Pizza Delivery Guy does Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

The Varchetti family ordered a pepperoni pizza from Hungry Howie’s for dinner.

When the delivery guy came to their suburban Detroit home, he gave them the pizza, then peeked inside to their foyer and said: “That’s a beautiful piano. Can I take look at it?”

The Varchettis invited him in to see the baby grand, which they said generally goes unused. They asked if he played.

Bryce Dudal, 18, who had just graduated from high school, said he did play, and he’d love to give this one a spin.

So the pizza delivery guy sat down on the piano bench, and for the next minute and a half his fingers flew and jumped across the keys as he played the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata.

The Varchettis were blown away.

“He was just beyond good,” Julie Varchetti said in an interview with The Washington Post.

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Towson University Keyboard Day

On Friday, March 16th, Towson University is proud to present Keyboard Day from 8:30am – 5:00pm
The day will include events such as:
• A Piano Masterclass with Eva Mengelkoch, Christopher Dillon, and Yoon-Wha Roh
• Organ and harpsichord workshops with Profs. Marc Bellassai
• Introduction to extended piano techniques
and much more.

for more information and to register, visit here!

A Piano Cake Recipe!

What better way to celebrate the purchase of a new piano than with a piano cake? Although we can’t personally vouch for the taste until we’ve made one ourselves, here are the basic ingredients and instructions from Tastemade. See the instructional video on their website here.

For the chocolate cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups butter, softened at room temperature

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream, room temperature

For the chocolate chip meringue:

6 large egg whites

2 cups superfine sugar

1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the chocolate buttercream:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened at room temperature

4 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

2/3 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

For the chocolate ganache:

2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons coconut oil

For the decoration:

16 white chocolate Kit Kats

10 milk chocolate Kit Kats

Instructions

Make the chocolate cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a 13 by 9 inch pan with baking spray and parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Using a hand mixer, blend the butter, eggs and vanilla into the dry mix. Fold in the sour cream. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until fragrant and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Set aside to cool.

Make the chocolate chip meringue: Turn the oven to 250 degrees, and line a quarter sheet pan with baking spray and parchment paper. In a large bowl, whip egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form, approximately 10 minutes. Gently fold in mini chocolate chips and pour into prepared pan. Smooth out to create an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 200 degrees and bake until stiff, approximately 4 hours. Turn the oven off and allow the meringue to set and cool completely in the oven.

Make the chocolate buttercream: In a large bowl, whip softened butter and powdered sugar together with a hand mixer. Add in cocoa powder and milk and mix until smooth. Add in vanilla and salt and set aside.

Make the chocolate ganache: Set chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl, and heat the cream to a near boil. Pour cream over chocolate and whisk to combine. Add coconut oil, and divide ganache into two bowls. Refrigerate one to set and leave the other at room temperature.

Assemble the cake: Cut baked chocolate cake in half. Place one of the cakes on a large platter. Cover with one cup of chocolate buttercream and top with the meringue layer. Top with another cup of buttercream and finish with the remaining cake layer. Cover the entire cake with the remaining buttercream and set in the refrigerator to chill for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and pour the room temperature ganache over the top of the cake. Carefully drip ganache down every side of the cake for a dramatic effect. Place the chilled ganache in a piping bag and create a border around the bottom of the cake. Place the white chocolate Kit Kats across the middle of the cake, keeping them together in fours. Break up the milk chocolate Kit Kats and place them on top of the white Kit Kats, mimicking piano keys. Serve immediately. Cake will keep up to 4 days covered.

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Firefighter calms with piano after emergency call

A firefighter from Monroe, Washington helped calm residents after a stressful night of emergency calls – with a serenade on their vintage piano.

Greg and Meagan Bennett were home when one of their carbon monoxide alarms went off. They checked the batteries and the alarm stopped. But two hours later, the other alarm sounded, so the couple called for help.

An emergency crew arrived, but found conflicting readings from the alarms and decided to call for backup. Meagan says a second crew responded to their home, and all of the excitement proved too much for the couple’s dogs. She took them outside while 5 firefighters and EMTs kept working inside her home.

As the emergency call was finally wrapping up, firefighter Bryan Kerr inquired about the couple’s piano, which was a family heirloom from 1920. He asked if he could try playing it, then surprised everyone with a snippet from Coldplay’s “Clocks.” Greg recorded video so he could show Meagan when she returned with the dogs.

She tells KING 5: “It started out as a super stressful, annoying situation and this just really made our night. It was awesome!”
read more here…

Pastor plays the piano in a flooded home…

A man whose story and video went viral after he was captured playing a piano in his flooded Texas home has a new piano.

Aric Harding of Friendswood, Texas, returned to the waist-deep floodwaters in his family’s home after Hurricane Harvey in August to get some of his children’s belongings. His home was one of 350,000 destroyed by the rising waters.

He said he stopped at the piano, which belonged to one of his sons, and had a friend record him as he played it.
The Harding family’s home was flooded by Hurricane Harvey in August.

“For us, it’s a piece of music being this universal language for everyone. It’s always been a big part of my life. My family’s always been very musical,” he told ABC Houston station KTRK-TV. “From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep, we’ve got music going on in our house.”

At that moment, Harding said, he hoped the video would lift his children’s spirits and show his son his beloved instrument was still working.

“It was kind of the first time for me that I had sat down and been still, you know since the storm. And so it was, it was an unintentional special moment,” Harding said.

He then posted the video online with a Bible verse about having hope. The video circulated on social media, eventually reaching Grammy-nominated singer Vanessa Carlton, who then asked how she could get the family a new piano.

Harding said the family had to get rid of the old piano — with its rusty strings and broken bass board — after it was destroyed in the floodwaters.

“She [Carlton] literally just calls me one morning like, ‘Hey, this is Vanessa,'” Harding told KTRK. “To have that kind of generosity, you know, to come about, that’s just one piece of the generosity that has happened not only for us but for other people in this area.”
PHOTO: Aric Harding poses with his family. Harding said that playing the piano and music in general was a big part of his life and his familys.Aric Harding
Aric Harding poses with his family. Harding said that playing the piano and music in general was a big part of his life and his family’s.

Harding, a father of seven, received the new piano Saturday. Having a piano back in the house was a big deal, especially for his son Rylor, who is back practicing, Harding said.

“Just being blessed to even have the chance to own one of these is amazing,” Rylor said.

Others have also donated pianos to the family, so Harding and his father plan to get them to residents who lost theirs in the area, as well as piano students.

“Hopefully, we can keep passing this forward a little bit,” he said.

read more here at abc news…

Jordan Kitt’s provides the new organ for National’s Park

For Matthew Van Hoose, the Washington Nationals’ playoff run will start on a low note. In the way that only a music professor can be, Van Hoose is psyched about the ultra-deep, bleacher-shaking registers of the team’s brand-new stadium organ.

“This thing has a ton of extra bass,” said Van Hoose, the Nats’ official organist, as he twiddled a few foghorn notes from the bright red, W-emblazoned, three-keyboard instrument that was installed last week at Nationals Park. “It’s good to have a little time to get used to it before the playoffs.”

Van Hoose was running the Viscount Sonus 60 through some test riffs during the Nats’ low-stakes final game of the regular season Sunday. This was basic baseball organ-izing: a little of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” to goose a placid crowd during a visit to the mound.

But come Friday, he knows the mood will shift from the carnival calliope of regular games to the “Phantom of the Opera” drama of a post­season sell­out against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. When 41,000 fans stand to shout “Charge!” at that classic stadium prompt, Van Hoose will be playing an organ of 41,000 pipes.

And just in time, the front office has equipped him with an instrument boasting considerably more musical muscle than the Hammond keyboard he was tickling before. This is an organ a guy can be proud of.

The Viscount was made to order in Mondaino, Italy; shipped to New York; tuned up in Harrisburg, Pa.; and, during the Nats’ final road trip, fitted in a former radio booth on the second floor of the press box high above home plate. Above the three tiers of keys are rows of tonal couplers (“tremolo,” “piccolo,” “vox humana,” etc.). Below are crescendo and swell pedals and, just off the floor, a fan of skinny pedal boards spreading out from Van Hoose’s busy feet. It is an instrument fit for an octopus.
Van Hoose musically responds to the action at Nationals Park on the new organ. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
He uses his eyes, hands and feet when he plays. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

“I’m thrilled,” said Van Hoose, 46, who was dinking away at a kiddie keyboard when he got into baseball at age 3 in Norfolk. “It’s kind of like going from a plastic bat to a wooden bat.”

[Waiters, students and veterans belt out the national anthem for the home team]

The upgrade included a room of his own. Before, his portable keyboard was tucked into a corner of the control room with the crew that pumps sound effects and recorded music through the stadium speakers.

Now Van Hoose sits alone, following the prompts of DJ Daniel Zacharias through a video monitor and a headset. They take turns mixing sounds into the action, a sample of “The Price Is Right” uh-oh music when the Pirates’ first baseman drops a foul ball, a little polka ditty by Van Hoose for the crowd to clap to as Anthony Rendon steps out of the batter’s box.

“Rendon steps out a lot,” Van Hoose said, looking down at the field, his hands on the keys. “He gives you a lot of opportunities for prompts.”

Van Hoose’s bench is within leaning distance of the open window at his shoulder. If he were to start rockin’ it Ray Charles-style, you could imagine him pitching himself down to the club seats.

“I really feel like I’m in the park now,” he said as fan noise and fall air wafted in.

The team wouldn’t say what the instrument cost, only that the desire for a true stadium organ came from “the highest levels of the organization” and that they acquired it through a partnership with keyboard dealer Jordan Kitt’s Music, now “the official provider of pianos and organs for the Washington Nationals.” The same model is advertised for about $20,000 on European websites.

Nats owner Mark Lerner said his family has long wanted to pump up the pipes as part of the game-day soundtrack.

“My family has always valued the role of music in the overall experience of attending a baseball game,” Lerner said. “We have always wanted to upgrade our organ, and we are all so thrilled about this amazing instrument and how it will contribute to our fan experience.”

Organist Matthew Van Hoose plays the new instrument high above the crowd at Nationals Park. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

Lerner’s 91-year-old father, principle owner Ted Lerner, was a Washington Senators fan back when Merv Conn played his electric accordion over the loudspeakers between innings.

“Ted is old enough to remember when they had marching bands at ball­parks,” said Phil Wood, a Washington baseball historian and commentator who has a picture of Conn on his office wall. “This is an ownership that cares about the traditions of the game.”

It can be hard to gauge whether younger fans, raised on walk-up music and video clips, feel the same thrill of an instrument so redolent of Cracker Jack and 50-cent beer. A brief survey of ticket holders Sunday suggests that many assume those quick organ takes on the “Mexican Hat Dance” and “Zorba the Greek” are just buttons on a synthesizer.

“I had no idea it was a real organ,” said Sadie Cohen, a fan from Fairfax at the game with her brother. “They should show him on the scoreboard.”

Wood said he settled a bet recently when a couple stopped him in the stadium. She thought the organ music was live; he thought it was canned.

Read more here

Teenage pianist faces Harvey with courageous piano performance

HOUSTON (KTRK) —
In the aftermath of Harvey, heartbreaking tales of destruction and loss across Houston were countered by those of individuals and organizations that put their lives on hold to shelter, feed, and console the thousands that lost their homes, possessions, and sense of security.

Houston’s music scene was no different.

The video below, filmed during floods caused by the hurricane, profoundly captures a small experience of what many of the city’s professional and amateur musicians faced during and after the storm.

Cuteness alert: Puppy accompanies teen’s piano performance

via WCNC.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Performing in front of an audience is intimidating. Luckily for 14-year-old Eli Dykes, when he takes a seat at the piano bench he has a little help from a friend.

Eli has played the piano for eight years and has performed in state-level competitions. But it wasn’t until a month ago, he had someone to accompany him.

That someone is Lovey, a 10-week-old Pointer/Spaniel mix that is currently up for adoption.

Eli’s family fosters dogs from the South Charlotte Dog Rescue. About a month ago, they took in three foster puppies, including Lovey.

“We fostered three of the five litter and they all used to sing together,” Eli’s mother, Kimberly Dykes says. “I have three dogs myself and they were the first ones ever to contribute.”

Kimberly says that if Eli started playing, Lovey and her siblings started singing.

“The first time we just laughed because he would stop playing and they would stop howling,” Kimberly says. “High notes, low notes, it didn’t matter.”

The doggy duet was surprising for the family because Lovey and her siblings weren’t big barkers. But even when the pups were outside, if they heard Eli begin to practice piano, they couldn’t help but join in.

“I used to tease Eli saying that the dogs were howling at him playing, but now that I look at the video, she really is singing along,” Kimberly says.
Read the full article here

Couple gives away piano with $600K in gold coins inside.

A hoard of valuable gold coins worth more than half a million dollars has been found inside a piano which was given away for nothing by its previous owners.

Graham and Meg Hemmings, from Shropshire,  England, donated their old instrument to a local school with no idea it was full of gold.

Its new owners, Bishop’s Castle Community College, only discovered the hidden stash after they paid a piano tuner to fix the instrument.

Inside, he found 913 gold coins that are more than a century old.

The hoard is a mixture of old British sovereign and half-sovereign pieces, and between them contain more than 13lbs of gold.

Under UK law, unexpected valuable finds can be taken into the custody of the legal system, and officially declared “treasure” if they are significant enough.

This was the case with the gold coin hoard, with the result that museums will be able to bid for the items, and the people who found them will be paid their market rate.

In this case, the value of the find was declared to be £500,000 ($640,000) – and will be divided evenly between the college and the piano tuner.

Since the Hemmings’ gave the piano away, they have no right to any of the reward – and, remarkably, don’t seem to mind.

Mr Hemmings, 72, said: “We’re very glad that the college will benefit. We knew the piano needed tuning when we moved it to Bishop’s Castle but it played well.”

Read more here

Gold found inside piano

LONDON — British officials are trying to trace the owner of a trove of gold coins worth a “life-changing” amount of money found stashed inside a piano.

A coroner investigating the find on Thursday urged anyone with information to come forward.

When the piano’s owners took it to be tuned last year in Shropshire, central England, it was found to contain a hoard of gold sovereigns minted between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.

Investigators have determined that the piano was built in London in 1906 and sold to a pair of piano teachers in Saffron Walden, eastern England. They are seeking information on its ownership before 1983.

Anyone wanting to make a claim has until April 20, when coroner John Ellery will conclude his inquest.

If the gold’s owner or heirs cannot be traced, it will be declared treasure, and the piano’s current owners will reap the reward.

Officials have not disclosed how much the coins are worth. Peter Reavill, who assesses finds for the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, said “it’s a hoard of objects which is potentially life-changing for somebody to receive.”

Read more here