July 7, 1996
(No paper July 6, 1996)
THROOP — Andrew Stuart looks and acts like a typical 22-year-old when he's hanging out with his friends shooting hoops.
But he becomes anything but typical when his lean, 6-foot-3 frame is seated behind a piano and his fingers dance over the keys, playing anything from classical and gospel to Broadway tunes, big band, rock and pop.
Stuart got his first keyboard at age 3 and at 5 realized he could pick out a tune with one finger.
In first grade, he began piano lessons and continued until he reached sixth grade.
"I think I drove two teachers to early retirement," Stuart joked. "I didn't think I needed to know how to read music because I would listen to them play a song and then after hearing it once would play it back to them. I thought, 'Why do I need to know how to read music?'"
Stuart stopped the lessons but continued playing, eventually learning to read music, despite his talent for playing intricate pieces by ear.
"As much as I practice I still realize I have a gift and I'm very thankful for it," he said.
— Compiled by David Wilcox