Mark Vyhlidal was born in 1961 and attended District #14 elementary school in Morse Bluff, NE and District #92 Jr. & Sr. High School in North Bend, NE graduating in 1980. He started playing drums professionally with polka bands at the age of 8 in 1969 and has been playing a variety of music for 47 years.
Being self-taught, Mark started his own band in 1973 at age 12. By 1976 the combo grew to 6 members and still performs, promoting polka music today. The band also plays a variety of music upon request. The band has performed extensively throughout the Midwest, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Las Vegas and Canada.
Mark plays the following instruments: accordion, trumpet, valve trombone, baritone, tuba, keyboards, and drums, and he arranges most of the music that the band plays. Mark has also arranged musical charts for other bands.
Mark has also composed several tunes including the Maryann Polka which was selected as the #1 song in the country in May 2000 on Chuck Stastny’s National Polka Countdown radio show. The band has also recorded 12 recordings since 1982. These recordings have included several of his compositions.
The Mark Vyhlidal Orchestra was selected to perform on the Garrison Keillor “Prairie Home Companion” Show in May 1991, playing for a live broadcast with over a million listeners on National Public Radio. The band was also selected by the Smithsonian Institute that featured 4 songs on their national recording “Deeper Polka.” Several polka videos have been made of the Mark Vyhlidal Orchestra by Big Joe Productions, Joe Ceverny Productions and the DVD recording on the “Mollie B Polka Party” still seen on RFD TV.
Awards include the Ennis, TX National Polka Festival Recognition of Czech Heritage Award in May 2003. And Mark was awarded by being inducted into the Sokol Omaha Polka Hall-of-Fame in September 2004.
Mark’s philosophy has always been to play not only polkas and waltzes, but a variety of music including modern, country music and 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s rock and roll where suitable at dance engagements to help promote and expose the polka music to younger generations.
Mark is also involved in radio, being a polka DJ promoting polkas and waltzes for over 29 years. In 1989 he started the All-Star Polka Show on KJSK AM 900 in Columbus, NE. This 4-hour polka show is still aired from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every Sunday.
Mark is the proud father of 4 wonderful children: Jeff, Michelle, Tyler, and Jacob (and their spouses Kari & Derek). He is also a proud grandfather of Emma, Jude, and Hailey. Mark is honored to have two of his sons (Jeffrey and Jacob) follow in his musical footsteps.
While serving as Street Superintendent for the city of Fremont, NE Street Dept. for over 36 years, Mark appreciates all of his fellow musicians in the band. He still considers them to be like family. He also thanks all of his supporters and friends throughout the years. He thanks his dear wife Tammi for her patience, support and understanding, and his family for all of their support.
Like Mark always says: “Support the talent! Support live music!”