II Edition playing polka for 25 years

Band plays at 30-plus churches per year
By: 

Grace Kirchner Leader Correspondent


Photo by Grace Kirchner For more than 25 years, the II Edition Polka Band has been playing for worship services. From left, Bud Gennrich at the piano, Dale Oesterbrink and Gene Lettau playing trumpets, Dan Zupon is hidden but plays the drums and Terry Lettau plays the concertina.

Gene Lettau and his II Edition Polka Band played for the worship services at St. Martin Lutheran Church in Clintonville on July 29 in observance of Rural Life Sunday.

The band has been playing the happy music at area church services for more than 25 years. They’ve played at Methodist, Catholic, Lutheran and Church of Christ worship services.

Gene’s musical career began when he was in fifth or sixth grade in school and he discovered the trumpet. He played in the band all through grade school and high school. Eventually, he formed a band of his own.

He met his wife, Terry, who also had a band. Soon they were married and have been together for the past 45 years. Terry’s band dissolved, and she joined II Edition.

The five piece band includes Bud Gennrich, of Merrill, who plays the piano; Dale Oesterbrink, of Wausau, who plays trumpet; and Dan Zupon, of Antigo, who plays drums. Terry plays the concertina, and Gene the trumpet. They reside near Wittenberg.

Gene’s mother, Delores, said she doesn’t know where the musical talent for her son’s came from.

“Len (her husband) and I both liked music, but neither of us played an instrument,” Delores said.

Their second son, Rick, also has a band. Delores grew up near Clintonville and often travels with the band.

When asked how long they plan to play at churches Terry said: “Only the Lord knows, it’s his call.”

Gene said II Edition plays at churches 30 or more Sundays a year.

They have adapted the music to fit the worship service. Gene has written some of the lyrics and many of the tunes are adapted after hearing them on Christian radio.

“It is the older people that like the polka music the most and we are losing some of them every day,” said Gene.

Gene is employed at Greenheck Fans in Schofield, and Terry drives a school bus.