How a pianist began playing music at the West Acres Mall

Evelyn Blackwood, 24, usually plays piano at West Acres Shopping Center between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Chris Flynn / The Forum
Evelyn Blackwood, 24, usually plays piano at West Acres Shopping Center between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Chris Flynn / The Forum

Since late August of 2018, people shopping and working at West Acres Mall have probably heard the music of Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian pianist and composer. The pianist performing a lot of his music is Evelyn Blackwood.

For two to three hours a day, Blackwood has been playing the piano at the West Acres Mall. She saw someone playing the mall piano and the next day brought all of her music and started playing. She usually plays between 2 and 5 p.m.

Blackwood, 24, started playing piano under the "gentle guidance" of her mother at age 6.

“I took lessons for about 8 years,” Blackwood said. “I had a few teachers throughout those years then life just became too busy to keep up with piano lessons.”

Blackwood kept playing piano as well as the trumpet.

“I think, in my adult life, music became that much more important to me and piano was just one of those things that I absolutely could not live without,” she said.

Evelyn Blackwood, 24, plays piano at the West Acres Mall almost everyday. She said she usually plays between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Chris Flynn / The Forum
Evelyn Blackwood, 24, plays piano at the West Acres Mall almost everyday. She said she usually plays between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Chris Flynn / The Forum

Blackwood said she saw a quote on Facebook once that shaped her mentality about music.

A group of symphony orchestra students was sitting in an auditorium. The conductor told the students to consider the auditorium was an emergency room, and they were all doctors who would do their best to save someone’s life. He said if they all played their absolute best, the audience will leave feeling satisfied.

That is how Blackwood feels about playing piano in the mall. “It’s a place for me to emote and people can feel everything I put into it," Blackwood said.

"Music has saved my life countless times in the past, and I kind of feel like it's sort of my job as musician to do the same for other people," she said.