Even With No Baseball, Fenway Park Organist Josh Kantor Plays On

Kantor is streaming daily organ concerts from his living room on Facebook 

Josh Kantor Fenway Park
Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor plays the organ in his living room. (Adam Glanzman/For The Washington Post via Getty)
The Washington Post via Getty Im

If you grew up in the Boston area, you may have had heard this riddle: Who’s the only person in history to play for the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins in the same season?

Answer: 1970s Fenway Park and Boston Garden organist John Kiley.

While Josh Kantor can’t make that same claim, the current Fenway Park organist is making a name for himself anyhow by continuing to play on in the midst of the pandemic even though the ballpark is closed. With the baseball season on hold and many people quarantining within their homes, Kantor decided he would try streaming a 30-minute organ concert from behind the Yamaha Electone at his home on Facebook.

Originally intended to be a one-off show, the “7th-Inning Stretch” has become a daily fixture at 3 p.m. with Kantor playing classic tunes as well as requests from viewers which are relayed to him by his wife Mary Eaton. It’s a treat for fans to watch the 47-year-old show off the musical chops that have brought him on tours with members of Blondie, the Young Fresh Fellows and R.E.M. as well as led him to be called onstage to play with Wilco.

As Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy told The Washington Post, Kantor can basically play any song by ear after hearing it.

“It’s freakish, to be honest,” Tweedy said. “Like a tape recorder. I’ve had him come up onstage with us at different times. ‘Do you know this song?’ He’s like, ‘Can you play it for me?’ And I’d play it for him for like 20 seconds and then he comes onstage and nails it.”

Now, thanks to the pandemic, anyone with an internet connection can see Kantor do his thing.

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