(FRIENDSWOOD, Texas) — A man whose story and video went viral after he was captured playing a piano in his flooded Texas home has a new piano.
Aric Harding of Friendswood, Texas, returned to the waist-deep floodwaters in his family’s home after Hurricane Harvey in August to get some of his children’s belongings. His home was one of 350,000 destroyed by the rising waters.
He said he stopped at the piano, which belonged to one of his sons, and had a friend record him as he played it.
“For us, it’s a piece of music being this universal language for everyone. It’s always been a big part of my life. My family’s always been very musical,” he told ABC Houston station KTRK-TV. “From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep, we’ve got music going on in our house.”
At that moment, Harding said, he hoped the video would lift his children’s spirits and show his son his beloved instrument was still working.
“It was kind of the first time for me that I had sat down and been still, you know since the storm. And so it was, it was an unintentional special moment,” Harding said.
He then posted the video online with a Bible verse about having hope. The video circulated on social media, eventually reaching Grammy-nominated singer Vanessa Carlton, who then asked how she could get the family a new piano.
Harding said the family had to get rid of the old piano — with its rusty strings and broken bass board — after it was destroyed in the floodwaters.
“She [Carlton] literally just calls me one morning like, ‘Hey, this is Vanessa,’” Harding told KTRK. “To have that kind of generosity, you know, to come about, that’s just one piece of the generosity that has happened not only for us but for other people in this area.”
Harding, a father of seven, received the new piano Saturday. Having a piano back in the house was a big deal, especially for his son Rylor, who is back practicing, Harding said.
“Just being blessed to even have the chance to own one of these is amazing,” Rylor said.
Others have also donated pianos to the family, so Harding and his father plan to get them to residents who lost theirs in the area, as well as piano students.
“Hopefully, we can keep passing this forward a little bit,” he said.
Nearly four months later, the Hardings are finishing up the rebuilding of their home. Harding said the process is a difficult one but his church and neighbors continue to help them.
Even though there is still so much to do on the house, Harding said, the piano’s arrival brought a “sense of completion.”
“It’s a little piece of normal coming back,” he added.
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