To expand the Bellevue Herald-Leader articles, select a link below and then after it opens, scroll to the lower right
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Bellevue Herald, July, 26, 2007, "The Two Lives of Darlene Manders," part 1
Bellevue Herald-Leader, July 26, 2007, "The Two Lives of Darlene Manders," part 2
Portage Daily Register, "Barnstormers: The hidden identity of two polka-playing organists"
|On WMT600 at Camp Courageous April 27, 2008
|Jannan Zahina Stevens, Leo Greco and Darlene Zahina Manders
It seems that one month is busier than another! Our Grandson, Alec, made his Confirmation and had a big
birthday in the same week. He turned 16 and got his driver's license that morning! He has his own car now, so we don't see
him as much. And he's busy with soccer practices and games.
Our other Grandson Zach, is involed in track. He does very well and usually is in the top 4 runners. I don't
know where he gets all his energy. He never runs out of steam! He has several medals for track.
We went to Grandparent's Day for our Grandaughter Brooklyn on Friday April 25th. We had lunch at the
school and enjoyed the time with her. When we returned home, we went out for a nice dinner with Jannan and Gary. They came
for the week-end. On Saturday I played organ at church . It was a memorial mass for my mother-in law. On Sunday, we drove
to Monticello for the breakfast at Camp Courageous. We had a few words on the radio with Leo Greco about our new CD. We had
a demo along and he played Piano Roll Blues.
The breakfast was wonderful and everyone was so kind and helpful. We enjoyed it so much, we will return in the Fall.
My sister Carol has been busy helping her daughter Erin get ready for her Spring recital. She
owns a dance studio in Waunakee, Wisconsin. She's a busy gal with all the dance students that take lessons from her. I'm sure
it will be enjoyable.
Jannan spent some time on the radio in Reedsburg, Wisconsin with a DJ discussing the music business
and playing some of those great old country and western songs. Also discussed was our new CD ---------Daddy 3.
More next month--------Darlene
Spring is here------my tulips are up! We had the longest, awful Winter I ever remember.
So we welcome the warmer weather!
The Zahina sisters had wonderful Easters with our families. My favorite gift was a beautiful
big white bunny from my husband. Now, don't think it's real. I'm actually afraid of animals. It sets on our bed and called
"Fluffy". That is my kind of pet!
We have just about completed the work on the new CD. After listening to hours of Zahina music,
the choices have been made on the songs that will be on it. There will be some really cute ones, even a duet on the piano
called "Piano Roll Blues" by Jannan and me.
On April 27th, we plan on going up to Camp Courageous to the breakfast and having a few
words with Leo Greco on his radio show. Our new CD should be ready by then, and we are looking forward to seeing Leo and the
camp. The breakfast is from 7:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Please support this wonderful camp!
During these cold months, I have been working on some new lyrics for music to use for
the polka mass this year. I would like to replace some of the songs we have been playing for a long time. There is just so
much music, I don't know where to start! I also enjoy playing my Hammond organ. It was my Dads', so it has special
meaning to me.
There was a good time to be had at Briggsville for the St. Patricks dance. The Maggie
Mae band played, and Jannan entertained the crowd with Irish songs on the fiddle. Wish we could have been there, but had other
More next month--------Darlene
This month seemed as if it would never end. The snow and cold was just depressing! We
did attend the Valentine Ball at the Fairgrounds in Dubuque, Iowa. The Eddy Howard Orchestra played for it. It was a lovely
dance and the dinner was very good. But it was a really cold night to be out.
I recently received the demo tapes of our next CD. Now it comes down to selecting the
tunes we will want on it. Jannan and I will make the decision soon. So , it won't be long before you can order the new CD.
Watch for the information on this web-site. This whole project has been such fun! I can't believe in a little over a year
we have come out with three CD's and one on the way!
Give a listen to Leo Greco on Sunday mornings (600AM) at WMT in Cedar Rapids. He has been
getting requests for our music. Thanks Leo!
Jannan and her husband Gary attended an American Legion dinner recently and Jannan was
asked to lead the singing of God Bless America at the event. She is busy this week getting ready for their annual chili supper
at the Legion in Briggsville, Wisconsin.
Mary Jane returned from her trip last week and back to her hectic schedule. While she
was gone, I received a post card from all the states she traveled through. I like to collect post cards, and I think I ended
up with eight. Thanks sis!
Carol has been looking at furniture for her new home. Some theater furniture arrived
last week for the movie-watching room. All she needs now is the popcorn machine! What fun that will be.
My son Chris and his family will be leaving for a Carribean Cruise in a week. They
so enjoy taking the kids on these trips. They will be on Spring break from school. They lead a very busy life with the jobs
and sports the kids are involved in, so they are really looking forward to time away with family. Bon Voyage!
Can't wait for Spring----------Darlene
Happy New Year to all our fans out there! The New Year has brought entirely too much snow. Seems
as if my husband is always shoveling. I can't wait for Spring.
It was basically a pretty low key month. We did attend the Eddy Howard dance at Buck's Barn
on January 13Th. (See pictures below). It was a good time and the dinner was wonderful. It was a fund raiser for the museum
in Savanna, Illinois. As you have probably guessed by now, dancing is my second love. Of course, music is first! But my husband
and I have been ballroom dancing since we met when I was 17. It's been a big part of our lives.
We also attended the Martin and Lewis show at the beautiful Grand Theater in Dubuque.
I actually won the tickets answering a question asked by Dick McGrane on his radio program. He has a super show every morning
from six to nine AM on WDBQ. It's 107.5 FM. It's oldies music and such fun to listen to the great older songs. A few
weeks ago, he spent some time remembering our Zahina Band days, and played a tune from our Daddy one CD.
Thanks for that Dick!
Mary Jane had a hectic month at work. And she and her husband are getting ready now to take
a trip to the East coast and then on to Texas. She needs the break from her busy schedule. She teaches piano every night after
her day job. I don't know how she does it all.
Carol is still unpacking from the move to the new house. She has almost as many totes as her
sisters. What did we ever do without those? We can never seem to have enough, but maybe we shop too much!
Jannan is having fun with her grandaughter, Darian. We saw her when we went up there over New
Years. She is a cutie, but gets all over now and can wear Jannan out! She loves going up and down stairs.
More next month--------Darlene
|Darlene (Zahina) and Leonard Manders Jan. 13, 2008
|Eddy Howard Orchestra dance at Buck's Barn south of Savanna, IL
|Darlene and Leonard on the dance floor Buck's Barn
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends! We had a very busy month.
We attended the Christmas Dance at the Col in Davenport. Ken Paulson provided the wonderful music for it. Then we went to
the Christmas play our Grandaughter was in at the Fine Arts Center in Maquoketa on the 18th. Brooklyn did a wonderful job.
We also attended several basketball games .Our Grandson Alec plays ball for Marquette high school in Bellevue. We enjoy his
games and very seldom miss one.
It took me a whole day to put my tree up. With a dozen sets of lights and over 300 music
ornaments, it's quite a job. Most of my ornaments have been given to me over the years by friends, family, choir members,
musicians and even some priests! They mean alot to me. The shopping I never complain about. I love it. And I love to wrap
and put gifts all over the house! My hubby decorates the outside. We have lights everywhere!
I also spend alot of time baking cookies, candy and preparing food before the kids start
coming. By Christmas Eve I'm pretty exhausted. But it's all worth it!
We spent New Years Eve in Wisconsin Dells this year. My Sister Jannan and her husband Gary and
a few other friends had a wonderful dinner at the Cove. Then we went to Ho-Chunk to do more celebrating. They had five bands
there. But we prefered to stay in the most beautiful ballroom with big band music. The ballroom was like a picture out of
a magazine. Everything was red and white. It was breathtakingly beautiful. About 5000 balloons came down at midnight. It was
a great night!!
My sister Mary Jane spent New Years at a motel with her family. They do this every year and
make a mini vacation out of it. My other sister Carol and her husband Tim were invited to a semi-formal house party in the
new neighborhood they just moved into. A good chance for them to get aquainted.
More next month----------Darlene
|Darlene's & Leonard's Grandchildren Christmas 2007
Thanks to all of you who e-mail me and keep connected through the internet! I love answering
your questions and hearing from you.
The month of November is very special. It is the time for reflecting on our families and being
thankful for all the wonderful people in our lives.
We had a great Thanksgiving this year. Our daughter Roxanne and family were here, also Chris
and his family and Mark and his family. Our daughter Sheila and her family celebrated at their home in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But we did have a good visit on the phone with them after dinner. My turkey was brown and delicious, but more importantly
my dressing was as good as my Mom use to make for our Thanksgivings. I have always made my dressing with no recipe like she
did, but always hope it turns out ok. We ate too much, but isn't that what we all do?0000000
My sister Carol isn't in her new house yet, just waiting patiently to move in hopfully
before Christmas. Her daughter Erin had Thanksgiving at her home this year. My sister Mary Jane spent two weeks in Arizona
with her daughter Kelly after she had surgery.
Jannan and family had Thanksgiving at her home in Briggsville. By now she and her husband Gary
had all the Christmas lights up for the holidays. They started in October, and have quite a display.
We plan on attending the Christmas dance at the Col in Davenport this year. Ken Paulson plays
for it. He has good dancable music! We always enjoy his band.
Have a very Merry Christmas and remember------------
Make the moments matter, for the memories you give your family will be with them forever!
I don't know about the rest of you out there,
but I call October beetle month. There was no end to them this year. I was after them every day.
Jannan, her husband Gary and my husband Leonard and I were invited by Ray Wiegel to attend a dance at the Julian Hotel Ballroom
on October 16th. Sitting at our table was our sister Mary Jane, our friends Charlie and Pat Crimmons and a former band member
Frank Reinert. We have known Charlie since we were kids and he use to come in our music store on Main Street in Dubuque to
purchase sheet music and other music items. He has a band called "C.C. Rider" and plays all around the Dubuque area. We had
a very enjoyable evening. Ray played our CD"s and it really seemed strange to be dancing to our own music!
with alot of nice people that evening. Watch for pictures on the web-site.
Our oldest grandaughter
Amanda, is all settled in at college in Reno Nevada. She has always loved school and does very well. I'm sure her sister Jordan
misses her alot! Jordon keeps busy herself playing flute in the marching band. Their band has won many awards. They are wonderful.
We don't miss hearing them when we are in Las Vegas!
Jannan had a baptism in her family
last month. Her daughter Amy and husband Craig baptized their daughter Darien. She has a brother Derek. Jannan also went on
a bus trip with members of the Legion and the fifth grade class from Neenah Creek school to the Veterens Home in King, Wisconsin.
The American Legion Hall in Briggsville, Wisconsin had their annual supper a few weeks ago. The band "Kristi B" played for
the event. Janaan played fiddle for a while and I'm sure everyone enjoyed that! Always a good time up there.
Thanks to all of you who are finding and purchasing our CD's at Maggie Mae's Cafe in Oxford, Wisconsin. How we use to love
to play for the wonderful fans up there. Polka's were the most popular dances and once in a while Dad would let me off the
stage to have a dance with someone. I loved to jump polka!
Our CD's are also available in Bellevue,
Iowa at Marilyn Abeln's Country Cupboard.
Keep a song in your heart-----Darlene
|Former Zahina Saxophonist Frank Reinert, Janaan, Darlene & Mary Jane at Julien Inn Oct. 2007
September 2007 update from Darlene Zahina Manders to those who remember Clarence Zahina and His Barnstormers:
September brought many fun events. Our church festival was a success once again! The polka mass was packed. This year
we even had politicians in church. After the mass, I visited with Senator Joe Biden from Delaware and his campaign manager.
There were pictures taken and Joe said he had never heard such a thing and really enjoyed it. Thanks to all of you who drove
so far to attend the mass and dinner. Another special guest was a former sax player in our band, Frank Reinert. It was great
to see him again.
I spent nine days in North Liberty staying with our grandchildren, Zach and Sydney while our son Chris
and his wife vacationed in Hawaii. It was grest spending time with them after school. Another grandchild, Nickoli celebrated
his 10th birthday in North Liberty after the football game on September 29th. He is the son of our daughter Roxanne
and her husband Mick. He has a sister Victoria, 8. They were both adopted from Russia 7 years ago and have come a long way.
They are two very fortunate kids.
Every September we attend the Wozhawa celebration in Wisconsin Dells. It is a three day celebration
that is just amazingly fun! It's a Zahina sisters reunion of sorts. We dine together, shop together and watch the wonderful
parade on Sunday as it comes to a conclusion. My favorite event is listening to the Family Tradition polka band that plays
outside the candy shop on Broadway street. This year I stayed for the full 5 hours of their music. It's difficult finding
"live" music these days, and I didn't want to miss any of it.
While at Wozhawa, Jannan and I met with two DJ's from the Reedsburg radio station. We had a nice visit and
had publicity photo's taken with them.
Our sister, Mary Jane, is a very busy woman. She works at legal services in Dubuque,Iowa. She has been there
for many years. In the evening she teaches piano. She really enjoys this. She has the most beautiful black baby grand piano
in her home.
Our youngest sister, Carol, is making alot of decisions these days. She and her husband Tim are in the process
of building a new home. They expect to be in it by Christmas. This is quite an undertaking for her and keeps her busy as well.
Jannan has quite a large garden, so in the Fall she enjoys making jams and canning other fruits and
vegetables. Most of her other time is spent at the American Legion Hall in Briggsville, Wisconsin where she has been President
of the Auxilary for 7 years.
|Darline, DJ Tommy Lee of Reedsburg, Janaan & DJ Mike Olson of Reedsburg
August 2007 update from Darlene Zahina Manders to those who remember Clarence Zahina and His Barnstormers:
From time to time, you will find an update here on what the Zahina sisters (Janaan, Darlene,
Mary Jane & Carol Ann) are doing. Our CD's are selling very well. Thanks to all of you who want to remember and enjoy our
I have had a very busy summer. I played and sang many polka masses. I wrote the liturgical lyrics
for the old songs that we played with the orchestra. It was alot of fun putting it together. This was back in 1985. People
never get tired of it. Jannan and I played a mass last week in Briggsville, Wisconsin where she lives now. We had a packed
church! This was for their annual festival at St. Marys. Then we played after mass for the entertainment. It was alot of fun.
This was the third year we had the polka mass at this church. I also sang for an outdoor mass on Friday evening before the
I play on a regular basis at my church in Bellevue. I play the pipe organ and love to fill the church
with beautiful music. I have been doing this for 20 years. But I have been a music minister in the Catholic church since I
sang my first wedding when I was all of 8 years old.
Jannan played for a festival in Endeavor, Wisconsin this summer. She also likes to play fiddle at many events
the American Legion has in Briggsville. People enjoy listening to those great tunes. She plays a mean fiddle! Whenever Jannan
and I get together and we are at any social event, we are asked to sing or play something.
When we were in Baraboo, Wisconsin recently, we met Tommy Lee, who has a radio show in Reedsburg.
He has been playing our CD's on his radio show. We had gone over there for a polka band that was playing in the park. The
music was super. We really enjoyed it. I will have pictures at a later time to show you of us and the band leader. There were
alot of pictures taken that night when people found out who we were. We felt as if it were 1957 again and we were teens!
If you want to check out a polka mass and have never been to one, our parish is having their
annual festival September 2nd. This is where the mass originated and I have been playing it every year since 1985! There is
wonderful food and entertainment all day. The mass is at 11:00 AM. You must get there early. Every year it is packed.
|Darlene with Sieverding Boys Polka Band and Barb Flamming
|Darlene & Janaan - August 2007
This is your chance to own some original 45 rpm records of Clarence Zahina & His Barnstormers.
This offer is limited due to the number of records available. Availability is not guaranteed. These are original
45 rpm records recorded between 1957 and 1959. So order now before they're gone!
There are three records available. Shown below are both sides of each record for a total of six JPG photos.
Send check or money order payable to:
Darlene (Zahina) Manders
600 Church Street
Bellevue, Iowa 52031-1705
Send check or money order payable to:
Janaan (Zahina) Stevens
N166 Stevens Court
Portage, WI 53901-8810
The price is $2.00 each plus $2.00 shipping and handling. If you order all three 45 rpm records, the price is $6.00
plus $3.00 shipping and handling.