Friday August 10th 2012, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life,Music

One of the Stanford satellite clinics has a grand piano in the lobby–actually, two clinics do that I know of, but anyway, most of the times I’ve been to the one, there’s been someone playing.

And the guy’s good. Really good. No sheet music, any style you want, any age any tune, he’s got it. I have no idea if he’s a young doctor on break (dresses in a suit, no white coat) or how he came to be there, but he’s a master musician.

And here’s the thing: it’s like Joshua Bell in the subway station.

Okay, wait–I just went looking for the video of that to give you the link, and on impulse decided to click on the snopes article verifying it. Not only did it happen, but it tells that the same experiment had been tried 77 years earlier–by a man playing the exact same Stradivarius. Who played two of the exact same pieces during the same amount of time. While also having been put up to it as a social experiment by a metro newspaper, in a subway station, at rush hour.

Who knew.  Bell didn’t. Wow.

The Stanford pianist chatted a bit with me between songs once about music, but other than that I haven’t interrupted him. He always has a smile, always nods in acknowledgement of those going by whether they notice it or not, always lights up when someone stops a moment rather than just passing through to one of the hallways spoking off.

And yet. I’ve seen people sitting on the couches curving in the inner and outer sides of a circle there, some clearly listening to him but almost as if they were hiding it, some reading, all but one that I’ve ever seen turned away so as not to be facing him. Trying not to invade his space, perhaps.

And nobody. Not one. Ever clapped.

Until I did.

The guy looked surprised, abashed, and very very gratified. And then another patient joined in.

I have no idea if I’ll ever see him again. I do know I’ve seen him playing there three times now: clearly he enjoys being able to give of himself like that, always choosing music that lifts the heart, music to do good by every person coming in in need of healing–including, each in their own way, the medical staff.

I went stash diving today. Part of me is second-guessing myself, wondering if the Zarzamora colorway in Malabrigo Rios really is just the one, but it’s very soft and it’s the one I’ve got out of all the stash I looked at that seemed the most right. I will finish this hat, then, and if it doesn’t feel perfect, I’ll make another.

But I just didn’t want to wait. Some projects need to be pounced on the moment they come up; I really like how this is coming out and I really like the thought of being able to give a little art back.

Hoping he’s there next time… I have an errand to run past there before then. I can pop in and try.

6 Comments so far
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If it’s not perfect, I bet it’s still just right for someone, someday.

And thank you for clapping. My favorite parts of the Olympics have been the athletes supporting each other, honoring each other.

Did anyone else see Bolt put a journalist in her place and honor Richards-Ross AND the US national anthem during a live interview? Bless him…

Comment by Channon 08.11.12 @ 6:09 am

Wow! That subway story is POWERFUL! Seems as though the youngsters were the ones most mesmerized. I know that Avenidas, any time there is music playing, the participants love it. I have contributed about 9 or 10 music cd’s that I have made (two classical), and we play a game called Name That Tune. Lots of fun.

Comment by Don Meyer 08.11.12 @ 9:39 am

I always felt bad about not stopping to listen to Joshua Bell but then, I never used that metro station and was carpooling to work at that time. If I had been there, I never would have gotten to work at all that day. But how amazing — the same Strad? Wow.

Today’s treat was a visit to a new-to-me (and relatively new) LYS to use a gift card from my former co-workers. It’s not extremely local to me, which is why it took from May until today to get there, but I had recommended the place to others based on what I’d heard about it. Now I have four new projects waiting for me to finish what’s currently in progress. And still some left on the gift card for another visit. (Dragonfly BFL blue scarf for DH, yummy soft organic variegated pinks worsted weight Nimbus merino cardi for great niece, Red Scarf Project yarn (Berroco Comfort – red, of course), and Ravelry Red Malabrigo Rasta – super bulky – purse for DDIL from a Debbie Bliss pattern she had marked in that book. Hmm. Notice a color pattern here?) Nice couple of hours and luckily the shop was quiet at that time.

Comment by sjanova 08.11.12 @ 3:24 pm

I have stopped and admired musicians in the subway stations. I know how difficult the environment is for them…

Bless your heart for making that man feel appreciated!

Comment by Suzanne from Montreal 08.11.12 @ 8:30 pm

And today, you get the applause for what you are up to!

Comment by twinsetellen 08.12.12 @ 7:53 am

My father (a lifelong New Yorker) taught me always to put something in the hat of a sidewalk musician, because they’re doing something to make the street more pleasant. The only exception I’ve ever made–and even then I was tempted– is for the guy who gets on your subway car (also in NY, of course), plays a horrible squawk on a brass instrument, and then goes about asking for contributions “to fix my horn.”

Comment by Amy 08.12.12 @ 12:32 pm

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