Monday, September 10, 2012

Wow! It's been a long time since I posted here!

Hey guys,

It's been a long time since I've been on here! It's already my fourth year as the Braves Organist and I can't believe I've had the job for this long!

I've found a great balance between being the Braves Organist, a piano/organ/accordion teacher, as well as gigging musician. On most Saturdays, when I'm not at Turner Field, I play with an awesome Salsa band called, 'Orquesta MaCuba'. 'Orquesta MaCuba' is a 9 piece group with 2 trumpeters, 1 trombonist, a bassist, myself on piano, 2 vocalists/percussionists, and 2 percussionists (congas / timbales). The band plays in the style of Tito Puente, Fania All Starts, Celia Cruz, and Eddie Palmieri. The Saturday gigs are at Loca Luna in Midtown, near Amsterdam and Monroe.

Each month, at the jazz club, Churchill Grounds (next door to the Fox Theatre), I host a 'Hammond Organ Grooves' night with a different special guest vocalist each night. So far, we've had 2 of these nights (usually on the 2nd Sunday of each month, with October being the exception, which is the 3rd Sunday - the 21st). It's been incredible to play at the premier jazz club, doing what I was made to do - playing jazz on the Hammond Organ.

However, we really need more people to come out to Churchill Grounds on the 'Hammond Organ Grooves' night, or it won't last too long! I really urge you to come out at least once (the first set is at 8pm) to experience live jazz music. There's no experience in the world that compares to seeing real live musicians improvising and creating music on the spot! I'm addicted to this music and I'm sure if you gave it a chance, you'll really like it.

That's it for now. I'm going to try to update this blog a lot better these days; I promise!

Matthew Kaminski
aka - The Braves Organist

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Braves Organist

This year, I got the most amazing opportunity as the new organist for the Atlanta Braves. It just fell in my lap - one of my organ students got me in touch with the right people and after an interview, I got the job!

Here's a normal game day for me: I get to Turner Field about 4 hours before game time for the production meeting that's always 3 & 1/2 hours before the 1st pitch. My 'organ' keyboard is in the press box and I try to learn songs appropriate for the upcoming game. For the opposing team's batter, I try to 'pick' on them with songs - for example, 'Winnie the Pooh' for Randy Winn, 'Looney Toons' for James Loney, and 'Lady Madonna' for Alex Rodriguez just to name a few. As a side note, you can suggest songs on my Twitter page at .

A few of the reporters will suggest songs from time to time and I enjoy their enthusiasm. They have welcomed me into their 'press box family' and I appreciate that. Also, being with the press has a couple of perks including getting interviewed. At the start of the season, Patty Rasmussen of Chop Talk Magazine (the official magazine of the Atlanta Braves) did a wonderful article about myself as an introduction to the Braves fans. You can view the article on my website at . If you hear me playing 'Brandy, you're a fine girl', it's for Patty ;)
Then on July 23rd, Carroll Rogers, did a front page Atlanta Journal Constitution article about myself - She talks about the 'clever' music that I play for the opposing teams and also did a wonderful job with her writing. I was thrilled to see both of the articles and am thankful to Patty and Carroll for putting me in the spotlight!

Before the game, I play for the opposing team's batting practice, which is an hour and a half before the game. Some of the songs I play include: 'California Girls', 'The Pink Panther', 'Funiculi, Funicula', 'Beer Barrel Polka', 'Lady Madonna', etc. I try to mix it up for every game and do take requests (if they fit the situation!). I play for about 45 minutes and then take a little break until the pre-game rituals (first pitch, national anthem, etc.). During the game, I play the theme songs for the opposing batters as well as the 'charges' and such during the Braves batters. Also, I usually play at least one 'in between inning' song - 'The Chicken Dance' and 'Beer Barrel Polka' seems to work for the crowds lately.

My laptop is on my keyboard and I check my twitter page to see what people are saying about what I've played. I really like the quick responses after I play a song - that tells me that a song is working. I also try to reply to the tweets if I have the time - this interaction, I believe, is very unique in sports. Braves fans get to 'chime in' with what they want me to play as the game is going on. Even though I can't honor all the requests, it gives me great ideas for future games.

Thanks for reading this post and for listening to me at the games. I hope to continue the ballpark organ tradition at Turner Field for many years to come!

Matthew Kaminski