National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
Playing on button box and chromatic accordions for more than 60 years, Joseph C.
Umeck, Jr., advanced the cause of Cleveland-Style Polkas across the nation. Joe led
his own orchestra in Girard, Ohio, from 1936 to 1966, performing in Ohio, Pennsylvania,
New York and Illinois. A pioneer in the button-box revolution, Joe organized the
Chicago Slovene Button Box Club in 1970, making three recordings and leading tours
to Slovenia. Moving to California in 1977, Joe revamped the Fontana Slovene Button
Box Club, adding two recordings to his personal discography. A selfless devotee of
Slovenian culture, Joe has served as National Secretary of the Slovene National Benefit
Society (SNPJ) and in countless national and local leadership posts over 65 years.
Musician, teacher, promoter, composer and arranger, Joe even managed to perform at
Lawrence Welk’s 85th birthday party.