Feb 8, 2009

Interview with New York Islanders organist Paul Cartierm

From Time Out New York (via Kukla's Korner):
Who he is: Air traffic controller by day and organist by night, Paul Cartier has been playing for the New York Islanders on and off since 1979, and for the Yankees for the last five years.

First attempt: Cartier had been going to Islanders games since the team was formed. Three years later, when he was 15, they hired a new organist who “wasn’t very good,” according to Cartier. “I went to the Nassau Coliseum and asked to audition for the job. I got laughed at.”

Breakthrough moment: As a transfer to Hofstra University, Cartier enrolled in Piano 101, which happened to be taught by the Islanders’ newest organ player. “I would get to class early and softly play some of the stuff that he’d play at the Coliseum. One day he took notice, and I confessed my obsession,” Cartier explains. The professor invited him to the organ box during the next game and let Cartier test his chops between periods. “He was impressed and helped me get the gig playing for the New York Arrows indoor soccer team.” From there, Cartier began filling in occasionally for his professor until he eventually took over.

And then: The senior director of scoreboard and broadcasting for the Yankees approached Cartier and asked him to join their roster as well.

Cartier’s advice: There is an unofficial exclusive Web ring, where the NHL organ players exchange ideas and stories and some even play in a fantasy hockey league. How can you break in? “You need to be persistent without being a pest,” he warns. Call the team’s office and ask who’s in charge of music. “Introduce yourself and let them know that you’re always willing to help out in any way.” And don’t overlook the minor-league teams—they’re good experience and a great way to get your name out there.
Read the full article...

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