Tommy Wanderlich and Felicia DeKarski reside in Goodyear Arizona and have both been lifelong Polka music fans. Tommy is from Buffalo NY and Felicia is from Carteret, New Jersey. Tommy and Felicia met in 1992 and got married in 2018 after Tommy moved to Arizona in November 2016.
Tommy started playing sax at the age of 8 and has been playing music ever since totaling nearly 40 years in the business. Being from Buffalo, Tommy’s childhood idol was the great Johnny Karas from Buffalo, a tenor sax player for the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra. One of Tommy’s biggest thrills is having played Saxarinet Polka with Johnny Karas and the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra on various occasions.
During his childhood, Tommy developed his abilities and learned multiple instruments and plays sax, clarinet, trumpet, concertina, keyboards, and bass. During his career, Tommy has played most notably with John Gora and Gorale, The Dynatones, and The Knewz. Tommy has lent his talents throughout his career to many bands along the way including Stas Golonka, Sunshine, The NY Sound, The Touch, The Krew Brothers, Wanda and Stephanie, and Jersey Polka Richie.
Tommy has also recorded on over 15 CDs with various bands and has 3 Grammy Nominations to his credit for his work with John Gora and Gorale. Tommy wrote the 2007 USPA song of the year, “When I Call Your Name” while with The Knewz and engineered the 2011 Song of the year “Years Ago” featuring Ryan Joseph Ogrodny as well as the 2015 IPA CD of the year, “Breaking Knewz”. Tommy has engineered CD projects for the Knewz, The Touch, New Direction, and The Concertina All-Stars. He enjoys doing projects around the house and staying active in the polka field doing live recordings and being an IJ with his wife Felicia. In 2010, Tommy along with Andy Bojczuk hosted a show on the Polka Jammer Network called “Beyond The Music”. It lasted one year before they had to give up the program due to the Knewz’s demanding performance schedule.
Born and raised in Carteret NJ “Exit 12” Felicia’s love for Polish music began at an early age around Kindergarten when her Mom & Dad first brought her to a Happy Louie & Julcia dance. Her & sister Diane were invited on stage to play the tambourine and bells…and after that…she was hooked.
Felicia’s love for her Polish heritage continued into her young adulthood as she was crowned Miss Polonia of Linden NJ 1990 and had the honor of riding a float in New York City’s Pulaski Day Parade where she met Cardinal O’Connor. Felicia also attended the Miss Polonia ball at the Waldorf Astoria where she was able to meet NYC Mayor David Dinkins. Her favorite memory of that evening by far was waltzing with her Father.
During her early days traveling to polka events, Felicia was selected to be a dancer in Eddie Blazonczyk’s “Polka Hero” video that was recorded at Seven Springs. She has also danced the Mexican Hat dance in a full outfit with Nellie and sung with Hank from the Polka Family Band.
Felicia attended Kean College of New Jersey (now known as Kean University) and graduated in 1994 with her Bachelor of Management Science and Marketing. After moving to Arizona in 1995, Felicia went back to school and obtained her Associates in Nursing Science in 2010 from Maricopa Mesa Boswell School of Nursing. Felicia has two sons, Mason and Carter who are both attending college in Arizona.
Felicia now enjoys working from home and loves to prepare the music for the Hear We Go show. She is particularly fond of “going down the cellar” and grabbing an old album from her dad’s collection. If you hear a minor key instrumental on our show, chances are Felicia picked that song because those are her favorite!