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John Gora In Fontana – November 23rd Weekend
John Gora visited us in California at the Sons of Italy Hall in Fontana the weekend of November 23 with his extended band (John Winiarz, Jack Beachly, Tom Wanderlich, Johnny Wanderlich, Robbie Piatkowski, and John Zelasko). As usual John and the boys knocked it out of the park. Our heads are still spinning from the non-stop music and their energy.
The music is predominantly Polish, but John easily moves from Polish to German to Slovenian to American music even in a single medley and he does a terrific Elvis impersonation. As is his wont, John leaves the stage and delivers the vocals while he mixes it up with the audience, and the band masterfully figures out where he’s going musically, as he moves from song to song. It’s obvious that it’s not scripted, because the band sometimes looks quizzically at each other, hoping someone picks up the tune – and indeed someone does and the rest of them jump in.
Many of our local polka musicians attended and John invited them onstage to play a few numbers – Frank Rote, Bob Patocka, Ed Dulude, and Joe Mieszala. I have to give a special toot to Ed Dulude who harkens from Massachusetts and lives in San Diego after a career with the US Navy. Ed played with Happy Louie a couple of times when he was a kid, but he hasn’t played polkas for many, many years on his sax. He joined the band with Joe Mieszala on bass and did a yeoman job. Way to go Ed!