Lustige Leute Newsletter February 2021 

Howdy Friends! 

Happy Groundhog Day Feb 2!  Did you see your shadow?  What's the verdict?  No matter whether we have 6 more weeks or more of winter in store for us, we're going to take it and make the best of it!  Hopeful feelings are going around with the vaccines becoming slowly more available, and many of the group our parents are in are getting their second round.  Boy are they ready to get out and live again, and we know you're ready too!  We should dance to some German polka music! 

We're very thankful that a few jobs came in for us in January when we normally would be without gigs.  We're now re-setting the living room in to a studio to fulfill a few recordings we're making for some upcoming events, as well as planning another online show.  Ross purchased a new computer with a more powerful processor, hoping to improve on some of the things that were going wrong with last year's online shows.  He's spent two days just loading all the files on to the new machine, and a couple more days getting the camera, microphones, and everything else working together.  Just yesterday, there was quite a bit of trial and error. 

We're excited about the shows coming up in February, and the special discount price we're offering for Sunday Afternoon Soirees! 

February performances: 

Wednesday Feb 3; Polka Wednesdays at Krause's Cafe in New Braunfels, Texas; 6 - 9pm; The Duo 

**Krause's is all outdoors.  The weather looks perfect this Wednesday, with a high of 76 and a low of 57! 

Thursdays Feb 4, 11, 18, 25 at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Gluhwein for the winter season!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Saturday Feb 6 and Friday Feb 19, Ross plays solo at Rudi Lechner's Restaurant on Gessner just north of Westheimer, in Houston, Texas; 6 - 8pm. 

Saturday Feb 13 (pending)  Romantic Polkas and German / Austrian Love Songs at the Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm. 

Monday Feb 15; Tue Phat Monday!  An online Karneval / Fasching / Mardi Gras show with the Das ist Lustig Duo.  Live on facebook from 7 - 8:30 on Valina's facebook page. 

Thursday Feb 25 online; Harris County Precinct 4 online Heritage Festival.  The Duo represents Tomball German Heritage!  The video will play on the Harris County Precinct 4 facebook page. 

Available Sundays in February and March:  Would you like to have 10 - 15 friends over for a Sunday Afternoon Soiree with live acoustic German folk music?  Garages and back porches make great places to spend time with friends in the fresh air.  We are offering a special discounted price to come play live music for you, unplugged, for up to 2 hours on a Sunday.  Currently available are Feb 14, 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21, 28. 

And Shopping!  We have CDs, t-shirts, and hat pins available for sale, and are happy to ship!  What a cool and unique just because, or gift for your Valentine!  Get them something they can't get at the store, and help us keep our business going! 

Hosting our trips to Europe will resume as soon as international travel is wide open again.  We sincerely hope we're able to take our guests to Germany and the Czech Republic this   June 8 - Tuesday June 22, 2021.  We are going to fly in to Frankfurt Airport with a scheduled arrival of 11:15am on Wed June 9.  We will depart from the Munich airport, which currently will require a change of aircraft between Munich and Houston.  We're hoping that changes when borders open, and people resume traveling.  We are bound by the current airline schedules and other factors beyond our control, but will do our best to provide you the best experience we can.  If you'd like to join us for travel to Europe in the future, let us know!  Our small groups have a ton of fun together! 

Website:  You can always find out what's happening with us at http://www.prostyall.com.  We update our calendar as information becomes available.  The store page has shirts, hat pins, and CD's that can make great gifts for your Biergarten loving friends.  Also, make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, as we load videos from time to time up to youtube for those who enjoy watching us "on demand".   Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/valinapolka 

Behind the scenes: Ross and I waited until Jan 25th to take our Christmas decorations down.  Outside was down on Jan 7, but we wanted the cheerful lights, sparkly stuff and family heirlooms to surround us a while longer inside this year.  Since Jan 26, we've been madly cleaning and prepping the living room to be a video recording studio again.  We've both been doing some extra work helping our parents out.  Ross doing some handyman stuf, and I'm doing some deep cleaning at my parent's house.  It does feel good to have the hands busy to achieve a goal.  Ross has also been nurturing some baby plants he hopes to grow this spring.  He managed to keep one tomato vine going through winter, and there was one little 2 inch red tomato ready to eat mid January!  There are some baby peppers in the kitchen window, some baby tomato vines in the patio, a fresh water seaweed for our rain barrel with the fishies in it, some baby trees he fell in love with in South Padre that he hopes might survive here.  His hard work in the garden that started a few years ago with a baby blood orange yielded 5 juicy deliciousnesses this winter! 

We're thankful for you, our friends who enjoy and support our music, and who read our monthly mailers.  We're thankful there's a vaccine here, and making its way into the community, and we're thankful there are therapeutics that are available.  Better times are going to return!  The blessings remain in abundance, and we're thankful for that.  Y'all stay healthy, stay safe in the weather winter is bringing, and we hope to see you somewhere soon!

Lustige Leute Newsletter January 2021 

Howdy Friends! 

Happy New Year!  We're praying 2021 has found you and yours healthy and feeling hopeful. 

Wow, are times ever wild!  While we can't control the world around us, we can do our best to try to keep it a happy place for as many people as possible.  We're feeling hopeful because vaccines are rolling out, now to the group of people our parents are in.  It will be nice to not be afraid to be in close contact with them and go back to goofing off together! 

January is usually our slowest month of the year.  In normal times, we mostly take the month off the stage to do paperwork, maintain and upgrade equipment, order new merchandise, go in to the studio to record an album, and learn a new song.  This year is a bit different.  Ross is still busy with maintenance, and I'm still busy with paperwork; tax stuff is still due, and we're gigging as much as the health shutdown will allow. 

There's not a lot of new things to tell you about, but we do have some fun gigs coming up in the next few weeks, and we hope to see you at a few of them! 

January performances: 

Saturday Jan 16 at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 5:15 - 7:30pm.  It's a vendor market and mini festival celebrating The Sauer Kraut's first anniversary!  Lots of food available, with Tight BBQ, Snobelle's Sno Cones (and home made ice cream) and of course, The Sauer Kraut Food Truck!  Live music from 1 - 7:30!  The vendor market takes place from 1 - 4.  Come spend the day!  There will be a 20x20 tent with heaters to keep you warm, plenty of sunshine and fresh air! 

Thursdays Jan 21, 28 at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Gluhwein for the Christmas season!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Fridays Jan 15, 29; Rudi Lechner's Restaurant on Gessner near Westheimer in Houston, TX; 6 - 8pm; Ross Solo  Rudi's still offers their delicious table side Coffee Goodnight, and ooooh, how good that is when it's cold outside! 

February performances: 

Wednesdays Feb 3; Polka Wednesdays at Krause's Cafe in New Braunfels, Texas; 6 - 9pm; The Duo 

**Krause's is all outdoors.  We recommend wearing layers, and dressing for the cold.  There are excellent overhead heaters, warm drinks, and hot food to keep you warm.** 

Thursdays Feb 4, 11, 18, 25 at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Gluhwein for the winter season!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Thursday Feb 25 online; Harris County Precinct 4 online Heritage Festival.  The Duo represents Tomball German Heritage!  The video will play on the Harris County Precinct 4 facebook page. 

And Shopping!  We have CDs, t-shirts, and hat pins available for sale, and are happy to ship!  What a cool and unique just because, or gift for your Valentine!  Get them something they can't get at the store, and help us keep our business going! 

Do you need a mid-winter pick me up?  We would love to bring the Biergarten to your backyard!  Backyard or garage parties are a fun way to break up the mundane and grey winter months.  Contact us for package pricing and availability. 

Hosting our trips to Europe will resume as soon as international travel is wide open again.  We sincerely hope we're able to take our guests to Germany and the Czech Republic this   June 8 - Tuesday June 22, 2021.  We are going to fly in to Frankfurt Airport with a scheduled arrival of 11:15am on Wed June 9.  We will depart from the Munich airport, which currently will require a change of aircraft between Munich and Houston.  We're hoping that changes when borders open, and people resume traveling.  We are bound by the current airline schedules and other factors beyond our control, but will do our best to provide you the best experience we can.  If you'd like to join us for travel to Europe in the future, let us know!  Our small groups have a ton of fun together! 

Website:  You can always find out what's happening with us at http://www.prostyall.com.  We update our calendar as information becomes available.  The store page has shirts, hat pins, and CD's that can make great gifts for your Biergarten loving friends.  Also, make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, as we load videos from time to time up to youtube for those who enjoy watching us "on demand".   Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/valinapolka 

Behind the scenes: Ross and I enjoyed a fun spread out Christmas, with both sets of parents, niece and Ross' brother.  All sides of our families, as well as a couple of close friends who we invited this year so they would not be alone have said they'd rather gather for the holidays than sit at home.  We had windows open and the air circulating.  The grownups were at the kids table in the dining room, and the rest of us were at folding tables in the living room.  We received a couple of nice gifts for Christmas that allowed Ross and I to go out of town for a few days, just the two of us, to do nothing but relax.  We chose to go to South Padre Island.  I fed the seagulls without receiving any "payment" from them, and Ross collected interesting looking seashells.  We visited the bird sanctuary, and the turtle hospital.  We ate breakfast on our little balcony at the hotel overlooking a fast food parking lot with a pretty view of the bay in the distance.  We watched the sun rise, we watched the sun set.  We watched Jupiter and Saturn disappear on the western horizon.  We watched the funny little sanderling birds run in and out of the surf chasing whatever it is they chase.  Otherwise, we've been cleaning and working around house.  Christmas decorations are still up inside, because we like looking at them, but we'll put them away soon.  Our living room will soon become a live music video studio again, since we have a few private clients who have asked for online shows.  We might do another facebook live show or two to tide us all over until things are more open. 

We're thankful for you, our friends who enjoy and support our music, and who read our monthly mailers.  We're thankful there's a vaccine here, and making its way into the community, and we're thankful there are therapeutics that are available.  Better times are around the corner!  The blessings remain in abundance, and we're thankful for that.  Y'all stay healthy, Happy New Year, and we hope to see you somewhere soon!

Thank You 

Thank y'all so much for all of your support during these unprecedented times!  Thank you for sharing our online shows, joining in when we do activities, and sending tips.  You have helped us keep this business going.  Thank you to all who have invited us to play Backyard Oktoberfests, Christmas Celebrations, and private concerts!  It has been our pleasure to bring you this festive music and to see you smiling and celebrating!  

We would not be able to continue down the path of running this business that we've poured decades of hard work, investment in instruments and equipment in to get us where we are without your love, friendship and support. Since hosting tours, coordinating events, and dance teaching are all still on hold, the only lifeline our business has is you, and the support you give us for the music we're playing. You are all blessings to us. Thank you! 

A big PROST to Paulaner USA, The Sauer Kraut Grill, KC Bier Co, Siegi's Sausage Factory and Restaurant, and Saint Arnold Brewing Company for the support they gave us during the online show days.  We're eager to continue doing all we can to help your businesses weather this storm. There's a big party waiting when the world heals - and we can't wait! 

If you have the means and would like to contribute for the online shows to help keep the music going, click on the online shop to buy a fun t-shirt, hat pin or CD for someone.  These make great gifts year round!  Don't carry cash to live shows any more?  Drop a tip in the tip boot that links to our paypal.   Or make a check to Das Ist Lustig, PO Box 424, Sugar Land, TX, 77487.   

Valina's been writing some original music!  Check out a few of the videos recorded in 2020 here! 

Want to see the past online shows?  Most are available in the photo album "videos" on valina's facebook page.  They are also available on the Valina Polka youtube page.  You can even compare the first videos to the newer ones, and see the difference in the internet speed, which was upgraded April 18, 2020 and the new camera and software, finally in use May 23, 2020!  While you're at the youtube page, make sure to subscribe!

Lustige Leute Newsletter December 2020 

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you get to spend time with family?  Did you get your house all ready for the Holidays?  We're so close to the end of this year, we can practically kick it!  One month to go, and it should be a joyful one, even if it is still the mess that 2020 has shown us it is capable of being. 

Things remain busy around the Lustig Haus, but it's a different kind of busy.  Last Sunday, while Ross was at church singing for the online service, I was doing a radio interview with Richard Kamins from the Polish Melodies Show on WLIS / WMRD in Connecticut.  You can catch the podcast here.   When the podcast menu comes up, scroll down to "Nov 22 Valina Polka."  It was a pleasure being part of the show!  Later this month, I'll be interviewed on the radio in the Netherlands on Friday Dec 18.  I don't have details of station and web address yet, but I know I'll have to brush up on my Dutch language, because the interview will be in Dutch!  Our friends the Limbo Express invited me to be part of this interview.  We played with them in Wahlwiller NL in the summer of 2019 at a Wijnfest (wine festival).  We'll post links to social media and our website if we can!  Besides radio interviews and volunteer work for church, we're rehearsing Christmas music, putting studio equipment away, and decorating for Christmas.  We have our living room back as a living room for the first time since late March.  We have a few public performances on the calendar for the rest of this year, and we hope you're able to join us for one or a few of them! 

December performances: 

Wednesdays Dec 2, & 16; Polka Christmas Wednesdays at Krause's Cafe in New Braunfels, Texas; 6 - 9pm; The Duo 

**Krause's is all outdoors.  We recommend wearing layers, and dressing for being in the cold.  Krause's has ordered heaters, but they might not be there yet.  They sell Gluhwein, Wassail, hot tea, hot chocolate, and delicious food to keep you warm.** 

Thursdays Dec 3, 10, 17 at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Gluhwein for the Christmas season!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Fridays Dec 4, & 18; Rudi Lechner's Restaurant on Gessner near Westheimer in Houston, TX; 6 - 8pm; Ross Solo 

Wednesday Dec 9; at the Fire Ant Brewpub, 308 Market, Tomball, TX Online Show from 6 - 8pm on the valinapolka facebook page, AND in person at the Fire Ant Brewpub!  Special Guest Randy Adams joins us as we celebrate the Tomball German Christmas Market.  Be in the live "studio audience"!  With Fire Ant at 75% capacity, there's room for about 70 guests.  The food and drink is excellent! 

New Year's Eve, Thursday Dec 31; at the Sauer kraut Grill, 734 Crabb River Rd, Richmond, Texas from 7pm - 12:30am.  Party can accept up to 50 guests.  Reservations required.  713-331-9013   $75 per person includes German buffet dinner, beer, wine, Gluhwein, midnight Prost, New Year midnight breakfast.  There will be a tent (with sides and heaters if cold).  We'll be there playing all evening! 

Online as guests with Jake of The Chardon Polka Band and their Christmas Special; the show will broadcast on Chardon Polka Band's Facebook sometime this month. 

The Christmas Holidays are just around the corner.  We'd love to bring the Gemütlich feeling of a German Christmas to you!  Saturdays December 5 and 12 are still available.  Other dates and times are also available.  We'd love to spend that time playing music for you!  We will play for your event if it is outdoors under a covered porch, or in a garage, or even under a tent on your driveway.  As long as there is plenty of fresh outdoor air, having a small gathering of family and friends should be pretty safe. 

And Shopping!  We have CDs, t-shirts, and hat pins available for sale, and are happy to ship!  What a cool and unique Christmas gift!  Get them something they can't get at the store, and help us be able to put some Christmas cheer in our stockings too! 

Hosting our trips to Europe will resume as soon as international travel is wide open again.  The trip we were going to host this year going to Germany and the Czech Republic has been postponed and reserved for next June, 2021.  Travel dates are Tuesday June 8 - Tuesday June 22.   The itinerary will follow the same plan (as much as possible) we had in place for this year's trip.  We are going to fly in to Frankfurt Airport with a scheduled arrival of 11:15am on Wed June 9.  We will depart from the Munich airport, which currently will require a change of aircraft between Munich and Houston.  We're hoping that changes when borders open, and people resume traveling.  We are bound by the current airline schedules and other factors beyond our control, but will do our best to provide you the best experience we can.  If you'd like to join us for travel to Europe in the future, let us know!  Our small groups have a ton of fun together! 

Website:  You can always find out what's happening with us at http://www.prostyall.com.  We update our calendar as information becomes available.  The store page has shirts, hat pins, and CD's that can make great gifts for your Biergarten loving friends.  Also, make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, as we are loading the live shows from facebook up to youtube for those who prefer to stay away from facebook.   Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/valinapolka 

Behind the scenes: Ross and I enjoyed a semi quiet Thanksgiving with both sets of parents, niece and Ross' brother.  All sides of our families have said they'd rather gather for the holidays than sit at home hoping to gather sometime in the future.  We had windows open, the air circulating, and tried to keep distance as much as possible.   While the "grown ups" were talking in the dining room, our niece (15 yrs) and I were watching online videos of what we call "crash up derbys".  It started with monster trucks, but went on a downward spiral from there to watching people drive beat up cars around a muddy arena and bash them against other beat up cars.  What a funny mess!  Otherwise, we've been cleaning and decorating the house.  After 8 months of living in a "studio", we've packed the equipment away, and restored our living room to a living room.  The camera and computer equipment will be with us in Tomball next Wednesday Dec 9, so we hope you'll join us online for that show if you're not able to be there in person, in our "studio audience".

We're thankful for you, our friends who enjoy and support our music, and who read our monthly mailers.  We're thankful there's a vaccine on its way, and we're thankful there are therapeutics that are available.  Better times are around the corner!  The blessings remain in abundance, and we're thankful for that.  Y'all stay healthy, Merry Christmas, and we hope to see you somewhere soon!

Lustige Leute Newsletter Nov 2020 

How are things going for you?  We're getting closer to the end of this year!  Just a little less than two months to go!  How we spend them is up to us, so let's make them good, even if the world around us seems to be coming apart.  Happy German folk and polka music will help make that time go by easier! 

Things are still busy around the Lustig Haus.  We are preparing for our last public performances for the four piece band this weekend, looking forward to a German Czech show we'll be playing in the Heights next weekend, and dusting the Christmas music folders off to begin rehearsing. 

We'll be performing online on Friday November 13, with a prost to Wurstfest, where we would have been on stage, or on the dance floor in a normal year.  It hurts our hearts to not be going to Wurstfest.  We miss playing the music on the stage, but the thing we're going to miss the most is seeing so many of you in the same place.  There just isn't anything quite like Wurstfest and the happy vibe that surrounds it.   The live online shows are broadcast from my facebook page; http://www.facebook.com/valinapolka There are also a few things on the http://www.youtube.com/valinapolka  page.  And more to come!    Make sure to subscribe to the channel, so you'll know when those videos are posted.  There may come a time when we will broadcast on youtube instead of facebook, and if that happens, we want to make sure you can find us when you want! 

November performances: 

Thursdays Nov 5, 12, 19 at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Friday and Saturday Nov 6 &7; Live music in the Biergarten tent at Walburg German Restaurant, Walburg, TX; 6pm both days; The 4 pc party band! (photo attached below) 

Wednesday Nov 11; Polka Wednesdays at Krause's Cafe in New Braunfels, Texas; 6 - 9pm; The Duo 

Friday Nov 13; Online Show starting at 7pm on the valinapolka facebook page. 

Sunday Nov 15; The Kolache Shoppe 50th anniversary celebration!  The parking lot at the corner of 11th and Heights BLVD in Houston; free admission;  The 3 pc German Czech band with special guest Mason Nesvadba! This event is weather permitting. 

Friday Nov 20; Rudi Lechner's Restaurant on Gessner near Westheimer in Houston, TX; 6 - 8pm; Ross Solo 

The Christmas Holidays are just around the corner.  We'd love to bring the Gemütlich feeling of a German Christmas to you!  At this time, all Saturdays in December, as well as New Year's Eve are available, and we'd love to spend that time playing music for you!  We will play for your event if it is outdoors under a covered porch, or in a garage, or even under a tent on your driveway.  As long as there is plenty of fresh outdoor air, having a small gathering of family and friends should be pretty safe. 

Hosting our trips to Europe will resume as soon as international travel is wide open again.  The trip we were going to host this year going to Germany and the Czech Republic has been postponed and reserved for next June, 2021.  Travel dates are Tuesday June 8 - Tuesday June 22.   The itinerary will follow the same plan (as much as possible) we had in place for this year's trip.  We are going to fly in to Frankfurt Airport with a scheduled arrival of 11:15am on Wed June 9.  We will depart from the Munich airport, which currently will require a change of aircraft between Munich and Houston.  We're hoping that changes when borders open, and people resume traveling.  We are bound by the current airline schedules and other factors beyond our control, but will do our best to provide you the best experience we can.  If you'd like to join us for travel to Europe in the future, let us know!  Our small groups have a ton of fun together! 

Website:  You can always find out what's happening with us at http://www.prostyall.com.  We update our calendar as information becomes available.  The store page has shirts, hat pins, and CD's that can make great gifts for your Biergarten loving friends.  Also, make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, as we are loading the live shows from facebook up to youtube for those who prefer to stay away from facebook.   Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/valinapolka 

Behind the scenes: Ross and I just spent 3 days deep cleaning the house, and are celebrating some birthdays with family who we normally don't get to celebrate with because of our performance schedule.  Ross' mom, our niece and my brother all have birthdays in the same week, and for the first time, we were able to gather - in the backyard - and be together.  Ross is continuing to rehearse some new material, and I've been working on the songs I wrote.  Doing some tweaking here and there, and just trying to get to know them better.  Ross has also been processing Yaupon leaves to make more tea.  I'm working on some new merchandise designs with the hope things will be better next year and we can begin moving our business forward again.  It still feels like we're bumping in to brick walls every time we come up with an idea of something fun to do for you, our friends.   I am also compiling the photos and videos from our trip to South Dakota in September, and will upload them soon.  It's a very time consuming project, and I need a few days without responsibilities to make it happen.  When I do get them loaded, I'll have the videos on youtube, and will link them on facebook.  The photos will all be shared on facebook. 

The blessings are less glittery than usual, but still in abundance. Y'all stay healthy, and we hope to see you somewhere soon!

Lustige Leute Newsletter October 2020  

Happy Oktoberfest!   How are you doing, now we're 3/4 of the way through this year?  Autumn has arrived, and things continue to, well, be interesting to say the least.  We hope you are healthy and happy.  We're thankful we're all still here and able to talk about it! 

There has been a flurry of activity around the Lustig Haus.  We are blessed to perform about 3 public / private shows a week right now.  If you had told us just 6 weeks ago that we'd be this busy in October, we never would have believed you.  It's been wonderful to get out and see people!  We just returned from a 10 day road trip with private parties and a couple of public performances in northern Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.  Rehearsal time has decreased a bit, but performance and travel time has greatly increased.  Ross is continuing to devote 6 hours a day (only about once a week right now) to accordion and alphorn rehearsal and vocal exercises.  I've stayed busy with promotions, last minute bookings, and until a few days ago, was still coordinating the now cancelled Tomball German Christmas Market.  Our latest batch of Sauerkraut is ready, is amazing with all of the delicious sausages Siegi's in Tulsa sent us home with!  Not to mention, the delicious Bier we were sent home with from the KC Bier Company!  If you're ever in Tulsa, drop in on Siegi's!  They have an import store / grocery, heck they even have an online store!  ...and the restaurant is great.  If you're ever in Kansas City, make sure to stock up on some really good American made Reinheitsgebot brewed Bier! 

We know there are many of you who still can not get out to do things in public, so we are continuing our online shows for the time being.  We'll be online on Wednesday Oct 14, and plan to do an online show on Wednesday Oct 28 as well.   We're always happy to play requests.  We're also eager to share footage we took while road tripping in September.  All of the live online shows are broadcast from my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/valinapolka There are also a few things on the http://www.youtube.com/valinapolka  page.  And more to come!  I just need time to compile and upload.  Make sure to subscribe to the channel, so you'll know when those videos are posted. I think I've posted another original song on there since last we talked... About a Beer Drinkin' Chicken from Bremond. 

Oktoberfest season: 

Thursdays Oct 1, 8, 22, 29 at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Saturday Oct 3; private party in Houston, TX 

Wednesday Oct 7; Polka Wednesdays at Krause's Cafe in New Braunfels, Texas; Free admission; The Duo 6 - 9pm 

Saturday Oct 10; private party in Houston, TX 

Wednesday Oct 14; private lunch party in Houston, TX 

Wednesday Oct 14; Online Show starting at 7pm on the valinapolka facebook page. 

Thursday Oct 15; Sunset Music Series on the Front Porch of the Moore Home, 406 S. 5th street, Richmond, Texas;  $20 admission; Tickets Required, lawn seating - bring a chair or blanket, and BYOpicnic - alcohol allowed!  Order a delicious to go meal from The Sauer Kraut Grill! 

Saturday Oct 17; Oktoberfest at the Pecan Grove Store; 5244 N Hwy 16, Fredericksburg, TX; Free admission; The Duo 1 - 3:30pm and 6 - 8:30pm 

Tuesday Oct 20; Private lunch party in Houston, TX 

Wednesday Oct 21; Private Zoom (online) party in Houston, TX 

Saturday and Sunday Oct 24 & 25; Oktoberfest at Bend General Store in Bend, Texas, 3 - 6pm; The 4 pc party band!  $5 cover 

Wednesday Oct 28; Online Show starting at 7pm on the valinapolka facebook page. 

Friday and Saturday Nov 6 &7; Live music in the Biergarten tent at Walburg German Restaurant, Walburg, TX; 6pm both days; The 4 pc party band! 

Wednesday Nov 11; Polka Wednesdays at Krause's Cafe in New Braunfels, Texas; 6 - 9pm 

There are still a few dates here and there available if you're interested in a private party.  There are still some goodies from Paulaner too!  We'd love to bring the Biergarten to you!  Of course, with the current circumstances, things can change rapidly, so always check our website, facebook, or the website of the public event to make sure it's going as planned or if it requires reservations before you leave your home.  This year, new bookings are coming in fast and with short notice.  Updates will always be on our website front page, and our social media. 

Hosting our trips to Europe will resume as soon as international travel is wide open again.  The trip we were going to host this year going to Germany and the Czech Republic has been postponed and reserved for next June, 2021.  Travel dates are Tuesday June 8 - Tuesday June 22.   The itinerary will follow the same plan (as much as possible) we had in place for this year's trip.  We have not yet confirmed this, but we are most likely going to fly in to Frankfurt Airport with a scheduled arrival of 11:15am.  We still plan to depart from the Munich airport, which currently will require a change of aircraft between Munich and Houston.  We're hoping that changes when borders open, and people resume traveling.  We are bound by the current airline schedules and other factors beyond our control, but will do our best to provide you the best experience we can.  If you'd like to join us for travel to Europe in the future, let us know!  Our small groups have a ton of fun together! 

Website:  You can always find out what's happening with us at http://www.prostyall.com.  We update our calendar as information becomes available.  The store page has shirts and hat pins to get you ready for the Oktoberfest season.  Also, make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, as we are loading the live shows from facebook up to youtube each week for those who prefer to stay away from facebook.  And you never know in this crazy world, there may come a time when we are broadcasting live on youtube. 

https://www.youtube.com/user/valinapolka 

Behind the scenes: Ross just celebrated his 50th birthday, and it was epic!  We had set a little aside for this milestone birthday, and we took a short vacation between Oklahoma and Missouri gigs to go to Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse.  We'll be sharing the short videos of our drive, and some of the stops with you on our social media very soon!  One video is linked below; taken at Mt Rushmore itself!  It was a whirlwind trip, but we had a blast.  The grand finale was Sunday and Monday Sept 27 and 28; Ross enjoyed breakfast at his favorite Ole South Pancake House in Ft Worth with friends, then dinner and cake with his family near Sealy, followed by being told he had to be at the Sauer Kraut Grill to play a private party on Monday...but when he arrived for "work" our friends Alex Meixner, Tommy Haller, Paddy King, Eric and Lisa Morse were already there.  Alex and the guys were on their way out of town after a 4 day run in Texas, but they delayed their departure just for Ross.  The Sauer Kraut Grill is usually closed on Mondays, but Eric and Lisa opened it for Ross' surprise party. 

Stars and Stripes at Mount Rushmore

 

Keep your hands together that the world will continue to heal enough that we can get back to celebrating together again in person at these fun events!  We look forward to seeing you sometime soon!  Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay cool!  Prost Y'all!

Lustige Leute Newsletter September 2020  

It's just about September, can you believe it?!?  We're 2/3 of the way through this wacky year!  It's nearly autumn; it's nearly Oktoberfest season, so time should start to fly a little bit!  Hang in there, things are slowly going to get better.   In the mean time, we'll keep staring 2020 in the eyes and take what it throws at us the best we can with a smile on our faces and a prayer for strength in our hearts. 

Things around the Lustig Haus have remained busy busy.  Ross is continuing to devote 6 - 8 hours a day to accordion and alphorn rehearsal, vocal warm ups, and working on a few very difficult new songs.  I've stayed busy with promotions, and am coordinating Tomball's German Christmas Market.  In preparation for Oktoberfest season, I've made another batch of Sauerkraut.  It's fermenting as we speak, and will be ready on Sept 28!  You can watch the video here.  I did forget to mention in the video to add caraway seed - as much or as little as you like to your taste.  Also add a little water so it reaches the top of the tamped down cabbage.  The cabbage, salt, caraway mash should sound like this before you close the lid. 

We know there are many of you who still can not get out to do things in public, so we are continuing our online shows for the time being.  We're moving to Wednesdays at 7pm and will begin again on September 9.  We're always happy to play requests.  We also plan to share some footage we'll gather while at the Walburg German Restaurant over Labor Day!  All of the live online shows are broadcast from my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/valinapolka 

Oktoberfest season:  We are able to offer something this year that we have not been available for in a long time.  With the big festivals being cancelled, it has freed us up to play for Oktoberfest parties at private homes!  Would you like to have a party in your backyard?  In your 2 car garage with the doors open to the driveway?  On your large covered porch?  At your airport hangar?  Paulaner USA just provided us with two boxes of decorations and party swag to bring to your event!  Even a couple of cool German hats for the hosts of the parties!  I've attached a flyer to this e-mail.  We have several dates still available to offer.  We can also play a private online party for just you and your friends if you'd like! 

Below are the dates and locations that are booked: 

Thursdays Sept 3, 10, 17, Oct 1, 8, 15, 29 we'll be at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Friday - Sunday Sept 4 - 6; Walburg German Restaurant, 3777 FM 972, Walburg, TX.  Three bands will be there; Alpenmusikanten, The Walburg Boys, and Das Ist Lustig!  Jeff will join us on the drums, and we can't wait!  The Bier tent and Biergarten will have music from 6 - 12 Friday and Saturday, with lots of space to spread out. Sunday Gospel service at 11am, then live music from 12 - 6. 

Friday, September 18;  private party near Allen TX. 

Saturday, September 19;  private party near Oklahoma City. 

Thursday September 24, we'll be at the KC Bier Co, 310 W 79th St in Kansas City, MO   from 6 - 9pm.  There's a nice outdoor Biergarten where we'll be if the weather is good.  If the weather is naughty, we'll be inside the Bierhalle. 

Friday September 25, we'll be at Siegi's Sausage Factory and Restaurant, 8104 S. Sheridan Rd, Tulsa, OK from 6 - 9pm.  Siegi's is a large restaurant, so there is room to spread out and still enjoy the music and great food. 

Saturday, September 26;  private party near Oklahoma City. 

Sunday, September 27; pending private party near Ft Worth, TX 

Saturday Oct 2; private party in Houston, TX 

Saturday Oct 10; private party in Houston, TX 

Sunday Oct 11; pending private party in Houston, TX 

Friday - Sunday Oct 16-18 pending in central TX 
Thursday Oct 22 pending in central TX 

All other weekdays / weekends in October and November are currently available.  We'd love to bring the Biergarten to you!  There are even possibilities for specials through Paulaner USA - We'll hook you up!  Of course, with the current circumstances, things can change rapidly, so always check our website, facebook, or the website of the public event to make sure it's going as planned or if it requires reservations before you leave your home. 

Hosting our trips to Europe will resume as soon as international travel is wide open again.  The trip we were going to host this year going to Germany and the Czech Republic has been postponed and reserved for next June, 2021.  Target dates are Tuesday June 8 - Tuesday June 22.   The itinerary will follow the same plan (as much as possible) we had in place for this year's trip.  If changes to the itinerary take place, it will be because of airline schedules and other factors beyond our control.  If you'd like to join us for travel to Europe in the future, let us know!  Our small groups have a ton of fun together! 

Website:  You can always find out what's happening with us at http://www.prostyall.com.  We update our calendar as information becomes available.  The store page has shirts and hat pins to get you ready for the Oktoberfest season.  Also, make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, as we are loading the live shows from facebook up to youtube each week for those who prefer to stay away from facebook.  And you never know in this crazy world, there may come a time when we are broadcasting live on youtube. 

https://www.youtube.com/user/valinapolka 

Behind the scenes: Ross is looking forward to his 50th birthday.  Funds are super tight, but we had set a little aside over the years with the hopes of going somewhere fun for this milestone birthday.  We can't afford what he originally wanted, but we are going to get to do some neat things!  Sandwiched between performances in Oklahoma and Missouri, we are going up to South Dakota to see Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, and whatever else tickles our fancy in the 2 days we'll have while in that area.  We'll leave Oklahoma city early Sunday morning Sept 20 after playing a couple of Backyard Oktoberfest parties.  We plan to stop and see the Largest Hand Dug Well, the Largest Czech Egg, and the Largest Ball of Twine while driving through Kansas.  We'll make some short videos at each stop to share with you on our live online shows when we're back home.  We'll sleep in the van a couple of nights - it's plenty comfy in there.  We'll see Scott's Bluff on Monday, then head to the Black Hills for Monday night and Tuesday.  We'll certainly have some neat views to enjoy while we eat picnic meals from our cooler!  Wednesday, we'll need to start south again for the scheduled shows.  It will be a whirlwind trip, but Ross is very excited, and so am I!  I think the van is ready to get some road under its wheels too! 

Keep your hands together that the world will heal enough that we can get back to celebrating together again in person at these fun events!  We look forward to seeing you sometime soon!  Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay cool!  Prost Y'all!

Lustige Leute Newsletter August 2020 

Howdy Friends!  

Here we are in August, and here in Texas, we got a very rare cool front to start the month!  It lasted about 18 hours here in Houston, but that little surprise drop in the temperature sure got us all excited!  Did y'all notice the subject line?  I've been thinking and thinking for a while now; what would be a fun name for all of our friends who travel with us, follow our band, and visit with us?  What do you think of "Lustige Leute"?  Directly translated, it means "funny people".  You are our favorite Lustige Leute after all!  

Things around the Lustig Haus have thankfully been uneventful for the past few weeks.  Ross has been back to devoting about 8 hours a day to accordion and alphorn rehearsal, vocal warm ups, working up a few new arrangements we played in our themed online shows in July.  On his day off, he made a few repairs at the rent house, maintains the yard (I help) and brings in the delicious homegrown tomatoes he planted in early April.  I've been busy working on promotions, working on the songs I've been writing, and have been creating in our graphics dept again.  Getting price and availability for made in USA custom masks with our band logo, and our band slogan on them has not yet happened.  I sent out for 5 quotes over a week ago, and have not yet received a response from any of the companies I contacted.  It seems there's a waiting list just to get a quote.  I can't imagine what the wait for a finished product will be.  Oh well, back to the drawing board I guess.  Maybe we'll design bandanas instead, that way they can be worn as an accessory, a hair bow, used as a sweat rag, a Bier mug marker, or folded in to a mask.  I've been cooking a lot too - and making Sauerkraut.  Did y'all see the studies they've been doing?  There's a theory that people who eat Sauerkraut have stronger immune systems!  Can't hurt!  In the meantime, when Ross and I finish today's rehearsals, we'll be assembling and testing the sound system with the new stuff we purchased in January, to make sure it's all ready for our first road trip since February 29. 

Speaking of road trips, this week, we are bouncing off the walls excited!  We'll be out in public this weekend; 5 gigs in 3 days!  We can't wait! 

Thursday August 6, we'll be at The Sauer Kraut Grill at 734 Crabb River Rd, in Richmond, Texas from 6 - 8pm.  They have excellent food, and a great Bier (lots of Paulaner, and local craft brews!) and Wein selection!  Picnic tables outside if you feel safer dining in the fresh air.  We'll come out and play for you if you like! 

Friday and Saturday August 7 and 8, we'll be at the Kuckuck's Nest at 3150 N Hwy 16 in Fredericksburg, Texas from 2 - 3pm both days, to play music while you shop for German imports!  

Friday and Saturday August 7 and 8, we'll be at the Pecan Grove Store at 5244 N Hwy 16 in Fredericksburg, Texas from 6:30 - 9pm both days.  Live, in person, public performance in a large outdoor Biergarten with plenty of space for safe distancing, AND carefree German style rambunctiousness!  There will be Hamburger eating, Bier trinking, table pounding and schunkelling!  Won't you join us?  We're so excited to get out and play music in public!  I'm so wound up, I feel like I've had a liter of coffee from my brother's coffee shop, The Nook Cafe'!  It's going to be so amazing to see friends in the audience laughing, smiling, and getting to visit in person!  We'll have T-shirts, Hat pins, and CD's with us for sale.  Did I say this yet?  We can't wait to see you! 

We know there are many of you who still can not get out to do things in public, so we are continuing our online shows for now.  We had lots of fun with your submissions back in June and July, so we're hoping you'll join in again for some fun this month too!  

Saturday August 15 at 7:30pm; My birthday is Sunday August 16, so the theme of this show is "Whatever Valina Wants"  Have you ever wondered what my favorite songs are?  ...and of course, we're always taking requests. 

Saturday August 22 at 7:30pm; End of Summer Talent Show!  Here's your chance to star in one of our online shows!  Will you record yourselves demonstrating your talent?  Whatever it is (family friendly of course)  We're taking all sorts of submissions:  Tap dancing, Wood carving, One handed push ups, Furniture rearranging, Lip sync, Cup stacking, Playing frisbee with your dog, Standing on your head, Chugging a Bier, Removing a table cloth from a set table... There is no limit to the sort of talents we'd like to share as part of that show!  The wackier and more unexpected, the better!  What a fun online party it will be with you as part of our show, and joining in the comments section!  If you'd like to submit a video, please record it with your phone or camera in landscape (horizontal) so the video will work in our broadcast software.  Keep the length of your video to 2 minutes or less.  Please send your videos no later than Monday August 17, so we'll have time to process through them and get them in the broadcast software.  ...that also allows time for us to let you know if there is an issue with the video.  Let us know if you need help getting the video to us. 

Saturday August 29; We're not sure yet if we will be doing an online show on August 29th, as we have a private party pending for that date.  If that party does not happen, we'll be online playing your requests, and ramping up for the backyard Oktoberfest parties which start in September! 

In September, we will be moving to Wednesdays at 7:00pm for the live online shows.   We'll give more information on that next month.  All of the live online shows are broadcast from my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/valinapolka  We'll continue our shows at the Sauer Kraut Grill on Thursdays unless there is an Oktoberfest party to travel to, or work for.  

Oktoberfest season;  We are able to offer something this year that we have not been available for in a long time.  With the big festivals cancelling, it has freed us up to play for Oktoberfest parties at private homes!  Would you like to have a party in your backyard?  In your 2 car garage with the doors open to the driveway?  On your large covered porch?  At your airport hangar?  I've attached a flyer to this e-mail.  We have several dates still available to offer.  Below are the dates and locations that are already booked: 

September 19;  private party near Oklahoma City.   Sunday Sept 20 in north Texas or Oklahoma area is available. 

September 26;  private party near Oklahoma City.   Friday Sept 25 and Sunday Sept 27 in north Texas or Oklahoma area is available. 

Oct 2 - 4;  Saint Arnold's Oktoberfest in Houston, Texas - This is an outdoor covered Biergarten restaurant just north of downtown Houston.  We were there Sunday night for pizza, and it poured down rain.  There was still plenty of room for people to be spaced away from each other, even when the ones sitting out under the open air had to come under the roof.  The food and Bier was delicious, and the service friendly! 

Oct 10;  private party in Houston   Friday and Sunday Oct 9 and 11 around the Houston area is available. 

Oct 16 - 17;  Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

All other weekdays / weekends in September, October and November are currently available.  We'd love to bring the Biergarten to you!  There are even possibilities for specials through Paulaner USA - We'll hook you up!  Of course, with our current circumstances, things can change rapidly, so always check our website, facebook, or the website of the public event to make sure it's going as planned before you leave your home. 

Hosting our trips to Europe will resume as soon as international travel is wide open again.  The trip we were going to host this year going to Germany and the Czech Republic has been postponed and reserved for next June, 2021.  Target dates are Tuesday June 8 - Tuesday June 22, but may be shifted by a few days depending on when the non-stop flight to Munich is possible.  Right now, that is only once a week on Wednesdays.  The itinerary will follow the same plan (as much as possible) we had in place for this year's trip.  If changes to the dates or itinerary take place, it will be because of airline schedules and other factors beyond our control.  If you'd like to join us for travel to Europe in the future, let us know!  Our small groups have a ton of fun together! 

Website;  You can always find out what's happening with us at http://www.prostyall.com.  We update our calendar as information becomes available.  The store page has shirts and hat pins to get you ready for the Oktoberfest season.  Also, make sure to subscribe to our youtube channel, as we are loading the live shows from facebook up to youtube each week for those who prefer to stay away from facebook.  And you never know in this crazy world, there may come a time when we are broadcasting live on youtube. 

https://www.youtube.com/user/valinapolka 

The virus is slowly becoming a little less scary - we see on the worldometer site that there are fewer deaths per infections, and see on the county hospital websites that less people are being hospitalized, and for shorter amounts of time for it.  Since our last e-mail to you, that trend has continued.  Oh, we can't wait for the world to heal!  

We look forward to receiving your videos for the talent show!  We look forward to seeing you sometime soon!  Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay cool!  Prost Y'all!

Mid July Musings, and other stuff from Valina 

Here we are, in the middle of July, 2020.  We miss you!  We miss being out in public places and seeing your smiling faces.  How did we get here?  In some ways, it feels as though it's still early March, because all of the spring events were cancelled.  Those events have become so ingrained in our professional lives, that if there isn't a recent memory from one of those events, that time has not yet passed.  On the other hand, time has been flying, and it's really hot outside!  We are  trying to find a safe and health conscious way to bring live music to you.

We look forward to Thursday evenings at the Sauer Kraut Grill in Richmond every week.  It's a wonderful little place, has a great client base, and brings us back to a little bit of normalcy when we get to see friends and fans eating, drinking, and enjoying music as it's played.  In fact, the first day we were able to go play live music for a live audience, I cried when I heard laughter and applause for the first time in months.  A real live crowd enjoying the music and letting the outside world melt away for a few moments!   Saturday evenings, we broadcast our online shows on facebook, which for the past few weeks, we've had the pleasure of featuring friends and fans!  They've shared pictures and videos for us to include in the shows, and we've enjoyed seeing them.  It helps us to know they, and you, are out there!

As time goes by, and the virus is still doing what it does, we are beginning to hear about our fall events getting cancelled.  It's making a hard year even harder for everyone involved.  So many people depend on festivals and events for their income; our friends with food trucks, vendors with home made and import items who do not have a store-front or online presence, student groups who gather donations for their extracurricular activities - German language, music and folk dance. 

We're working hard to rehearse to keep the old songs that have been in our set lists for years going well, Ross has been working on a few ideas he's had.  I've been playing through the songs I've written, and am hoping to get Ross in on them soon.  Weeks go in to each song we learn together before we can put it on the stage, so we're just working on practicing. 

Mostly, we're thankful - we may complain that things are not what we'd hoped they'd be, but we are thankful for the way things are anyway.  We're healthy for now, our families are healthy for now.  There's food in the fridge, and enough in the pantry in case of a storm.  There's gas in the van ready to go on the road as soon as there's an opportunity to do so.  You're out there listening to our music, supporting our efforts, reading our ramblings, and we're thankful for you!

update on Ross' computer building and tests. Thursday May 14  

It's obvious as we check social media in the morning that many people are beginning to go back to public places.  It's good to see, yet it's still scary with all the unknowns.  But when has life ever promised to provide a plan?  I mean, we can plan as much as we want, but things don't always go as planned. 

But enough about all that mess.  Life in the Lustig Haus has stayed pretty busy.  Valina has hit another wall with song writing, but keeps working at it.  If nothing else, there's a little autoharp rehearsal going on.  Ross has continued to run tests on the computer to make the online shows as top quality as possible with the equipment and finances available.  The test run last Saturday (Valina's bar scene starring Little Dipper. their toy bird that "drinks" water) went pretty well, even switching between different cameras, AND captions!  Hopefully that will all still work this Saturday! 

Sunday morning, when we got home from church, where Ross is also assisting with the online video / sound, one of our laptops crashed, so Ross has been working for the past several days to get it wiped clean and re-built.  Dang computers!  We can't live with them, or without them!

We did an online poll asking which platform for the live performance people preferred; facebook or youtube.  Facebook, allowing real time comments and replies was the big winner with most of our online audience.  A few people are still only able to catch our shows on youtube, so we'll make sure to save the facebook videos, then load them to youtube. 

Not a lot else to discuss right now.  We hope to see you this Saturday night!