Texas Sound Check Band
The Texas Sound Check Band, formerly known as the City Polka Boys, began playing music in the early 1970’s. Original band members Benny Okruhlik, E.J. Macik, Hubert Janak, Dennis Fajkus, James Onheiser, Harry Macik, and Wesley Matus, started the group in Houston, playing for a picnic at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church. The following year, radio DJ and fellow musician Lee Roy Matocha, played a copy of the bands demo on his local radio program. That demo opened the doors to many battle dances across Texas and the Bill Mraz Dance Hall. Over the years, the group has played many club dances, polka festivals, weddings, anniversaries, Oktoberfest, and parties across the state.
But in January 2000, the band made many changes. The most significant was the changing of the bands name to the “Texas Sound Check Band”. They also expanded the range of music they play. The band now plays a variety of music, from the old-time polka and waltzes, to classic and today’s country, Ballroom, modern rock, Spanish, German, and Cajun music, to other fun things (like the chicken dance, line dances, etc.).
The band has performed at many functions, such as the National Polka Festival in Ennis, the Kolache-Klobase Festival in East Bernard, the Aqua Fest in Austin, Czhilispiel, Westfest, the Caldwell Kolache Festival, the Wurstfest in New Braunfels, the Texas Treasure Casino in Port Aransas, the Crosby Czech Festival, the Fort Bend County Czech Festival, the Needville Harvest Festival, the Louisiana Czech Heritage Festival, and the Bill Mraz Dance Hall Benefit. The band has also been seen numerous times on RFD TV, on the Big Joe Polka Show and the Mollie B Polka Party. In February 2009, the Texas Sound Check Band, sponsored by ABCATS Travel and Carnival Cruises, played for the Caribbean Polka Party Cruise, which made stops in Progresso and Cozumel, Mexico.
The band still plays for many weddings, anniversaries, club dances, parties, and benefits each year. Plus they play for many Oktoberfest celebrations across Texas. The band is also known for the number of Polka Masses it performs throughout the year, with the Polka Lovers Klub of America. The band was recognized in 2001 for their support of the P.O.L.K. of A. and their playing for the polka masses. They have also played for a number of ordinations of Deacons becoming Priests, as well as for the Cardinal and other Bishops in Texas.
The band has many years of experience under its belt. Bandleader and Band Manager, BennyOkruhlik, has been playing the accordion, since he was a young boy in high school. Benny helped form the band in the early 70’s, and has continued to play over the years. Benny also plays the keyboard and sings the Czech and country vocals. Ben Orsak joined the band in 1994. Ben plays the trumpet, tenor sax, alto sax, flugel horn, baritone, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboard, drums, and sings the Czech and country vocals. Ben is also the music arranger, sound coordinator, and co-manager for the band. Ben had previously played with the Zetka Polka Band and the Dance HallBoy’s. Larry Netardus joined the band in 2009. Larry plays the tenor sax, alto sax, guitar, keyboard, and sings. He has played with the Lodge 88 Orchestra and has helped out local bands as needed. Dennis Shimek joined the band in 2011. Dennis plays the bass guitar and steel guitar. He is the son of the late Wence Shimek and Helen Shimek Malek. Dennis has been playing music for many years and has his own country band, the Southern Express. The newest member to the band is our drummer John Paul Dornak. John has many years of experience dating back to the 80’s with Fast Forward, The Mix, and more recently, playing with the Shiner Hobo Band and the New Texas Plainsman.
The Texas Sound Check Band has produced three CD’s since 2000: “A Music Making GoodTime” (2000) – (23 songs), “Sundown” (2003) – (18 songs), and “It’s Our Time” (2013) – (24 songs). They also remastered the last City Polka Boys album, “The Okruhlik’s” (1997), in memory of Ernie Okruhlik, Benny’s brother. You can still get some of the old, City Polka Boy recordings, upon request.