Almost by ritual, Al Mazur typically can be seen playing his digital piano in his apartment in the wee hours of the morning, way before the sun peaks through.
He’s got a new composition he’s eager to perform. It’s called “Daddy” and it’s a jingle he created specifically for his new home, The Residences at Plainview, an Independent Living community on Long Island.
He said he’s never felt better living in a senior living community like this because of the energy he’s surrounded by from his fellow residents.
“They asked me last night to come in and I played four or five songs,” Al said. “They enjoy it. I enjoy the fact that they enjoy it.”
“They were singing along, they were dancing, like the third night he was here,” said Bethe Turner, Al’s daughter-in-law. “He is definitely a whole different person living here.”
A Team, a Marriage, and Hit Songs
After sitting down for lunch in the dining room, he heads back to his apartment and powers up the piano. He plays his new tune while an oversized framed movie poster towers over him. That movie is a documentary called “Love Etc.” which he starred in with his wife, Marion.
“Unbelievable team,” Turner said. “They made a great team no matter what. All those years they were meant for each other…definitely.”
They were truly a team. Al wrote the music and Marion wrote the lyrics. They are a part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. A couple notable songs include “Bar Mitzvah” and “Every Day’s a Holiday in Brooklyn.”
Born in Schenectady, New York, Al grew up in Brooklyn. His dad owned a candy store where Al first got hooked on playing the piano.
“What got me into music was my father bought me a piano,” Al said.
It was rolled into the back of the candy store and that’s where Al received his piano lessons.
Not before long, he was giving people lessons.
“I taught everyone from youngsters to schoolteachers,” Al said.
He taught privately and at the Hebrew Educational Society in Canarsie, where he spent 40 years.
One day, one of his private lessons canceled on him. He heard his doorbell ring. Someone was asking for a donation for an organization that supports people with arthritis. He donated a dollar and then went back to playing the piano. He heard his doorbell ring again. It was that same person, except this time, she asked if he could set her poetry to his music. They eventually fell in love, married, and became a great songwriting duo.
“I was looking for someone to write the poetry and she was looking for someone with the music,” Al said. “She lived just one house away from me.”
The Star of a Documentary
Years ago, the Canarsie Courier wrote an article about Al, his wife, and the borough’s new adopted Brooklyn song. It caught the eye of Jonathan Tisch, who was recruiting people for his documentary, and Mazur was extended an offer, which he accepted.
After two years of filming and editing, “Love Etc.” won first place at The Hamptons International Film Festival. It follows five stories of long-lasting love, young love, and people searching for love.
“I didn’t even know what the film was about until they showed it,” Al said.
But now it’s something he’s proud of and enjoys talking about.
Almost nearly as much as he enjoys talking about his new home at The Residences at Plainview, which is why he wrote “Daddy.” He hopes more families and older adults join this community that he said is so full of life.
“The people here are alive,” he said.