National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
Fred Kuhar was inspired by the music of Johnny Pecon to organize his own successful
Cleveland-style orchestra which he led for 38 years. He preserved the Pecon legacy
through his own playing and by restoring and releasing recordings of Johnny with
Lou Trebar. Fred also was the founding President of the National Cleveland-Style
Polka Hall of Fame and Museum.
Fred taught himself the accordion by replaying Johnny Pecon records as a youngster
in Wickliffe, Ohio. His style picked up the sophistication and subtlety and of Pecon’s
classic sound. The Fred Kuhar Orchestra, featuring brother Pete on the clarinet and
sax, performed from 1967 to 2005. The group’s 28 bus tours brought Slovenian-American
music to places like Ironworld in Minnesota, Seven Springs, Nashville and Hilton
Head. The band recorded five albums and, in 1992, was the first Cleveland-based polka
band to issue a compact recording. For his Classic Records label, Fred produced seven
CDs of live performances by Pecon and Trebar.
Fred led the Polka Hall of Fame through its formative years from 1990 to 1999. He
initiated the program to transfer the archive’s recordings to digital formats for
preservation. Fred’s background as an attorney and CPA serves him in the community
for duties such as president of the Slovene Home for the Aged, Law School Advisory
Council at Notre Dame, and as a trustee of Mater Dei Academy.