The Early Years
In the beginning, before ‘Tony’s Polka Band’ was even a thought, the Banewicz family would often get together on Sunday afternoons at the Banewicz family farm. Being the former band leader of ‘Mary’s Polka Band’ in the 1970’s, Elizabeth “Betty” Banewicz enjoyed pulling out old scores of music to play along, on her accordion, with her grandchildren, who were all beginning to learn instruments in the school band. It was not long before this music struck a chord with grandson Tony Banewicz and motivated him to start a band of his own. Thus, in the winter of 1996, ‘Tony’s Polka Band’ was born.
With his father, siblings, cousins, high school friends, and some old sheet music from ‘Granny,’ Tony led ‘Tony’s Polka Band’ at venues local to the Amsterdam, NY area for fundraisers and charity events.
In November of 1998, TPB competed in Albany, NY at the College of St. Rose’s Battle of the High School Bands. The last thing one would expect to see in the late 90’s is a polka band of high school students competing against rock, pop, R & B, and folk bands. Nevertheless, the judges unanimously awarded TPB the first place prize of a demo recording session and they’ve never stopped since.
Since then, Tony’s Polka Band has built a repertoire of music more diverse than any other polka band in the business. With an original blend of music consisting of Eastern, Honky, German, Chicago, and New England style polkas with the influence of Country, Disco, Pop, Latin, and Rock, Tony’s Polka Band delights audiences of all ages and any culture.
Tony’s Polka Band is the 1st place winner of the 2003 Best Polka Band Competition held at the American Accordionists’ Association Convention in Philadelphia, PA. The band has wowed audiences with their high energy performances all across the country including appearances in: Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Albany, Long Island, Wildwood, Providence, and even the Caribbean Isles.
Tony’s Polka Band has shared the stage and billing with such artists as: The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra, Polka Family Band, Eddie Blazoncyck’s Versatones, Eddie Biegaj, Polka Freak-Out, and Brave Combo, at premiere venues including: the MSC Opera, Mohegan Sun Casino, Mount Airy Casino, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Great New York State Fair, Wildwood Convention Center, and were featured several times on television music series including WVIA’s “Pennsylvania Polka,” and WSKG’s “Let’s Polka!”