Sunday, 27 July 2014

SOMA 1049 (Ray Stolzenberg)

RAY STOLZENBERG and his Northern Playboys
KB-172A - Playboy’s Schottische
KB-172B - Hasselby Steppen Polka
SOMA 1049
119 North 9th St, Minneapolis, MN   (Amos Heilicher)
(There are two Soma issues numbered 1049. See KB-312)


Ray Stolzenberg
Living Category – Inducted 1981

In 1933, a fresh 18-year old country kid named Ray Stolzenberg launched his band, The Northern Playboys, at a dance in LeRoy, Minnesota.  From small community dance halls they went on the road to playing in ballrooms from St. Paul to Cedar Rapids, from Kansas to Chicago for the next 18 years, going practically seven days a week.  Stolzenberg, a drummer, had about a thousand arrangements in his music library.  He was featured on radio KATE Austin, KAUS and KROC Rochester.  His band appeared regularly on a music program from the Mankato TV Station.

In 1967 when the band business declined, he opened a music store.

Back in the '40s the band cut eight 78 rpm records, followed by a number of 45’s and several LP albums.  Upon his retirement, he moved to Sun City, Arizona.  In 1980, all of his band members followed him, making their homes in the Phoenix area.  They have begun playing in the area and have stacked up booking engagements for a year in advance.

(Source: Jay Stern)

Obituary for Raymond Stolzenberg
Raymond Louis Stolzenberg, age 94, of Austin, died Thursday, March 11, 2010 at his home. 
    Ray was born April 3, 1915 to Nick and Anna (Kerling) Stolzenberg in Johnsburg, Minnesota.  At age six months, his parents moved to Austin.  Ray attended school at Pacelli, graduating in 1933 and soon thereafter he formed a road dance band known as the Northern Playboys.  Ray's band consisted of an eight piece band and he played the drums.  The Northern Playboys played in an eight state area.  They traveled from one city to another.  
    During World War II, Ray served as Private First Class in the Army at Honolulu, Hawaii.  In 1967 Ray quit playing in an eight state area to get married.  On June 20, 1967 he was united in marriage to Frances Benson of Red Wing, Minnesota.  Frances worked as the Director of Nurses at St. Olaf Hospital in Austin.  Next he opened a music store on West Oakland Avenue which was known as Ray Stolzenberg Enterprises.  During this time, Ray continued to play dances in an 100 mile radius. 
    Ray served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Local Musicians Union Local 766 American Federation of Musicians for 14 years.  In 1981, Ray was inducted into the International Polka Music Hall of Fame in Chicago, Illinois. 
    Ray and Frances loved cats.  In 2001 they were given national publicity by Jason Davis of Channel 5-KSTP TV Minneapolis-St. Paul.  Jason came to Austin to interview them and their six cats.  It was an unusual story about five kitties and their mother who lived next door to where Ray and Frances lived.  The story was presented on Channel 5 TV on July 31, 2001 and was syndicated on about 400 stations and several stories in many newspapers along with coverage in a national magazine called "The Polka News." 
    Survivors include many cousins and friends. 
    Ray is preceded in death by his wife, Frances on May 28, 2002; and his parents. 

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