“The Piano Guys” returned to SUU and hosted a festive music-filled night. “The Piano Guys” have performed at SUU only two other times, once in 2017 and again in 2018. Although this was their first Christmas Concert in Cedar City, it was a sold-out show.
The group rose to fame in 2010 when they began posting cello and piano compositions on YouTube. Pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson now travel the world performing.
The night was filled with not only Christmas music, but some modern pop hits as well.
The Piano Guys performed an arrangement of “Someone You Loved,” by Lewis Capaldi. While performing, they showed a video of a choreographed dance by the famous World of Dance performers Charity Anderso and Andres Peñate.
Schmidt and Nelson’s excitement to perform was obvious, especially when the pianist began playing the piano upside down.
“Thank you for making some dorky dads feel like rock stars,” Schmidt said, expressing his love for performing.
But quite frankly, those two middle-aged dads are rock stars. They kept the audience entertained with their quick wit and brotherly banter. At one point in the night, Schmidt got up from behind the piano bench and danced across the stage. He was even seen flossing.
“We’re like brothers,” Schmidt said.
And it’s true, the musicians have a special connection that can be seen on stage. They first performed together when Nelson was only 15 years old.
The two men played unique arrangements. They put a Christmas twist on U2’s famous song “With or Without You.” Schmidt played his very own arrangement of “A Million Dreams, from “The Greatest Showman,” and Nelson played his version of Pachelbel’s Canon, renaming it “Rock-elbel’s Canon.”
At one point in the night, violinists from Canyon View High School performed side by side with “The Piano Guys,” bringing a sense of community to the stage.
The Christmas hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was especially important for Nelson to be playing in Cedar City.
“Cedar City is such a special place for me. I have some roots here. Awhile back, the Cedar City Orchestra commissioned me to write a couple of symphonies for them to play. We put this arrangement together for them. This is the most sublime Christmas hymn ever written.”
Closing the night, “The Piano Guys” played an arrangement including “Amazing Grace,” and Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” which featured bagpipes. The performance received a standing ovation. Of course, an encore ensued.
“Thank you for making this big arena feel like a living room tonight,” Nelson said, addressing the audience before exiting the stage.
For more information on “The Piano Guys,” and their current tour, visit their website here.
Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: Christopher Dimond