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CHAMPA, FRANK A.

CHAMPA, FRANK A. (2 Sept. 1908-24 Mar. 1993) was an area musician and accordionist who is enshrined in the Polka Hall of Fame in EUCLID. As a tavern owner, Champa helped to promote the Slovenian Hour which has played on various radio stations around Cleveland since 1961.

Born in Cleveland to Anton and Frances (Sager) Champa, Frank attended Cleveland schools. Frank first taught himself to play the button-box accordion and later the German chromatic or 120 base accordion. At the age of 5, Frank and his brother, Tony, made the rounds of their E. 61st St. and St. Clair Ave. neighborhood playing for weddings, parties, and other events.

Champa owned the Glen Park Cafe on E. 185th St. from 1943-1961. It had a polka stage and dance floor. After freeway construction displaced his tavern, Champa opened Champa's Lounge (LaMalfa Party Center) in Eastlake.

Champa played the polka circuit with his son, Raymond, and the Ray Champa Band. They performed on WSRS-AM from 1949-1950 and recorded together in the mid-1950s. In 1977 Champa and his son were named Co-Polka Musicians of the Year at the Holmes Ave. Slovenian Home's annual celebration. In 1992 Champa was placed on the Polka Hall of Fame honor roll for his contributions as a musician and promoter.

Champa married Olga Champa on 2 Feb. 1928. They had a son, Raymond. Champa, a Roman Catholic, lived in Euclid and is buried in All Souls Cemetery.