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IPA Hall of Fame Biography



By age 12, Henry Jasiewicz discovered his love for music and was practicing with a muted trumpet in his basement, often while his parents were sleeping.  In the years that followed, he also spent as much time as possible learning the violin.  His musical career began in the 1930's.  In 1935 he helped organize the Polish Ambassadors Orchestra.  It was at this time that he DJ'd a weekly radio broadcast over WHJB radio in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  He then joined the Silver Moon Orchestra and that musical friendship continued for 25 years.  At that time he also played with the Sunset Orchestra and the Polish Diplomats.


Henry began teaching his son Henny, who was 7 years old at the time, to play trumpet.  He then helped in the formation of the Bell Hops Orchestra whose musicians were all under the age of 12. He was associated with this group for the following 15 years, later playing in the group as well.  He then instilled his love and knowledge of music to his daughter Dee-Dee and by the age of 9 was singing with the group.  When the Bell Hops disbanded, Henry began playing with his family in the Polish All Stars Orchestra.


Henry's son, Henny, formed the Versa J's in 1972 when the Polish All Stars disbanded.  Henry continued to play in this family orchestra along with son Henny, grandson Butchie, daughter Dee Dee, son-in-law Stas and, most recently, grandson Ryan.  Ryan at the age of 3 was singing with the band and learning the violin from his "Pappi" Henry.


Henry recorded numerous 45's throughout the years.  He also recorded with the Bell Hops, where he wrote the music for much of their albums.  He recorded four albums with Henny and the Versa J's where he recorded more than 20 of his original songs and his wife Josephine wrote most of the lyrics.


Over the years, Henry performed throughout various areas of the United States sharing his love for polka music at various functions- He also appeared in the movie "In Heaven There is No Beer."


Henry was honored with a testimonial given by the Polka Power Club of Pennsylvania in 1984.