YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – One of the area’s longest-running musicians has decided it’s time to retire.
Del Sinchak will be hanging up his accordion on New Year’s Eve at Penguin City Brewing. He and his band will say goodbye between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets will be going on sale soon.
Sinchak is 88 years old. He has been playing in bands for 74 years and has now decided it’s time to retire.
“The accordion’s getting heavier and heavier and sometimes I can’t even pick it up with the case and put it in my car. So I figured, you know, it’s time to move on,” he said.
Monday afternoon at Youngstown’s Peppermint Productions, Sinchak had his decades in music neatly displayed on music stands.
“We recorded a hit recording with the Edsels, ‘Rama Lama Ding Dong,'” he said.
At 14 years old, Sinchak was part of his first band in 1949. He remembers well the glory days of live bands in the ’50s and ’60s.
“I would say that for at least three years, we played almost seven nights a week,” he said.
He also remembers a stretch of years when every Saturday night, he played at a wedding.
“I can go to a supermarket or a restaurant and they’ll say, ‘Hey, are you Del Sinchak? You played for my wedding 30 years ago,'” he said.
Sinchak joined the musicians union in 1950 and was president for 35 years. He recorded 14 albums and is a member of the Polka Hall of Fame. He’s most proud of his two Grammy nominations for Polka Album of the Year.
“The president of the Grammys said, whether you win or lose, you’re a winner just to be here because to be five out of the whole country and Canada, that’s a real honor,” he said.
Sinchak says if he had to do it all over, he wouldn’t change a thing. He anticipates that, after the last note is played, there will be tears.
He has played all over the United States but one thing he’s happy about is that he’ll finish his career in Youngstown.