Ray DeMarco is a most familiar face around the Seacoast area, known and loved for his band, Ray DeMarco and Friends. What people might not know about Ray is that he started playing piano at the age of 9. After high school, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and entered graduate school to study science and do research on the brain and nervous system. It was then that he decided that music was where he belonged.
Ray moved to the Seacoast in the 1970’s and became part of the folk music scene. He got a job playing with the Prohibition Banjo Band, a trio comprised of tenor banjo, tuba, and Ray on piano, guitar, and 5-string banjo. They worked Sheraton hotels five nights a week in NH and Vermont. His first solo piano gig was at Rosa's Restaurant in Portsmouth NH, for Ralph Rosa.
When Ray became interested in jazz, he took lessons from Tom Gallant, who was teaching at Berklee School of music and living in Exeter. Ray took lessons on and off until shortly before Tom’s death in 1998. As a result, over the years, they got to know each other quite well, and in the 1990’s, they were both active in the Seacoast Jazz Society.