340 N 6TH ST
Kansas City, KS 66101-3350
(913) 371-1404
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April 3, 1935 - April 26, 2014 On Saturday, April 26, 2014, the area lost the man once described as a " cultural treasure" by the Kansas Art Council when he was named artist in residence in the Kansas City, KS school system. The Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 AM, Thursday, May 1, at Holy Family Catholic Church, 274 Orchard St., KC,KS. Burial in Mt Calvary Cemetery. Visitation 5 to 8 PM, Wednesday, April 30 at Holy Family Church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Holy Family Church. Don was born April 3, 1935 to Anthony Joseph and Agnes Julia (Mayerle) Lipovac and was a lifelong area resident. His career in music started in childhood playing Slovenian songs on the button accordion that his grandfather used to sing. Through classical training he developed into a renowned accordion artist winning the national virtuoso competition at Carnegie Hall in 1958, going on to represent the United States in the world competition in Brussels, Belgium. Don studied the piano accordion under Alfred Vacca of Kansas City, MO and earned degrees in music theory and music education at the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He taught accordion students both privately and at the Vacca School of Accordion. He also gave solo concerts around the country and performed as a soloist with the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra. Don leaves a great legacy in his home town where he developed a deep appreciation and love for the folk music of his Slovene and Croatian neighborhood that extended to the other ethnic groups. Inspired by the international folk concerts of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, he became an expert in folk music with the hope and intent of preserving their music and cultural heritage. He taught and directed over 200 students of St. John's School Tamburitza orchestra, and with the constant help of his wife, JoAnn, led them over 25 years in concerts travelling and in making records. For this accomplishment, he was inducted into the Tamburitza Hall of Fame. The Don Lipovac Polka Band and their records are well known and appreciated around the world. Don's Polka style was inspired by his friend, Frank Yankovic. The band became frequent performers at local events and festivals around the country. Their popularity has earned recognition and induction in the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Iron World USA Polka Hall of Fame in Chisholm, MN. Locally the group became so popular a booster club was formed to add support and travel with them to out of town events. That loyalty lasted for over 30 years. Don is known to other audiences for his more contemporary solo performances, as a member of combos at social events, local clubs and restaurants, notably the Alameda Plaza Rooftop Restaurant and Italian Gardens. Don graduated from Wyandotte High School and the Kansas City Conservatory of Music. He served his country in the US Army. He was an organist and lifelong member of the Holy Family Catholic Church as well as a member of the American Slovenian Catholic Union (KSKJ) Lodge, St. Martin's Croatian Fraternal Union, and the American Federation of Musicians Union. Preceding him in death were his parents and niece, Janet Bernstein. Surviving is his beloved wife of 52 years, JoAnn (Yocuis) Lipovac, his brother, James Eugene Lipovac, sister, Agnes Phelps (Don), two nieces, Laura Krzyzanowski (Bill), and Donna Coldren (Jeffrey), also five great nephews. Arrangements: Skradski Funeral Home, KC, KS. 913-371-1404 www.skradskifh-kc.com
Published in Kansas City Star on Apr. 29, 2014
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