Ed Alstrom grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Started playing organ (the family Hammond M-3) at age 5, guitar and bass as a teenager. Didn't acquire a piano in the Alstrom household 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.
He 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, NJ and escaped with a B.M. in Organ Performance, despite playing in disco lounges nearly every night.
Ed has been Music Director/Organist at CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Montclair, NJ since September 2016, and can be heard there at most Sunday morning services at 10:00am. Performances of the choir and Ed are on Soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/user-555518888.
He has played at several other churches in Northern New Jersey as well over the years.
He has been Accompanist (piano/guitar/organ) and Choir Director at Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ since 2010, where he plays at all Shabbat and High Holiday services.
He was the Music Teacher at Essex Valley School in West Caldwell, NJ during 2019-2021, and at Warren Middle School in 2022.
Alstrom has performed with Bette Midler, Chuck Berry, Leonard Bernstein, Herbie Hancock, Eddie Fisher, Odetta, Dion, Larry Coryell, Blood Sweat and Tears, Darlene Love, LaLa Brooks, Ronnie Spector, Lou Rawls, Zubin Mehta, Donald Fagan, John Sebastian, Hubert Sumlin, Uncle Floyd, Peter Noone, Levon Helm, Al Kooper, Stanley Jordan, Eddie Brigati, Steven Van Zandt, Ben E. King, Cissy Houston, Chubby Checker, Rick Derringer, Melanie, John Lloyd Young, and many other notables.
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 Cafe', '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; and 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.
Alstrom realized a childhood dream in 2004 when he was asked to be the weekend (Sat/Sun) Organist at YANKEE STADIUM, where he filled the seat at the mighty Hammond Colonnade (now an Elegante) 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 against the Washington Senators (in which Frank Howard hit a galvanic 500+ ft. home run to cavernous left center off Bill Monboquette, if I recall), young Alstrom heard that organ at the Stadium and said, "I wanna do THAT". He never dreamed he'd actually get to do it!! He also played games for the ROCKLAND BOULDERS baseball team of Pomona, NY (Can-Am Independent League) from 2014-2016, and played some games for the NEW JERSEY JACKALS of Montclair NJ in 2018-19.
Ed worked at Casio Inc. in Dover, NJ, where he was the Product/Marketing Manager for the Keyboard Division for the better part of 16 years. He had design input with Casio's R&D in Japan with the musical instruments, and composed and arranged a lot of the music that went into them for many years.
That Trine Door Chime you have may have been programmed by Ed. He has also done product demonstrations on QVC and HSN for Casio and Yamaha keyboards, and Ion and Silvertone guitars; and has done product reviews for Keyboard Magazine.
Ed has been performing on local theater organs as well, under the auspices of the GSTOS (Garden State Theater Organ Society). He was the first person to give a concert on the restored 1934 RAINBOW ROOM WURLITZER at Rahway Senior Center in 2012, and does so semi-regularly, as well as the 'Wonder Morton' organ at the Loew's Theater in Jersey City.
(Photo by Chris Drucker, from Trumpets Jazz Club, Montclair, NJ)