While in his teens, Steve, Marty, Dan Puhala, and Dan Derdich formed Jorgovan and played for many functions in the Ohio Valley. He received his college education under full scholarship at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a member of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans. Steve was an instrumentalist and vocalist with the Tamburitzans for four years as they traveled throughout the United States and parts of Europe and was featured on a number of Tamburitzan recordings. While he was in the Tamburitzans, he formed strong friendships with many musicians that have lasted to this day.
One of those friendships was with Steve Vesolich. He joined the Steve Vesolich Orchestra and a very popular long-play record album was produced during their time together.
Steve went on to form the Cigani Tamburitza Orchestra. Cigani was one of the most innovative and talented groups within the past 30 years of American tambura history. Some of the great tamburitza artists who played with Cigani through the years were Jim Kopriva, George Salopek, Bob Vukic, Mike Kruljac, Bill Yurkovac, Tom Vesolich, Mike Klanac, and Ron Herak. Steve was also honored to have been able to play with his very good friend, Ken Herak, one of the greatest tamburitza musicians and vocalists of this or any era. Cigani played for picnics, clubs, weddings, concerts, christenings, and dances in the eastern half of the United States and also traveled as far west as Seattle, Washington. Cigani strived to develop their own distinctive style with innovative vocal and instrumental arrangements. Five popular long-play albums and one cassette were produced and many of the songs on these recordings still remain very popular.
Under the name of the Alcon Recording Orchestra, Steve, along with Jerry Grcevich, Mike Klanac, and George Salopek, recorded a double album of kolos that are still used in dance instruction. The double album was made at the Alcon Recording Studio in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. The studio was owned by Tom Ross, who was responsible for recording the first three Cigani albums. He was a good friend and mentor up until his untimely death.
He also made two albums with another good friend and wonderful singer, Darlene Licina. It was during these recording sessions that he experimented with arranging and adding instrumental and vocal parts himself. He was particularly proud of one number, Jeleno Momo Jeleno, that was done only with cellos, braćs, and vocals.
After Cigani, Steve enjoyed his time spent as a member of Dunav of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, with Steve Kaurich, Albin Abramovich, Pero Esapovich, and Bob Susnjer. He also played for many years with the famous Plavi Mjesec Orchestra of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and it was with Plavi Mjesec that Steve got to play with Dušan Saula, Sam Saula, Mark Phillips, Ed Milovac, Bill Yurkovac, Jim Kopriva, Mike Sandelich, Hall of Fame member Danny Kukich, and Frank Valentich, also a Hall of Fame member and master tambura maker.
Presently, Steve is with Tamburitza Orchestra Selo. Bob Vukic arranged a reunion of members of Cigani. Tamburitza Orchestra Selo came about as a result of the reunion and started out with Steve Wagner, Jim Kopriva, Tom Vesolich, Bob Vukic, and Steve Zegar. As work demands became heavier, Selo evolved and present members are Steve Zegar, Jim Kopriva, Kelly Muchnok, Tom Vesolich, and Frank Valentich. Selo has produced one CD, which is a good mixture of old and newer songs.
Steve has always enjoyed attending and performing at the Tamburitza Extravaganzas. He is honored to be inducted into the Tamburitza Association of America Hall of Fame.