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Posts Tagged ‘odarka’

Artist Profile: Odarka Polanskyj Stockert, Harpist

In Artist Profile on June 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm

©2009 Ferdinand JimenezWe’re sure you’ll enjoy learning more about harpist Odarka Polanskyj Stockert as we did!

You are a harpist who plays at weddings and at other venues. Can you share a little bit about how you became interested in music and how you learned to play so beautifully?

I actually was introduced to the harp via the public television Channel 13 broadcast of the Mr. Rogers show when I was a young child. I studied the harp with Leone Paulson of South Orange, NJ from the age of  seven, and played in The Paulson Harp Ensemble for many years and spent summers in Ireland studying the Celtic Harp. 

How do you help couples to choose the best music for their unique ceremonies?

Well, I like to learn a bit about them, their backgrounds, where the families come from ethnically and religiously and will often pick out music the grandparents might enjoy as well as the young couple.  I’ve had great success with melding traditions of different ethnicities and religions and even will often write something especially for the occasion.

What kinds of questions do couples usually ask you?

I often am asked to make musical suggestions music or song selections especially in complex multicultural weddings, but also I get brides who want alternatives the traditional selections. 

The harp is a large instrument. How do you set up in various venues (outside, up stairs, etc.)?

Well, usually I require handicap access (or at least a small stair count for the larger Wurlitzer Harp I play), but I also have seen an increased interest in the Celtic Harp being used for weddings and that is much more portable and can be carried up a flight of stairs etc. if necessary.  It is also what I often recommend for outdoor weddings and smaller venues.

What was the most unique wedding(s) you ever played at? 

Ooh this could get me in trouble! Do I have to answer that?  Yes, I have played some unique weddings, but I would hate to choose one over the other!  Every one of them is unique and a representation of the love of the two people. 

How does art play a role in your business?

I feel that the whole experience of hearing a harp in a beautiful setting is in itself a work of art.  A kind of performance art that creates an environment that the client is looking for.  The most creative aspect is the music I write on request for some of my clients.  I love doing that and a finished piece of music results with a special dedication for the couple. 

How does art influence your life? 

This is a big question.  I live it every day, pay attention every day.  It is something very hard to describe how one goes about embracing an artistic life.   But it is really about seeing the beautiful things that surround us, not taking them for granted, but taking them in and developing more art, whether it is music or poetry or a painting, it is all the same thing to me.

If you are married, could you share a detail or two about your own wedding?

Sure. I had a very ethnic Ukrainian wedding at St. John’s Church Hall in Newark, New Jersey.  Our biggest requirement was a band and a dance floor , I love dancing tangos and waltzes and I remember asking the Ukrainian Band Tempo to keep the polkas to a minimum and of course the ceremony music which was largely provided by musicians I have met along the way.  It was seventeen years ago so I don’t actually remember that much but people still remember it as one of those really memorable ethnic weddings.  I am so glad I kept so many of the old traditions, because as time goes by we see less and less of them. 

How do people learn more about what you do?

They can visit my websites:  (request to me added to my email list here on contact page) –   NEW songs! (New CD!)  This new CD features a piece I wrote for a wedding last year called “Love in The Mist” and is available on ITunes. itunes! The title ID is Love in the Mist and the artist is my Songwriting duo: Slight Imperfection.

They can also come hear me play live at Cafe Monet in Millburn, NJ on most Sundays at 6pm:


Celtic Harp Music at Cafe Monet


Sundays  6:00 pm


Cost: No cover, BYOB


Cafe Monet

309 Millburn Ave

Millburn, NJ 07041


Reservations recommended (973)376-8555 (Please confirm music for this evening when calling)