Traditional Musik Tent

Alex Meixneralex meixner

Website: alexmeixner.com

Alex Meixner’s performing career began at age 6 with his two sisters and father in an ethnic folk ensemble. From these early experiences through headline appearances at music festivals throughout the US; concert performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Sandy Duncan and his own jazz and ethnic ensembles; as well as over 50 recordings, Meixner has developed a unique musical mix that appeals to a wide cross-section of audiences.

Meixner’s formative musical studies were on piano and piano accordion, but he quickly branched out on drums, diatonic button accordion, bass and trumpet, his college major. This instrumental versatility is combined with a musical background that has included intense studies and performance of jazz, classical, pop, polkas and many ethnic folk music genres with some of the leading artists in the world. His talents in music and comedy were even featured on the Tonight Show on NBC in 2004. Most recently, his “Polka Freak Out” CD with Bubba Hernandez garnered a Grammy nomination in December, 2007.

Currently based in Palm City, FL, Alex is performing as a solo artist and with numerous touring ensembles. His solo programs- “Fascinating Rhythms of the World” focus on the fusion of Slavic folk music and Jazz, but also include the inflections of folk, pop and classical styles from Latin America, Africa and other sections of Europe. This music is the basis for a series of multi-cultural music education seminars and performances which are currently available through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts “Artists in Education” program.

Alex also leads The Alex Meixner Band in performances throughout North America. Whether you are looking for sure fire crowd pleasing family entertainment, something for the senior audience, classy jazz for a reception or a unique party band- Alex Meixner will work tirelessly to provide the perfect mix for your event.

the klaberheads

The Klaberheads

Website: klaberheads.com

Whether it’s toe-tapping polkas for an Oktoberfest, Big Band Swing, or a Caribbean Party atmosphere, The Klaberheads (aka the Franz Klaber Orchestra or FKO) are one of the premier Oktoberfest big bands in the country.

The Klaberheads are known throughout the midwest as a consistent crowd pleaser. It’s a reputation that Erika Klaber’s grandfather, Franz, a German immigrant, began building when he founded the orchestra in 1930. And, it’s one that’s earned The Klaberheads invitations to perform at Epcot Center, Munich’s popular Hofbrauhaus in Newport, Kentucky, and myriad other venues. They especially enjoy playing yearly at the major Oktoberfests in the midwest, including Cincinnati, Columbus, and Minster, and now, Cleveland! The high demand for The Klaberheads can be traced to their top musicianship and their ability to achieve a high-energy connection with their audiences.

The FKO Big Band performs at all types of venues… from conventions, to summer concert series, wedding receptions, parties, and dances. They play tunes from a wide variety of musical genres and appeal to listeners of all ages.

deutscher musik verein

Deutscher Musik Verein

Oktoberfest is excited to present Deutscher Musik Verein (or auf englisch, the German Music Society) of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Deutscher Musik Verein is a 25-piece German brass band, under the direction of award-winning musician and band leader Fred Ziwich. Beyond orgainzing a wonderful band, Deutscher Musik Verein has done exceptional work as an organization–its mission being to preserve and celebrate German musical heritage and culture.

chardon polka band

Chardon Polka BandWebsite: chardonpolkaband.com

What happens when teenage accordion players aren’t allowed in marching band? They start a polka band. That’s the story of teens Dan O’brien, Dan Sutts, Paul Coates, Mike Lewis, Cody Garret, and Jake Kouwe, who nine years ago launched "The Chardon High School Polka Band." Long hair, torn jeans, chuck taylors, and a blue mohawk may not be what you’d expect from your average polka band, but there was nothing average about these outcasts from Chardon. With their relentless energy, musical skill and off-the-wall sense of humor, they were destined to reinvigorate the genre.

Starting humbly, they at first played solely for peers and local nursing home residents. It didn’t take long though for the outcasts to become the in thing, as they were soon playing notable venues and events across northeast Ohio. While there’s been a lot of change in the nine years since their inception, the band’s chief goal remains constant—rocking your socks off with polka music!

From their humble beginnings as high schoolers going against the grain, playing polkas instead of punk, the Chardon Polka Band has evolved into one of Northeast Ohio’s most beloved and recognizable acts. And as they continue to redefine and breathe new life into the genre, their popularity just keeps growing. No longer just a local act, they can now be found playing gigs throughout the midwest and up and down the east coast. What’s more, they are now the stars of a new reality series titled, The Polka Kings, which premiered April 11, 2015 on REELZ TV. Click here for more information on the show!

fred ziwich & the intl. sound machine

Fred Ziwich and the International Sound Machine

Nominated for a Grammy in 2007, Fred Ziwich of North Olmstead, Ohio, is one of the seminal musicians in the world of polka. If he were said to have an emphasis, it would likely be the Slovenian style.

Well grounded musically, Fred has earned a Bachelor of Music Education (BME) degree from Indiana University. His own award-winning band–the International Sound Machine–has produced numerous recordings since its inception in 1977.

The National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame has honored Ziwich on multiple occassions with Musician of the Year, Button Box Musician of the Year, and Recording of the Year honors.

In addition to receiving numerous awards, Fred has worked as a studio musician and has shared the stage with such well-known musicians as Hank Haller, Don Lipovac, and Adam Barthalt.

donauschwäbische blaskapelle

Cleveland Donauschwäbische Blaskapelle

Website: donauschwabencleveland.com

In 1958, the Cleveland Society of Danube Swabians’ Brass Band & Posaunenchor was founded by Peter Glatt and Reverend Horst Hoyer. Songs performed consisted primarily of waltzes, polkas, and marches.

The band often played at the Banater Club, Sachsenheim Club, and Gottscheer Club, and after six years, the band had grown to forty-four members. At that time, Glatt entrusted the band to Edmund Siefert and Hans Franz.

In 1967, the Cleveland DSB was invited to perform at the Bundesmusikfest in Sindelfingen, Germany, taking first place honors for an unforgettable performance of Sousa’s “Washington Post.” 156 brass bands were in attendance, and the DSB performed a total of forty-seven concerts in just sixteen days.

Richard Reuding and Hans Noel subsequently took over, as the DSB toured Canada and later performed in Los Angeles. The band continued onward and upward with Peter Weber. Then, under the direction of Ralph Rehner and Michael Rehner, the band booked a luxurious cruise ship tour of the Caribbean Sea, including performances in the Dominican Republic, San Juan, and Saint Croix.

Continued success followed under the direction of Robert Kozy, Jack Hack, Michael Sifferman, Ed Seifert, Paul Psota, Matt Niessen, and Michele Esper. Most recently, Roger Radke and John McClellan have organized performances in Detroit, Sandusky, Sharon, and Windsor, as well as local venues such as the Akron Zoo, All Pro Freight Stadium, Altenheim & Shurmer Place, Amherst German Fest, Canal Park, Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest, Cleveland Maennerchor, Cleveland World Festival, German Central Oktoberfest, German Cultural Garden, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Heimatland Oktoberfest, Hofbräuhaus Cleveland, John Carroll University, Lenau Park Sommer Oktoberfest, Olmsted Falls Heritage Days Festival, Parker Hannifin, and Sandusky Oktoberfest.

As the Cleveland DSB enters into its 58th year, under the direction of Julie Williams, the traditions of Danube Swabian brass bands continue as the DSB performs long standing waltzes, polkas, and marches. Special thanks to all who have supported the Cleveland DSB, past and present!