History of the King Brothers Orchestra of Coaldale

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History of the King Brothers Orchestra of Coaldale

(Source: Bicentennial of the American Revolution, Coaldale, Pa, 1976)

The King Brothers Orchestra started out as a small group, consisting of Johnny King on the trumpet, Wash King, Jr., on the clarinet and saxophone and Nicky King on the violin, with the master Wash King, Sr., also on the violin.

The group then added Steve Yusella of Coaldale on guitar and a drummer John Kayo Donald of Tamaqua, who to this day is still with the band. Walter Whitey Stachina on bass violin was also added to the band. Whitey retired from the music business in the early 1950's and was replaced by Andrew Darosh of Cressona.

The band started playing at private wedding receptions and later at picnics throughout the Panther Valley and surrounding areas. The most popular picnic grounds where the King Brothers performed was the Victory Grove at the west end of Coaldale. This was in the late 1940's.

After the master, Wash King, Sr., got his boys on the right track, he retired from the music business. He traveled with the boys for a while and just sat back and took notes. The next day the band would gather together and he would point out the areas in which improvement was needed.

In 1950 both Wash Jr. and Nicky King were drafted in the U.S. Army and spent two years in Korea. Johnny King, who had already served his time in the service had to keep the band going, so he hired men to replace his brothers. The band then consisted of ten men. Three saxophones, three trumpets, bass, drums, accordion and piano. The band then played at dances and clubs in the Minersville and St. Clair areas.

When Wash Jr. and Nicky King returned from the service, the group then consisted of eight men, which was later reduced to seven with the departure of Steve Yusella, the guitar man. The band then played at high school dances, picnics, and wedding receptions, and traveled as far south as Philadelphia and north to New York.

In the late 1960's, the King Brothers recorded their first Polka album, which was called "Polka Weekend" and was very successful. The King Brothers then started to travel to the surrounding states. They then recorded their second album called "Seven Visitors." The band then started to play at Polka conventions, which took them to places like New London, Conn., Baltimore, Md., Wildwood, N.J., Youngstown, Ohio, Erie, Pa., and Massachusetts.

Then came the next album which the King Brothers recorded. This album was called "Happy Tappy Polkas" and was one of the top Polka albums in the country in 1972. The band then started to travel all over the Eastern seaboard, and made a few TV appearances. Still another album was recorded in 1974. This album is called "The King Brothers at Home." At Home meaning Edgemont Lodge in Lansford, Pa., where the King Brothers play quite frequently.

The King Brothers brought, and are still bringing joy into the hearts of people throughout the entire country with their albums and personal appearances.