National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
John Kovacic was among the pioneers of Cleveland-Style polkas in the Penn-Ohio area
before a tragic accident cut his career short at the age of thirty-four. Standing
before a mirror as a teenager, the right-handed John learned to play button box left-handed
(i.e. upside down) by watching his fingers on the keyboard. Mastering Croatian, Italian,
polish and popular American standards to bolster his Cleveland-Style repetoire, John
was soon playing for weddings, dances and parties. John was the first accordionist
to play over the airwaves of Youngstown’s WKBN in 1931, and later had his own program.
Using the stage name of Evie Kovac, John performed six nights a week with his trio
in the Penn-Ohio area and traveled to Cleveland, Akron, Detroit and Pennsylvania
emulating Matt Hoyer on his Mervar diatonic accordions.