The Piano Guys strive for a positive influence

Published: Sunday, Feb. 26 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Some fans have answered with monetary support. Others have become involved by donating time and energy to filming. The costumes for "Cello Wars" were provided for free.

In essence, many have responded to the call for a good musical cause, and the response has come from around the world.

Multiple comments on the videos are in other languages and many greetings on The Piano Guys Facebook page are in broken English, hailing from a variety of countries.

“It’s so fun to ship (albums) out because we get to see where they’re going,” Anderson said. “And I mean it’s going to every single country, almost every single city in every country in the world. It’s blowing our minds.”

The support is certainly fulfilling, but so are their new jobs, Van Der Beek said.

“We know our place, we let each other do our things, we support each other. It’s just fun,” he said.

There’s writing, recording, filming and editing to worry about. Van Der Beek, Schmidt and Nelson all live in the Salt Lake Valley, Stewart and Anderson in St. George, limiting how often they can get together for a shoot, and it’s sometimes challenging, Van Der Beek said.

“But when you love it, it doesn’t matter.”

And once they get going on a project, they don't stop.

“Rather than draw it out across four days, we’d rather do it in 24 hours and get back to our families,” Nelson said.

“Michael Meets Mozart” was their first all-nighter, they explained, working from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. “Cello Wars” took a full 24 hours.

The men bounced new ideas off of each other, talking about doing more collaborations with "big YouTubers" and other artists. They just worked with popular YouTube singer Tiffany Alvord, who released a vocal version of "Beethoven's 5 Secrets" on her YouTube channel to coincide with The Piano Guys release.

They believe they can really go places, perhaps turn their subscriber numbers from 326,564 (and counting) to a million within a year.

So far, Anderson said, they've found nothing that could entice them away from how they're already doing things.

They’ve turned down record label offers and plenty of pitches for concerts in places from China to Australia and Lithuania and India. They quipped about being “huge” in Sri Lanka.

Although excited over head turning offers, The Piano Guys have kept their heads straight on their shoulders.

“We know that our families are the most important thing,” Anderson said.

“That’s a good way to end the article,” Van Der Beek added.

“And that’s why we love YouTube, because we can tour the world without leaving our homes,” Nelson said.

“We love YouTube, but not as much as our families,” Stewart finished. With that, the men chuckled and teased about how cheesy they were.

But they’re serious about family, serious about their music, serious about their cause, not to mention having fun being along for the ride. Mostly, they’re a group of self-effacing, goofy family men who are grateful to have their talents and to do what they do.

“If we were thankful every minute of the day every day for what we get to do, it would not be enough," Nelson said. "We are so thankful that God lets us do this and has helped us to do it.”

And what they get to do is have an influence, Schmidt said.

“Everybody has a dream of being a positive influence on the world, and I feel like we have a chance to do that.”

To learn more about The Piano Guys or to become a founder, visit www.thepianoguys.com. To subscribe for free to the group's YouTube channel or view its videos, visit www.youtube.com/thepianoguys.

The Piano Guys' 'Beethoven's 5 Secrets'

One of The Piano Guys' recent videos, "Beethoven's 5 Secrets" with the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic youth orchestra. The song mixes One Republic's "Secrets" with elements of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.

Email: hbowler@desnews.com

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