Alvin Pitts: Altenheim’s Piano Man

Altenheim Piano Man Alvin Pitts

When Alvin Pitts came to Altenheim Senior Living for rehabilitation upon fracturing his right hip, he didn’t expect musical therapy to play into his recovery.

“The staff was friendly and helpful from the beginning, and I was very impressed with the efficiency and layout of this place, but I was even happier when I found a tuned piano to play,” Alvin said.

As soon as he saw the beautiful grand piano in the community’s lounge, he felt right at home.

In addition to keyboards and guitar, Alvin has been playing piano in front of audiences for decades. His mother played for their local church, which blessed their home with a piano for her to practice on outside of services. Alvin started tinkering with it as a little boy, teaching himself to play by ear.

When he joined the Marine Corps in 1979, he got a job playing in the piano bar of the Sanno military hotel in Tokyo. He went on to perform in four-piece bands for various officer, staff and enlisted clubs.

After Alvin returned home to Indianapolis, he helped open a dueling piano bar downtown called Little Ditties, where he played alongside five other Hoosier pianists and led the audience in sing-alongs of popular songs from the ’60s through the ’90s. Since then, he’s performed at countless clubs, bars, churches, senior living communities and many other venues all across Indiana.

Altenheim Piano Man Alvin Pitts about town

“I love entertaining people of all ages who love music,” Alvin said. “Whether I’m playing for an audience of 20 or 3,000, the size doesn’t matter as long as they’re into the show.”

At Altenheim, Alvin entertains residents for about an hour a day in between community activities. And they’re definitely “into the show.” Sitting at a piano is one of the places Alvin feels most comfortable, and he’s pleased that his playing brings comfort to the Altenheim community as well. He serves as proof that anyone can find their personal happy place here.