The Piano Guys bring community together during an emotional Christmas Concert

Cello and piano duo The Piano Guys performed in the America First Event Center at Southern Utah University on Dec. 10, making this their fourth concert at Southern Utah University.

“We love Cedar City,” said pianist Jon Schmidt.

“We love this place,” added cellist Steven Sharp Nelson.

This concert was part of the university’s 125 Years of SUU celebration and hosted by the SUU Alumni and Community Relations.

Even before the event officially started, the audience, comprised of a variety of ages, enjoyed listening to pop music over the speakers, even joining together in singing “Sweet Caroline.”

The audience joined in cheers and laughter once the concert officially began with The Piano Guys playing a medley of the “Avengers” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme songs, which included a humorous video with their faces digitally placed over iconic characters from both franchises.

The Piano Guys played a variety of songs, including Christmas favorites, movie soundtracks, popular radio hits and original songs. Between song sets, The Piano Guys gave humorous commentary, sharing jokes and stories about their music and friendship. They also displayed their unique skills with their instruments. For example, Schmidt would play the piano upside down and with his feet, while Nelson would make different sound effects with his cello.

The concert also included several featured guests. These included local youth violinists from Cedar City and New Harmony, who accompanied Nelson in a “Beethoven’s 5th Symphony” and OneRepublic’s “Secrets” medley, as well as Tabernacle Choir organist Richard Elliot, who virtually dueted with Schmidt on his original song “Waterfall.” Both The Piano Guys and the audience shared enthusiastic support for these performers.

In addition to humor and entertainment, The Piano Guys brought an emotional atmosphere into the concert hall, playing a diversity of spiritual and inspiring songs, including “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “The Greatest Gift,” which guest-starred Schmidt’s son Spencer, in honor of passed loved ones.

The concert ended with a powerful medley of “Amazing Grace” and Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” featuring guest bagpipe players. The final song, played during the encore, was “Silent Night,” to which the audience sang along together.

The concert not only brought a message of fun but of community, faith and hope, as well.

“We can do hard things,” Nelson told the audience, “and music shows us how.”

Article and Photos by Andrea Rodgers