The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


February 20, 2014

Fans keep Sinchak going

Polka band plays in park series Friday

HERMITAGE — A highlight for the Del Sinchak Band each year is playing during the Buhl Farm park summer concert series in Hermitage.

“They’ve been awesome for us,” Sinchak said of park audiences. “They’ve been unbelievable to us.”

Aside from coming out in droves, the fans contain a number of people who have followed Sinchak, a two-time Grammy-nominated polka performer, since he was a rock ’n’ roll player.

People always come up to him at those concerts and ask him about gigs he played 50 years ago, when he was the leader of Del Saint and the Devils, or backed the Edsels of “Rama Lama Ding Dong” fame, he said.

“We usually throw in a rock tune just to bring back the memories,” said Sinchak, 78, of Boardman, Ohio, the marketing director for Peppermint Studios, Youngstown.

Sinchak’s band plays Friday in the park’s Casino, a venue it has never played in before, as part of the “Cheesecakes and Snowflakes” winter concert series.

While the computer has revolutionized the recording industry in ways the industry still hasn’t been able to come to grips with, Sinchak remains committed to the old-fashioned compact disc, eschewing iTunes and other downloadable music opportunities.

“The market that our field is is not the younger market and these people aren’t into that type of thing,” said Sinchak, a purveyor of Cleveland/Slovenian-style polka.

CD sales have slumped but Sinchak says his recording sales, radio airplay and concert bookings are sufficient to keep him going.

The number of gigs slows to four or five a month in the winter, but things heat up in the summer with polka, church and ethnic festivals.

“In August, we did 18 jobs in 31 days,” he said, speaking of last summer.

Fans from all over the country send him emails saying they hope the band will be playing in their areas soon, he said.

“That really is unbelievable; makes you feel you’ve made an impact on your particular place in the music business,” Sinchak said.

The fans keep him motivated to perform at an age when most other musicians have backed off traveling or left music altogether.

“I’m healthy and that’s what counts,” he said. “I feel the same type of energy when I go out and play as when I played years back. The hardest part is carrying the equipment and tearing down after the show.”

The Del Sinchak Band, which appears monthly at Kuzman’s in Girard, Ohio, is now a quartet, with drummer Bob Smrecansky, who has played with Sinchak since middle school; bassist Alan Koss of Hermitage; and keyboardist Ron Austalosh.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. and the $15 admission price includes desserts and beverages. Tickets can be bought in advance at the Casino or Marks Music, Hermitage, and will be sold at the door. Tables of six can be bought for $80 and tables of eight for $100.

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