This News column showcases stories from around the world that bring a touch of positivity to the fight against the deadly coronavirus.
Giorgio Lo Porto, an Italian living in the United Kingdom, is among the countless people who have made videos on the TikTok platform during the coronavirus pandemic. Little did he know where they would lead.
In January, Giorgio would frequently hear muffled melodies through the wall of his home; it turned out that his neighbor was playing the piano. Giorgio was really enjoying the music and began sharing videos in which his neighbor’s talents could be heard.
In February, he posted a video in which he said he left a note to his neighbor asking if the mystery person could play the famous melody My Heart Will Go On.
The neighbor’s answer was clear when Giorgio heard the piece coming from the other side of the wall.
So began a friendship. In another note, Giorgio suggests that they could play The River Flows In You as a duo.
Giorgio would play first and, as soon he stopped, the neighbor continued. The Italian was at first a little nervous when he started to play, but he felt happy when he heard the music coming from the other side of the wall.
“This was our way of saying ‘I don’t know who you are, but I’m here. You’re not alone. This is for you too’,” said Giorgio.
The two went on to play many more duos every weekend. All the while he was curious about his mysterious neighbor. Finally, they met.
It turned out that his neighbor’s name was Emil and he was 78 years old. Originally from Poland, Emil’s wife had passed away in December from COVID-19 and the apartment in which he was staying was a temporary accommodation until he could sell his house. The only consolation left to Emil was his piano.
Giorgio wrote a song about their friendship. “And a new friendship started. Two pianos between a wall. Not knowing who was playing. But it didn’t matter. You can be the light to somebody else’s darkness,” Giorgio sang along to the music in one of his videos.
But, on March 14, Giorgio said in a video that News of Emil’s death had reached him. He went in his sleep and now, as Giorgio puts it, “he is reunited with his wife”.
“Dear Emil,” he wrote in remembering his neighbor. “I knew very little about you, but you changed my life. You gave me back my passion, and we shared that with the world. You’ll be in my heart. I’ll keep playing, thinking of how powerful music can be. You said I was your light, but you’ve been mine too. Bye, Emil.”
The special bond between Giorgio and Emil has touched the hearts of millions of people on social media.
“What a powerful and touching story. Thank you Giorgio, and Emil, for bringing hope and joy to this world through music,” said one viewer of his videos.