They call it the "Hokah Polka."

And it will be Hokah's unofficial anthem. At least for a day.

Local folk band Prairie Smoke will premiere its creation next week at Hokah United Methodist Church.

The group received a challenge at its last visit to the church from the pastor, the Rev. Mark Bengtson: Bring back a new song called the "Hokah Polka," based off the hokey pokey.

The band's counter challenge for Bengtson is to fill the church on premiere day. Should he fail to complete the challenge, Bengston will have to dance the polka during the song.

"My version of the polka will look like I'm going into a seizure, but I'm willing to do it," he said.

It was a good, fun challenge that the group took very seriously.

Bass player Jon Stuttgen went home the night after receiving the challenge, scribbling lyrics on a brown paper bag. The next morning, Stuttgen added a few finishing touches and prepared to show it to the rest of the group.

"It's a very catchy, fun piece," band member Tom Walter said. "It ties in other the local community (aspects)."

That's what Stuttgen wanted when he wrote the piece. The song is about the church and its influence within the community.

"There is still a bit of charm in many small, rural towns," he said. "Neighbors still know who their neighbors are, and they care enough about them to give them the time of day. There is a significant social element in every church's services in towns like this. Faith still matters there, and one of the things they believe in is each other."

Bengtson wasn't sure if the group would come back with a song. He was just joking around.

"I'm not surprised they did it, though," he said. "They're a fun group."

Bengtson has been working at spreading the word on the event, trying to fill each seat. He's not quite sure he'll make his goal, but that's OK, he said.

"I'm just really eager to hear the song," he said.

Stuttgen and the rest of Prairie Smoke are finalizing the song for its church debut.

They're ready to see Bengston attempt the polka, but most of all, Stuttgen just wants everyone to enjoy the music and get up and dance.

"Gathering folks at the church for no reason other than fellowship has an impact on how they encounter one another out on the streets, over garden fences or in someone's barnyard," he said. "Maybe this is where the real grace moments happen. It's not just something to find in the church."


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