Ivories in Atlanta

Passengers banging suitcases into walls as they race to their gates, a child crying because a TSA agent confiscated her liquid filled snow globe souvenir, and metal chair legs scraping across food court floors are some typical sounds anyone hears when passing through any airport.

On a recent flight to South Carolina, I changed planes in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest airport. My flight was early, but there wasn’t enough time to take an earlier connecting flight. So, I wandered around and found a nice (read: quiet, clean, and not jam-packed with travelers) food court and a reasonably healthy meal. A decent looking silk flower in a small white vase decorated my table for one.

Within minutes I heard a beautiful tune – a musician was playing the shiny black baby grand piano right in the middle of the concourse. And, wow, could he play! He tickled those ivories just like in the movies, and I melted away. I felt like I should be curled up on a plush velvet couch enjoying a full-bodied glass of red wine in the corner of a small wine bar.

I recognized several of the songs he played, including As Time Goes By (Casablanca), In Your Own Sweet Way (Dave Brubeck) and Just the Way You Are (Billy Joel). The music was such an unexpected treat, and it was easy to notice other travelers enjoying the moment as well.

It was obvious he could play by ear and had the gift –  you know, where a musician can stroke a few keys, figure out what will feel good and then lets ‘em rip.  Travelers stopped to compliment him, and some placed a few dollars in his tip tray.  The pianist, Louis Heriveaux (www.louisheriveaux.com), also composes and produces music.

Next time you are in an airport, just stop, sit for a while, and listen – I mean really listen – to all that’s going on around you.  If you’re in Hartsfield-Jackson (Concourse E) on a Tuesday, listen for Louis  playing the ivories.  You may just find the sounds you hear are real music to your ears!


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