The Polka Maniac, Carl Simchena, has performed with and was the front man for some of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s top polka bands, including the Polskie Swingmasters and the King Brothers. Both bands played at venues up and down the east coast.
Since 1969, Carl has recorded four polka albums with The Polskie Swingmasters. They are “Good Living Polkas”, “Out All Night”, “Polka Jukebox”, and “Jammin At The Cabin”. He also played and sang on the album, “Long Overdue” by The Golden Tones.
Over the years, Carl wrote several of the tunes recorded by the “Swings”, including “Old Stasu’s Bar”, “We’ve Got It All Together Polka” and “Old Blue Jeans Polka”. He also wrote “We’ve Got It All Together Too” and “Write Me A Letter” as recorded by the Golden Tones. Since the Swingmasters version was released back in 1978, “We’ve Got It All Together” has been recorded by several other bands, including Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones and The Knewz.
In addition to a history of live performances with the Golden Tones, The King Brothers and The Polskie Swingmasters, Carl has done polka radio shows for over 45 years. His current broadcast, “The Polka Connection” airs every Sunday from 9:00 am until 11:00 am on GEM 104 in Northeastern Pennsylvania. His show includes lots of great polka music, polka news and dedications. Over the years, Carl has also done other polka radio broadcasts on WXPX in Hazleton, PA, WMIM in Mount Carmel, PA, and WLSH in Lansford, PA.
During his years of involvement in polka music, Carl has hosted several television programs in Northeastern Pennsylvania. From 1987 until 1992, he was co-host of “Pennsylvania Polka” on WVIA-TV, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, a PBS affiliate. He also hosted “The Polka Connection” on WYLN-TV, Channel 35 In Hazleton, PA and was the host of “Polka Mania” on SSPTV in Hazleton. In addition, Carl has MC’d telethons for the American Cancer Society and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Carl was a business education teacher for 32 1/2 years and retired from Reading High School in 2011.
In addition to his other activities, he formerly wrote a monthly column for the Panorama, a mainstream publication distributed throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. His column was entitled “Polka Connection”. The articles were intended to make the general public aware of the rich history of polka music and its many talented performers.
Carl resides in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania with Gloria, his wife of 40 years. He has one daughter, Alicia, and two granddaughters–Adrianna and Brielle.
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