FRONTENAC — It all started with a grainy video.
Long-time John Yoger Band member Larry Davenport recently posted his 30-year-old wedding footage featuring the band on Facebook, which is used to feature the band’s history and keeps fans and band members in touch.
The late John Yoger entertained crowds for over 50 years with his brand of Slovenian “Cleveland Style” Polka music.
After the passing of John Yoger in 2015, the band had “respectfully packed up the tent,” Davenport said. “As they like to say, a Polka band without an accordion isn’t a Polka band.”
But the grainy video was a hit, reaching thousands of views, and people were “begging for a reunion,” Davenport said. “After the band video approached 9,000 views we thought there might be an opportunity for us to ‘crank the band up again to honor John.”
The video reached one of John’s close friends — and Kansas City’s premier Polka band leader — Brian McCarty. Brian would sit in with the band from time to time.
Davenport said McCarty had asked if he and the others would like to play together, and of course they said yes.
“We’ve always enjoyed playing, it’s going to be a blast to get back together,” Davenport said. “We’re all good friends.”
“It’s an honor for him to come down from Kansas City, we couldn't do it without him.”
Davenport and drummer Robert Tersinar contacted former bandmates who all enthusiastically signed on for a dance set for 7 p.m. April 5 at Pallucus Event Hall in Frontenac. The band will feature original members Davenport, Tersinar, Phil Rankin, Steve Mahnken and Richard Ralph.
Most importantly, accordion duties will be handled by long-time friend McCarty
Davenport said the band decided to benefit Angels Among Us during their reunion.
“We wanted to play again but we also wanted to help out the community,” Davenport and Tersinar said. “Angels Among Us and all the great work they do right here in Crawford County seems like a perfect fit.
“They were happy to sign on to support our idea.”
Angels Among Us volunteer — and Polka fan — Jannette Allai said the organization is appreciative of the band’s help. Angels Among Us, founded by Diana Polston, helps cancer patients in Crawford County with various financial needs — including gas for hospital trips, purchasing wigs, helping out with food and more.
“We appreciate people thinking of us to do that,” Allai said. “It’s going to be really fun to me because I had some of the band members as students.”
Want to go?
The Bring Your Own Bottle event will be held at 7 p.m. April 5 at the Pallucca’s Event Hall in Frontenac. Angels Among us will decorate the room and offer snacks and set-ups. The cover charge will be $10 per person. Updates and information can be found at the John Yoger Band Facebook page.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.