Stephanie Pietrzak

                                        Promoting Polka Music Everywhere
Stephanie Pietrzak
                                        Living Category - Inducted 2010

It all started at the age of seven when Stephanie was being taught
            the accordion by her mom, Wanda, and the Polish vocals by her
            grandmother, Stephanie. This created an interest in listening to
            Polish music. While Henry her father was off bowling, Wanda took
            Stephanie to see Li’l Wally when he was in town. When Stephanie saw
            Li'l Wally play the concertina and sing "Hello My Kejda," she was
            fascinated with this instrument. Stephanie no longer wanted to play
            the accordion. 
            Wanda took Stephanie to Chicago to look for a concertina. They went
            to Jay Jay on Kedzie Avenue. Li’l Wally owned this music store and
            was showing them some concertinas that were in the store. Stephanie
            spotted a red one on display in a showcase that she fell in love
            with. It was the only one that she wanted and Li'l Wally said this
            one was not for sale because it was the concertina that he played on
            the Lawrence Welk Show. Because Stephanie would only settle on this
            one particular concertina Li'l Wally asked Wanda if Stephanie played
            any instrument. Wanda answered "Yes, she plays the accordion" and
            Li'l Wally had her play one. Li’l Wally was impressed with how she
            played and said she will learn the concertina and do very well with
            it. He ended up letting Wanda purchase that concertina and Stephanie
            still plays it today.
            Marion Lush was playing in Buffalo and Stephanie and her parents
            went to see him. During the show, Marion was told that Stephanie
            plays the concertina and Wanda sings with her. He asked them if they
            would  join him on stage. Stephanie’s dad went home and brought the
            concertina back, and it all began. The crowd automatically crowded
the front of the stage and wanted more. Marion took them the next
            day to Dover, New Jersey, and they were a big success.
            As time went on, they started a polka band called Wanda & Stephanie
            & the Golden Stars. Henry was their driver and set up man for all
            the equipment. Eddie Blazonczyk heard the girls play and asked them
            if they would record on Bel-Aire Records. Eddie was the drummer on
            all the recordings and many other Chicago musicians such as Lenny
            Gomulka and Eddie Madura. After recording their first album, Eddie
            asked them to write some original materials. "Come Back My Johnny"
            was their first hit and many more originals followed. "Lover Oh
            Lover" became the #1 song and also the IPA Song of the Year.
            Thirty-six years later, Stephanie received a telephone call from the
            producers of "Deal Or No Deal" and asked if they could play her song
            on international and national TV. Many great albums followed. They
            also won "Best Female Vocalists" in 1973 and 1977 from the IPA.
            During their travels in the Pittsburg, Pa., area, a top local
            promoter, Joe Fiedor, proclaimed the girls as "America's Polka
            In 1980, Henry passed away and Wanda & Stephanie took time 
            off from the music scene. A year later, they decided that traveling 
            would be too hard, 
            so they went back to playing locally in the Buffalo area.
            They played at Melody Fair with Bobby Vinton several times. Their
            unique style and sound generated enthusiasm from out of town
            promoters and their traveling with the top bands started. They
            toured extensively across the United States and Canada playing the
            largest ballrooms, polka conventions and festivals. They performed
   on numerous radio and television broadcasts and were featured
            entertainers on Caribbean cruises. They played with The Versatones,
            Marion Lush and Li’l Wally to record breaking crowds.
            Their success continued until 1996, when Wanda suddenly passed away.
            Stephanie decided that she would not continue on without her mother
            by her side. Two years into retirement, she received a call from her
            close and dearest friend, Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr., After a long
            conversation and encouragement, he convinced her to play the
            concertina and write a song about her mother. She agreed to write
            and record one more album "Tribute To Wanda, I'll Always Love You."
            Well, wouldn't you know that it became #1 and promoters started
            tributes to Wanda. Stephanie had no plans on returning to the polka
            music field, however, not being able to refuse the promoters she
            continues on in her mother’s memory. Stephanie decided to made a few
            appearances. Because the fans continued with the same excitement as
            when she played with her mom, she started a new band called
            "Stephanie & Her Honky Band." But, once again, Stephanie did not 
            want to travel or play full time. Then Edward Haniszewski Sr. came
            into the picture and became her manager and driver, as he wanted her
            to continue with her career.
            After recording the "I'll Always Love You" album on the Sunshine
            Label in late 1998, she recorded a live album in the Western New
            York area with a special guest appearance by Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr.
He sang and played drums with Stephanie’s Honky Band. Stephanie
            fulfilled her mother’s dream of recording a live album.
            In 1999 a great honor was bestowed on Wanda, as she was inducted
            into the IPA Polka Music Hall of Fame. Stephanie went to Chicago to
            accept this award in her mother’s behalf, which was the hardest
            thing she had to do, knowing her mother could not be there to 
            receive it. Also during that year, another great honor was bestowed
            as Wanda & Stephanie were the first polka entertainers to be
            inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
            Stephanie then returned to Chicago where her and her mom Wanda first
            began their successful run recording on the Bel-Aire label.
            Stephanie put together an ultimate honky band with Chicago musicians
            for her recordings and road tours. She handpicked the Chicago
            musicians, such as Eddie Madura, Jimmy Sierzega, Tony Blazonczyk,
            Wayne Sienkowski and Nigel Kurdziel. At this point not only is she a
            bandleader, vocalist and entertainer, but also a composer,
            songwriter and producer. Besides playing the concertina, Stephanie
            plays the drums, accordion and piano. Stephanie now travels the
            country playing polka festivals, conventions and major events and
            entertaining thousands of people.
            Stephanie then ventured into her own radio show, by 2010 celebrating
            ten years of playing the honky-dyno music she loves. Also, her show
            is heard on .
            In 2005, 2007 and 2008, the IPA awarded Stephanie "Best Female 
            Vocalist" and in 2009 she received "Best Song of the Year" for her
            song that she composed, "Polka Memories." In 2006, she composed
            another #1 hit from her famous quote "I Can't Hear You."
     After all the years of hard work and two successful careers, one as
            a mother/daughter team known as Wanda & Stephanie, and the other as
            a solo entertainer, Stephanie finally reached the pinnacle of her
            career and was inducted into the "Polka Music Hall of Fame."



   Promoting Polka Music Everywhere


            Wanda "Koziol" Pietrzak

                             Deceased Category - Inducted 1999
            Wanda S. Pietrzak was a singer who achieved national acclaim in
            polka music's only mother and daughter team, "Wanda and Stephanie".
            As half of "Wanda and Stephanie", known as "American's Polka
Sweethearts," she recorded many albums. She scored a #1 polka hit in
            1971 with a song she wrote, "Lover Oh Lover."
            Wanda Koziol was born in Lackawanna, New York and was raised in
            Chicago in the musical family of Frank and Stephanie Koziol. Wanda
            developed her love for Polka music as a child listening to her
            mother sing. In the 50's Wanda and her mother sang and played at 
            parties. Wanda was a versatile preformer and played various 
            instruments such as the accordion, piano and bass.
            Wanda and her family then moved to Buffalo, New York where she met
            her husband, Henry Pietrzak, then daughter Stephanie was born and
            showed the same musical talent. Wanda taught her how to play the
            accordion. Stephanie then taught herself the concertina and
            eventually her father developed the "Wanda and Stephanie Show". This
            mother and daughter team soon became the "Golden Stars". and were
            named "The Newest Sensation Throughout the Nation" and "America's
            Polka Sweethearts."
            Their big break came when they were discovered by polka star Marion
            Lush at the Hearthstone Manor in Depew, New York during the 1967
            International Polka Festival.
            Proponents of the honky Chicago polka style, they soon became part
            of the contingent of the top Chicago bands that included: Marion
            Lush, Eddie Blazonczyk and Li'l Wally. They recorded their first
            album with Blazonczyk in Chicago on Bel-Aire records. There after
            many albums followed.
            The first hit was a song Wanda wrote called "Come Back My Johnny",
            and they had a number of polka hits that Wanda wrote after the
success of "Lover Oh Lover," such as "Kiss Me Sweetheart," "My
            Polish Lover," "Knock Knock," "I'll Be Back," and the list goes on.
            Through the years she wrote a lot of great songs with Stephanie.
            Wanda twice was honored as Best Female Vocalist by International
            Polka Association in Chicago. Throughout the years she received many
            awards, citations and plaques for their songs and entertainment.
            Wanda was a bandleader, singer, songwriter, composer and entertainer
            for over 30 years. She knew how to get a seated crowd standing IO
            deep in front of the stage. Wanda always loved the performing end of
            the business. She was always out-going to her fans and loved being
            with the crowd, getting them involved in the music.
            They toured extensively across the United States and Canada playing
            the largest ballrooms, polka conventions and festivals. They
            performed on numerous radio and television broadcasts and were
            featured entertainers on Caribbean cruises. They shared the stage
            with Bobby Vinton many times at Melody Fair in North Tonawanda, New
            York. Their outstanding talent was the topic of Buffalo's leading
            new publication when it headlined "Wanda and Stephanie" on the cover
            and centerfold.
            Wanda gave her last performance two weeks before she died suddenly
            on March 2, 1996. Although this award is to honor Wanda it is
            impossible to separate the "Wanda and Stephanie" team in the mind of
            polka lovers. Wanda will always be remembered and loved for her
      songs, entertainment and great love of Polka music. The happiness
            she brought to the Polish Music lovers is Legendary, and will live
            on always.

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