Musical instrument company helps create a more diverse workforce

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The head of a Baldwin company that makes musical instruments uses his heritage to help his business and create a more diverse workforce.

Manny Alvarez, president of Kolstein Music, says he bought his first violin 17 years ago and it changed his life.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it, but I was offered a job in the back,” says Alvarez.

The East Rockaway graduate is a first generation American whose parents are Hispanic immigrants from Central and South America.

“Being a Latino is really important to me,” says Alvarez.

He says his family didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but he never saw that as a disadvantage.

His goal is to give more musical exposure to other Hispanics. Kolstein Music ripples through to a school in Costa Rica.

“The school district had absolutely no financial means to obtain instruments,” Alvarez said. “The children were making instruments from items found in the dumpster. “

The company sponsored the entire program and filled its orchestra with instruments.

At the height of the pandemic, Kolstein Music established the Musicians Relief Fund bringing local artists to the state. They were able to perform virtually for a global audience and raise over $ 20,000 to help over 100 artists.

Kolstein Music claims that many of the talents they have showcased in their virtual series and in-person events have been and will continue to be minorities.


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