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A native of California, Bob Ralston attended Wheaton College on a full music scholarship but later returned home to attend the University of Southern California, where he graduated with a degree in music composition and accompaniment. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from USC in 1964. During his years in college, he played six nights a week with the Freddy Martin orchestra (1959-1962) at Los Angeles's Coconut Grove nightclub, where in 1962, Welk invited him on his show as a guest musician. That lasted until the summer of 1963 when he was hired on a permanent basis. The Welk TV shows feature Bob Ralston's piano and organ solos, but they frequently include his performances as a singer, dancer, and comedian. He arranged music and continued to perform for the Music Makers live and on television until 1982 when Welk retired from active performing. Since 1988 he has been the pianist and organist for the Founders Church of Religious Science in Los Angeles.
Throughout his career, Ralston has recorded several hundred albums; many of them as a solo artist or with bandleaders such as Welk, Ray Conniff and Billy Vaughn. He has also been active in the preservation of theater pipe organs across America and has been a guest conductor for several symphony orchestras.
Ralston and his Dutch-born wife Fiejte have been married since March 3, 1963. They live in Southern California and have two adult children, Dianne and Randy. Ralston still holds regular concerts in his home with various guest vocalists.