Polka explodes into Albany's Polish Community Center

That music extends beyond typical polka fare like "The Beer Barrel Polka," Koslow added. "This gets a bit more into it."

Swiatek's group doesn't even stick to polka. It occasionally plays some big band-type music to give everyone a respite from the high-energy pacing of polkas.

"It's the best exercise," he said with a laugh.

Swiatek, who took over the reins of the Rich Bobinski Orchestra when Bobinski died in 2001, has been to Albany three times before for the Polka Explosion and is excited to return this year.

"It's such a nice place to play," he said. "We love the Albany area. It's a beautiful area."

A busload of people are making the trip from Connecticut with his group, and he had some words of advice for local people who might stop by the celebration: "Expect to be on the dance floor a lot!"

While the dancing is the key component to the weekend, the celebration also offers food and a polka Mass on Sunday. There will be traditional Polish food like pierogies and galumpkis available, along with American fare like hamburgers and a turkey dinner on Sunday.

"We have excellent food," Koslow said.

As for the Mass, on Sunday, the Rev. Carl Urban, pastor of St. Adalbert's Roman Catholic Church of Schenectady, will give a service that features polka songs with religious overtones.

"It's done with reverance and dignity," Koslow said. "It comes out great. People really get a kick out of it."

People of all ages are welcome throughout the weekend, Koslow said. In fact, the community center is encouraging families to attend, with people younger than 16 admitted free to the Polka Explosion. Admission for everyone else is $15 on Saturday, July 12, when music and dancing is slated for 3 to 10 p.m., and $13 on Sunday, July 13, when there will be music and dancing from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. The polka Mass is at noon on Sunday.

Tickets will be available at the door, but Koslow encouraged people to call him at 456-1961 or Tom Raymond at 283-0129 to get advance tickets and avoid waiting in line and to make any special requests for seating.""

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