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IPA Hall of Fame Biography

Dee-Dee Jasiewicz Ogrodny has had polkas in her heart since she was born, and she has been a fixture at polka events since she was 18 months old, first with her Mom, Josephine Jasiewicz, and with her Dad and brother, Henry and Henny Jasiewicz (both Inductees of the IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame). Dee-Dee started to sing with the Bell Hops’ “Hopettes” and then solo with the Bell Hops when she was 9 years old, standing on a chair to reach the microphone. Dee-Dee’s love for polkas continued to grow and little did she know, Staś Ogrodny, who would eventually become her husband, first saw her singing at his family’s Fiedor’s Grove when he was 11. Ray Jay Jarusinski (another IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame Inductee) eventually joined the Bell Hops, and Dee-Dee and Ray shared vocals. When the Bell Hops disbanded in 1970, Henry, Henny, and Dee-Dee joined the Polish All Stars.

In 1972, Henny & the Versa J’s formed with Henny, Dee-Dee, Dad Henry, and members of the Gibala family. Dee-Dee had taken piano lessons for 7 years when the band originated, and she began contributing piano and bass along with her vocals. Then at age 13, Henny’s son, Butchie, joined the band on drums. For the Jasiewicz and Ogrodny families, polkas were always the bond that kept them together. In the meantime, Sta, who played trumpet and sang, started performing with Ray Jay, his brother, and cousins who formed Ray Jay and the Carousels. Eventually Dee-Dee and Stabegan dating, and each played in their own family bands every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Polka music has always been in Dee-Dee’s heart, and her love for the polka people was and still is unparalleled! Dee-Dee and Stawere married in 1979; and when the Carousels disbanded for a time, Stabegan playing with the Versa J’s. The band continued to play together at venues throughout the country, and in May of 1985, Dee-Dee and Stawere blessed with their son, Ryan Joseph. Ryan was born with the love of polkas, thanks to Dee-Dee and Sta, and his Grandfather (Pappi) Henry started to teach him violin as soon as he was able to hold the bow. Dee-Dee also began to take Ryan to Suzuki violin lessons when he was 3 1/2, taking notes during each lesson that she would use to practice with Ryan everyday. Ryan played along with his Grandfather until Henry passed away in 1989. Dee-Dee then continued to work with Ryan on his fiddle, vocal, and other instrumental lessons, cultivating his musical knowledge each and every day. She also taught Ryan and many other family and friends to dance the polka, and gave Ryan a never-ending love of polka music that he cherishes deeply. Dee-Dee’s support, guidance, and love are the reasons why Ryan’s dreams have come true.

Henny and the Versa J’s with Ryan continued to perform locally, nationally, on cruises, and internationally including a tour of Poland. Many wonderful friends and family played with the band during those years. One of those dear friends, IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame Inductee Randy Koslosky, joined the Versa J’s in 1997 and teamed up with Dee-Dee, Ryan, and the band to produce many heartfelt recordings, including one along with the choir of their Parish of St. Mary Czestochowa in McKeesport, PA. Dee-Dee coordinated and produced all of the band’s recordings, bus trips, cruises, mailings, and promotion throughout the years. She was and still is always there for everyone with her larger than life heart.

Dee-Dee’s involvement in polka music is inseparable from family. This includes performing in bands with her father, brother, nephew, husband, and son. For many female musicians, having a family has replaced performing, but for Dee-Dee the two have gone hand in hand. As a devoted stay-at-home mom, she continued to perform and still be the devoted mom she wanted to be. So, her career in polka music was integrated with family life through playing in the band that included her family. And for those band members who were not related, she was a big part of making those members feel like family. That family sense extended beyond the band and band members to the friends and fans of the band and to polka fans on a national level. With Dee-Dee we have someone who has performed at the highest level in the world of polka music. In addition, beyond her talent, she represents the loving, welcoming, familial aspect of the polka world. Her humility, charity, kindness, friendship, care, compassion, selflessness, and inclusiveness are a force for good in the field of polka music. Everyone is welcome and brought in and feels the personal connection. In this way, Dee-Dee in an icon of what is best in our “polka family”.


On a list that begins with Eddie Blazonczyk and Lenny Gomulka, Dee-Dee Ogrodny is the third most awarded vocalist in the history of polka music. During the years, Dee-Dee was honored to receive the Favorite Female Vocalist Award 11 times from the International Polka Association, 13 times from the United States Polka Association, and the UPA Award for Piano Player of the Year. As part of the Versa J’s, Dee-Dee coordinated and was featured on the band’s recordings, which received IPA awards for Favorite Album for Come On Over, Favorite Song for “If I Could Be Like You” (written by Dee-Dee) featuring Eddie Blazonczyk and Ryan, and Favorite Song for “Do You Remember When the Fiddle Played”. Additional awards for the Versa J’s from the USPA included Favorite Album and Song. In addition, awards from 24/7 Polka Heaven included Best Album, Song, and Entertainers. The Versa J’s received a Grammy award nomination in 2004 for Come On Over. The Grammy nomination allowed for many TV interviews, allowing Dee-Dee to continue to share her love for polka music with new audiences across the country. Dee-Dee is the featured vocalist on over 50 songs on 15 Albums & CDs with the family, the first song being “Polish Boyfriend” with others including signature tunes such as “Picking Cherries”, “Let’s Get Going”, “Christ Is Born”, “Touch of a Master’s Hand”, “I Give You Music”, and “Restless”. She also contributed her vocals on TBC’s Our Polka Hero CD and a vocal duet with the Del Sinchak Band on their Live at Kuzmans record. As a studio musician on piano, Dee-Dee performed most notably on the New Brass’ landmark Roll Out the Barrel recording as well as on “Birds ‘N Bees Polka” for The Krew Brothers. She shared her love for polka music weekly playing every polka venue, including benefits and conventions on stage for 42 years until her husband Stapassed away suddenly. Dee-Dee along with Ryan made the difficult decision to venture to Nashville in 2007. Their love for God, family, friends, and music continue to give them strength along the way. In 2022, Lenny Gomulka asked Dee-Dee to join him on his latest recording, To the Moon and Back. Dee-Dee was honored to be a featured vocalist on 3 songs, including the title track of the album.

Nashville’s Polka Ambassador

Dee-Dee keeps in touch with the polka world and truly appreciates the love and support throughout the years. She continues to love and honor her Polish roots. As the senior manager of guest relations at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for fifteen years, Dee-Dee consistently shared her love for polkas with Nashville artists, business executives, co-workers, and visitors, exposing new people to the polka world that she deeply cherishes. In 2022, Dee-Dee co-founded Four Strings Tours with Ryan and her daughter-in-law, Danika. One of the primary focuses of Four Strings Tours is to expand polka music’s reach. By welcoming 150 polka fans to Nashville as a large group in October of 2022, Dee-Dee helped organize the first push-style polka event in Nashville history, featuring Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push. She also organized and performed on the inaugural Four Strings Tours Recording Series song, Another Polka Rockin’ Weekend (Nashville Version). Written by and featuring Lenny Gomulka, the song was recorded at Historic RCA Studio B with Country Music Hall of Fame member, Charlie McCoy. Dee-Dee nurtures the connections made with polka friends and family throughout the United States, and continues to treasure those connections. Family, faith, polka music, and Dee-Dee’s Polish heritage have made her the humble and genuine role model that she is today. She is now thrilled to be Nunnie to her precious granddaughters, Cecilia Jordan (CeCe) and Lucina Josephine (Lucy), sharing the love of polka music with them. As a vocalist, musician, and person, Dee-Dee Ogrodny represents all of the exceptional qualities that make the polka world extraordinary.