Tom Brusky Band
 
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TOM BRUSKY POLKA-VARIETY BAND 
 

The Tom Brusky Band is a versatile polka-variety band comprised of talented, award-winning musicians.

We are an authentic, third-generation polka band from Milwaukee, carrying on the music and sounds of the city's great bands from the past, such as Louis Bashell, Tony Rademacher, and Al Roberts.

 We can rile up crowds with all the beer hall favorites like
Roll Out the Barrel and Who Stole the Kishka, and strike sentimental chords with classic waltzes such as Waltz Across Texas and The Blue Skirt Waltz, but we actually boast a repertoire of over three-hunded polkas and waltzes. We are firmly established in Wisconsin's polka music circuit, and are regularly hired for weddings, Oktoberfests, festivals, fairs, and more.
 
Our repertoire of variety outside the polka genre consists of over two-hunded popular standards, foxtrots, two-steps, rhumbas, cha-chas, swing, classic country, and Christmas songs.

Our variety music features such familiar classics as
Sentimental Journey, My Happiness, and In the Mood. Even though we are a genuine polka band, we are often hired by dance clubs for our variety music alone, but it is our combined repertoire of polkas, waltzes, and variety music that makes us the premier band in town for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and so much more.
 
We play regularly throughout our home territory of Southern Wisconsin and travel abroad to wherever our music is desired. We've entertained crowds from twenty to two-thousand, including everyone from next-door neighbors to United States presidents.

 

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We provide music for all occasions
  • Anniversaries
  • Parish Festivals
  • Trade Shows
  • Retirement Dinners
  • State/County Fairs
  • Birthdays
  • Fish Frys
  • Conventions
  • Reunions
  • Benefits
  • Corporate Events
  • Christmas Parties
  • Senior Picnics
  • Block Parties
  • Grand Openings
  • Weddings
  • Banquets
  • Oktoberfests
  • Graduations
  • Funerals
 


We tailor the size, volume, and repertoire of our band to suit all occasions and budgets, from intimate gatherings to outdoor music festivals

    Two-Piece Band
      * Literally sounds like a three-piece band

      * Perfect for when quality music is needed for a smaller party, or when the entertainment budget is tight
 
   
Three-Piece Band

      * Our standard band configuration for most occasions
 
    Four-Piece Band
      * For when your event requires the very best musicianship to provide an unsurpassable experience in polka-variety entertainment
      * Ideal for festivals, corporate events, and larger private parties desiring an authentic, Milwaukee polka experience


 
 
 
Sample Our Live Sound
 
To present to you the breadth of our band's sound, we went into the recording studio and cut roughly thirty minutes of live music tracks. What you hear in these demos is a sample of the polka and variety repertoire we bring to our live performances. We recorded these tracks using the same instruments, equipment, and musical arrangements we use on stage.
 

 
 
Contact me for a quote

If you are interested in hiring my band for your event, I'd love to hear from you!
I'll check my availability and provide you with some price quotes. Please include these three details about your event in your email: date, location, and approximate performance time.
 
E-mail:
Send Email

Mail:
Tom Brusky Band
4055 S. 103rd Street
Milwaukee, WI  53228-2005

Phone:
(414) 546-3650. My office hours are wildly inconsistent, and sometimes it can take me up to a week or longer to retrieve and return a phone call during normal hours. To reach me quickly, please use email. Thank you.
 
I have a private mobile number. Family, friends, and associates are not supposed to give this number out, but sometimes they do. My mobile phone, however, automatically blocks calls from numbers that are not programmed into it. If someone gave you my mobile number and you weren't able to get through to me, you will first need to text me to let me know who you are so that I can unlock your number.
 

 
Common questions answered

How large of a band does our party need?

The size of your event and entertainment budget are usually the two main factors that will determine how large our band should be. Our default band size for most private events (anniversaries, birthdays, retirements, etc.) is three pieces, however, we are regularly hired for smaller parties and dances as a two-piece band. Larger parties and events may hire us at four pieces. If you're not sure how large of a band your event needs, I'll offer some suggestions and quote prices for all three band sizes.

What instrumentation is in your band?
The first two pieces in our band are always accordion and drums. My accordion has digital electronics installed and provides the sound for the bass and other instruments such as piano, vibes, strings, horns, etc. From there we will add either guitar/banjo or a second (fill) accordion. In some cases we may add a sax/flute player or a bass guitarist. The instrumentation we add to our band will depend on the nature of the event and musician availabilty.

Is your band Polish or German?
A very common misconception about polka music is that it's either Polish or German, but it's actually neither. Its roots are in 19th century Bohemia. Over the years, various styles of polka music developed and flourished in the United States, which include Polish and German styles among others. Our style of polka music is the Slovenian style, also known as the Cleveland style, which is the most popular style of polka music in Southern Wisconsin and across the Penn-Ohio "polka belt".

Do you offer solo accordion performances?
Sorry, this is not a service I provide. The difference in the entertainment delivered by an amplified band versus a solo, acoustic accordionist is significant. It is impossible to fill the entertainment role of a traditional band without the accompanying bass, rhythm, and amplification that only a band configuration can provide. If the cost of our two-piece band is more than what you wish to spend for your party's entertainment, I will be glad to recommend musicians who can provide less expensive entertainment options.

For how many hours should we hire you?
Live music for most private parties typically runs anywhere from about 90 minutes up to four hours, with the majority of performances being either two or three hours in length. We will perform for as long or short of a performance as you need and adjust our rate quotes accordingly whether you need us to play for three minutes, three hours, or three days.

How far in advance should we hire you?
Like most bands, we book on a "first come—first serve" basis. Last-minute inquiries are always welcome, but booking as far in advance as possible is always recommended, especially for events during the Oktoberfest season (early September to mid-October).

How do your prices compare?
As one of the Midwest's top Cleveland-style polka/variety bands, we pride ourselves in providing quality music at prices that are very competitive for a band of our caliber. Our price quotes are gauranteed to be fair, always.

Do you play any contemporary, mainstream music?
No, that's simply not the kind of band we are. When our guitarist is in the band, we can touch on rock 'n' roll from the '50s and '60s, but that is admittedly not our specialty. The bulk of our variety music is comprised of standards, light pop, classic country, and ballroom favorites from the 1930s through the 1970s — songs that your parents and grandparents remember fondly. This is what has made us a popular band not just for polka dances and festivals, but for events like 50th anniversaries and senior citizens' birthday parties. If you would like more up-to-date music played at your party, we'll be glad to patch your MP3 player into our sound system to play during our breaks.

Can we hire your band to play prior to the DJ at our wedding?
Absolutely! This is actually the norm nowadays. We occasionally still play for weddings as the only entertainment, especially for brides and grooms who grew up with polka music, but for most weddings, we are hired as pre-DJ entertainment. If you'd like to bring some traditional, live music into your wedding, consider hiring us to play lighter cocktail music before or during dinner, and then we can kick out an hour of polka music prior to the DJ taking over.

How long does it take you to set up?

It usually takes us anywhere from 20 to 75 minutes to set up (and roughly 15-45 minutes to tear down) depending on the size of our sound system.

Do you travel?

Have trailer – will travel! As both a bandleader and sideman, I've enjoyed playing all over the country from as far east as Pennsylvania and Florida to as far west as Arizona and Colorado. The Tom Brusky Band is available to perform anywhere within the contiguous 48 states.

Why don't you advertise your awards?
Although my band members and I are grateful to be recipients of multiple music awards, award programs with large voting memberships tend to recognize popularity over talent [see my News section's "Nominations" article]. Any polka band, regardless of their level of talent, can win music awards if they make it their mission to win them. That's simply not our goal. We do not ask for votes nor vote for ourselves. We prefer that you hire us strictly based on the quality of our music — not the quantity of bullets on our résumé.
 
How loud is the band?
Volume is a known problem with many bands, but not with us. At private parties, our job is to provide music for dancing and listening enjoyment – not to cause ear pain. We can literally play polka music as quietly as a small jazz combo when desired, which is what we are often called upon to do for cocktail receptions and dinners. We have several sets of amplifiers and speakers from which to choose, and will bring a sound system that is volume-approriate for the event and venue. For small parties, we have a custom-built, ultra-compact PA system. For outdoor concerts, we have one of the best-sounding, bi-amplified, multi-thousand-watt, full-range PA systems of any polka band around. For everything else in between, we'll configure the perfect sound system. When you hire us for your event, YOU have the final say over our volume, not us. If our volume seems too high or too low, please let us know and we'll make adjustments until you're satisfied.

Do you require a deposit?
For some private parties, especially those on Saturday nights and on weekends during peak festival seasons, a band may require a deposit. A deposit is a portion of the band's fee paid in advance, which is a standard practice in the entertainment industry. If you cancel your party at the last minute, the band will not only lose the income from your party, but the income they could have made by booking another party that night. The purpose of a deposit is to ensure that your last-minute cancellation does not leave the band you hired entirely without income. We may request a deposit for some private parties. If you cancel our services, your deposit will be fully refundable, partially refundable, or non-refundable depending on the terms in the contract.

Where is your Facebook page? Twitter? Instagram?
Although social media is now woven into the fabric of society, most everyone who uses it is blissfully ignorant of, or willingly indifferent to, just how much information about them is being continually harvested, aggregated, and stored.
Not being on social media is detrimental to people like me who make a living in the music business, but my privacy is, and will always be, more important to me than every benefit social media has to offer. It's just my personal choice. All information I need to dispense will be posted on my website. If it's more convenient for you to have updates about my band delivered to you, please sign up for my email list on the main page of this website. I send out approximately three or four emails a year.
 
 
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