A painter who just happened to be in the right place at the tight time saved organizers of a church concert from embarrassment when he stepped in for their scheduled performer.
John Pierce, 34, was working at the Maldon United Reform Church in Essex, U.K., with his father-in-law, a carpenter, when word came that the classical pianist the church had booked for a concert was ill and could not perform.
Pierce had introduced himself to the events organizer just a few minutes before she got the email that the performer wouldn’t be able to make it. Jim Earls, Pierce’s father-in-law, suggested that Pierce take his place, according to the Sunday Express.
“I put him forward for it because I know how amazing he is,” Earls said.
As the performance was about to start, organizers asked Pierce to take the pianist’s spot in the free, lunchtime concert, though they had never heard him sing.
Pierce wanted to go home to change out of his paint-stained clothes, but Earls insisted that he stay dressed as he was, claiming it would “ruin the magic” of the impromptu performance if he changed.
“In the introduction, everyone was just laughing when they heard he was not the arranged act but a painter,” Earls told the Express.
Pierce, from Ingatestone, Essex, started singing at age 17. He was classically trained as a tenor and had always dreamed of doing it for a living.
He had no time to practice before he was sent on stage, yet he sang classics from “Funiculli Funiculla” to “You Raise Me Up” and “Nessun Dorma” all from memory.
His performance was met with resounding applause and an encore.
“People really seemed to love it and they all stood up clapping,” he told the Express.
Earls, who stood in the back filming the performance, said people came up to him to tell him how beautifully Pierce sang.
“One person cried when John was singing and told me: ‘A painter has only ever made me cry once, and that was when he gave me the bill,'” he told the Express.
The reverend, who said Pierce had “the most amazing voice,” said it was the first time they had had a standing ovation for one of their performers.
“It was so random, I only came in to do some painting,” Pierce told the Express.
After his astounding performance, organizers of the concert asked him to sign up to perform at future shows. Pierce told the Express he hoped to come back and perform again next year.
“I enjoy making people happy with my singing,” he said.