NEW YEAR’S DAY CELEBRATION, UTICA KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HALL
The great old Knights of Columbus Hall in Utica ( 44425 Utica Rd
Utica 48317, (586) 726-2519) played host to an age-old tradition among Detroit’s Polish American community, the welcoming of a new year during the afternoon of January 1 amid friends, family and neighbors. Music, dancing and great Polish food is at the center of the celebration, but of course, it’s the human element that makes the party!
The soul of the entertainment was Big Daddy Lackowski, accordionist extraordinaire and his band, the La Dee Das. Formed in the 1950’s as a three piece band consisting of all brothers began playing polka music throughout the thumb area of Michigan. This was the birth of ‘The Lackowski Brothers Orchestra’, featuring oldest brother, Clarence, on drums & vocals, middle brother, Bill, on sax & clarinet, and the youngest brother, Marshall, (Big Daddy) on accordion and vocals. Many years of hard work and dedication kept this trio quite busy and in popular demand.
Currently, as in the beginning, the band has three Lackowski brothers performing together with their father, Big Daddy.
As the Visionalist crew meandered among the crowd for photographs and interviews, it became obvious that the star of the dance floor was 96-year-old Polka John, whose legendary moves are undiminished because of age. He was accompanied by Wanda, his significant other and his lovely daughter, and in turns, this dynamic trio cut a rug in the greatest tradition of family Polka.
Ziggy and Alfie were among the most remarkable couples we ran into; a great wartime story as Ziggy was Polish and Alfie German, and of course, they needed to meet in secret during World War II, generally in the woods outside Ziggy’s villiage.
More from Polka John and Big Daddy and a complete story of Ziggy and Alfie’s courtship can be expected on this site soon!