Paul Cartier '81
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Organist, New York Yankees/New York Islanders
Air Traffic Controller, Federal Aviation Administration
Volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT, South Hempstead
Chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners, South Hempstead Fire District
Paul Cartier '81 has been the organist for the New York Yankees since 2004. He has played the organ for the New York Islanders hockey team on and off since 1978, and has been playing steady for the past six years. At the age of 19, Paul began his career as the organist for the New York Arrows indoor soccer team.
Paul currently works full-time as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a position he has held for 19 years. In his spare time, he serves as a volunteer fire fighter/EMT in his hometown of South Hempstead, and as chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners for the South Hempstead Fire District. Paul has been a member of the fire department for 28 years and a commissioner for eight years.
A transfer student from the University of Dayton, Paul earned a Bachelor of Science in music education from Hofstra in 1981. While a student at Hofstra, Paul played the organ at St. Martha's Roman Catholic Church in Uniondale to assist with tuition, and continued his classical organ lessons with Robert Kennedy at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, during his sophomore year. Paul's sports affiliation was inspired by Hofstra Music Professor Dr. Fred Mendelson. Dr. Mendelson shared his musical talent with his students, including Paul, while playing the organ for the Islanders games at the Nassau Coliseum. After hearing Paul play the piano before class, Dr. Mendelson encouraged him to visit him at an Islanders game, where he allowed him to play the organ during intermission. Paul was later hired as the organist for the New York Arrows soccer team, and when Dr. Mendelson retired from Islanders hockey in 1980, Paul succeeded him as the Islanders' part-time organist.
Following the NY Yankees' 2003 season, Paul was contacted by Michael Bonner, NY Yankees director of scoreboard operations, after longtime organist of 37 years Eddie Layton announced his retirement, to see if he would be interested in playing the organ at the NY Yankees games. Paul, unable to commit on a full-time basis because of his responsibilities with the FAA, accepted Mr. Bonner's offer a few months later to play the evening games Monday through Friday, and in 2004, began his NY Yankees career.
In addition to his sports organist career, Paul serves as associate organist for Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church in Carle Place, NY. He plays every week at Mass and was recently recognized with an award for 35 years of service with the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Paul has been married to his wife, Jan, for 17 years. They have two children, son Kevin, 19 years old, and a daughter Katie, 16. Their family time is spent boating, traveling to various timeshares and spending time at their trailer in Eagle Lake, PA, in the Poconos.