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


Tony Vadnal, bassist and lead vocalist with the VADNAL ORCHESTRA for nearly 60 years, has been one of Cleveland-Style Polkas' consummate entertainers. Beyond his considerable musical skills, Tony's performances have always projected the warmth, friendliness, and fun that characterize Cleveland-Style music.


Accompanied by his sister, Valeria, Tony was at the inception of the Vadnal legend, playing violin at age five and performing at eleven. Shortly thereafter, brothers Johnny and Frankie joined them, and, under the tutelage of their musically gifted mother, Anna Vadnal, they toured through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Illinois as the Vadnal Quartet. In 1936, Tony, now playing bass, formed the Vadnal Reveliers, who appeared in the Slovenian Village of the Great Lakes Exposition in Cleveland in 1937. Upon entering the service in 1942, Tony turned over leadership of the band to brother Johnny.


Tony earned his stripes with many of Cleveland's finest orchestras including Vic Intihar, Chuck Smith, John Trinko, John Urankar, Johnny Pecon, Lou Trebar, and Bobby Timko. Tony played regularly with Pecon and Dr. William J. "Doc" Lausche in the Lausche Trio, accompanying the Lausche/Udovich vocal duet.


Of course, Tony's crowning achievements were with the Vadnal Orchestra. One of Cleveland-Style Polkas' premier broadcasters, the Vadnals appeared weekly on their own TV show, "Polka Parade," from 1949-61, from the Bostner Bowl Ballroom on Mutual Network radio through the 1950s, and regularly on the "Old Dutch Polka Revue" and "Polka Varieties" television shows. Throughout the U.S.A., Tony's engaging smile and personality were at the forefront of this thoroughly professional organization, inviting everyone to "Join the Fun" as he swayed his bass from side to side in rhythm with the music.


From 1968-82, under Richie Vadnal, the Vadnals became the most travelled Cleveland-Style band by far. In addition to eight tours of Slovenia and five Caribbean cruises, Tony co-hosted polka tours to Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Nashville. In Slovenia they became the first Cleveland-Style orchestra to record on location and to make television shows for broadcast in Europe.


Tony recorded over 25 albums and 150 singles for RCA Victor, Imperial, Camden, Mlay, Delta, Cuca, Helidon, Jay Jay, and One M including Frank Novak's Polka All Star Albums. Tony's most notable vocal recordings include "Yes, Dear," "Teach Me How to Yodel," "Two-Timing You," "No Beer on Sunday," "I'll Wait for You," "It Thrills Me So," "Mountain Climber," and "Slovenian Picnic Waltz."


Since retiring in 1990, Tony has performed at hospitals, nursing homes, senior citizen gatherings, as a member of the Holmes Hall Buttonaires, and for other charitable causes including the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame.


Inducted in 1993

National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient




1918 - 2005  © National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum, 605 East 222nd Street, Euclid, OH 44123, USA.










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