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#NeighborhoodHeroes: Neighbor plays piano for neighbors during the pandemic

Patrick Karst is a pianist in the Coachella Valley. He has been playing piano since he was four years old. He worked on cruise ships for many years. Now, a private contractor working at country clubs, country clubs, private parties, restaurants, churches, weddings, funerals, bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, and directing music for artist Charo. Karst said, “Music is very healing, particularly in these times.” Due to the pandemic, he took his piano skills outside to play for his neighbors.

Patrick Karst playing piano

He said he started playing originally for one specific neighbor, Karen Johanson. Johanson said, “I cry happy tears a lot when I hear his music because it’s just so beautiful.” Karst said, “She's very sweet and I am happy to do it for her.” He added jokingly, “She’s really into music. I think she’s into it more than I am.”

Since the pandemic began, Karst kept up the weekly tradition of playing piano on the patio. Johanson said, “We get together out here because he’s next door and I’m here and we do a potluck and drink wine and just have the best time.” It has been a way for the neighbors to remain socially distanced and still enjoy each others company. It's not just the two of them enjoying the sounds of piano. Karst said, “People are always walking by or they stop. It’s just kind of a fun little neighborhood thing here.” Karst said he enjoys playing for people because music is his way of expressing himself. He added, “I don’t think people listen to enough music, I really don’t.”

Karen Johanson listening to Patrick Karst playing piano

Johanson shared that his music helped her get through chemotherapy a few years back. She said Karst made her CD's of him playing that she would take with her to treatments. Johanson said, “I love his music so much. I listen to it a lot. He is a wonderful person, he is a wonderful human being.” Karst responded, “It’s mutual and she's so selfless and she doesn't consider that maybe I am lucky to have her as my neighbor.” 

If you want to hear more of Patrick Karst's music, his website: PatrickKarst.com

Celebrating #NeighborhoodHeroes

While the coronavirus crisis is keeping us apart, we know the Coachella Valley community is still coming together to help each other. We are looking for those who are lending a hand during this uncertain time. Do you know of any everyday people who are going out of their way to help others? Have you seen someone find creative solutions to the new challenges we all face?

News Channel 3 wants to celebrate these neighborhood heroes. Tell us about them here. Enter HERE or email SHARE@kesq.com. If you see good happening on social media, share it with us, and tag it #neighborhoodheroes for us to see.

We are all in this together. Help us showcase the good that's happening right here in the Coachella Valley.

Kaiser recommends that those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings.

Health officials said anyone who thinks they might be experiencing symptoms of the virus and want to be seen at Eisenhower Health should call the hospital hotline first at 760-837-8988. Avoid the spread of this illness.
Residents with further questions can call 2-1-1 and 800–CDC –INFO (800 – 232 – 4636) with any questions.

Public health recommendations for all Riverside County residents during community spread:

Practice social distancing, which is remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoid using public transportation, if possible.
Do not attend work, school or events when sick. Stay home.
Cough into your elbow or tissue.
Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often.
Stay away from anyone who is sick.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.

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