Sausage and Polka: Joe Patek Orchestra

Joe Patek Orchestra Texas Czech Music

Joe Patek Orchestra: Texas Polka

Joseph (Joe) Patek was born on September 14, 1907, to John and Veronica Patek in Shiner, Texas. But his Czechoslovakian roots ran deep. His father, John Patek, Sr., had become an accomplished musician when he was a boy in Czechoslovakia.  In 1889, at the age of twenty, he immigrated to America and played in community bands. In 1920, he formed the Patek Band of Shiner. His sons – Joe and Jim – took music lessons and joined the band, and in the 1940s, Joe took over as leader of the band, renaming it the Joe Patek Orchestra.

Texas Czech Polka

The Joe Patek Orchestra is one of the best-known Texas Czech polka bands. The orchestra played on radio shows and at community events until New Year’s Eve of 1982, and they were a source of entertainment and community pride. They became prominently known for their “Shiner Song”, a sort of anthem for the town of Shiner, Texas. Patek is credited for establishing a different style of Texas polka with its harder sound and emphasis on swing, uniquely different from the polka bands in other parts of the United States.

When he wasn’t playing Czech music, Joe was a purveyor of fine Czech sausage. In 1937, he opened the first brick-and-mortar grocery in Shiner, which garnered much success and eventually expanded into a quality, smoked sausage and meat market. Four generations later, Shiner Smokehouse meats are once again thoughtfully-prepared and rooted in pride.