Fritz's Polka Band ready to rock North Syracuse

CNY favorite makes festival debut this weekend

Pumped and ready to go, Fritz's Polka Band, the first-ever polka band to jam at Woodstock, will be running the North Syracuse Family Festival stage from 4 to 6 p.m. May 29 during the day's festivities.

FPB was formed in 1978 by lead accordionist, the late Fred Scherz Sr., and his then eight-year-old son, Fritz, for whom the band was named.

The five-man band performs an eclectic mix of musical styles, including modern polka, country, fox trot, waltz and more. The polka players include Fritz Scherz Jr., piano accordion, button-box accordion, vocals; Gabe Vaccaro, bass guitar, guitar, vocals; Tom Campbell, guitar and vocals; Frank Nelson, guitar and vocals, and Mike Faraino on the drums.

"The guys in Fritz's Polka Band love to take our music to venues you might not expect to see a "polka" band and we're always looking for new venues to perform at," said Scherz Jr. "We love being the only polka band sponsored by Jagermeister."

The band had played across the country and has shared the stage with Grammy winning artists several times. No matter what stage FPB has played, the band has always worked to tailor its performance to its audiences, Scherz said.

"This is our first time playing at the North Syracuse Family Festival," Scherz said. "We're looking forward to it. What we hope to bring to the stage is our unique style. We break the "polka" stereotype and appeal to all ages, as we've literally had people in the audiences ranging from kids to 100 years old."

Reflecting on a recent concert in Buffalo, the audience members were mostly in their 20s, so the band "played a lot of rock, modern polka, modern country and were rather loud, but that's what they wanted and they loved us," Scherz said.

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