Peter P. Paonessa Jr.
Pete Paonessa has had a musical life that has spanned over 60 years. His first paying job as a drummer was at the age of 13. He played in bands and orchestras while attending high school. At the age of 15, he was on the road starting as a fill-in for a drummer in Cleveland Ohio.
For the next fifty years he never stopped playing. He was on the road for ten years playing and recording in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, New York City, Toronto, Michigan, Florida, Nevada and California. Returning to Niagara Falls, he became the Food, Beverage and Promotion Manager at The Winery in the Ramada Inn. He hired bands from Niagara Falls and all over Western New York and made it “the IT Place” to be. Later he and his wife opened their own bar and restaurant, The Village Gate.
Throughout the years, Pete has maintained a close relationship with many musicians all over the country. In 2014, he hosted a 50-year reunion that was attended by Niagara Falls bred musicians who came into town from Michigan, Florida, California and Canada.
Highlights of Pete’s musical career are having played with The Mercury’s, playing and recording with the Val Tones at Apollo Studios; recording with Humphrey and the Palookas in New York City at Gerand Records, where their song “Take My Love’ reached number 2 radio play in Boston; touring with The Impacts throughout the US and Canada and appearing on a television show in Halifax Nova Scotia; and then performing with the The Kelly Gold Show in the Las Vegas circuit.
Pete has been a 20+year board member of the Niagara County Judges and Police, a former 30 year member of the LaSalle Yacht Club and a longtime member of Local 106 American Federation of Musicians and Local 369 in Las Vegas. He is the Vice-President of the Griffin River Front Corporation. He currently lives in Bergholtz in the Town of Wheatfield New York with his wife of 33 years, Patricia Alaimo Paonessa.
He is very proud and honored to be the President of the Niagara Falls Music Hall of Fame.