The Raichle Family Band  1980

The Raichle Family Band began in 1970 at a community playhouse.  They gave us a twenty minute intermission spot for two nights.   We sang, danced, played Polkas, told jokes, and did breath-taking acrobatics.   What a beginning.  The audience was wonderful.  At the time, I played accordion, Jeanette the flute, Kurt (6 yrs) a drum, Brian (5 yrs) the cymbals, Teresa (3 yrs) the tambourine, and Diana (2 yrs) danced around on stage with maracas.

The climax of our show was a family style Polka dance in which my wife gathered up the children, one by one, and placed them in my arms.  Then, she and I danced around the stage to a recorded Polka.  It was a show stopper, and lots of fun from a parent's point of view.   Weeks later, one grandpa told me that after the show  he called his son, told the son to take his family to the Saturday night show.  He and grandma would meet them at the door and pay for the tickets.  Where would we be without grandparents?

In 1972, Todd Hale, co-owner of KRFO radio, put us on the air and featured our band at the Steele County Fair.   After that, things started poppin'.   By 1980, we had over 36 engagements in two states for June, July, and August.   The rest of the year, except for special occasions, the children attended to their books, sports and visiting grandma and grandpa.  We continued the radio show (each child had  their own show) and the Steele County Fair until 1990, the longest consecutively booked act in fair history.

Interestingly, when Todd Hale retired from radio, he became the director of fair publicity.   And, one of his burning desires is to reassemble the Raichle Family Band for one more show.  Well, alot of water has gone over the dam since 1972.  I used to sweat five pounds at those fair shows.  And, Kurt and I would definitely have to rethink the hair-raising "hand to hand handstand" act.

Our band matured, and, eventually, I played the Cordovox, Jeanette, the flute, Kurt the bass guitar and banjo, Brian the drums, Teresa the trumpet, and Diana the small bass accordion, doing bellow shakes and fills.  Our show consisted of songs, instrumentals, jokes, audience participation (hula hoop contests, Polka dancing contests) and acrobatics.  Hand walking off stage and Karlene's "standing balance" act  were two of the gripping moments in our visual displays.  Also, I wonder if we weren't the first multicultural band in Minnesota because our repertoire included Polish, German, Irish, Scottish, Swedish, Czech, French and Cajun French songs.

In 1982, we played the New Ulm Heritage Fest for the last time.   Our family band had fully matured.  The older children graduated from high school and set off to begin families and careers of their own.  (Don't cry, the story continues on Little Linda's page)

Some of the  fun places we performed were

E.F. Johnson Company Picnic.  After an hour show, they paid us and invited the children to join the fun of barbecues, pop, rides, games, boating by the lake and prizes.

Lake Okeboji Yachtsman's Club.  After a four hour show, they provided us with bucks, two weekend cabins at Vacation Village, food, and free passes to Lake Okeboji Amusement Park. (Lots and lots of compliments)

Minnesota State Polka Festival.  After a one hour show, the children received so many compliments they felt like celebrities.  Self-esteem is important.  And, they got to hear the best Polka bands from across America.

New Ulm Heritage Fest.  After two days of six shows, the children could wander around sampling good German food and listening to some of the best bands direct from Germany.

Gibbon Polka Festival.  After a one hour show, the compliments were overwhelming (self-esteem, again) and the children could sample the food or listen to the best Oomph bands from across America.

The International Polka Festival.  After two days, four shows, the children could wander around listening to the best bands in Polka.

We were invited to perform at a Polka Fest in Hawaii, but Helen decided that she wanted to join our family band.  Hawaii was two weeks.  Helen was a lifetime of fun.  Eventually,  she became a star in  Little Linda's band.

We played weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, barn dances, town festivals, grand openings, church picnics, fairs, campgrounds, centennials (who can forget Vertigo at Sargent's Centennial ), graduation parties, and ice cream socials, to name a few.  But, one of the great thrills at Polka Festivals was to have a popular band, such as, Mrozinski Brothers, Polish Show Band, or Polka Soul invite us to join them on stage. 

Jan                                     Erik




The Beginning Of The Raichle Family Band  1963


On our way to the Community Playhouse 1970


Our first performance and our first newspaper writeup 1970

Broadcasting From The Steele County Fair 1974


Gong to The Minnesota State Polka Festival 1976


Kurt doing the Hand To Hand Stand  VFW

On The Air at KRFO



The St. Paul Winter Carnival 1978

Band Poster








To hear the children's radio shows over KRFO in beautiful Owatonna click HERE

Wanna her more of the 1976 fair?  Click HERE

To see Little Linda's band  click   HERE

To visit the nationally acclaimed Steele County Fair click   HERE