National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
A dentist by profession, Dr. William J. "Doc" Lausche was active for nearly sixty
years in the music field. Dr. Lausche was a brilliant composer and arranger; played
the piano proficiently; produced and directed recordings on national labels; taught
and rehearsed some of the most famous Cleveland-Style Polka artists; coached singing
groups; and was active outside of purely ethnic circles in Cleveland's cultural community.
An accomplished musician, "Doc" Lausche enthusiastically embraced a wide range of
musical genres. While playing the piano within the Slovenian polka idiom, he often
incorporated the influences of jazz, ragtime, Broadway, and classical music, thereby
enriching and extending the musical horizons of those around him. Dr. Lausche founded
the DENTAL ORCHESTRA OF CLEVELAND and personally organized the "March of Dimes" Spectacular
in the 1930s.
Dr. Lausche was one of the first American-Slovenian recording artists, producing
records beginning in 1919, and he appeared on the first Slovenian radio program on
WJAY in1929. A pioneer in commercially recorded Slovenian music, "Doc" would travel
to New York City where he hired and directed studio musicians, including accordion
virtuoso Charles Magnante, to play his orchestral arrangements in the studios of
the Victor Talking Machine Company, the Columbia Grammaphone Company, and Continental
Records. During his career, Dr. Lausche recorded 68 selections and made countless
transcriptions for radio.
Dedicated to the preservation of authentic Slovenian music and its distinctive melodic
character, Dr. Lausche's adaptations of Slovenian folk songs as well as his many
original compositions reflected his faith in the virtue of melody. "Doc" originated,
arranged, or adapted more Slovenian Cleveland-Style music than any other individual,
contributing heavily to the repertoires of Frank Yankovic, the Pecon/Trebar Orchestra,
Kenny Bass, and Eddie Habat. His music remains a major source of material for Cleveland-Style
Polka orchestras, singing groups, and Button-Box performers everywhere. His major
Cleveland-Style hits include "Cleveland the Polka Town", "I've Got a Date with Molly",
"Sondra", "The Girl I Left Behind", and "Bluebonnet Polka" (also known as "Doc's
"Doc" Lausche personally tutored Johnny Pecon, Lou Trebar, and other musicians, exerting
a strong influence in the cultivation of greater sophistication and skill. In the
opinion of many veteran Cleveland-Style musicians, Dr. Lausche achieved the highest
level of musical quality and sophistication among Slovenian composers and arrangers,
a standard which, to this day, remains unsurpassed.
"Doc" Lausche's high profile and educated, professional approach had a direct and
positive impact on both the image and substance of Cleveland-Style music. It is easy
to follow a path already paved. In providing a foundation for Cleveland-Style music,
Dr. Lausche created that path.