Hall of Fame – 2023
Wally Maduzia was born January 25, 1942, the eldest of three sons born to Walter and Jean Maduzia of Chicago, Illinois. At a young age, Wally showed great interest in music and was known to practice his harmonica while hiding in the bedroom closet.
His father was a chemnitzer concertina hobbyist and belonged to a neighborhood musicians’ club. Influenced by his dad’s musicianship, Wally decided he also wanted to play the concertina. As a youngster in grade school he practiced on his own and occasionally joined his dad, playing along with the older musicians at the club meetings. Wally intently listened to a variety of polka music performances on records and the radio, and eventually mastered the instrument with his own unique style. His parents bought Wally his first concertina as a grammar school graduation gift. He still plays this special musical instrument at special events and family gatherings.
As a teenager, Wally also learned to play the clarinet and saxophone. Wally practiced these instruments until he learned to play them as well as he the performed with the concertina. With this diverse musical talent, Wally received an offer to play with a local Chicago band, Jerry Pietranczyk and the Polka Sharps. He performed at many popular venues and made appearances throughout Chicago’s polka circuit. He became friends with many of the area’s notable musicians and quickly earned the respect of musicians everywhere. Eddie Zima, Casey Siewierski, Casey Homel and many more talented musicians, recognized Wally Maduzia as a new and proficient force to join the ranks of concertina players. It was during this time that Li’l Wally Jagiello, Eddie Blazonczyk, and Marion Lush all featured Wally in their bands.
Wally also made significant contributions to the chemnitzer concertina performing with The Tones, Freeze Dried, and Stas Bulanda and Dyno-Chicago. He recorded more than 40 albums in his professional career. Countless fans admire his concertina, clarinet and sax performances. Because of his commitment, dedication, loyalty, and love for music, he has uniquely made a name for himself and the concertina.