National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum

605 East 222nd Street
Euclid, OH 44123




Phone: 216-261-3263

Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA

Fax: 216-261-4134


Anna Vadnal's forty-nine year love affair with music encompassed a wide spectrum of involvement. Already a prominent performing artist in the 1920s, she was a lead soprano in the Jadran Singing Society, singing in the chorus, as a soloist, in ensembles, and in leading roles in musical plays and operettas. An instrumentalist as well, she played piano, brac, and bercinica and played in a tamburitza orchestra. Though she was a fine performer, Anna's real forte was reached in the roles of teacher and coach, Here, her impact in the Slovenian cultural arena and on Cleveland-Style music was immeasurable.


Active in nine Slovenian cultural societies throughout her life, Anna was a natural teacher and a great promoter of Slovenian culture. The primary focus of Anna's endeavors was directing and training young people in their hertage through her involvement with youth groups, inspiring and instilling in them a passionate love of the music and language of their forefathers, and pride in their Slovenian culture. She wrote Slovenian lyrics for popular English tunes; poems and recitations in Slovenian for their programs; and coached children and young adults in their performances. In recognition of her work, Anna was named Slovenian "Woman of the Year" in 1964.


Of course, Anna's crowning achievement began at home where music was truly a family affair. All five of her children took music lessons while Anna herself taught them Slovenian music and the art of performing. In 1938, she launched the Vadnal Quartet, the forerunner of the internationally famous Vadnal Orchestra, which have now been performing for over fifty consecutive years. The Quartet performed frequently under Anna's direction and toured regularly through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Illinois.


As Cleveland-Style Polkas came into national prominence in the late 1940s, Anna actively encouraged and taught Cleveland's aspiring musicians and radio announcers to achieve their highest potential in promoting Slovenian polka music. During this critical period in Cleveland-Style Polka history, all musicians knew that they could turn to Anna for guidance and help in learning Slovenian songs and lyrics.


Performer, teacher, coach, and mentor, Anna Vadnal gave her energy and talent unselfishly to promote the Slovenian culture from which Cleveland-Style music developed. Her performances and teaching enriched the lives of thousands. Anna's legacy includes 270 years of musical accomplishments through her children alone, not to mention two additional generations of Vadnal music making. Beyond that are the countless others whom she taught and inspired to keep the Cleveland-Slovenian heritage alive and thriving.


Inducted in 1989

National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient




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