People seemed to think it was pretty funny and have
really come to expect it. Now the 'barefoot' motif is on almost
everything they have, like their music stands, posters, and custom
made mugs and t-shirts.
In addition to performing in ballrooms throughout the US, Becky
& the Ivanhoe Dutchmen perform in a wide range of venues including:
house parties, nightclubs, in tents, for town festivals, RV conventions,
and parades. In 1996, they performed for the Smithsonian Institution's
Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C.
They have seven recordings available, with the latest on CD and
cassette entitled 'If Dey Wan' It...Give It To Dem!' The group always has
a supply of their recordings available at their performances. It's
really easy to take a little piece of the band home with you, but
you'll have to supply your own bare feet!
It all started when Becky's mom and dad took the family to polka
dances in Swisher, IA. They would carry the kids around the dance
floor until they were old enough to walk and learn to dance themselves.
Becky loved to dance, but was always just as interested in the bands
and would sit by the stage to watch and listen.
In 1980, when she was ten years old, Becky took her first accordion
lesson from Esther Zvacek. She was an elderly lady who still only
charged a dollar for a lesson. Becky was very close to her teacher.
Both her and her mother would go over to Esther's house every Friday
night for supper before having their lessons. Her mom even kept
a garden there for Esther and Becky mowed her lawn.
Becky loved to play the accordion and would practice for hours
each day. Sometimes she'd go outside to get away from her brother
and sister's complaining.This had to have been where playing barefoot
came from. Those kids rarely wore shoes around the farm. It just
seemed second nature to go everywhere and do everything barefoot.
Why should playing the accordion be any different?
They had a good friend that lived down the road who ran a polka
band. When Becky started taking accordion lessons, she would always
go over to his house and play for him and tell him she wanted to
play in his band. He kept saying,"When you get good enough you can.".
At the age of 12, she played her first job with Ed Ulch & The Jolly
Bohemians from Solon, IA.
When Becky was 17, her teacher became ill, so she quit taking accordion
lessons. She was still playing with the Jolly Bohemians, but there
was something missing. She still wanted more! Jobs became fewer
and fewer with Ed's band. His health wasn't allowing him to continue
as he used to and retiring became a new subject for him. As soon
as Becky heard this, she decided she'd like to have her own band.
She told Ed to let her know when he was going to quit because she
wanted to buy his library of music.
Well, he called sooner then she thought! In 1988, when she was still a
senior in high school, Ed told her to come over to
his house. When she got home that night, she had a library of music
and a couple dance jobs lined up that Ed previously booked. This
was great, but she had no vehicle, no sound system, and no players!
Luckily, Becky had gotten to know and become good friends with
many musicians. All of them had played in Ed's band at one time
or another. Ed let her use his sound system until she got her own,
and her dad's boss was selling his van, so that became her transportation.
Slowly but surely things came together and Becky & the Ivanhoe Dutchmen
have been playing ever since.
To most people this would be a strange dream, but to Becky it's
a dream come true! Next on her list was to put on an annual polka
fest. This became reality in 2003. The Beckster Fest happens every
year the weekend after Memorial Day at the RV Park in Amana, IA.
Come on down and have some fun!