Henny & the Versa J's was formed in 1972 but it's true origin dates back much farther than that. Henny Jasiewicz, leader of the Versa J's, began playing trumpet some 53 years ago in a Pittsburgh-based band called, "The Bell Hops" along with Frank Gibala, who still plays clarinet and sax alongside Henny today. Thus, Henny and Frank's musical careers have been connected longer than most marriages! It all began when Henny and Frankie were matched up at very young ages (-9 and -11 respectively) by their fathers...Henry Jasiewicz Sr. and Leo Gibala (even though Frankie just wanted to play baseball!). You see, Henry Sr. and Leo played music together before their sons were even born! The Bell Hops were together from the 1950's to the late 1960's. When the group disbanded, Henry Sr., Henny & Frankie joined the Polish All-Stars for a few years. When that group disbanded, Henny started the Versa J's. Besides Henny and Frank, Henny's son Butch joined the Versa J's on drums in 1985. In 1995, Randy Koslosky joined the Versa J's adding his accordion, piano, vocals and unique songwriting ability. 2007 was a year of change for the band when Chris Bogdon became a full-time member of the Versa J's, contributing on concertina, trumpet, guitar, accordion, bass and vocals. Also in 2007 Steve Gibala (Frank's son) joined the band and plays clarinet, sax and sings some of your favorite tunes. The last addition was Mr. Erik Bogdon in 2008. Erik plays bass, concertina, accordion and contributes on vocals as well. Throughout the years, although the members of the Versa J's have changed, the mission has always been the same: Play great Polka music for the people. And after 35 years and 8 recordings later...the band is still growing and getting stronger. Bio Sheet for Henny & the Versa J's Henny and the Versa J's are comprised of seven (7) musicians that came from a variety of different musical backgrounds. The Versa J family continues with two pairs of father-son combinations (Henny/Butch & Frank/Steve), two brothers (Chris/Erik) and one brother-in-law (Chris/Randy). Henry David (Henny) Jasiewicz was born in McKeesport, PA on May 22, 1945. He has performed professionally since he was nine (9) years old. In 1954 Leo Gibala started a band with four (4) of his own children and asked Henny's father (Henry Thomas Jasiewicz - 1991 IPA Hall of Fame inductee) if his son would be interested in playing trumpet in their band. That group, known as the Bell Hops Orchestra, became locally and nationally recognized as they performed at numerous charity events, dances, weddings as well as on local radio and television shows. Henny spent several years with the Bell Hops mastering his craft and growing in his musical abilities. In 1964 the band recorded their first of two (2) albums on the Jay Jay label titled, "Polka Hops". Their second album was recorded in 1965 and titled New Polkas for You. Unfortunately, in the late 1960's the Bell Hops disbanded and Henny began playing with another local Pittsburgh band called, The Polish All-Stars. In 1972 Henny left the Polish All-Stars and started his own band called, Henny & the Versa J's...which is currently enjoying it's 37th consecutive year in existence. During those 37 years, the Versa J's performed locally, nationally and even internationally with a tour of Poland in 2000. The band, led by Henny, has been fortunate enough to win the following awards: 2004: Grammy Award Nomination for Best Polka Recording International Polka Association (IPA) Awards: Favorite Album or CD - Come On Over Favorite Song - Do You Remember? (Fiddle Medley) United States Polka Association (USPA) Awards: Favorite Album - Come On Over Favorite Song - Come On Over 24/7 Polka Heaven Awards: Best Album Best Song - Touch of the Master's Hand Polka Entertainers of the Year - Henny & the Versa J's 'Groundhog Grammy' from the Punxsutawney Polka Boosters Proclamation from the City of McKeesport making the month Of May, "Henny & the Versa J's Month". 1993: International Polka Association (IPA) Awards: Favorite Song - If I Could Be Like You Henny's talents on trumpet as well as vocals can be heard on the following recordings: 2009 - Don't Stop 2004 - Come On Over 1998 - Mother's Hands 1997 - Sharing Our Blessings 1993 - If I Could Be Like You 1990 - A Tribute to Our Dad with Love 1989 - Three Generations of Polkas 1982 - Home Style Polkas 1964 - Polka Hops 1965 - New Polkas for You Note: Henny has also performed on three (3) 45 recordings. Remarkably, Henny has been going strong for 55 straight years and is showing no signs of slowing. It has been his tremendously steady hand that has guided the Versa J's and provided thousands of fans over the years with the opportunity to enjoy the Polish music that they love as they celebrate their heritage and culture. Henry Joseph (Butch) Jasiewicz plays drums and is the driving force behind the Versa J beat. Butch started playing with the Versa J's at the early age of thirteen (13). Besides playing drums, Butch is also responsible for the bookings and business side of the band. Chris Bogdon primarily plays concertina and trumpet with the band. However, he also does some bass and guitar as well as vocal and announcing duties. Chris has been playing polkas since the age of fourteen (14). During that time, he has played for Matt Wasielewski's Polka Jets, Energy, John Steven's Doubleshot, Rhythm and Sound and Li'l John's ATM Band. Erik Bogdon is the newest member of the Versa J's and plays bass, concertina and accordion. Erik also sings several English and Polish songs with the band. Erik (like his brother Chris), has played for a variety of different bands including: Matt Wasielewski's Polka Jets, Energy, Rhythm and Sound, Toledo Polkamotion and Li'l John's ATM Band. Frank Gibala plays clarinet and tenor sax with the Versa J's. Like Henny, Frank began his musical career at an early age with the Bell Hops. Frankie played next to Henny then and still continues to today. Steve Gibala joined the Versa J's in 2007 and is the only eligible bachelor in the band. Steve plays clarinet and alto saxophone next to his father (Frank). In addition, Steve also contributes on a variety of vocals and serves as the band's 'Maintenance Coordinator'. Steve has been around polka music his entire life and we are proud to have him in the band! Randy Koslosky plays accordion, piano, and sings. Randy began playing with the Versa J's in the 1990's after most recently playing with the band Energy. This is Randy's 4th recording with the Versa J's. He brings to the Versa J's his remarkable writing and arranging talents. Randy has also written or co-written several songs recording by other bands such as Polka Family, Dynabrass, Twin Cities Soundz, Maestro's Men, Charm City Sound, Frank Borzymowski, and New Tradition. As a studio musician Randy has performed on somewhere near 100 recordings and over 1,000 songs by such bands as (to name a few) The Sounds, Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push, The Dynatones, The Boys, Charm City Sound, Polka Country Musicians, The Brass Connection, Ray Jay & the Carousels, Polka Family, The Boys, Frank Borzymowski, Larry Placek & the Tunemasters, Bob Matasy, The Mass Brass, The New Brass Express, etc., etc. He has been a recipient of the Piano Player of the Year award by the United Polka Association.