The Responders is currently a 2-Man Band, with Ray Petersen on guitar and Art Abbate on bass. Both men were volunteering at their local ambulance company when they met. They soon became friends and discovered a common passion for music. Ray is a retired police officer who fulfilled a life-long dream by learning to play the guitar after receiving a new guitar as a retirement gift from his wife. As he began to play, he quickly caught the music bug and there was no turning back. Ray’s singing voice is very soothing and he loves to sing around campfires, which quickly draws a crowd. Art is a retired executive from the Long Island Power Authority, and is currently head of Human Resources for the Town of Islip on Long Island.
In addition to his police career, Ray also taught criminal justice classes and the EMT program at the local community college, helping many students over the years to become board certified EMTs themselves. Undoubtedly, Ray has influenced and helped shape many lives. And speaking of lives, he’s saved quite a few as well. In fact, he is always at the very top for most responses with the ambulance company. Suffice it to say, Ray is a giver. And now his teaching days are over and he is focused on giving something new by sharing his musical gift.
Art’s story was a bit different as he had the music bug early on in his life, teaching himself to play several instruments. As he got older and life set in, music became a part of his past. But as they say, you can’t keep a good man down and you can’t escape from your past!
When Art discovered his new friend played guitar, he was inspired once again. He dusted off his old guitar and they began jamming together for fun. Soon, Art decided to buy a bass guitar and taught himself to play. Not long after, the guys decided to make it official and so The Responders were born. The new band played gigs at local festivals in New York and Virginia, and at nursing homes and senior centers as well as sportsman’s clubs. Before long, they wrote their first song together and hit the studio.
Like Ray, Art has a great voice, and together, they created their own unique sound. Most listeners especially enjoy their harmonies. Ray is more into classic country, while Art is preferential to blues. In addition, they seem to have a bit of an improvisational comic routine going on. So you just never know what you’re going to get when they’re on stage, but audiences always seem to enjoy it no matter what it is.