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A piano on the Great Wall of China and in Utah Lake: Utahns' videos go viral

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17 2013 12:30 p.m. MDT

It's not every day both Utah Lake and the Great Wall of China are graced with the presence of YouTube geniuses and a musical instrument with 88 ivory keys.

YouTube screen shot

It's not every day both Utah Lake and the Great Wall of China are graced with the presence of YouTube superstars and a musical instrument with 88 ivory keys.

This past month both happened. Utah filmmaker Devin Graham and musical group The Piano Guys completed videos in which the location of the piano was the highlight.

On Oct. 9, the first video was published featuring Utah pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson on the Great Wall of China performing "Oogway Ascends" from the "Kung Fu Panda" soundtrack. Since the conception of The Piano Guys, a performance on the wall has been their dream, the group said on their website. And although it seemed impossible, producer and videographer Paul Anderson was determined.

"Yes. That is the Great Wall of China. No. It’s not green screen," the website stated. "People laughed at us when we said we were determined to do it."

But it wasn't easy. Permits were required, and there was also the issue of getting the piano in place. With only 12 hours to film, the crew and many locals came together to create the three-minute clip that now has more than 2 million views.

"It is difficult to detail each of the many miracles that were stitched together in time turning this dream into actuality," a report on the website says. "This was a life-changing experience for us."

As for Graham, his video, published Oct. 13, is local, yet equally intriguing to his following. The YouTube filmmaker, known for his giant rope swings and human sling shots, captured a performance by William Joseph of "Radioactive," originally from the Provo band Imagine Dragons.

The video set was on Utah Lake, where Joseph and a piano were placed on a scaffolding seven feet above ground and just atop the water's surface.

"I cannot believe right now that we're sitting on a lake," Joseph said in a behind-the-scenes video. "It was pretty insane."

Graham was able to shoot the performance using a boat, Jet Skis and an aerial helicopter. This was Graham's 100th video on his channel, devinsupertramp, which has more than 760,000 views.

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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