National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
Walter Ostanek, "Canada's Polka King," is not a monarch who is content to rest on
his laurels. Instead, Walter's every action demonstrates a belief that the title
carries with it a major responsibility which he takes very seriously. Based in St.
Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Walter has worked tirelessly for thirty-one years to
promote Slovenian Cleveland- Style Polkas and Waltzes across the entire North American
continent and abroad.
Perfecting his skills during a musical childhood, Walter formed the Walter Ostenak
Band in 1957, taking his inspiration from Frank Yankovic. Over the last thirty-one
years, Walter has embellished upon the basic Cleveland-Style with his own "Country
and Western" flavor while paying respect to all the many dimensions various artists
have added to Cleveland-Style music.
A tribute to this polka "ecumenism," Walter's newly released two volume set, "Polka-Stalgia,"
captures the Ostanek band working individually with a virtual Who's Who of Cleveland-Style
Polka artists. Likewise, through his "Hands Across the Border" series, Walter has
established a long history of incorporating famous Cleveland-Style artists, both
leaders and sidemen, on his recordings. (Note: A portion of the proceeds from all
sales of "Polka-Stalgia" will go to the American-Slovenian Polka Foundation and National
Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame.) Among Walter's most popular recordings on the
Arc, Marathon, Axe, Boot, CBS Canada, and World Renowned labels are the "Joanne Polka,"
"Lee and Ann's Polka," and "Play Me an Old Fashioned Waltz."
As an ambassador of Cleveland-Style Polkas and Waltzes, Walter has excelled. In addition
to hosting his own television shows (the current one for fourteen consecutive years),
radio shows (three currently), and polka tours, Walter has appeared on the "Johnny
Carson Show," "Phil Donahue," "Tommy Hunter Show," and Cleveland's "Polka Varieties"
as well as his own award-winning TV specials and telethons. He has also appeared
in concert with Roy Clark, the Oakridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Ray Price, Mel Tillis,
Brenda Lee, Slim Whitman, Tom T. Hall, T. G. Shepard, Tommy Hunter, Lawrence Welk,
Myron Floren, and Frank Yankovic. Among the band's countless honors are 3 Grammy
Awards and a Gold Record from Arc Recording Company.
Notwithstanding these accomplishments, Walter Ostanek remains relentless in his commitment
to pleasing his audiences. All this is quite amazing for a fellow whose attitude
still reflects the enthusiasm, humility,and dedication of an ambitious, awestruck
youngster trying to break into the ranks.