From the age of 13 (the 2001-2002 hockey season) through the 2007-2008 season, Ben Schwartz was the official organist of the hockey team, the Providence Bruins.
The Providence Bruins are the top-level affiliate of the National Hockey League’s storied Boston Bruins, and many of the superstars in today’s NHL at one time played for the Providence Bruins—or played against them. The P-Bruins, as they are known in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, play their forty regular season home games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, a large arena in downtown Providence, RI.
Until the middle of the 2005-2006 hockey season, Ben was simply and solely the organist of the Providence Bruins. Every game, he would trudge through the bowels of the “Dunk” with his digital keyboard, its stand, and its necessary wires. A service elevator he would then enter, which would whisk him and his equipment up to the Press Box, the location of such dignitaries as the off-ice officials, the public address announcer, the radio announcers of both the Providence Bruins and the visiting team, local news sportscasters and their camera crews, injured hockey players, former hockey players, scouts, the president of the American Hockey League, and various interns of all shapes and sizes. Ben schmoozed with them all.
After warming up until the opening faceoff, the game night operations manager of the Bruins—or, in other words, the guy who sits at a laptop computer and is in control of all the prerecorded metal music used throughout a game—would cue Ben: “Your turn the next whistle.” That would mean at the next stoppage of play—barring any unforeseen goals or penalties—it would be Ben’s turn to pump out an organ ditty to rouse the spirits of the crowd. “Let’s Go Bruins,” “Here We Go Bruins,” “The Mexican Hat Dance,” and the all too infamous “Charge!” are but a sampling of the many organ fanfares Ben was responsible for…
…until the middle of the 2005-2006 hockey season…
Around February 2006, Ben was given "full" control over all of the music played at the Providence Bruins games—not just the organ ditties, but also all of the prerecorded music as well.
Until the age of 19, Ben was the Organist and Music Director of the Providence Bruins, one of the premier professional hockey teams in all of North America. Check out this quiz printed in the magazine Providence Monthly in 2007 which attests to Ben's unique position!
In early 2006 the sports departments at two local news stations, WLNE-TV and WPRI-TV, aired two stories about Ben’s work as Bruins organist. To read more, visit the local news page. The YouTube video file is embedded below, but has severely reduced quality (and the audio track is delayed by approximately 3 seconds).
Based on an exorbitant amount of research, it has been all but confirmed that Ben Schwartz holds the record for being the youngest organist—ever—of a professional North American sports team. This research has uncovered that a 19-year-old used to provide music for a Californian hockey team a few years ago. Ben’s starting age of 13 doesn’t even compare. Ben hopes that the infusion of youth into the noble—and disappearing—profession of sports organist will help ensure the vitality of this dying breed of musician in an era when prerecorded pop is threatening true virtuosity.