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Leroy Rybak's Swinging Orchestra
  "On August 26, 2012 I lost my father and my best friend. Life will never be the same ...
but angels have a new drummer up in Heaven."
- Chris Rybak
Funeral Mass Service: 10 am, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, at Ascension of our Lord Catholic Church of Moravia, TX.
Visitation: 4 pm, Wednesday at Kubena Funeral Home in Hallettsville, TX.
Rosary: 7 pm, Wednesday at Kubena Funeral Home in Hallettsville, TX.
A photo of the Leroy Rybak's Swinging Orchestra. From left to right, Paul Janak, George Simper, Leroy Rybak, Chris Rybak, Bernard Tupa and Shirley Trojcak.
A photo at the Big Joe TV Polka Fest. From left to right, George Simper, Paul Darilek, Leroy Rybak, Chris Rybak, Shirley Trojcak, Harry Macik


When Leroy Rybak’s Swinging Orchestra played, the people danced.  And that’s how the story went for over 40 years.

Leroy Rybak, the founder, band leader and drummer, was involved in music all his life.  Growing up in Moravia, TX as a third generation Czech, he learned Czech as his first language from his parents, and remained fluent in Czech his whole life.  He always enjoyed singing and playing his Czech songs.  In his early years, he played trumpet in high school.  Music also ran in his family; his grandfather, Louis Firasek, was a drummer.  Initially influenced by his grandfather, Leroy went on to become a drummer himself, which continued to be his lifelong instrument and the start of his music career.

Living in Lavaca County, there were many church picnics and dances where polka music was being played.  During these early times, he had the opportunity to sit in with the Joe Patek Orchestra (and many other bands), where he became inspired and wanted to continue his music and Czech tradition.  After performing with several bands for a few years, he decided to form his own band, Leroy Rybak’s Swinging Orchestra, where he played for the next 40 years.

While musicians changed through the years, one thing remained the same … Leroy was a drummer at heart and kept the music going.  He always had a great love for music, and enjoyed watching the crowd dance to his band.  His eyes were on the crowd too, adjusting the tempo “just right” to keep them coming back for more! 

Leroy’s sound was legendary for many years with the twin trumpets of Leonard and Paul Darilek, accordion by Norbert Strmiska, guitar by George Simper, bass horn by Harry Macik, and drums by Leroy Rybak.  There were many miles traveled and performances played … from Bill Mraz and SPJST Lodge #88 in Houston to Martinez Hall in San Antonio, Seaton Star in Temple, Moravian Hall in Corpus Christi, Mustang Hall near Hallettsville, Big Joe Polka Show in Carmine, and many trips to the New Braunfels German Village among others.   Oh, and don’t forget all the polka fests in Lavaca County including Hallettsville, Shiner, Moulton!  And when he wasn’t playing, you would usually find him at picnics, festivals, and other shows watching the polka bands and enjoying a pivo or two!  At home, he always had polka music playing on his radio inside, or outside while feeding his cattle.  Even his cows knew the words to A Ja Sam!
Leroy Rybak’s Swinging Orchestra had many musicians that played in the band through the years including: George Simper, Leonard Darilek, Paul Darilek, Harry Macik, Norbert Strmiska, Chris Rybak, Shirley Trojcak, Alfonse Lichnovsky, Eugene Mucala, Ricky Svetlik, Robert Svetlik, Milton Rabel, Dominic Konvicka, Pat Veit, Elroy Strnadel, Gene Janak, David Hickl, Tommy Lane, Paul Janak Sr., Marvin Kremling, Bernard Tupa, Ed Hrncir, Ed Kopecky among others.

Leroy's wife, Joyce stood by his side since they met and was his biggest supporter. They actually met at one of the dances at the American Legion Hall in Hallettsville.  Joyce also sang in the band, including some Czech songs where they harmonized together.  They shared many great years together and in the recent years they traveled to Europe, visiting many places including the Czech Republic, to research their ancestors. His pride and joy was his only son Chris, who is following in his footsteps in music. Chris is married to his wife Edita who is originally from Slovakia, and they have a 3 year old daughter Kristina Nicole Rybak, who was grandpa's little "žabka" (little froggie). Kristina is already now following the path of music like both her father and grandfather.

Leroy Rybak’s Swinging Orchestra had various recordings through the years, and these two are still available for sale:
1. Leroy Rybak’s Swinging Orchestra – Don’t Mess With Texas Polkas & Waltzes
2. Leroy Rybak’s Swinging Orchestra – Polka & Waltz Classics live from Mustang Hall

Czech Heritage was always an important ingredient in the music his band played … and Leroy really did play happy music for happy people.

From the Kubena Funeral Home Guest Book

From the Kubena Funeral Home Guest Book

Alton & Debbie Fojtik
Moulton, TX
September 13, 2012 10:44 AM
Our deepest sympathy to the family of Leroy. Our thoiughts and prayers are with you all.

Hank & Darlene Melnar
New Braunfels Tx.
September 4, 2012 6:41 PM
Chris, Edita & family, our thoughts & prayers are with you at this time. There will be lots of polkas in heaven Hank & Darlene Melnar

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Mary & Micah Harmon
Hallettsville, TX
September 4, 2012 4:57 PM
Our prayers are being sent your way ---- Please accept our sympathy for your family

September 4, 2012 7:44 AM
Chris and Joyce, Please know we are thinking of you during this sad time.With Sympathy, Karen and Harvey,Krisha,Jessica,Roddy & Richard

Pam Cinadr
August 31, 2012 9:58 AM
Joyce and Family- May God embrace you during this trying time. Let the wonderful memories help ease the pain you must now feel so that His music will play forever in your hearts! My deepest sympathy.

jerry haisler
temple texas
August 30, 2012 11:06 PM
Chris and your family, I am saddened to hear of your father's sudden passing. My deepest condelences. May God bless and keep you.

Jerry Haisler and the Melody 5

Louis and Pat Vrazel
Danbury, TX
August 30, 2012 10:14 PM
Chris and family, May God bless you all with His strength and grace at this time. We extend our deepest sympathy to you all.

johnny and rita kovar
August 30, 2012 3:32 PM
We are so sorry to all of you, may god give you the pease to remember all the great memories with joy in your heart and share with grandbaby as she grows many blessings of pease be with you. Love always and forever johnny and Rita kovar

James & Ann Schoeneman
Snook, TX Evangelical United Church of Christ
August 30, 2012 1:17 PM
Chris & Family, You and your family have our sympathy. We never understand, but you know God must have need another angel. See you soon. James & Ann Schoeneman

Jim & Janiece Pustejovsky
Sinton, Texas
August 30, 2012 10:22 AM
Chris and Family, We are sorry that you are going through this sad time...it is very hard to lose a parent, especially so young. Hold on to your wonderful memories and know that your dad will be watching over you with his gentle and guiding hands....he is your family's personal guardian angel. Love and prayers....Janiece & Jim Pustejovsky

Jim Ehrlich
August 30, 2012 10:18 AM
Chris and Family, we send our condolences and prayers, God Bless you and your family. Jim Ehrlich and The Polkamates polka and variety band, Longmont,Colorado

Gene Hackemack
Brenham TX
August 30, 2012 8:07 AM
Chris, we all share your loss. Leroy was my friend for many, many years. I will truly miss him. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your family.

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Bill and Pat Spiegel
Dale, Texas
August 30, 2012 1:10 AM
Chris, Knowing you goes back a long way. Watched you from a young lad to the fine gentleman you are today. Didnt really get to know your Dad but I do know how much you loved him, it was so obvious that He was your best friend. Times will be tough for a long while but think of the good times instead of the bad and it will all work out Some of your musical friends, Bill and Pat Spiegel

Celtic Cross
Jimmy & Rose Becka
August 30, 2012 12:46 AM
Please accept our sincere sympathy on the death of your husband and father. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Mildred and William Dokupil
West, Texas
August 30, 2012 12:35 AM
Chris, Edita and Kristina We are thinking of you at this time of sorrow in the loss of your dad. Czech Heritage is a beautiful thing and we must keep it alive. I am sure that is what your dad would want you to keep doing. God bless you in this time of sadness and sending you our love.

Edward, Frances & Nancy Hosek
Poth, Texas
August 29, 2012 8:19 PM
Our thoughts and prayers are with you Joyce, Chris and Edita.

Ronnie & Mary Leck
Shiner, Texas
August 29, 2012 7:53 PM
Joyce, Chris, Edita & Kristina

We wish to express our condolences and sympathy to you and Leroy's sisters on your personal loss. You are in our prayers.

Ronnie and Mary Leck

Richard and Agnes Martin
Austin, Texas
August 29, 2012 6:55 PM
Our sympathy and prayers are with your family. We are very sorry for your loss.

Tammy Kowalczyk
Lenoir, NC
August 29, 2012 2:19 PM
We are so sorry to hear about your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Al & Liz Mazurkiewicz
Cypress, Tx
August 29, 2012 1:40 PM
Joyce, Chris, Edita, Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this trying time. God be with you in your loss.

Lupe Almaraz
Waelder, Texas 78959
August 29, 2012 12:42 PM
My deepest sympathy to all the Family Of Leroy L.Rybak. I know how hard it is to lose a Father and I still remeber when I lost mine and it has been very hard so I know how hard it is for you'll. May God give you'll comfort and I will keep you'll in prayer.God Bless You'll in this time of Sorrow.

Leona and franklin Sedlar
Victoria. Texas.
August 29, 2012 10:45 AM
We visited with Leroy several times when we saw him in Hallettsville, A great musican. Our sympathy and prayers go out to you and your family during the loss of a love one.

Ray Sczepanik
San Antonio, Tx
August 29, 2012 9:39 AM
Oh so sorry to hear about this---such a fine musician friend----! Ray

Eddie Kosar
Houston Texas
August 28, 2012 11:27 PM
I recently viewed some old video of Mr.Rybak's band playing at spjst #88.He had a great band and was a good drummer.I am sad to learn of the passing of a fellow musician and drummer.My condolences to Chris Rybak and his Family.

Eddie Kosar/Kovandas Czech Band

Bobby Bohuslav
Saint Marys, KS
August 28, 2012 5:43 PM
Our most sincere condolences to Leroy's family on the passing of such a wonderful man. May God have mercy upon him and may his soul rest in peace. Amen In Christ's name, Bobby and Sharon Bohuslav

Pam Bairrington
Arlington, Texas
August 28, 2012 5:34 PM
Joyce, I was so sad to hear of Leroy's death. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God Bless You

Ailene Sevcik Blaylock
Conroe, Texas
August 28, 2012 5:11 PM
I offer my condolences to all of Leroy's family. I was very sad to hear of his death. We were in school together where we had tons of fun and laughs talking Czech and I attended the Junior Prom with him. I was fortunate to see him at an anniversary celebration a few years ago. We had not seen each other in many, many years and he still recognized me. God bless all of you and may God keep your hearts busy in remembering those wonderful memories of him. Ailene Sevcik Blaylock

Latin Cross
August 28, 2012 4:28 PM
JOYCE AND FAMILY::: Our deepest sympathy to all of you... Deeply sadden on learning the news. May God help you thru this time... Will keep you you in our thoughts and prayers...

Diana Darilek Cole
August 28, 2012 3:24 PM
To the family I send my sympathy.Leroy and his family were our neighbors when we were growing up.Iwill remember and cherish all the good times we had at Moravia school.God bless you in this time and take care of one another.

George & Joyce Patrick
Austin, Texas 78744
August 28, 2012 9:50 AM
Sincerest sympathies to the Rybak family. We have lost some music here but Heaven has gained another musician.

Stan & Gayle Zettner
Pleasanton, Texas
August 28, 2012 9:35 AM
Oh wow----what a (bad) surprise---so sorry to hear this! He was so much fun to play music with now and then! Stan

James and Frances Pohl
August 28, 2012 9:00 AM
You are in our thoughts at this sad time. God bless you and your family. Frances

Margaret Supak Maus
Victoria, Texas 77901
August 27, 2012 8:08 PM
I was so sad to hear of Leroy's passing.I have many memories of our school days at Moravia.God bless you as you face the coming days.

Brenda Ulrich Sczepanik
Seguin, TX
August 27, 2012 8:03 PM
You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Harry & Vernell Macik
Shiner, TX
August 27, 2012 6:42 PM
Joyce, Chris & Family; We are so sorry to heard this news. Leroy was such a good person and will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you at his most difficult time. Harry will miss him alot, they have some really good memories of playing together. God Bless You.

Harry & Vernell Macik

Royce and Irene K. Schulte
August 27, 2012 4:11 PM
Joyce and family: Royce and I wish to express our sympathy at this time of your loss. May God Bless and keep all of you. Irene

Cindy & Ray Renken
Hallettsville, Texas
August 27, 2012 3:54 PM
Please accept our sincere sympathy at this time of great loss to your family. May Jesus hold you in His arms and may your fond memories of Leroy bring you comfort. God Bless!

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