SF Spotlight: Not Just Your Ordinary Office Building Security Guard

One man transforms a commercial office space into an unlikely performance venue

Aragon performs on an atypical stage, behind the lobby security desk.

On the corner of Howard and Beale sits a 23-story black, glass and steel building. Its modern architecture looms over the neighboring Transbay Terminal, dwarfing its surrounding office buildings. Inside the sand-colored marble lobby are friendly security and doormen, guarding the gates to this commercial office space day in and day out. It’s your average commercial space; nothing about the lobby stands out, just MF9-5s filtering through like clockwork. However, those who work a little later (say, after 6 PM) may find themselves hypnotized by captivating trumpet music pulsating through the marble space. The culprit of this unexpected and soulfully beautiful music? Ron Aragon. Aragon has been playing the trumpet for over 20 years. His love for music stemmed from early childhood, with Miles Davis and Dizzy Gilspie serving as inspiration and fuel. Aragon works the night shifts at 301 Howard so any given night, the vaulted lobby may be filled with beautiful, soothing melodies or crisp, upbeat notes. Throughout school, Aragon honed his music skills with classes and performances at the California Music Education Association (CMEA) jazz festivals. Aragon was classically trained but prefers pumping beats of salsa music. In his free time he helps out at the Mission Culture Center, teaching children the importance of keeping the Latin heritage and tradition alive through music. When he’s not moonlighting as a security guard at 301 Howard, this talented musician is attending classes in hopes of achieving his dream of becoming a music instructor. He’s performed at San Francisco’s famed salsa club Cocomo’s and dreams of one day performing at the elite Fillmore Jazz Center, Yoshi’s. For now though, Aragon continues to chase his dream, while sharing his gift at unlikely places, with the most unassuming of strangers.

301 Howard looms over its neighboring structures, including the Transbay Terminal.

 history, jazz

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