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

 
We are an authentic, third-generation polka band from Milwaukee, carrying on the music of the great bands from the past. 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 outside of 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 ten to over a thousand, which have included everyone from nextdoor neighbors to United States presidents.
 

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

 
 
Contact me for a quote...

If you are interested in hiring my band for your event, send me an email.
I'll check my availability and provide you with some price quotes. Please include these three key details about your event in your email: date, location, and time.
 
E-mail:
tom@tombrusky.com


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

Phone:
I removed my phone number as a method of contact, because my schedule often makes it very difficult for me to return phone calls in a timely manner during normal hours. I apologize for the inconvenience. If you prefer to do business over the phone, please send me an email with your phone number and the best time(s) to reach you.

Oktoberfest 2019:
We receive a lot of inquiries for Oktoberfest events, and most of them tend to fall on the same weekends, so as a courtesy to all those who are planning events with live music, here is my band's current availability for the upcoming Oktoberfest season:

SEPTEMBER
 
Friday, 13: Booked
Saturday, 14:
Booked
Sunday, 15: Booked
---
Friday, 20: Available
Saturday, 21: Available
Sunday, 22: Available
---
Friday, 27: Available
Saturday, 28: Booked
Sunday, 29: Booked
OCTOBER
 
Friday, 4: Available
Saturday, 5: Booked
Sunday, 6: Available
---
Friday, 11: Booked
Saturday, 12: Available
Sunday, 13: Available
---
Friday, 18: Booked
Saturday, 19: Reserved
Sunday, 20: Available
 

 
Frequently-asked questions...

How large of a band does our party need?
The size of your event and the limit of your 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 come from 1800s 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 from 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 (from mid-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 prices 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 CD/MP3 player into our sound system to play during our breaks.

Can we hire your band and a DJ for 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 60 minutes to set up (and roughly just as long 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 do we vote for ourselves. We prefer that you hire us strictly based on the quality of our music — not the quantity of bullets on our resume.
 
Are you loud?
This 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 strain. 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 will gladly adjust it.

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 any one of the other parties they turned down for that same night since you hired them. 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 how close to the event you declare the cancellation.

Are there any official videos of your band available?
Not yet. I do plan on taking and posting some band videos on YouTube in the near future, but there are no official band videos available as of yet. (There is an old video of me on YouTube playing Rosamunde, but it is from a 1990's jam session with various musicians in Florida and in no way exemplifies the sound of my band.)

Where is your Facebook page? Twitter? Instagram?
I literally don't have time for social media. All the information I need to disseminate has to go on my website anyway, so that's what I use. If you'd like information sent to you, please sign up for my mail list on the main page of this website. I send out approximately three or four emails a year.
 
 
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