Watch: Elderly Woman Sits Down at Thrift Shop Piano, Beautiful Music Follows

Combined Shape

Pianos out in the open are an invitation. Whether that invitation is intentional (an art installation placed downtown to tempt passers-by) or unintentional (a piano finds its way to a thrift store), many people answer the call.

Many times, those who give in and play are minimally talented. They can plunk out “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or a short section of that one classical piece they sort of learned when they took mandatory lessons at age 10.

But it’s rare that a true artist sits down at the beck of an open keyboard and truly entertains. And if people stop and stare, it’s usually because the playing is surprisingly bad or surprisingly good, and they want to see who’s responsible for the noise.

People stared because this woman is good. Very good.

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The 84-year-old from Wallaceburg in Ontario, Canada, is full of surprises. When Fern Bezanson sat down at the old piano and started playing from memory, she seemed like any other piano player who’d had extensive lessons.

But she hadn’t. In fact, according to The London Free Press, she can’t read music. Everything she plays, she plays by ear.

“I can’t explain it,” the elderly woman said. “I would hear a song and I could kind of pick it out when I was a kid.”

She’s musically talented, and the piano is not the only instrument she’s mastered. She also plays the accordion.

Do you know how to play a musical instrument?

Music has played a major part in her life. She and her late husband of nearly 50 years used to be part of a band known as “The Joymakers” — and making joy was exactly what they did.

Seeing a piano is an irresistible invitation for this musician. “I am like that,” she admitted. “If there’s an old piano sitting somewhere I’ll say, ‘I’ll try this out’ and I go over.”

Bezanson still performs, bringing joy to hospital staff and patients, nursing home staff and residents, and — apparently — people at thrift stores like Value Village.

Thankfully, Michelle Mainwaring caught the endearing moments on camera and tweeted the video with the caption “Meet 84 yr old Fern playing an old piano with her adoring husband by her side. Recorded at the Value Village in Chatham, Ontario November 7th, 2018. Enjoy this goodness!”

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The simple, heartwarming video took off, but Bezanson had no idea until someone told her she was famous.

“When I hear that number I am overwhelmed,” she said, referring to the number of people who have seen the video on social media. “I can’t even imagine.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking