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Polka Jam!

“Imagine bringing together the guitars of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and John Lennon,” says Joe Valencic, trustee for the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and curator of its Museum. “That’s how important these accordions have been to Cleveland-style polka.” He’s talking about the button boxes on display in the museum’s newest exhibit, All-Star Accordions: an impressive roundup of the actual instruments played by polka greats like Johnny Pecon, Walter Ostanek, and Frank Yankovic. Some, like Matt Hoyer’s Mervar button box, were featured on the first Cleveland-style recordings made back in the 1920s. Others, like a rare Cleveland-made diatonic model, date back to the 1930s. Vintage photos, bandleader outfits, and video clips of the accordions in action round out the exhibit. “These are the accordions that got the world dancing the polka,” Valencic says. All-Star Accordions opens tonight with a free 7 p.m. reception, with remarks from Valencic and a lively polka jam session. The exhibit will remain on view at the museum through the end of the year, where hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Find out more on the website.

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