As Jackie grew to a teenager, it quickly became apparent that his genuine love for music accompanied by a pure and natural talent. While attending school, he studied clarinet with Mitchell Szdlik and Anthony Zieminski. He graducated from Southbridge High School in Southbridge, MA in 1973 as a member of the National Honor Society. He was also a member of the Central District Band as the Principle Clarinetist from 1971-1973 and the MA All-State Band in 1973. It was in 1973 that Jackie became a member of his first polka band, The Dick Pillar Orchestra. He played with Dick's group until 1977 and recorded two albums on Stelljo Records as a member of the group and played on a couple of later records done by the Dick Pillar Orch. During the time he was playing with Pillar on the weekends, he was also busy earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree in music from Westifield State College in Westifield, MA in 1977. He was the Principle Clarinetist in the college's Wind Symphony for three years. He studied clarinet with Kenneth Legace and Peter Demos.
Later in 1977, Jackie became a member of the popular "Heavy Chicago" where he stayed until 1982. "Polkas, Hot and Heavy" was recorded in 1977 with Heavy Chicago, followed up in 1980 with "Heavy Chicago V". In 1982, Jackie joined three other local musicians to form the very big sounding "Bay State IV". Jackie stayed with this crowd-pleasing group for nine years and recorded four albums with the group on Polka Train Records. Jackie had the honor of appearing with the Bay State IV at the 1988 American Folk life Festival sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and held in Washington, D.C. This annual event is held on the Washington Mall and is attended by approximately one million people in a two week period. The Bay State IV was honored to be among the many artisans and musicians representing the state of MA along with representatives from the former Soviet Union.
It was later in 1991 that Jackie Libera took the stage as the leader of his own band. Jackie Libera and the Classix. Their big, full sound topped with Jackie's tremendous vocals quickly made them a very popular group on the polka circuit. Their recording, "CLASSIX OF 93" was recorded in 1993 on Sunshine Records and featured two originals written by Jackie. It was also in 1993 that Jackie received his Master of Education Degree from Fitchburg State Collage in Fitchburg, MA with a concentration in Education Leadership and Administration. The group disbanded in 1994.
In 1996, Jackie joined the Maestro's Men where he continues to perform today. Wth the Maestro's Men, Jackie is featured on piano and bass and takes the lead vocals. They have made numerous records to date with more originals by Jackie included. With every other group he was part of, Jackie was featured on trumpet, clarinet, saxophone and vocals.
Aside from Jackie's promotion of polka music as a performing musician, he was heard for years with his own polka radio shows. He had been on the air at WESO 970 AM in Southbride, MA on Sundays from 9-9:30 AM.
Jackie shares his love and knowledge for and of music with others on the weekends also as a beloved music teacher and band director. From 1982-1991, he taught Instrumental Music for grades 9-12 at Southbridge, MA. In 1991, he moved on to the town of Grafton, Massachusetts where he taught Instrumental Music for grades 4-12 at Grafton High School, Grafton Middle School and Grafton Intermediate School. From 1994 to the present, he has enjoyed teaching general music and instrumental music for grades 6 and 7 at Oxford Middle School in Oxford, MA.
His proud parents, John and Stasia Libera instilled his love for music and polka music in particular at a very yound age and continue to encourage Jackie today along with his lovely wife, Linda. You can often catch their daughter, Jenna, doing a Polish vocal or two and dancing to her father's music. Anther generation to be raised with polka music.
Before the Maestro's Men, Jackie has appeared at one time or another with the Polka Family, The New Brass, Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatoes, Jimmy Sturr, Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push, Ray Jay and the Carousels, the Dynatones, The Sounds, The Brass Connection, Marion Lush, Ray Henry, Eddie Forman, Freedie K, John Gora and Gorale, Happy Richie, Jersey Polka Richie, Li'l Wally, The Dynasticks, Henny and the Versa J's and others. Libera was also the musical arranger and orchestra director for the Lenny Gomulka Christmas Shows and a proud member of the Polish Carolers.ennis grew up in a musical family.
Maestro's Men - "Decade Two"Maestro's Men - "Enjoy The Little Things"Maestro's Men - "Don't Stop The Music"Maestro's Men - "Decade"Maestro's Men - "It's All About The Music"Maestro's Men - "Strike Up The Band"Maestro's Men - "Music Maestros Please"Maestro's Men - "Once More...From The Top"Maestro's Men - "Out Of The Blue"Maestro's Men - "Polkas For A Christmas Season 2"Maestro's Men - "Polkas For A Christmas Season 3Jackie Libera & The Classix - "CLASSix Of 93"Dick Pillar - "Polkabration Tour"Dick Pillar - "Polka Hall Of Fame"Dick Pillar - "In Polka Unity"Dick Pillar - "Polkabrate"Heavy Chicago - "Polkas Hot & Heavy"Heavy Chicago - "Heavy Chicago V"Baystate IV - "Our First One"Baystate IV - "Salute To The Stars"Baystate IV - "Polka Treasures"Baystate IV - "Who Could Ask For Anything More"