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Monday, June 30, 2014

Don Himsel's voices: Frank Alcaraz is banking on his talent

By DON HIMSEL

Telegraph staff

Frank Alcaraz and his rapt audience of one, Dominic Washington, spread out on the bench at a wide, shady section of the sidewalk in front of The Nashua Bank on Main Street.

Alcaraz moved here from Waterbury, Conn. ...

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Frank Alcaraz and his rapt audience of one, Dominic Washington, spread out on the bench at a wide, shady section of the sidewalk in front of The Nashua Bank on Main Street.

Alcaraz moved here from Waterbury, Conn.

“I was up here for work,” he said as he strummed his Ibanez acoustic guitar. A yellow jar with a handmade note attached sat on the sidewalk at his feet. Washington listened along.

“I liked it up here,” Alcaraz said. “I thought it was rather peaceful. Wasn’t too many guitar players around to play on the street.”

He played three chords in a pattern and segued into Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.

“And I met a girl, actually, if you really want to know. Here I am a year later. And I’m looking for a job if you know anyone that’s hiring…”

He told a bit of his story. “I’m a sales guy,” he explained. He used to sell mattresses before his current street gig, which helps a little bit, but doesn’t pay the bills.

“I haven’t had any complaints. Every day the cops aren’t called on you its a good day,” he said.

“Last time I tried doing this I was in Chicago. I found out you needed a permit.”

Alcaraz said he started asking around if it was illegal to put out a tip jar. He was told no.

“People around here just come up and ask you for a buck,” he said they told him.

His bank-front stage, he said, offers a quiet spot where he can face oncoming foot traffic.

“I just play, wailing away, kind of forget anyone’s around me and zone out, play whatever I know,” he said.

The street noise of cars, motorcycles and a passing ambulance all give him something to fight against.

Alcaraz figures he has a limited audience, but that won’t stop him from playing. He pointed to the street and said sometime he plans to “catch some bar traffic, see what’s going on down there, they might be a little more generous.”

Maybe, too, he can add a fiddle player.

“I’d be sitting in my room doing it right now, the same thing, might as well come out here soak up some rays, make a few bucks.”

His street technique?

“I can’t let out the technique man, then everybody would be doing it,” he laughed.

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or DHimsel@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Don on Twitter @Telegraph_DonH.