Theatre Organist: Ed Alstrom

Ed Alstrom

Ed Alstrom grew up in Ridgewood, N.J. He started playing organ at age 5, and guitar and bass as a teenager. The Alstrom household didn’t acquire a piano until he was 12, at which time his father brought home an old pedal-pump player piano, on which he activated the broken player mechanism by connecting a canister vacuum cleaner and running it in reverse, which caused the piano rolls to play at blinding speed. Young Alstrom found this highly entertaining.

Ed performed in the requisite rock bands through high school, but also studied Church Organ and dabbled in every other conceivable type of music. He attended Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. and emerged with a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance, despite playing in disco lounges nearly every night.

Alstrom has been Organist/Choir Director at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, N.J. since 2009. He is also Accompanist (piano/guitar/organ) and Choir Director at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, N.J., where he plays at all Shabbat and High Holiday services.
 
Ed realized a childhood dream in 2004 when he was asked to be the weekend organist at YANKEE STADIUM, where he filled the seat at the Hammond Colonnade formerly occupied by the great Eddie Layton, who retired after a 37-year stint. From the time he was 9 years old and his father took him to his first Yankee game, young Alstrom heard that organ at the Stadium and said, "I wanna do THAT". He never dreamed he would actually get to do it!! He has now been entertaining fans at the stadium for 9 years.

Alstrom has performed with a raft of familiar entertainers including Bette Midler, Chuck Berry, Leonard Bernstein, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Fisher, Odetta, Dion, Lou Rawls, Zubin Mehta, Cissy Houston and many other notables. In recent years, he has subbed the keyboard chair at times with the current incarnation of the group “Blood, Sweat and Tears”.

His Broadway experience includes a 3-month stint as Interim Associate Conductor on “Hairspray”: (where he subbed the Key 2 chair regularly), as well as “Leader Of The Pack” (The Ellie Greenwich Musical), “Catch Me If You Can," “Smokey Joe’s Café," “Taboo," “Brooklyn," and “Hot Feet”.
 
Off Broadway, he has been Musical Director for “Give A Man A Mask” at the York Theatre in NYC in November of 2011; “Once Around The Sun” at the Zipper Theater in 2005; “Dream A Little Dream” (The Mamas & Papas Musical), which ran from May-August 2003. He also played the Piano/Keyboard chair for “Caroline, or Change," the Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori musical that ran at the Public Theater in NYC in 2004.

His last "Day job they tell you not to quit" was at FOSTEX in Boonton, N.J., where Ed was National Sales Manager for their Pro/AV line of products until 2009. Prior to that, he was at Casio Inc. in Dover, N.J. where Alstrom was the Product Manager for the Keyboard Division for the better part of 16 years. He had design input for the musical instruments with Casio R&D in Japan, and composed and arranged a lot of the music that went into them for many years. That Trine Door Chime you have may have also been programmed by Alstrom. He has also done TV product demonstrations on QVC and HSN for Casio and Yamaha keyboards, and Ion and Silvertone guitars; and has done product reviews for Keyboard Magazine.

In addition to his Church, Temple, and Yankees work, he can be found performing regularly in some other very diverse contexts on keyboards, guitar, and vocals. Ed recently inaugurated the “First Thursdays” concert series for GSTOS on the Rainbow Room Wurlitzer at the Rahway Senior Citizens’ Center.