It has been a tragic two weeks Jon Schmidt, popular LDS pianist in the musical group The Piano Guys. His daughter Annie disappeared while hiking in Oregon; after extensive searching she was never found.
As the group and family attempt to move forward, Steven Sharp Nelson, the cello player in the group, wrote a message for his dear friend. Below is an excerpt:
The first time I went on tour with Jon — long before The Piano Guys — I had just experienced one of the most difficult times of my life. I had lost my mother to a brain tumor. I was young and felt as though I couldn’t live without a mother’s love. I felt lost. Jon and I shared a hotel room and when he learned of my mother he told me of his older sister, who he had also lost when he was young. As we talked we discovered that my mother and his sister were remarkably similar — both loved to laugh more than anything else; both were endowed with incomparable musical gifts; and both loved others naturally and unconditionally. Jon stayed up the whole night with me trading stories. We laughed. And cried. It was what I needed. It was as if he had lowered a rope into my pity pit and lifted me out. I felt found.
Jon is no stranger to struggle. It’s how he has earned his empathy. He has also taught me that tragedy shakes off our shackles of petty concern, allowing us to sweat off the small stuff. This softening is one of the enduring purposes of hardship. And as we are softened, our hearts open up to house faith in Eternal purposes that can’t readily be seen. I consider these lessons to be priceless. I’m so grateful for his example.
To make a long week more bittersweet, The Piano Guys released their first album since 2014 last Friday. You can learn more about it here. The group is also hosting a live video chat on Wednesday on their Facebook page to answer any questions and connect with their thousands of fans who have supported them this last week.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.