Jimmy and Eckhard: Behind the Polka
Our Stammgäste (regulars) have enjoyed many Ein Prosit from our in-house performers Jimmy and Eckhard - their skills and talents are one of the main reasons you all come celebrate at our restaurant. But do you know the story Behind the Polka?
It all started when California native Jimmy Horzen came to Orlando in 1982 to take the accordion gig at EPCOT’s German pavilion. That same year, Eckhard left his hometown of Stuttgart, Germany to join family members already living in the States, and he too eventually put down roots in Florida.
On the weekends, Jimmy also played at an iconic German restaurant in downtown Orlando, where he first met two young servers, Theo and Linda. Yes, the Hollerbachs. Guess who played at their wedding?
Twenty years later they would be reunited in Sanford to once again offer guests a German experience of authentic dishes and lively entertainment.
For Eckhard, music was a Wachsmuth family tradition. In fact, his grandfather was the principal bassist in the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra. As a young man, Eckhard sang and performed in local bands around Germany before joining the German Army, or Bundeswehr, where Sgt. Wachsmuth served several years as a helicopter crew chief.
In 2001 Theo and Linda opened their restaurant on First Street in Sanford, Florida. They saw the Willow Tree Café as more than just a place to eat an authentic German meal; they wanted their guests to experience Gemütlichkeit – the German word for happiness, friendliness, coziness – in an overall fun atmosphere with traditional sing-alongs, Schunkeling, and dancing - so they brought in Jimmy.
Not long afterward, a certain guest asked if he could join in for a few songs. “Of course,” said Jimmy. It was magic. More importantly, though, it was fun! Eckhard brought in his Spoons, the Alpine Bells. and his Singing Saw. Then one night he came in with an Alpine Horn. The crowd loved it! Since 2006, Jimmy & Eckhard have been performing Thursday through Sunday at Hollerbach’s.
January 2020 will mark Jimmy & Eckhard’s 14th anniversary at Hollerbach’s. Same great food, along with an unforgettable evening of music, laughter and fun. Come back for another few rounds of Ein Prosit! You know the words!
Visit www.PolkaTime.com to have Jimmy perform at your next event!