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TUPA, JULIUS VICTOR

Julius Victor Tupa
Photograph, Portrait of Julius Victor Tupa. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

TUPA, JULIUS VICTOR (1931–2002). Julius Tupa, country and polka musician, promoter, disc jockey, and publisher, was born into a farming family in Moravia, Texas, on July 22, 1931. He was the son of Frank and Julie Tupa. He took up singing and playing guitar when he was thirteen. After graduating from Schulenburg High School, he moved to Houston and, while attending the University of Houston, began performing country music at area clubs. He made his first recording in 1951 with the Bennie Leaders Swing Band. In 1953 Tupa joined the United States Army and served part of his tour in Germany. On November 13, 1954, he married Marie Schultz of Houston. They had two daughters. He later served in the United States Air Force Reserve (1956–1961) at Ellington Field while completing his education at the University of Houston. He graduated in 1961 with a degree in electrical engineering and worked for Daniels Industries.

I Don't Like Feeling Blue
"I Don't Like Feeling Blue," by Julius Tupa, released in 1969. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

Tupa continued performing in the Houston area, having organized his first country band in 1956. He released an album on the Guide Record Label during the 1960s and was leader of a country swing group in 1973. He had also owned and operated a video and recording studio. Over the years, however, he increasingly turned to the music of his Czech heritage and became a devoted steward and promoter of polka music. In 1984 he began a career in radio on KFRD in Rosenberg and hosted a country polka radio program. In 1987 he began his long-running polka show Polka Express on KYND radio in Cypress, Texas. That year he also established The Texas Polka News, a monthly periodical that covered both the Texas and national polka scene. Tupa and his wife helped organize the Texas Chapter of the Polka Lovers Klub of America in 1989, and he established the Texas Polka Music Association in 1991 to promote and preserve the heritage of polka in Texas. His own polka band, the Sound Connection Band, which he cofounded in 1992, has been heralded as the first Slovenian-style polka band in Texas.

The longtime editor/publisher of The Texas Polka News and promoter of polka music was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Polka Music Association in 1998. Tupa was a member of the Czech Heritage Society, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a Catholic and charter member of St. Jerome Catholic Church. He died of esophageal cancer on October 5, 2002, in Houston. He was buried in Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Houston Chronicle, October 7, 2002. “Julius Tupa of The Texas Polka News Passes Away,” United States National Accordion News (http://www.accordionusa.com/ar_11_02.htm#13), accessed October 14, 2009. “A Tribute to Julius Tupa,” The Texas Polka News, Texas Dancing News (http://texasdancingnews.com/TX_Polka_News.html), accessed August 29, 2015.

Laurie E. Jasinski

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "Tupa, Julius Victor," accessed October 20, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ftu35.

Uploaded on March 21, 2015. Modified on January 25, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.