Polka, Polka, Polka!

The Good Life

Dan Malicki, right, plays the tuba in the local polka band Blaskapelle Milwaukee.
Dan Malicki, right, plays the tuba in the local polka band Blaskapelle Milwaukee.
Dan Malicki, right, plays the tuba in the local polka band Blaskapelle Milwaukee.

Oktoberfest season means beers and giant pretzels to most, but for Dan Malicki it is a busy time of year for performances.

The Waukesha-based traffic operations engineer for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation plays the tuba in a polka band called Blaskapelle Milwaukee.

“The opportunity to make music is just something I really enjoy, and now that I got to know a lot of people in the group it’s a blast,” said Malicki, who joined the 19-member band about a year ago. “I like low notes, and there’s something about being the foundation of the group, too.”

Malicki started playing the tuba at Oak Creek High School and continued through college. Once he started working, he missed it, and bought his horn a year-and-a-half ago to get back into it.

Blaskapelle Milwaukee plays at Oktoberfest celebrations, private and corporate parties, and German festivals. Some notable performances for the band this year have been Oktoberfest at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis; the St. Charles Oktoberfest in St. Charles, Mo.; and the Milwaukee Oktoberfest at Cathedral Square Park in Milwaukee.

“People don’t struggle to have a good time,” said Malicki, who also plays the tuba in the Waukesha Area Symphonic Band. “I definitely enjoy the crowd feeding off (the music).”

The band’s last performance for the year is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 28, at the German Christmas Market, which takes place in Oconomowoc from 7 to 11 p.m.

Blaskapelle Milwaukee has produced one CD and is currently fundraising to record a new one.

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