Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that world renowned guitarist, composer, arranger and teacher Carlos Alomar will be the featured speaker for “Excellence in All We Do,” a free Hispanic Heritage Month event on Tuesday, October 2, at 11:00 a.m., at the Sidney F. Lessner Building located at the Union County College campus in Elizabeth, at 12 West Jersey Street.
Mr. Alomar is best known for his 30-year collaboration with David Bowie including the breakthrough hit “Fame,” and for his work with Chuck Berry, James Brown, Paul McCartney, Simple Minds, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, Arcadia, The Pretenders, Alicia Keys and the Argentine rock band Soda Stereo among many others.
“It is an honor to welcome Mr. Alomar to join with all Union County residents in celebrating our diverse heritage,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “With his amazing breadth of experience here at home and around the world, Carlos Alomar unites people from every walk of life in the simple joy of music. He embodies the basic American values of diversity, creativity, mutual respect, and giving back to the community.”
Mr. Alomar will talk about his journey through music history and the Latino influence that he brought to bear on popular music in the U.S. In addition to his incredible career, he has an inspiring and uplifting message for all people, especially Latinos and Latinas during the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Alomar brings his personal story to his message. A Puerto Rican-born minister’s son who became the music director of some of the most lavish and legendary rock tours in the world, Alomar has always stubbornly refused to be put in a box.
He grew up mostly in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, hearing R&B and religious music in his father’s church. He began playing guitar in church at age 10, but was soon sneaking out to play in rock bands with his friends.
“My father died when I was 14,” he recalls, “But he told my mom, ‘the boy has a gift, don’t stand in the way of his talent.’”
At age 17, Alomar became the youngest guitarist in the history of the Apollo Theater, walking on stage and winning over a dubious crowd with solo versions of Motown hits by The Supremes and Junior Walker. He soon became a guitarist in the Apollo’s house band, performed with James Brown, and by the early 70s was a sought-after session musician for RCA Recording Studios in New York.
Mr. Alomar currently serves as the president of the New York chapter of The Recording Academy, the organization responsible for the Grammy Awards. He joined the teaching staff of Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken as an adjunct professor of Music and Technology, and was honored as the school’s first “Distinguished Artist in Residence” in 2010.
The free event is sponsored by the Freeholder Board through the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, and is funded in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State.
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