Caka, Koudelka & Krajca Honored at Annual Gala Dec. 3
TCHCC continued its tradition of honoring bands and musicians at its gala on Sat., Dec. 3. This year’s honorees were Victor Caka and the Victor Caka Band, George Koudelka, and Johnnie I. Krajca.
The gala, also a fundraiser for TCHCC, was held at Pavilion Hall on the Fayette County Fairgrounds and included a buffet dinner, appetizers, open bar, and dancing to the music of the Czechaholics. See the photos.
Earlier in the day, TCHCC hosted a Christmas Open House, featuring vintage holiday decorations throughout the Czech Village, gift shop specials, museum displays, pastry booth, seasonal music, and a yummy chicken noodle soup lunch.
Victor Caka, a Lavaca County native, wears two hats in the polka world; a musician and a technician. Victor, a self-taught accordionist has played with several bands over the last five decades including: The Polkatimers, The Litt'l Fishermen, The Victor Caka Band, and The Shiner Hobos. His instrument of choice is the accordion. Victor's early fascination with the squeezebox led him to take one apart to see how it made music. This led to him getting a reputation as a repairman. Over the years, local accordionists have come to him to have their instruments tuned, repaired, and he has resurrected a few "found up in the attic" accordions. He also became the "go to" man, if you needed to buy an accordion. Without Victor, the local polka scene would have been out of tune for years.
George Koudelka, a Flatonia native, is a man with an encyclopedic memory of music, musicians, and music theory. George earned his degree in music education at Southwest Texas and has been influential in the development of music programs at the Flatonia and Moulton school systems for many decades. A highlight of his teaching career was the creation of an all-girl 10-piece polka band representing Moulton Jr. High that toured locally for two years. George, though retired, still teaches pre-K thru 3rd graders basic music one day a week. George has been performing in polka/country bands since the age of eleven. The list of bands that he has drummed in is lengthy but includes The Travelers, The Round Top Brass Band, and The Donnie Wavra Orchestra. Without George, hundreds of school children would not have come to appreciate music and many bands would not have played to the correct beat.
Johnnie I Krajca
Johnnie I. Krajca, a radio disc jockey from the Ennis area, is a well-known voice to many polka fans. Johnnie is just not any disc jockey, he was faithfully on the air broadcasting live for 48 years! Every Sunday morning, he would sign on KBEC's Polka Party and for several hours he would take requests from listeners sending their family and friends well wishes for any occasion. Johnnie had his own record collection and would occasionally reach back to find an old song on a 78 rpm record to fulfill a request. He was a tremendous supporter of the Ennis music scene, helping bring together bands for festivals and doing many benefits for individuals. Johnnie was a founder of the King & Queen Dance Contest at the yearly National Polka Festival. Without Johnnie, the power of polka in Ennis and surrounding areas would have never reached the high level of musical fun and dancing that it now experiences.