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Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Musician Profiles

The Beat Profiles - Al Alvarado*

HOME: Fort Walton Beach. I lived in Crestview from ’89 to ’09—for the longest time, I was doing those commutes from Crestview. Good lord…

AGE: I was born in 1959. I’m impressed that I’m still around.

PROFESSION: I am the sales manager at Playground Music Center (in Fort Walton Beach’s Uptown Station) and a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, jet engine mechanic. And occasionally I’m a musician.

HOBBIES: Boating, photography, music.

LAST BOOK READ: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach.

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Moving into the sales manager position at Playground Music in January. My granddaughter. My son Chris getting married to Naomi.

QUOTE: “I take it one day at a time.” I wish I was deeper than that.

PROFILE: I was born in Havana, Cuba. My parents got me out of the country via Jamaica in the midst of the Castro revolution. After a year of trying to obtain legal visas to get into the USA, we arrived at JFK in New York City in September of 1961. I grew up in a little town in Southern New Jersey called Paulsboro. It’s situated on the banks of the Delaware River across from Philadelphia. I didn’t learn to speak fluent English until I started grade school.

I was in the fourth grade when I started playing alto sax on an old Bundy in the basement of this old colonial brick school with about a dozen other new sax players. I gigged on that horn until 1981! My parents would always play music at our house and encourage me to play along with it. At a very early age, I started to pick things up with my ear, and it became a very natural way for me to learn new music…albeit much to the dismay of my band director!

After graduating high school, I entered the U.S. Air Force. Got married, had two amazing sons, and just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary! I retired from the USAF after serving as a Jet Engine Mechanic for 18.5 years. From my first assignment to my retirement in 1996 at Eglin Air Force Base, I always gigged on weekends with numerous bands around the world. Once out of the Air Force, I focused my direct attention to the business of music and how I could make a living with it.

FAVORITE FREE ENTERTAINMENT PUBLICATION: The Beachcomber…I love it even better since it’s on iPad.


* Inspired by the late, great CREEM magazine.