The Varchetti family ordered a pepperoni pizza from Hungry Howie’s for dinner.
When the delivery guy came to their suburban Detroit home, he gave them the pizza, then peeked inside to their foyer and said: “That’s a beautiful piano. Can I take look at it?”
The Varchettis invited him in to see the baby grand, which they said generally goes unused. They asked if he played.
Bryce Dudal, 18, who had just graduated from high school, said he did play, and he’d love to give this one a spin.
So the pizza delivery guy sat down on the piano bench, and for the next minute and a half his fingers flew and jumped across the keys as he played the third movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata.
The Varchettis were blown away.
“He was just beyond good,” Julie Varchetti said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Dudal is self-taught. He played the complicated piece in the Varchettis’ home last week from memory.
His playing was so good, in fact, that it caused the Varchettis’ 10-year-old son and his buddy to stop playing the popular video game Fortnite to listen.
“When he started playing, I was surprised,” Ryan said. “I thought he was going to break the piano at first.”
Julie Varchetti posted a video to Facebook of Dudal playing the piano in her foyer. People started liking and commenting like crazy.
His playing has received some media attention, and now Dudal is gaining a measure of fame for his hobby.
“A lot of people sit down at the piano and play something slow and beautiful,” he said. “But when I play for someone, I like to go all out.”
He started playing at about 6 years old on his family’s small keyboard when his aunt taught him an easy song or two. When he’d go to her house, he said, he’d practice on her full-size piano.
Dudal taught himself a few songs, including the theme song to the cartoon “Scooby-Doo.”
He became so interested in music that his mother bought him some Beethoven CDs. He was about 6 or 7 when he first heard the third movement of the “Moonlight” sonata.
“It’s a flashy, fast, amazing piece,” he said.
Dudal would listen to it for hours on end and re-create it as best he could on his keyboard and his aunt’s piano. Within a year or two, he had learned much of the piece, he said. It was painstaking but came naturally to him.
“It was a long process. You have to sit there and think and try to put it on the piano, piece by piece. I couldn’t read music back then,” he said. “I would sit there and listen for hours and hours and try to figure it out.”
Sometimes, he’d look up YouTube videos for help.
His father, a retired police officer, and his mother, a surgical technician, signed him up for piano lessons. He went through about five or six teachers because they wanted to teach him the basics. But he didn’t want to learn beginner tunes; he only wanted to work on his favorite Beethoven piece. By this time, he’d taught himself other classical songs as well.
His parents bought him a bigger keyboard, then rearranged the furniture in their home and bought him a piano.
Finally, when he was 12, his parents found a teacher who could meet him where he was. She taught him to read sheet music and also helped him fine-tune his favorite piece of music, he said.
He took lessons with her for years, practicing for hours each day. Then in high school, he became serious about baseball. About a year ago, he decided to take a break from piano and focus on baseball.
“Sports have taken over a little bit,” said Dudal, a pitcher. “I love working out every day in the gym.”
He earned a baseball scholarship to his local community college, Macomb Community College, where he will begin classes in August.
The recent attention he’s gotten for his piano playing at the Varchettis’ house has renewed his passion for music.
He said he loves playing for an audience. He especially got a kick out of surprising the Varchettis with Beethoven. Most of his customers have no idea of his hidden talents.
“All they see is a pizza delivery guy,” he said.