Duluth’s Chmielewski Polka Band Is Back On TV
When I was a kid, my dad used to watch what we kids called the torture hour. The Chmielewski Funtime Band followed by Lawrence Welk.
The Chmielewski (pronounced Shim-Eh-Lesky) Funtime Band was famous in this area and everyone in the family played something. Florian Chmielewski started the band and TV show and played for many years. It was a staple tv show on CBS and featured people in polka outfits dancing in a studio. KDAL Radio personality Pat Cadigan played bass and hosted the shows, which led to Pat hosting a weekly polka show on the radio.
After the show ended Florian still played small halls and played some outdoor festivals, every once in a while I would see him playing parties at car dealers or shows as part of city celebrations. I became friends with Patty Chmielewshki on Facebook and noticed she was saying they were doing some YouTube stuff and would be coming back to tv in the Duluth area.
Sure enough, the Chmielewski Band is back! Michael Bell and Patty Chmielewski have revived the franchise and do a weekly show that just started on FOX 21. The show is called "Funtime Polka Party". The show just started on the air October 2, and can be seen at 8 am Saturdays and 11 am Sundays.
When I was at Duluth Oktoberfest I talked to Michael Bell and he told me they were bringing the show back to TV and radio and get polka back to the forefront in the area again.
They also have a collection of their shows on YouTube.
They also feature some of the old shows on the channel.