Local musician hangs up trumpet

ANDY ZEIK of St. Clairsville has been playing the trumpet for 60 years. He is retiring and will be honored at an appreciation dance at the Maynard Polish Club on Sunday, Dec. 2.

The affair will be held from 2-6 p.m. Admission is $5. No BYOB and food will be available.

There will be music by Charlie Tansek and the Chicago Tradition.

Zeik summed up his many years of playing and enjoying polka music and said it gave him a lot of satisfaction and he had a lot of fun.

“I enjoyed playing polka music, and meeting all those wonderful people who also love polkas and have supported our band throughout the years,” Zeik said. “I enjoyed watching the smile on their faces as they danced and enjoyed the music. I had the great privilege of playing with so many of the professional musicians, many of whom I grew up listening to. But most of all, it’s how I met my wife.”

Born on a farm in Eastern Ohio in 1938, Zeik is the eldest of four children and has one sister and two brothers, one is a musician.

He and his wife, Shirley, reside in St. Clairsville and have two sons, Andrew, an electronics engineer and Stephen, an architect.

Zeik went to St. Anthony Grade School in Bridgeport and started to play the trumpet in 1953, when he was in the band at St. John Central High School, under the direction of Anthony Picchi.

He became a student director.

During his first year at Wheeling Jesuit College, Zeik formed the Warsaw Serenaders Polka band, and began live radio broadcasts on WMOD in Moundsville, WOMP FM in Bellaire, as well as TV appearances on WEWS in Cleveland and WTRF-TV in Wheeling.

The band went on to record for Li’l Wally on the Jay Jay label.

Upon graduation from college in 1960, Zeik went to work as a Systems Engineer in the Defense Electronics Industry which included surface communications,

Minuteman Missile, aircraft guidance and submarine environmental control systems.

He later taught Electronics at Wheeling Jesuit U University and became interested in computers. He took a job as Process Control Engineer and computerized an Aluminum Reduction Plant and a local hospital.

He later was employed with the Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services and worked on state wide computer networks. He retired in 2003.

In 2000, while working on a computer in one of the Belmont County offices, Zeik suffered a major heart attack. Mike Stauffer, a deputy sheriff who was manning the security desk in the courthouse across the street, rushed to the office and performed CPR. Zeik’s heart started to beat and he was taken to the hospital where he had a four-way by-pass operation.

When he recovered, Zeik resumed his trumpet playing. After two of his band members died suddenly, he retired the Warsaw Serenaders, but continued to play occasionally with other bands.

In 1985, he teamed up with Charlie Tansek and joined the Chicago Tradition polka band where he played until the now.

“I have been blessed with a beautiful family, and a life filled with the love of polka music,” Zeik said. “I have much for which to be thankful.