Music and memories

The first group that appeared at the Treasure Chest of Music and Memories VIII on Friday was (from left) John Novotny, emcee Tom Goetzinger, Jared Novotny, Bob Pexa, Gary Pikal and Steve Skluzacek on the trumpet. (Wade Young Photo)

The Treasure Chest of Music and Memories VIII continued its series of honoring polka musicians on Friday, Oct. 4 at the historic Hilltop Hall when two groups took the stage and shared their love and memories of polka music. 
 
The biennial program brought together local musicians and their instruments for a night of old-time music. The “memories” part of the program came through onstage interviews by emcee Tom Goetzinger, who asked the musicians to talk about their families and where their love for musical inspiration came from.
Musician Bob Pexa of New Prague shared that he played the drums in high school, got interested in guitar, then the button accordion and concertina after his father died.
 
“I wondered what it sounded like and thought if I wanted to hear it, I was going to have to play it,” he said, adding that he has been playing it for four years and eight months now.
 
The program to approximately 100 people featured two groups, with an intermission. The first group consisted of Pexa, Gary Pikal, and Steve Skluzacek. The second group was Charlie More, Rich Holicky, Lyle Holicky and Mary Schwartz. 
 
John and Jared Novotny accompanied both groups, and Larry Novotny Sr.  did a special performance to wrap up the show.
 
“It was a truly magical evening,” Goetzinger said. “Just when we think it can’t get any better, it does.”
In the program notes, Bob Janovsky, who originated the Treasure Chest series in 1979,  summed up the importance and relevance of the Treasure Chest of Music and Memories series.
 
“All of us are here again tonight to showcase musicians who have spent countless hours preserving our Czech heritage. As these talented musicians share their treasure chest of musical wealth with us, we are linked to the rich tradition of song that is a priceless gift from our own Czech ancestors,” he said. “Many of these musicians are self-taught or have learned to play from someone in their family. This rich tradition of Czech music is alive today in our community only because of the hard work and dedication of these musicians.”
 
During the intermission, the guests were treated to pop and popcorn donated by Montgomery Oil Co. Geraldine Rynda also baked traditional, open-faced and decorated kolackies.
 
In the end, Janovsky’s last line of the program notes capped the night when he wrote, “Our local Czech musicians are the true treasure chest of music and memories. We thank them for sharing this evening with us.”