National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
Art Perko Orchestra Side Musicians.
For 32 years, Art Perko’s orchestra had a distinctive, cohesive sound, due to the
fact that three of his sidemen, Bill Tomsick (sax and clarinet), Mike Dragas (bass)
and Ray Sterle (drums) were members of the band all those years. Each musician played
in polka bands previously. Bill, Mike, and Ray first met as members of the Joe Luzar
band. Soon after the break-up of the band Bill approached Art Perko in behalf of
himself, Mike and Ray. The Art Perko Orchestra made its television debut on Cleveland’s
syndicated “Polka Varieties” in January 1960, and was featured for 25 years, including
the last telecast in 1985. The group made appearances with Buck Owens, Dottie West,
Gene Krupa, Bob Hope, Charlie Price, the Temptations, and Roy Clark. The band’s first
album had a hit recording of the “Peanuts Polka” in 1965. Five more albums followed.
The trio later joined Tony Fortuna’s band until they retired in 2005.