The Story of Rod's Music
From: THE POLKA NEWS 10Dec97
"Dad, no one is going to buy 'Polka Records'!" his daughter said with the certainty only a teenager can muster. "But they did!" exclaims Rod Broding of Rod's Music of Coon Rapids, MN. "I had been a collector of polka recordings for years.
My first album was Elmer Scheid's "Gold Plate of Old Time", a birthday gift thirty-six years ago from the woman who was to become my wife. My mother loved to dance, but neither of my two fathers were much for dancing, so I vowed to myself that I would marry someone who enjoyed dancing. When I discovered that this college acquaintance, Marilyn, loved to dance, I saw her with new eyes. One night we walked five miles to a dance and danced every dance, but we solicited a ride home," Rod recalls. "Our vocations allowed us the privilege to live in several areas of the United States, so we had access to different polka bands and their recordings." Rod and his wife, Marilyn, have been teachers, and Rod is an ordained clergyperson and has presided at several polka worship services.
"I was content to be a mere collector of polka recordings until 1986 when the opportunity to buy a large collection came my way. I couldn't resist the opportunity to add to, my own collection, but my wife wondered what I was going to do with the duplicate albums, and all three of our teenage children echoed the sentiments of their sister, "No one is going to buy polka records! " They've all since admitted their error in forecasting the future. Rod's Music got off to a rather meager start with a small classified ad in an area dance paper. "I was surprised at the number of people looking for polka music," remembers Rod, "and I was equally surprised at the few places you could get it.
"I love polka music! Food for the soul! That's what I believe about polka music. It's happy music. Uplifting. While walking behind some RV's at a polka festival, my sister spotted a bumper sticker that said, "Polka Dancers Are Happy People". That should say 'HOPpy' people, my sister mused, and that thought became the slogan of my business," says Rod. "Polka people are fun people. I've met such interesting people through my business. I feel like a lot of my regular customers are family." Rod keeps a "Want List" for people who are looking for a particular recording, so it is with a real sense of joy when he is able to connect someone with a recording they are looking for.
"I know what it is like to search for a record," Rod reports. "We fell in love with the Midwestern band, Wee Willie. I had all their recordings except their first one, "Polka Joy". I looked for it for over twenty years. Once I found it at an estate sale, but when I picked up the album, the wrong record was in the jacket. I eventually found it in a collection I purchased from Ohio. It was the only Wee Willie album in the collection." "And when he found it," Marilyn added, "he cried." "Yeah, I did," admitted Rod. "There was a gentleman out in New York who had searched for a copy of Ray Budzilek's album "Live at Fiedor's Grove" for years. He had bought a lot of recordings from me, so when I found it, it was his gift. That was more satisfying than selling it!"
Rods Music does more, of course, than search for out-of-date recordings. He keeps as many of the latest recordings on hand as possible with hundreds of cassette and CD recordings available immediately. His latest catalog, now numbering over eighty pages, lists over 5,000 polka recordings. Bands are invited to send a copy of their recordings to Rod's Music so it can be included in the catalog, which is continually being updated. "I want my catalog to reflect the entire genre of polka music, with all musical styles represented as well as all areas of the country and world if possible,." says Rod. "That's how this whole thing got started, remember?"
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Contact Rod Broding
40020 Crane Lake Drive
Battle Lake, MN 56515