Watch A Rare Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Two-Piano Duet
It was a few days before Christmas, the year: 1996. Two 18-year-old high school students got up in front of a packed house at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute and neither they nor the audience knew that something magical was about to happen.
On the left is your author and on the right, young David Barnaba, the former leader of the Clinton High School pep band 'Dusk' that used to play at hockey games at Clinton Arena. Dave was also an heir-apparent to his mother's piano school which now lives on in Charlotte, North Carolina.
You may not remember, but what is now Tom Cavallo's Corked Wine Bar on Genesee Street used to be Joanne Marie's School of Piano which was at the time one of the nation's largest privately-owned piano schools that saw some 400+ kids per WEEK gracing the air and recital halls just like Munson's with their music. Coincidentally I've played the wine bar since then on several occasions and even though the atmosphere is that of a restaurant now, I don't think it's any accident that music is still alive in that space.
Although Dave and his family moved away not long after the above video was shot, his aunt still operates a very successful piano school in Chadwicks called The Piano Lab. Now, 21 years after that rousing Christmas performance at Munson, both Dave and I are professional musicians and teachers alike and I'd like to think that it's no accident and that just maybe that night had a little something to do with it.