Sarasota is not the first city to install pianos in downtown streets but they might be the first to showcase a remarkable piano player. According to ABC 7, Donald Gould, a homeless man, saw the newly installed pianos and decided to hop on in hopes of making a few bucks and while he was confident in his skills, he never expected the overwhelming positive reactions.
I was thinking I could just put my hat on the piano and make a couple dollars and get tips. I didn’t expect it to jump out to this. I might not do the whole song complete as it was recorded originally, but I [know] enough to touch people out here — ’cause I’ve touched a lot of people apparently,
The 51-year-old’s love for music began as a child, starting with the clarinet, which he eventually played in the United States Marine Corps. Upon completion of his service, Gould returned home to Michigan to study music education at Spring Arbor University with hopes of becoming music teacher but he ran out of money and was unable to complete his degree, taking up random jobs as he started a family.
Gould’s wife passed away suddenly in 1998 and he fell into substance abuse, losing control of his life. Now living in Florida, he tries to get his hands on any instrument, including the downtown pianos, which led to an upcoming pianist tryout at a weekend piano bar.
Here’s the video that has everyone in Sarasota buzzing:
And here’s the interview that was conducted by a few locals, in which he briefly discussed his story: