National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
Father Frank Perkovich popularized the Polka Mass and turned it into a new tradition
at nationality festivals
Around the country. His "Songs and Himns from the Polka Mass" recordings are the
Cleveland-Style polka albums in recent decades.
Frank Perkovich was born in Chisholm, Minnesota, in the the lron Range, and grew
up enjoying the Slovenian and Croatian music he heard at home and in his neighborhood.
He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1954 and was assigned to area parishes
before arriving at Resurrection Church in Eveleth in 1970.
Changes in worship, following the Vatican II Council, inspired Father George Balasko
to debut the first Polka Mass in Lowellville, Ohio, in 1972 with favorite polka and
waltz melodies performed by a band with lyrics from the liturgy. Father Perkovich
contacted him and set out to style his own version with music by accordionist Joe
Cvek and the Polka Massters, and lyrics adapted by Mary Cvek. Father Perkovich celebrated
his forst Polka Mass in 1973 and, spurry by the warm reception recorded it with Cvek
and his orchestra. His Polka Mass became an immediate sensation and earned headlines,
Festivals soon invited "Father Perk" and the Cvek musicians for appearances Both
Polka Mass releases sold more than 100,000 copies.
Father Perk premiered the Polka Mass ln Slovenia and Croatia i n 1975. He was also
invited to celebrate the
Mass at the inauguration of Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich. In I982 Father Perk
even created an ecumenical Polka Mass with a Lutheran pafrish. His greatest honor
came in 1983 when he presented the Polka Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Pope
John Paul II gave his personal approval to Father Perk in an audience.
In 2004, Father Perk retired from active ministry and documented his experiences
in a personal memoir "Dancing A Polka To Heaven". He was featured in the TV Slovenia
documantary, "Polka! The Movie", and gained new fans in Slovenia and at film festivals.
Thanks to Falher Perkovich's enthusiasm, the Polka Mass today is featured at celebrations
Occasions in nationatity parishes and neighborhoods across North America Polka bands
may adapt his form witht melodies and instrumentation to suit a palicular ethnicity
but the Polke Mass uniquely engages communities within the church with familiar melodies
presented with reverence.