Home | Search | The Artists | Teaching | Hiring | About This Site | Contact Us

Artist's Main Page

Happy Notes’
Main Page

Artist's Art Form

Happy Notes’
Art Form

Traditions in the Artist's Work

Traditions In
Their Art


Happy Notes

Polish-style Polka Band
Stevens Point, WI

Couple dancing to Happy Notes. Photo by Andy Kraushaar.Many people in Stevens Point are Polish-American. They came to Wisconsin more than a century ago. Some came to big cities like Milwaukee. Others settled in rural areas like Stevens Point where they established dairy farms and potato farms. Some Polish-American families have been in Wisconsin for five generations. New Polish immigrants continue to come to Wisconsin from Poland even today.

Many Polish-Americans in Stevens Point can speak and understand the Polish language even though it was their grandparents or great-grandparents who immigrated from Poland. This is because they hear Polish spoken in their community:

  • by their neighbors. Polish immigrants settled close to one another and they could hear and speak Polish with people that were near them.
  • in their churches. Most Poles are Catholic and the Polish immigrants established Catholic churches in their new home. The priests were Polish or Polish-American. Church services are still said in Polish as well as English.
  • in other places. Polish is often spoken at some stores, local taverns and in clubs like the Polish Falcons, the Polanki Polish Women’s Club or the Polish Legion of American Veterans.

Polish-Americans have one of the highest language retention rates of any European immigrant group in Wisconsin.

Mark, Joe, Marie and Jon, the younger generation members of the Happy Notes, do not speak Polish fluently. But they sing some songs in Polish along with many songs in English. People in their audiences understand the Polish words and sometimes know the lyrics. People want the Happy Notes to keep the old Polish folksongs in the band’s repertoire.

In Your Community

Have you ever listened to local polka band? If you have, try locating the band members and talk with them about how they started and why they like to polka. If you'd like to polka with some Polish-Americans, hear Polish-style polka, or eat Polish food, go to Resources for Students for links to three annual Polish-American festivals in Wisconsin. You'll also find a link for a list of Polish-style polka bands along with a few other great sites.

Choose another Artist


Wisconsin Folks

For Educators:

To Hire
Happy Notes




Home | Search | The Artists | Teaching | Hiring | About This Site | Contact Us