A native of Detroit, Alvin B. Waddles, III began studying the piano at the age of eight with noted Detroit educator, Gusseye Dickey. He continued his studies at Cass Technical High School and later at the Interlochen Arts Academy, completing his formal education at the University Of Michigan School Of Music. After returning to the Detroit area, he immediately immersed himself in the rich musical culture of the city, benefiting from the diverse influences that would eventually shape his own unique style.
Mr. Waddles has worked in the Detroit and Ann Arbor Public Schools, as well as the Music Ministries of several churches; among them, St. Stephen AME (where he was born and raised), the historic New Bethel Baptist Church, and Hope United Methodist, where he has served as Minister of Music since 1995. He has been musical director and/or pianist for numerous theatrical productions, including: The Wiz, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, Chorus Line, West Side Story, Sophisticated Ladies, and received rave reviews as a featured performer in the Detroit Music Hall’s ongoing production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. In March 2011, he returned to the Detroit Opera House to perform Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra.
Mr. Waddles has delighted Detroit music lovers with performances in a variety of musical events, including the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Detroit Festival of the Arts, and the annual Taste Fest. He is the featured piano soloist in the annual productions of Too Hot to Handel in Detroit and Chicago, and can frequently be heard performing his Fats Waller Revue. He has performed across the country and in Europe as a solo artist, conductor, and as musical director/pianist for Cook, Dixon, and Young (formerly of Three Mo’ Tenors). In 2003, he was a recipient of the Detroit Musician’s Association Award for Excellence. In 2007, he was invited to take part in a concert commemorating the 70th anniversary of ‘Rape of Nanjing’ in China.
Mr. Waddles has been blessed to work with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Brazeal Dennard, Minister Thomas Whitfield, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Placido Domingo, Marcus Belgrave, Jack Jones, Haley Westenra, Stephanie Mills, and Tramaine Hawkins.
Alvin is married to Attorney Lori Bobbitt Waddles and they have four wonderful children.