Hall of Fame – 2023
Terry (Tootz) Lettau has always been the glue that holds the band together, having performed with the concertina as “the girl in the band” for more than fifty years.
Terry’s father got her started at a very young age, playing concertina for appreciative audiences at local establishments throughout the Central Wisconsin area. As a teen, she was joined by her sister on drums, and they formed a band known as the Timber Teens. Not long after, she met her future husband and musician, Gene, and they formed a six-piece band called The Polka Partners.
The Polka Partners performed at venues across the Upper Midwest, and recorded several albums on the North Star Appli label. After several years, the group reorganized as the II Edition Band, that included Terry’s daughters. The II Edition Band also recorded several tunes with Rhapsody Records. The band was well known for their performances at Polka Mass events, playing at more than 50 church services a year. These events included several christian songs that Terry and Gene wrote themselves.
Terry has performed with the concertina at Wisconsin’s Pulaski Polka Days, Minnesota’s beautiful Majestic Ballroom, South Dakota’s famous Corn Palace, and on several Central Wisconsin television shows. After more than fifty years of performing, she is not ready to stop. The Lettau family has worked to resurrect the Birnamwood Polka Days festival and Terry and Gene have been instrumental in the promotional effort.
Tootz has dedicated a lifetime to the concertina and the music industry. In addition to her professional performances, she has also welcomed opportunities to play the concertina for children at local schools as an educational session, and for nursing home residents who love to hear her play the old fashioned tunes.