Jan Lhotak Was born on February 10th, 1951, in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents were Alex and Jean Lhotak. Jan is married to Jeanette Lhotak, and he has a son, John, and two granddaughters: Jess and Janie.
Jan attended grade school at Omaha Public Schools Hawthorne, Marrs Junior High, Omaha South High School, College at University of Nebraska Omaha, and graduating from Peru State.
Jan was born and raised in South Omaha. His grandfather played cornet, And his dad played clarinet, saxophone and trumpet. To follow in their footsteps, he enrolled in beginning band at age 7, starting on trumpets. His dad then taught him to play saxophone a year later. Jan played trumpet and tenor saxophone all through high school, and learned to play tuba, string bass, and French horn during summer band sessions. Beginning in 1968, Jan started playing with the Frankie Remar Band, the Omaha Czech Brass Band, and with many other local polka bands in ballroom orchestras.
In 1969, Jan started college as a music education major, where he also learned to play clarinet, flute, trombone, and piano. However, to his formal music education ended in December of 1970 when he won the military draft lottery. He then enlisted into the United States Air Force and worked as a hospital corpsman for a year and a half until the Air Force needed trumpet players more than medics.
Jan served as an active duty musician with the Strategic Air Command Band at Offutt Air Force Base from 1972 to 1984. He played trumpet with the SAC Concert Band, the Notables Stage Band, and SAC Ambassadors Polka Band. When not performing as a musician with one of the groups, he also served as Band Supply Sergeant and Chief Audio Engineer.
During those 12 years he performed all over the United States and Canada, and traveled as far as Hawaii and Guam, working with famous entertainers like Tony Bennett and Boxcar Willie.
In 2000, Jan began his retirement years playing for bands in Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. He can be seen on strage with Mark Vyhlidal Orchestra, Bill Andel Brass Band, Little Tavern Band, Randy Korbelik and the New Moonlighters, as well as many other groups.
The list of instruments Jan can be found playing with the wide variety of bands includes trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, trombone, baritone, tuba, keyboards, and tenor banjo.
Jan received the John Philip Sousa Award in 1968 at Omaha South High School, and was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Milligan, Nebraska in 2020.
Source: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, September 10th, 2023