Country Dancing

The Chardon Polka Band


The title and subject of this month’s article obviously isn’t a typical one for a country music magazine. Bear with me as I take you back to my early childhood and how listening to polka music with my father eventually helped me discover some amazing musicians from the greater Cleveland area, the Chardon Polka Band.

At a young age, I enjoyed music; however, I didn’t start listening to country songs until I began teaching line dance about 31 years ago. Since my father was Polish, it was natural for me to hear and enjoy polkas. Years later, I realized that all those classic polka lyrics were stored somewhere in the recesses of my brain.

In June of 2012, I was walking through Johnstown, PA, at Thunder in the Valley, the area’s annual motorcycle rally. Among the other sights and sounds, I heard polka music; I was intrigued and found the source on one of the outdoor stages. It was my first experience listening to the Chardon Polka Band. They were playing a mixture of pop music to country to oldies, along with some classic polkas; I surprised myself by remembering the lyrics.

Since then, I have had the pleasure of enjoying this band’s entertaining show at many different venues in western PA and eastern OH. Over the years, a few band members have changed; what has remained constant is their love for performing polkas for the audience members, both young and old. What draws you in is their ability to somehow combine all the musical genres and keep everyone engaged in singing and dancing.

Recently, I took my friend Linda to see their show at the Westside Bowl in Youngstown, OH. The venue, as you may have guessed, is a bowling alley; the owners have cleverly converted a portion of it by removing some of the lanes and installing a dance floor and stage with multi-level seating. There’s also a bar, kitchen with amazing food, game room, and a lower-level nightclub where they have comedy shows, among other events.

The Chardon Polka Band, celebrating 20 years of performing this year, drew an enthusiastic crowd and dancers took advantage of the spacious floor. Before the show started, I spoke with Jake, who is the CPB founder; he sings and plays the accordion. I explained that I wanted to write this article; he graciously announced my presence to the audience and the band added some extra country songs to their set list. The CPB also played a lot of fan requests, including an impressive repertoire of their original songs; Linda thoroughly enjoyed them.

Even though they’re not a “country” band, take my advice and go see one of their shows; they will open up a whole new world of entertainment to you. Check out their website: or you can find them on Facebook. If you want to catch them at the Westside Bowl, they will be there again on March 26th; the website is and they’re also on Facebook.

CPB opened their show with a time-honored polka that I learned in my childhood while playing hide-n-seek: Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie which they morphed into the song Footloose then back into Apples. There are many different line dances to Footloose, below is the first one I ever learned and taught; later in the show, they played Waltz Across Texas. Here are the links to both of those dances:



Dori Yez teaches Country Line Dancing at these Ohio SCOPE Centers: Howland on Monday evenings (Seasoned Beginners) and Wednesday evenings (Improver & Intermediate) plus the same level in Cortland on Friday afternoons. Due to room size and attendance, Dori can no longer accept new students in any of her classes. 

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