Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
"I have a sweet tooth for song and music. This is my Polish sin."
Pope John Paul II
It's Friday night. Time to unwind with our regular Friday night feature on This Just In.
The weekend has finally arrived.
The sun has set.
The evening sky has erupted.
Let's put controversy and provocative blogs aside for the rest of this work week and smooth our way into Saturday and Sunday.
Polish Fest runs this weekend at the Maier Summerfest Grounds on
Bobby Vinton would be natural to perform at Polish Fest.
He’s not on this year’s entertainment lineup. In fact, he’s never played at Polish Fest. I don’t know why and I don’t know if attempts have been made to book him. Again, he’d be the quintessential headliner for this event.
Tonight, the music of the Polish Prince who isn’t ashamed of his deep faith.
Bobby Vinton was the focus of a recent article in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald that we will link to later.
At the tender age of 16, Vinton started his own big band. Raised in a musical family, the young man who would ride his voice to stardom could play six instruments.
Vinton talked to the Catholic Herald about his first hit song that was recorded in a church in
“Afterward, he walked to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to pray. He knelt before the statue of who he thought was St. Espanola. ‘Believe me, the record was awful; I couldn’t sing, nobody liked it, but I prayed to this saint Please, when it’s played on the radio, make it sound so great that people will think it’s a number one record. I know I can’t sing, I know it’s a dumb song, but please, I’m asking you for a miracle. And sure enough, that thing went to number one'.”
The master of the love song, Vinton met his future bride, now of 50 years, in the first grade. Again, from the Catholic Herald:
“What is memorable about their wedding Mass is not that it was a nuptial high Mass celebrated eight days before Christmas, or that they were married on a Monday morning, but that the groom fainted three times.
‘I didn’t eat the night before. I was under a lot of pressure,’ he recalled. ‘I talked to God all the time; I looked up and am getting ready to be married, and I prayed, Lord, am I doing the right thing? God, if I’m doing the wrong thing here, stop me now. I passed out.
Vinton joked about what happened next: ‘My wife held me up and said to the priest, He said, He does’.”
Vinton would rattle off one successful ballad after another including "There I've Said It Again" and "Blue Velvet."
The theme, the tone, the message was always the same.
Then came the 1970's. Vinton would take a firm hold of his Polish pride, angry about fellow Poles who would hear the jokes and cower in response.
One of his albums was dedicated to Polish dance. I particularly like how he took an Italian standard and gave it a distinctive Polish flavor.
Holy smoke-uh it's time for a polka!
That's it for this week.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Here's hoping Polish Fest can someday book the great Bobby Vinton.
We close and I think you know what's coming. Again, we turn to a great article in the Catholic Herald:
“They were upset, coming to my shows, saying, ‘Why they making these jokes about us? What did we do?’’
That concern, coupled with his mother’s complaint, ‘You sing in every language but your own,” prompted him to invest $50,000 in ‘My Melody of Love.’ He wrote it, recorded it, and then withstood the humiliation of being rejected by eight record companies, including Epic, the one that had recorded his hits. A friend of his took it to ABC Records, which released what became a number one song.”
God love and always bless the Polish people!