The Piano Guys: 4 dads on a mission

Published: Monday, Dec. 16 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

“They’re trying to make it all about us, and we know that’s not true, and we know it’s about sharing your talents for other people and serving others,” he said. “And that’s something we learned on the mission.”

The group’s connection spiritually has helped them stay like-minded, Schmidt explained.

“I think it would’ve broken up,” he said about the group. “We’ve had really hard things — we wouldn’t have been able to do in two years what we’ve done if we wouldn’t have been totally united. There’s just no way.”

The Piano Guys have always made God a part of their process, praying before every recording session, every video shoot and any songwriting they do. They pray before concerts, too, and always invite everyone around them to participate.

"That’s been a real eye-opener for me, just to see how people love what we sometimes take so for-granted, that we’re afraid to share,” Schmidt said.

The group feels particularly blessed to have been assigned a manager who respects their beliefs. David Simone has never pushed them to “go light” on their values or promotion of family. When they were invited to the ECHO (the German equivalent of a Grammy) Awards show, which would broadcast on a Sunday, they respectfully declined, and Simone had no problem with it.

“By and large, we’ve met respect and appreciation and understanding as we’ve been out in the world,” Nelson said.

And they’ve done some great missionary work, too, sending copies of the Book of Mormon to the likes of Jay Leno and Katie Couric. One of their favorite things to do is share the gospel with their drivers during taxi rides:

“We’re from Salt Lake City! Ever heard of Mormons before? Have any Mormon friends? Now you do!”

While attending an LDS stake conference during their tour in Germany, a man approached the group and related his story. He’d been raised atheist. He stumbled across some Piano Guys videos, and the music made him feel something he never had before. He found out the group members were Mormon, so he dug a little deeper. He’s since been baptized.

They don’t know how many similar stories there are, Van Der Beek said, but he feels they’re doing a lot to spread the message of the gospel without being too overt about it. They’re just trying to be good examples, be good husbands and fathers, and make good music — music that they can’t even take credit for.

“Our primary objective is to get people to feel God’s love and feel the Spirit, even if they don’t necessarily recognize it right-off," Nelson said.

“If the music can help people feel the Spirit, that’s where the Lord and the Spirit take over, and that’s what we want. We don’t think our music is converting people to God. We don’t think our music is doing anything necessarily directly, but it’s the Spirit that is felt during it that is really doing the work.”

When asked what’s up next for them, all sorts of replies came:

“Boise, Idaho.”

“World peace?”

“Olympic underwater basket weaving team.”

After stops in Boise and Salt Lake City for Christmas concerts, next will be another album, a booked tour schedule for the next year and a goal to film at all seven wonders of the world. Those movies will be a follow-up to their recent "Kung Fu Panda" homage on the Great Wall of China. That was another production held together by miraculous happenings, they said.

”My faith has definitely been increased because of all of the tender mercies and miracles that we’ve seen,” Van Der Beek said.

If you go ...

What: "Home for Christmas" concert with The Piano Guys

When: Saturday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Where: EnergySolutions Arena

Ticket prices:Floor, $175-$75; Lower bowl, $175-$55.50; Upper bowl, $55.50-$27

Web: smithstix.com, thepianoguys.com

'O Come, Emmanuel' by The Piano Guys

'Angels We Have Heard On High' from the Piano Guys

Email: h.a.bowler@gmail.com

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