They pluck, they pound, they saw, they strum.
The Piano Guys, featuring pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, will be performing at Dixie State College Friday and Saturday as part of the Celebrity Concert Series.
The duo, whose music has gained popularity through YouTube and Facebook, create medleys using current popular hits and classical pieces. They were recently featured on Katie Couric’s daytime television show, “Katie,” as well as “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Gail Bunker, manager of the Celebrity Concert Series and DSC coordinator of cultural affairs, said the group was chosen not only for its entertainment value, but also because of audience familiarity with Schmidt.
“We presented Jon Schmidt many years ago,” she said. “He’s been around for a long time, and all of a sudden it’s taken off.”
Bunker said part of the group’s appeal stems from good musicianship.
“[Schmidt and Nelson] are both classically-trained, but they’ll do a more popular kind of program, with a lot of antics that make it totally enjoyable,” she said. “Schmidt will do a back bend over the piano stool and start playing the piano again. Just little things like that will make it entertaining, and it will just be a good concert because they’re good musicians.”
Corinne Cox, a junior music major from St. George, said she was excited for the performance because seeing a concert versus listening to an album are completely different experiences.
“Just to see the emotion and expression makes the visual aspect of seeing [live music] totally different,” she said.
Cox also said she thought students should see people creating livelihoods out of their own passions.
“I think it’s cool to see someone make a living doing what they love,” she said. “I enjoy seeing people perform and having fun with what they do.”
Frederic VandeWater, a sophomore history major from Hurricane, said students should come because Nelson and Schmidt are Utah natives.
“They’re local artists, and it’s always good to support local artists,” he said.
Bunker said attending not only this concert, but other events in the Celebrity Concert Series, should be part of a student’s education.
She said, “That’s part of our mission, to have these things available for students to enjoy and to augment or supplement the education and to help them have a better experience at Dixie.”
The Piano Guys perform Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in the Cox Auditorium box office. The next event in the series features Alice Tan Ridley, who competed on “America’s Got Talent.”