Friday, April 20, 2012

Favourite Things Friday: The Piano Guys, ao Vivo

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.
–John Ruskin

It is no secret that The Piano Guys are a perennial favourite of mine. They make regular appearances here and recently filled in on Favourite Things Friday when my favourite was cancelled due to snow. But today's post is a different kind of Piano-Guys-are-awesome post because we went to see them in concert last night and it was beyond awesome.

I'm starting with photos because I met famous people!
L to R: Mr. Bug, Grasshopper, Steven Sharp Nelson, LadyBug, Elizabeth

L to R: Jon Schmidt, Elizabeth
I bought our tickets over a month ago and counted down the days until the show. It was open seating, so a couple of weeks before the concert, I started planning my strategy for getting good seats. Sound check was at 5:00 pm. Doors open at 6:15ish. I would be there at 5:30 and if I had to wait in line outside the auditorium, I would be prepared with an embroidery project and my iPod to pass the time. I was not going to be stuck on the back row.

As is my life, I didn't actually get there until about ten-after-six, but it worked out perfectly. Sound check was still going on, and they let us in to the auditorium. My mom, dad and LadyBug came with me to get seats and we settled in on the fourth row, center. It was lucky that we got there when we did, because a few minutes after we sat down they closed the auditorium doors and stopped letting people in. We caught about the last 25 minutes of sound check. I felt so lucky that we did.

Mr. Bug had to work last night after the concert, so he and Grasshopper joined us just a few minutes before it started so that Mr. Bug could get as much sleep as possible. I think it would be an understatement to say that we all enjoyed it. I didn't shoot any video, because it is never the same as actually being there. Besides, The Piano Guys have lots of really great videos on YouTube. I will just enjoy the memory recorded in my head and you'll have to trust me when I say that if you ever have an opportunity to see The Piano Guys in concert, don't miss it!

As I watched and listened, I had to wonder if Jon Schmidt's piano teachers were constantly telling him to sit still, or if they understood that it was the music inside of him just dying to find a way out. Both Jon and Steven Sharp Nelson are incredibly talented musicians. I'm sure that they have spent hundreds of thousands of hours of practicing, because the music isn't just notes on paper produced by fingers on keys or a bow across strings. It is as if the music lives inside of them and that their instruments are extensions of them. Their music had a presence.

What impressed me most was that this was a benefit concert. Every bit of the ticket sales went towards buying therapeutic equipment for the students with special needs who attend the school where the concert was held. Jon and Steven donated their time to be there and they were happy to do so. They said more than once how much they loved to play. And how we loved to listen. I'm certain that what they took in from CD sales after the concert did not equal the personal cost in time and effort that they and their crew put into the performance. What they gave and what we received, was more that what they were compensated for. Their donation of time and talents not only helped the students with special needs, but I believe everyone who attended received something special in some way or another.

For me, personally, it brought joy to my soul.

Available from The Piano Guys and on iTunes.

From The Piano Guys:

After our Taylor Swift Coldplay mash-up, lots of people wanted more song combos. This led us to the creation of a cool hip hop/classical mash-up, but again we could not get permission. Instead of scrapping the great ideas, we used them to create an original tune. You will hear influences and inspiration from other artists. Try and guess them.

On the recording, Steven Sharp Nelson laid down over 100 tracks including cello textures never known possible. Every single sound on the video was made using only the instruments shown: piano, cello, mouth percussion and kick drum. We utilized some cool effects on lots of stuff...for example the U2-style delay on Steve's pizzicato at the beginning.

The extra string on the electric cellos (the black cello has an extra high string and the white cello has an extra low string) allowed us to cover the full range of the orchestra. The deep bass drum sound is a bump on the body of the cello with a little help from some effects. The shaker sound was created by Steve rubbing rosin on his bow. The record scratch is Steve scratching a quarter on the get the idea.

Special SPECIAL thanks to Paul Anderson and Tel Stewart "The Piano Guys" who put as much of themselves into the video as we did and without whom the video would never have happened.

Produced by Jon Schmidt
Arrangement written by Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson & Al van der Beek
Co-produced by Chuck E. Meyers & Jake Bowen
Piano recorded at Big Idea Studios by Jake Bowen
Cello recorded at TPG Studios by Al van der Beek
Filmed at The Muse in Provo, Utah.

Today's post brought to you by:


Paulette said...

I know what a fan you are, and that is just SO COOL that you got to meet them in person, in addition to hearing them play live!!

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful evening. Congrats on meeting them in person too.

Julie said...

Too cool that you got pictures with them! I'm glad that you had a good time.

Shay said...

Way to go Elizabeth...sounds like you had a blast! What a fantastic favourite thing!

Bente-I like to QuiltBlog said...

-nice photos, nice family ☺