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Michigan teen stuns thousands with impromptu performance on mall piano
An impromptu piano performance at a Michigan mall has catapulted an 18-year-old to celebrity status. - photo by Jessica Ivins
LANSING, Mich. An impromptu piano performance at a Michigan mall has catapulted an 18-year-old to celebrity status.

High school senior Monntel West couldnt have imagined what would happen when he sat down at a public piano to mess around on the keys as he waited for a friend at the Lansing Mall, Today reports.

West could never afford piano lessons, so four years ago, he started to teach himself on an electric keyboard that his father gave him.

Ive been practicing at home ever since then, West told Today. As the years passed, I got better and better.

So when West saw the piano at the mall on Friday, he couldnt resist sitting down to play a bit. He didnt even realize that his rendition of River Flows in You would instantly attract an awestruck audience.

Among the admirers was photographer Sara Hadley, who stopped in her tracks when she heard the music. She immediately pulled out her camera and took a video of Wests impromptu performance, and approached him afterwards to ask for his permission to post it on Facebook.

I take photos and videos of everything, but this I had to have proof of, she told Today. I know that kids that fit his description tend to get negative publicity and I think thats awful. I knew he needed to get some positive feedback.

And positive feedback, he received. The post has more than 400,000 views and has been shared thousands of times on social media. Hes been offered free piano lessons from the Okemos Music Academy, and a GoFundMe account has raised more than $2,600 for lessons and a new piano for West.

West says hes a bit overwhelmed by all the attention hes received, but hopes his story will inspire others to pursue their passions, even when theyre working with limited resources.

Everybody has those hidden talents and hidden abilities, West told the Lansing State Journal. Hopefully this shows people to not be afraid to show them.
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