Texas Czech Polka Anthem: “The Shiner Song”

Anthem for Shiner, Texas

Polka Tribute to Joe Patek Orchestra

Polka Tribute to Joe Patek Orchestra in LaGrange, Texas

“The Shiner Song” is a polka that has made the Shiner, Texas community legendary…even more than the beer (or the sausage). Shiner High School Comanches are one of the few – if not the only – high schools with a polka as their fight song. The rhythm of the song is used as a victory song or whenever there is a touchdown score.

It’s also the fight song of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the town’s Catholic church. The song is played at nearly every parade and church picnic, and the melody has been incorporated into a local church’s Sunday service. These are usually instrumental versions (without references to the beer, of course).

“It’s kind of the theme song of the whole city,” says John Patek, whose father fronted the legendary Joe Patek Orchestra, which helped popularize the song.

in 2004, it was named by Texas Monthly as one of The 100 Best Texas Songs, along with songs by other legendary musicians such as Doug Sahm, Bob Wills, Buddy Holly, Willie Nelson, Little Joe, Freddy Fender, and Roky Erickson.

Reinventing the Traditional Polka

Texas-Czech Polka, Bohemian - Moravian Bands

Texas-Czech, Bohemian – Moravian Bands featuring Joe Patek Orchestra’s “The Shiner Song” (Farewell to Prague)

John Patek, Sr. started the orchestra in the twenties, but it was his son Joe, who played clarinet and sax and eventually took over as bandleader. Joe adapted the traditional, older Czech ballad “Farewell to Prague” song in 1949, and he re-named the new song after their hometown of Shiner.

Joe Patek Orchestra retired after playing its last performance at the Annual Fireman’s New Year’s Eve Dance on December 31, 1982, at the American Legion Hall in Shiner. Hundreds of people packed the hall to hear this final performance. The last song the orchestra played was “The Shiner Song.”

In 1995 “The Shiner Song” received special recognition from the Texas Polka Music Association as an “all time favorite song.” This was only the second time such an award had ever been given by the TPMA. It still remains the unofficial Texas-Czech anthem.

The Shiner Song: Lyrics

When we left Shiner, the sun was shining.
When we left Shiner, the sun was shining.
There was plenty of beer and lots of food.
There was plenty of beer and lots of food
When we left Shiner, the sun was shining.

When we left the brewery, the barrels were empty
When we left the brewery, the barrels were empty
And we were drinking and having a good time
And we were drinking and having a good time
When we left the brewery, the barrels were empty

When we left Prague, the sun was shining.
When we left Prague, the sun was shining.
There was plenty of beer and lots of food.
There was plenty of beer and lots of food
When we left Prague, the sun was shining.

When the “The Shiner Song” is performed publicly, it’s typically sung in the Czech language.

Comments

  1. Pat Frerich says:

    Love everything Shiner!!!!

  2. Pat Frerich says:

    Love everything Shiner!!

  3. We do too! Thanks for such a great fan.