Tag Archives: Piano
A homeless man who says he cannot read music and has had no formal musical training has stunned staff and customers at a Vancouver second hand store with his virtuoso piano playing.
With severely frostbitten fingers from years of living in the cold, David Allen Welsh, 50, pounds out spontaneous almost classical sounding performances on an old piano at Second Hand Solutions, a thrift store and coffee shop run by Open House Ministries.
Staff at the store say Welsh, who has been homeless since he was 6, has been coming in once or twice a month for at least a year, each time impressing customers with his piano improvisations, even moving them to tears.
“It’s amazing it’s really beautiful,” says assistant manager Rebecca Gore. “I showed a video of him playing to a piano teacher and she pointed out immediately that he’s using his left hand as a primary and his right hand to play the melody.”
Welsh says he has no control over his playing and that it’s as if the music takes hold of him. He’s never taken a piano lesson and can’t read a note.
“I don’t know how to play music, but I like what I hear in my head,” he told ABC News affiliate KATU . “Sometimes I don’t even know what key I’m pushing. My eyes aren’t even open. I’m just letting the music play the music.”
Gore says often people will come into the store and have a go on the piano, but that Welsh’s playing is truly spectacular. She is especially impressed considering the damage to his fingers which are numb and purple.
One customer, James Maynard, who lives next door and regularly comes in to the shop for coffee, welled up with emotion when he heard Welsh play for the first time, saying he had never heard anything like it.
“He started to play and I choked on my coffee and it started coming out of my nose,” Maynard, who is a longtime classical music enthusiast, told ABC News.”I had tears coming to my eyes when I saw his fingers go down one end of the piano to the other.”
Welsh was born in Iowa and raised in the Dakotas where rode around on trains for a while, he told KATU. He discovered his gift at an early age, but has only been able to play on borrowed pianos at different homeless shelters and stores throughout the Pacific Northwest where he moved more than a decade ago.
Welsh says sharing his music has kept him going through tough times, and that it’s as if his fingers are moved by a divine power.
“My custom is to sit and close my eyes and say, ‘Dad, do what you do, it’s your gift’,” Welsh says. The grateful recipients of Welsh’s playing agree.
“It was like the holy spirit came through the building,” says Maynard. “It’s a joy that surpasses all understanding, that’s what I felt. A lot of people in the room had the same spiritual experience.”
A mother once took her young son to a concert, in which the great Paderewski was giving a recital.
After they found their places , the mother was delighted to see an old friend a few seats along. With a bit of reshuffling and moving about (with the agreement of the other folk who had come to the concert and who were sitting in between them, they managed to sit together and began catching up with their news.
They were so engrossed in their conversation that the mother hadn’t notices that her little boy was no longer sitting beside her!
When the house lights dimmed.
The curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.
And there was her little boy sitting at the keyboard, picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
At that moment, the Maestro made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Keep playing.”
Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part.
Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obligato.
Together, the old master and the young lad created something magical between them.
The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn’t recall what else the great master played. Only the classic “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”!!!
What we can achieve on our own is noteworthy – up to a point. We try our best, but the results aren’t always graceful flowing music. However, with the hand of THE Master, our life’s work can truly be beautiful.