I was born and raised in Amsterdam, The Netherlands during the last year of World War II. Having come from a musical family, my father, also a piano teacher and organist, was a major influence on me. My first piano lesson from him was when I was either 3 or 4 years old. There was always music in our house. If it wasn't the music I heard from his piano students, it was he himself practicing Beethoven, Chopin or Mozart. To this day, when I hear many of the Chopin Waltzes, it brings me back to my early childhood. My grandfather Alphons, after whom I was named, being the oldest of 9 children, was himself a choir director in Edam, The Netherlands for many years.
My first public performance was when I was 9 years old, as I played one of my father's arrangements of Rachmaninoff's prelude in C sharp minor in front of about 1500 people attending the Queens birthday. I think I was too young to be nervous.
At the age of 15 I immigrated to the United States with my parents and 8 brothers and sisters. Learning a new language was quite a challenge, but after I graduated Holy Trinity H.S. in Westfield, NJ, I was accepted to the world famous Juilliard School of Music. I majored in the studies of Organ. I received my Bachelors Degree in Music in 1968. One week after my graduation, I married my wife Patricia.
Events in my life right after my schooling moved very rapidly. Just one month after I married, I enlisted into the US Army during the Vietnam conflict. For the next 2 years I served overseas as a Chaplain's Assistant in Okinawa. While serving there, I taught music in a private school and gave private piano lessons.
Upon my discharge from the Army, I accepted a teaching position at Our Lady of the Valley High School in Orange NJ, where I also held the post of Church Organist, Choir Director. I held that position till I made a career change in 1978.
However, I've always kept my involvement in music, and performance. In the 1980s and '90s my career ventured into substitution positions at various houses of worship, including Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark NJ as well as Temple B'nai Abraham in Livingston, NJ. I have given organ performances abroad as well as in the States.
In 1981 when I moved to Blairstown, NJ with my wife and 3 children, I accepted a substitute organist position at the First Presbyterian Church of Blairstown. Two years later I became their full time organist and choir director. In 2003 the congregation honored me for 20 years of service and, presently, I am nearing 35 years of service at the First Presbyterian Church of Blairstown.
Living in Blairstown has been truly home to me and my family. It is a wonderful community in which to live and raise children. My children, 5 grandchildren, and 4 step-grandchildren are living in various parts of the United States.
Music has been an integral part of my life and that of my family. I hope I have been an inspiration to those I've instructed and to those who have listened to my music. To those who have yet to experience the wealth and riches found in music, my advise to you is to pursue your dreams and explore the wonderful world of music that will lift your spirit to the heavens!