Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yankee Stadium organist from Montville starts second gig at Morristown church

From New Jersey- That explains why the Communion Hymn is "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".

For six years, Ed Alstrom has performed regularly for 50,000-plus as organist in one of the nation’s highest-profile venues — Yankee Stadium, during weekend baseball games.

Now, he’s got a second gig where the crowds usually top out at about 200: the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Morristown.

New Jersey native and accomplished jazz musician, Alstrom, of Pine Brook, began his job at Redeemer on Nov. 1, a week after his organ music accompanied the Yankees’ clinching victory over the Los Angeles Angels in the American League Championship Series, and four days after he played for Game 1 of the World Series, when the Phillies beat the Yankees.

It’s a rare mix of the ethereal and the hardball worlds but Alstrom said there aren’t that many jobs for organists: You have to be flexible and you have to hustle, he says.

"I was looking, the church was looking, and we liked each other and we agreed on it," said Alstrom, 52, adding that he found the job posting on Craigslist in September. "I’m a freelancer who stockpiles work when and where I can get it, regardless of where it is. I’m fortunate in that I can do a lot of different things."

His Yankee Stadium experience dates to 2004, but his church experience is far deeper.
He trained as a church organist at Westminster Choir College in Princeton and has more than 30 years of experience at churches across northern New Jersey — Upper Ridgewood Community Church, Holy Spirit Lutheran in Verona and, most recently, Presbyterian Church in West Caldwell.

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