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Johnnie Zibert Band Presents “Roll Out the Barrel” Concert

Music expresses different emotions for people, it makes some want to dance or sing along, and creates a celebration within itself, and the Johnnie Zibert Band is not any stranger to the celebration. On Monday, Oct. 5, the Johnnie Zibert Band presented their virtual polka concert “Roll Out the Barrel.” The event took place from 7 p.m. to 8p.m. at the Bicknell Center. The event did not have a live audience present but it was streamed for free on Facebook Live and Pittstate.tv.  

During the concert, the band played a wide variety of polka music counting at 25 songs. The music ranged from upbeat tempos to slow ballets.  

“This was a great show it brought sunshine to us all,” said Belinda Brumfield, Pittsburg resident.  

The band consists of three members, Johnnie Zibert on the accordion, Gerald Azember on the banjo and guitar and George Barberich on the guitar.  

In previous years the band would perform at the annual “Little Balkans Festival”, and the “Big Brutus Polka Fest,” but due to the pandemic the festivals were canceled.  

There were approximately 55 people that were tuned in live to watch the live stream of the concert.  

Live streaming has become a new normal for concerts, and other events to ensure that people can still enjoy entertainment, even in their own homes.  

“You don’t hear great music like this anymore,” said Alice Maxell, Pittsburg resident. “It Brings back memories of the good ‘ole days.” 

The band kicked off the concert by playing “Let’s have a party.” This was an upbeat selection, that set the tone for the rest of the concert.  

According to Pitt State News, Zibert started playing the accordion in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1982. In 2013, he connected with his present band mates to create the “Johnnie Zibert Band”.  

“I enjoy hearing the music we grew up with,” said Bob Simon, former Frontenac resident.  

The banjo and guitarist of the band, Azember is from Girard, Kansas and was playing with the “Holiday Band”, for 21 years before joining the Jonnie Zibert Band.  

“They sounded great,” said Joyce Kovacic, Girard resident, “I had some great times listening to Joe Nepote and John Zibert play around this area. I love that these guys are keeping music alive.”  

The second guitarist of the band, Barberich began his music career in Kansas City, Ks. In the 1970s he began performing with Joe Nepote, Zibert and others.  

“No one can listen to polka music without having a smile on their face,” said Phyliss Liposek Bitner, Frontenac resident.   

According to PBS.org, polka music originated from Czech Republic formally known as a Czech “peasant dance.” The music involves a half-step and hop rhythm. Zibert is known as a local polka legend accordionist.  

The piece that band ended the concert with was titled, “Brothers and sisters.”  This piece also included an upbeat tempo, explaining how Polka music uplifts spirts and makes people wants to dance.   

“When polka music fills the air, our lives are full and great,” sang Zibert.  

The band is preparing to perform at their next upcoming event “Oktoberfest” on Saturday Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. 

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