Meet Ron Papaleo

Ron Papaleo is a versatile and experienced musician who has been performing in the Cleveland, Ohio area for more than 50 years. A retired high school music teacher/band director with a Masters Degree in Music Education from Cleveland State University, Ron enjoyed a 31 year career in The Beachwood City School District, while at the same time maintaining a second career as a performing musician. He is equally comfortable laying down a back beat for a blues guitar solo, playing timpani with a symphony orchestra, singing a jazz standard from the Great American Songbook, or playing a lively polka on the accordion. He keeps an active schedule on the local music scene, currently averaging approximately 200 performances a year.

Ron’s experiences are many and varied in scope. In the 60’s, he was a member of the local rock group December’s Children. They were the first band to play at the old Cleveland Agora on E. 24th street. They toured the midwest and recorded an album for Mainstream Records. During the 70’s, Ron played in a number of theater orchestras as a percussionist, where he had the opportunity to back such notable entertainers as Sammy Davis Jr., Carole Lawrence, The Jackson 5, Steve Lawrence and Edie Gormet, and Red Buttons. He also appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center as a drum set soloist in 1973, when they performed the modern tone poem Klangfarbenfunk I, by noted local composer Donald Erb. 

After receiving his Master’s Degree in 1981, Ron spent a year playing with the band Failsafe (later called Karisma), before joining wedding band Sounds Together, a relationship that lasted more than 15 years. During this time, he was also active as a timpanist, playing with local community orchestra The Cleveland Philharmonic. In the late 90’s, Ron returned to the club scene and began concentrating on playing the drum set, playing with The Tom Bogus Band, Bravo, The Jeff Gould Trio, The Honeymooners, and, beginning in 2004, The Burnt River Band, a relationship that lasted 8 1/2 years.  During this time, he also occasionally substituted with many area bands including Blue Lunch, Blues DeVille, Free Howie, The Alan Greene Band, Steve Jochum and Big Zipper, and Sumrada.

In 2012, Ron returned to playing the accordion, an instrument he had studied in his youth. He developed a solo vocal/keyboard/accordion show in which he sings and plays American Standards, 60‘s Pop Classics, 50‘s Jitterbug Songs, Motown Hits, 70’s Dance Tunes, and Slovenian Polkas and Waltzes. He performs at restaurants, wine bars, private parties, ands senior living venues of all types. These days you can also catch him occasionally playing  with his brother Rick in an acoustic

 duo called The Papaleo Brothers.

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