted to provide Star with valuable feedback and design critique which resulted in important innovations such as four sets of bellows with a third support frame. Ted was also instrumental in Star’s application of different types and configurations of internal microphones. He also helped Pompi and Umberto complete the purchase of Star Concertina from Kadlubowski, which allowed the famous Saturday afternoon Star Concertina jam sessions to continue much to the pleasure of Eddie Lash.
With so much musical knowledge and experience, Tadziu arranged many wonderful and popular songs for concertina. He successfully mentored other musicians to help improve their skills and his enthusiastic on-stage performances inspired many young men and women to pursue their own musical dreams.
Tadziu continues to mentor and inspire others to this day as he happily communicates with fellow musicians from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, sharing his wisdom and mastery of the chemnitzer concertina.