Homeless pianist wows crowds on Florida sidewalk

Jul 1, 2015 7:34 PM by News Staff, Photo: YouTube

Video of a homeless Sarasota, Florida man is going viral after he was captured playing the piano. There are seven pianos on the sidewalks in downtown Sarasota as a part of the Sarasota Keys project.

"It's an interactive public arts project in downtown Sarasota," said Jim Shirley, with the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. "The whole idea is to give access to people who want to express themselves."

Donald Gould, 51, was playing one of those pianos in front of the Clasico Cafe and Bar when Dylan Henry and his mother, who are visiting, captured Gould on video.

Within 24 hours, more than 500,000 people had seen the video.

"It is my passion. I just like to make people happy out there when I'm playing. I put my hat out there and sit it on top of the keyboard in hopes of making tips because I'm homeless," Gould said.

Unlike Gould's music, his life hasn't been so beautiful. He is a former Marine who has struggled with drugs. He lost his wife and son several years ago.

"I had a wife pass away on me in '98 and I had a son and I was kind of heavy into the pill thing. They took our child away from us, and my wife took a handful of morphine pills and died. She just went to sleep. I couldn't keep it together and eventually social services got tired of it and they terminated my parental rights. Everyday it's painful. There's not a day that's gone by since they took him from me that I haven't thought about him. He turned 18 last August 24th. I wish he would come and find me," Gould said.


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