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Bruno's Biography

Bruno Mikos, Jr. was born on October 5, 1946 in Chicago, IL. to Bruno & Mary Mikos. He is the youngest of three children and the only son. His parents, being of Polish decent would often take their children to polka dances throughout the Chicagoland area. This is where Bruno got his first taste of polkas. By the time he was 5 years old he was memorizing words to his favorite songs. Two Bucks polka was his favorite to sing and many bands would call him up to perform this song with them. This was Bruno's first of many appearances on stage.

When Bruno was 9 years old he got his first trumpet and began taking lessons. Soon he was playing along with his favorite records as well as radio shows. Bruno continued to practice and attend dances with the hopes of someday playing in a band. At age 13 he began playing with the Polka Jacks and would play the Chicago circuit every chance he could. From there he moved on to the Ted Bonk Orchestra. Also at 16 he got a big break when he was asked to play by Lil' Wally. He began playing summer jobs with Lil' Wally and eventually started traveling all over the country with Wally. He really enjoyed playing and the life that went along with it. He continued to travel with Wally until he was 19 when he was drafted into the Army in 1966. He was sent to Ft. Leonardwood in Leonardwood, MO for boot camp where he ran into fellow musician Stas Golonka who was also stationed there. They would meet up at night and reminisce about the "good old days" playing with Lil' Wally and others throughout Chicago. They would sing and laugh nightly. After boot camp Bruno was sent to Germany in September of 1966. In November of the same year Bruno flew home on leave to marry his sweetheart Sue Kovalick of McDonald, Ohio. They both flew back to Germany after being married and lived there until Bruno's discharge on February 14, 1968. The trip home to the US consisted of 3. Bruno, Sue and their first born daughter Debbie.

After getting out of the service and returning to Chicago, Bruno began playing with a trio consisting of Casey Homel, Richie Gomulka & Bruno. They played every gin mill in town for about a year. In September of 1969 Bruno and his family, now consisting of their second daughter Cathee, moved to Ohio to be closer to his wife's family while Bruno went to college. Bruno worked his way through school working in the steel mill and playing with a local band called the Polka Dukes out of Struthers, Ohio and also putting together bands for Lil' Wally when Wally would return North from Miami, FL. In September of 1971 Bruno's only son was born. John would soon become Bruno's biggest fan who wanted to follow in his fathers footsteps of playing polka music.

1974 brought some exciting things for Bruno. He graduated from YSU (Youngstown State University) with a BS in Accounting after many long days of working in the mill at night and going to school during the day, all while continuing to play the music he loved. In that same year Bruno formed his own band, Bruno Mikos & The Harmony Stars with some talented local musicians that he met through his polka networking. The original members were: Bruno Mikos, Rich Benkowski, Frankie Liszka, Bill Siegel and George Thompson. This group would stay together and grow until 1979 with the exception of Brian Thompson taking over for his brother on bass after George's tragic death and the welcomed addition of Bobby Calvert on clarinet in 1978. During those years Bruno Mikos & The Harmony Stars would record the first 4 of 9 albums by Bruno Mikos view albums, each gaining momentum with their music and their popularity among polka fans. Bruno kept active off the stage as well with his own radio show that aired weekly and operated a record concession stand at many festivals and dances as well as running his own record label BemStar Records. In 1979 their album People Pleasin' Polkas was voted the favorite album of the year by the USPA. This same year brought a disappointment to Bruno as well when the Harmony Stars decided to form their own band. They became The Brass Connection (TBC).

This setback didn't last long as Bruno's fans encouraged him to continue doing what he did best. Bruno took their advice and began playing with Joe Fiedor's Polish All-Stars and then regrouped the Harmony Stars in 1980 with some fresh new talent. Bruno soon went back into the studio to record his 5th album Back On the Road Again which included the hit Hey Pretty Girl Polka which would later be recorded by Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones and The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra. Bruno continued to travel the country playing and promoting polka music throughout the mid 80's while also taking on the role of being a Director with the International Polka Association (IPA) and also being an elector for the IPA. This meant having the duty of selecting members to be voted into the Polka Music Hall of Fame. In 1985 Bruno and The Harmony Stars went back into the studio to record their 6th album Old Country Polish Polkas which was released on WRS Records. Shortly after the release of this album in 1986 Bruno was selected by his peers to join the elite group of people who have been elected to the Polka Music Hall of Fame. This was a highlight in Bruno's musical career as he was now in the group of many greats such as Frank Wojnarowski, Frankie Yankovic, Lil' Wally, Eddie Blazonczyk, Marion Lush, Marv Herzog, Eddie Zima and the list of greats goes on.

In 1987 Bruno had the opportunity to back up Marion Lush on the road. Bruno and his group performed many jobs with the late & great Marion Lush while giving polka fans the chance to hear Bruno & Marion sing together after all those years of saying they sound alike. Bruno also ran many dances and bus trips in this time period promoting polka music around the country. Bruno also had a radio show that he taped during the week so that it could air in his hometown of Chicago, IL over the weekend while he was on the road. The late 80's ('87-'89) gave Bruno the opportunity to share the stage with his son John. His son finally had the chance to follow in his dad's footsteps. This lasted for a few years until John moved on to play with The Brass Works and eventualy playing concertina for 13 years with Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push as well as with TBC and the Polka Country Musicians.

Bruno ran the The Harmony Stars into the early 90's when he decided to take a well deserved break. This break didn't last long as he soon got the itch to return to the studio setting and record his 7th album Back on The Bandstand which was released on Sunshine records in 1997. This recording proved that Bruno could still sing as he did for so many years. Since 1998 Bruno has taken a more relaxed role as a sideman while filling in with Stephanie and Her Honky Band, Jersey Polka Richie as well as some personal appearances singing.

In 2005 Bruno returned to the studio under the direction of his son John to record A Jukebox in My Mind which is proving to be one of the best recordings for Bruno to date. Bruno is still actively running BemStar Records and occasionally finds time to fill-in with bands when needed. Bruno enjoys spending his free time with his wife Sue of 39 years, three children and 4 grandchildren. With such a love for Polka music in Bruno's heart, don't be suprised if you hear of a new recording or appearance by Bruno in the near future.

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