Ray Petersen

was born in New York and had his first introduction to music while in elementary school as a member of the chorus. He also learned to play the trombone. At about the same time, he was a member of The Farmingdale VFW Drum and Bugle Corps, where he learned to play the bugle and snare drum. Later on in high school he played the tuba, and continued to perform in the school chorus.

It was July, 2003 when Ray’s music career really began. He had just retired as a Captain from the Suffolk County Police Department after serving the public for over 38 years as a dedicated police officer. For his retirement present, his wife Cathy gave him an acoustic guitar. This turned out to be a gift that kept on giving and continues to give to this day. Ray immediately began taking guitar lessons, and practiced so diligently over the next several years that he nearly wore out the neck of that guitar.

This was par for the course for Ray as he puts his all in everything he has ever achieved. Aside from his nearly four decades protecting and serving on the police force, Ray worked as a Registered Nurse and was a volunteer EMT with local ambulance corps. Finally, he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Suffolk County Community College where he taught Criminal Justice courses, as well as their EMT program. And retirement would be no different.

Before long, Ray began performing at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities with a band called the Cattlemen, and in 2012 he formed a new band with a fellow Manorville Community Ambulance Company volunteer and The Responders Band was born. They were saving lives and making music.

With all of his achievements in life, Ray is most proud for his role in influencing three of his grandchildren in their own respective music journeys. Added to the family are another guitar player, a keyboard player, and a drummer/cello player (in age order). Ray’s favorite holiday is Christmas when the instruments come out and the caroling begins. The twinkle in Ray’s eyes is akin to jolly old Saint Nick himself.

Ray now enjoys life in Chesterfield, Virginia, and while the distance made it difficult for the band to stay together, Ray remains optimistic for a ‘resurrection’ while performing as a solo artist in the interim, and is also open to new collaborations.

Ray enjoys writing songs as well as traveling, hunting, and spending time with his family and friends.

Original Recordings

by Ray Petersen and Arthur Abbate | Angels on Horseback